About Stratos' background. "I've been in the audio market for the last 15 years. I started by working for some of the few large hifi distributors in Greece which handle Quad, NAD, Yamaha and such. I also worked for some of the biggest local audio stores. By 2005, I began to design and build a few machines for certain special customers. By 2010, I formally launched Lab 12. Today my brother Michaelis and I run the company with the help of two more people and some excellent subcontractors. Katerina—the lady with the real clothes—has always been my right hand. She also is the one who insisted that I start Lab 12; and she was right."

About Lab 12's focus. "We are 'still' romantics in the sense that we design what we would like to own and listen to. I am not sure yet whether this is commercially sound but until now, we've only grown.

"We are not yet making a profit because we try to keep our prices as low as possible to first earn a reputation and the respect of the audio community. I've always preferred to remain a low-profile person and that's exactly what I also try to do with our products. We build fair and good handmade items without frills but with the best parts and quality finishing possible. We spend more hours auditioning after the main R&D than I believe some bigger names can afford to do. I think this is why we enjoy a reputation for good sound. We also take great care with our paint finishes which are all done in luxury automotive lacquers; and we offer any imaginable custom colour for just a low surcharge."

About Lab 12's workplace and philosophy. "Our current base of operations is no more than 30m² but due to growing demand, we're about to move into a bigger modern facility for our production line, with aspirations for an even brighter future. The Suono model is my personal favourite. I use one in my living room with some nice hornspeakers and it gives me hours of relaxation each month.

"This was my first target for the amp - to be relaxed and never hard sounding regardless of the preamplifier, source or speakers. And that's how we made it. I am sure you will love it. As you already hinted at in your introduction, we are not one of these fancy name companies with enormous machine shops—at least not yet—but I am certain that you will feel the passion we poured into the Suono. Even if we attempted something still bigger in the future, our goal will remain unchanged: to design and build fair and realistic products that make music. We try not to forget that the main target is always the music. You know very well how a big percentage of the audio community spends its time and lots of money on the gear but ultimately forgets about the music. We do not. We build hifi gear but we try to always respect and appreciate the music."

About the amp. "Technically the Suono is a simple concept. It's a class A single-ended amplifier with the best of the octal tetrodes. You can use any octal except for the EL34 and 6L6 but I think that the KT150 is a few steps above and beyond its older octal cousins. That's not just for its achievable output power as many believe. For us, it's mostly for its sonic qualities if one exploits their potential correctly. First we spent many long nights designing the output transformers. We spent many hours and far more kilometres of copper and iron to find the best most suitable winding design for this particular tube. It is another discussion to speculate on possible results by using silver windings or exotic cores. We live on planet Earth and in 2016. We price our goods relative to the current economic reality so certain exotica were flat out of the picture. But, we remain very open to being compared to competitors at any cost.

"We use Russian NOS triode drivers in a special SRPP* configuration to create ultimate conditions for our power tubes. We offer ultralinear or triode mode and traditional manual bias (every amp arrives perfectly factory calibrated with matched tubes). We insist on short trace lengths in our PCB and decided on circuit boards because point-to-point manufacture really belongs to our grandfathers. We always match all right/left-channel parts by hand. We use many kinds of resistors in different stages, custom coupling caps and a power supply whose transformers, chokes and Nippon capacitors are overrated by a factor of two over what the circuit actually requires. The best preamp would of course be our own PRE1 but you will see than just about any preamp makes for great results. Our S/NR is 87dB."

Relying on four tubes—in this case two dual 6n2p triodes—SRPP is a push/pull circuit with its own embedded phase splitter function to rely on class A bias. So the Suono is a simple and pure class A two-stage circuit with push/pull drivers and single-ended outputs.

About power play
. "We do not use feedback in any stage of the Suono. Maximum power with the KT150 is about 16wpc in triode, 24wpc in ultralinear, all at a reasonable low THD under normal bias. A pair of KT88 will give about 10/14wpc in triode/UL. For KT120 it is 14/18 and 9/14 for the 6550. We've never tried KT100 but they are compatible as well.

About replacement tube costs. "We charge about €250 for a perfectly matched set of 2 x KT150 and 2 x Russian NOS 6n2p."

About the name. "It was during a night some six years ago that I tried to come up with our final name. We wanted something short and easy to remember. A friend of mine suggested Lab 12 because our street address is Lachana 12 in Neo Iraklio. Of course it will be too hard to also find our new place with the same street number."