Roger Alan Modjeski (RAM) 1951 - 2019


It is with great sadness that I announce Roger A. Modjeski passed away peacefully in his home in San Pablo, CA after an 12 month battle with cancer. Roger started Music Reference in 1981 and later RAM Tubes, The Tube Audio Store, and The Berkeley HiFi School. For more than 38 years he tirelessly ran his business and designed some of the most unique and well received audio components in the industry. Right until the near end Roger was working, designing, and teaching until he physically was unable to continue.

The link below will take you my playground where I have posted my tribute to Roger (click ENTER after the page loads):

http://www.electrafidelity.com/

Fare thee well my friend.
clio09
Wow, my good friend also named Roger who passed away five years ago had one of the RM9 MKII amps (he loved that amp), and that sound pulled me back into audio and got me excited about amplifiers and music all over again. Condolences to the family of one of the greats in the industry who's had a truly positive impact on people and audiophiles too.  
We have an RM9 Mk2 in the family as well and it’s mostly been reliable but it has suffered the odd quirk over 22 years, and not just tubes. The time the fuse blew at a home audio club event was not only frustrating, it showed the amp to have some physical design flaws, notably the location of the HT fuse underneath, inside the amp. It should be on the top panel somewhere in a safety fuse holder. The input stage and circuit board construction needs updating as well. Roger did know about these things but decided not to keep the RM9 in production, instead opting to make the excellent RM200.It would be good if the RM9 was put back into production, being a powerful all-tube circuit of classic Roger design. He wanted his amps to be as reliable as possible. To that end I’d probably refine and simplify the input stage to have no user adjustments, add automatic output stage biasing (not the same as cathode bias!) to bring it into the 21st century and bring the circuit board construction up to date, to keep his essential design but make it even more reliable. It could be the Mk3 version.
Come to think of it, I recall Roger made a special version of the RM9 with 6 input tubes, the extra one being a better driver tube (6BQ7, like the RM200) circuit for the output stage. He also added the self balancing input stage to eliminate needing to adjust it manually, and constructed it with no circuit board. That would be the ultimate amp, and have the best reliability along for the ride! I remember talking with him in the 90s about hard wired construction as being good but labour-intensive to build, and thus expensive. All my own amps have been hard wired to date and it’s good to see Roger did it too! The RM10 is hard wired, a good move.
That would be the RM9 SE. It does use 6 x 6BQ7 for the driver tubes. Like the MkII the amp had the fuses mounted on the top plate with LED indicators that lit up and indicated which output tube triggered the fuse to blow. There were also a number of test points on the amp to allow one to see the status of the tubes, but you needed to be comfortable using a voltmeter to run the tests. There was also a bias and balance adjustment. Roger made 20 of these amps and only 3 remain including his personal RM9 SE (Roger kept one piece of every amp he made).

What most people know about the RM9 is the amp can be used with EL34, KT66, 77, 88, and 6550 tubes. What most people don't know is Roger made a one off that used the 6L6 which pushed the power output past 250 watts per channel (stock RM9s cannot use this tube). It also featured a gloss piano black frame. Sadly it has sat in its box in the shop for quite some time.
@clio09 ,

I am saddened and shocked to hear of Roger’s passing. I’m a relatively recent fan of his work, and of his personality. He was brilliant, and also quite a character. I enjoyed reading everything he wrote.. how he wrote it.. whether I agreed with how it was written or not (I usually did). I purchased a NOS RM-4+ phono preamp with five additional passive inputs built in a little over a year ago, and it still makes me smile every day I listen to music. I bought some RAM tubes from Roger as well. I also picked up an older RM-10... it’s stunningly good. It’s actually difficult to wrap one’s head around how good it is since the big, open, detailed, punchy sound belies the diminutive stature of the amp! I am not on the hunt for am RM-200 to drive my Maggies. It seems from everything I’ve read, and from my experience with the two products I now own, that everything Roger put his hands on turns to gold. I’m glad I discovered Music Reference, I’m glad I got the chance to communicate with Roger (and Tony), and despite the fact that I’d never met him face-to-face, he’s the type of person that even with only phone and email communication, it feels like I know him. Rest In Peace, and may your legacy continue on. Jerry