RMA designs are largely driven by my needs/wants in the studio, and subsequently a perceived potential market externally. Given the abundance of talented engineers doing reproductions or refinements of existing circuits, I prefer to design from scratch or develop topologies long forgotten or largely ignored.
That is not to say that I will not pull a stages from highly popular or well known builds, but they tend to get paired with non-similar elements and deployed in a manner well removed from original intent (as an example, the front end of the RMA Dirty Doper was initially lifted from a Neve BA283 schematic, and then built around the ubiquitous 2N3904 on a single +9 rail, demanding across the board component value adjustments and several deletions). I would not in a million years compare the finished article to the device that lent its drawings as a starting point (read as, the first stage signal sees in a device that has seven well defined different sections, six of which have nothing in common with the first gain stage in terms of lineage).
Anyway, I do also explore scratch design work, but by and large reference material (mid century texts) come into play more often than not.
Once a schematic has been settled on, I will draft a PCB for it and order small scale U.S. based production of the printed circuit boards, and build out a prototype unit or a run, depending on evolution of the design.
In terms of finished builds, I encase everything in hand crafted enclosures. These typically start life as a full sheet of 22 gauge mild steel, which is cut to size, bent, welded, and drilled on site before entering the finish process which usually involves a cycle of patina/rust followed by oil based clear coat.
My name is Curtis. Sound has been my primary fixation for many years. RMA is at the moment just me.
In 1984, at the age of nine I was gifted a Yamaha CS01II. During my formative years I enjoyed works laden with drum machines, synthesizers, and layers of distortion.
The collection and misuse of discarded or broken electronics paved way to practice at repair.
During the latter half of the 1990s and on into the early aughts my world revolved around tubes. Spacious circuitry being easier to understand and work, but also bulky and temperamental with regards to playing live music.
Shifting hundreds of pounds of rolling racks to and from sparsely attended shows inspired a desire for a reduction of weight, but off the shelf designs failed to provide the interface and experience I had grown accustomed to.