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Folks, Note: I am a newbie so if this post doesn't exactly fit the website, please excuse my lack of experience or maybe lack of judgement. So, I saw an article in Stereophile sometime back about a solid state amp by Akitika.com that could be built at home similar to a Dynaco or Hafler. Stereophile gave it a really favorable review, so I decided to give it a try. The kit cost me $340 all-in including shipping, plus about an additional $50 in soldering tools and materials. You can buy it assembled for a little over $500, but I opted to watch a few Youtube videos on soldering and take the plunge. It was surprisingly easy to build the kit and the assembly instructions are incredibly detailed. I don't know how many hours I actually had in it, but I did it in my spare time and enjoyed it. My soldering looks like crap, but it works! It's worth pointing out that the fellow who sells this kit (Dan Joffe) backs it with awesome support and he sources as much material from USA manufacturers as possible. In addition to his well documented assembly manual, he answered about two dozen questions I emailed him. Plus, he walked me through fixing a couple of mistakes I had made. I should mention I had never soldered anything aside from plumbing fixtures before this. So you are probably asking, "How does it sound?" The answer is surprisingly musical! It doesn't sound quite like a tube amplifier, but it is pretty neutral and really pairs nicely with my Cornwalls. It also sounds good on my KG 5.5s, but the Cornwalls really bloom with this amp. I was surprised when the music came out sounding pretty close to my little First Watt J2 (Nelson Pass designed amp). I am not saying it's the equal of the First Watt J2, BUT considering it cost me about 5x less, I find myself impressed. It certainly sounds better than my mid 1980's Denon gear, which is still pretty nice stuff. So, if you are looking for a fun project to do by yourself or with your kid, this just might be the trick. Plus, if building this kit with a family member hooks them on 2-channel hi-fi and gets them to pair the amp up with some of PWK's fine products, then that in my mind is a project worth doing. Gotta get the next generation interested in real hi-fi! Here are a couple of links which will take you to the Akitika web page and the Stereophile review. https://www.akitika.com/index.php https://www.stereophile.com/content/akitika-gt-102-power-amplifier Best, Frozmeister P.S. Here's a picture of the finished product.
I'm very interested in your experiences with the Elekit (TU8200) tube amps kits. I have recently bought a pair of Klipsch RP 160M speakers mostly using a Denon microsystem with it. Last week, I bought a small, China made amp with two 6J1 tubes for under $100 and it sounds amazing with the Klipsch speakers (and on all the speakers I have in the house). In fact, it sounds better than the Denon. So now I'm really interested in a 'good' tube amp. I read Ken Rockwell's review of the Elekit https://kenrockwell.com/audio/elekit/tu-8200.htm. I'm just afraid I'm not up to the task of putting it together myself because I have NO soldering experience what so ever. I live in Europe - Belgium. The official importer of Elekit amps is in Poland. They charge €200 for full assembly. In your opinion, is that still a good deal? What is your experience with DIY tube amp kits? http://getaudio.eu/en/elekit-tu-8200-6l6gc-single-tube-amplifier-diy-kit/ https://tubedepot.com/products/elekit-tu-8200-stereo-tube-amplifier-kit
I purchased the ST-120 kit without the tubes from Bob Latino, shipping was fast and everything was very well packed and organized into neat sections. Instructions are very clear and concise. the entire kit went together in about 10 hours just like estimated. Anyone with decent soldering skills and some patience can do this kit. I enjoyed the whole assembly process, very satisfying to get to fire it up when finished and hear just how the work paid off. I was having a problem getting any kind of voltage readin from the bias pins and sent Bob a email he was able to quickly help me check some connections and voltages. He identified the issue very quickly, I had placed a connection in the wrong place. I got very lucky it didn't cause any major issues. Very good customer service though he really knows his amps! The sound of this amp is just beautiful, crips highs and nice deep lows. Now I have it connected to the pair of stock 1982 Klipschorns I recently acquired, they make quite the match made in heaven. Way more than enough power for me, I was worried I would be pushing the 60 watts per channel to the limit. Boy was I wrong, I haven't moved it much past one o'clock (half volume) for my daily listening. If I wanted to shake the paintings off the walls this amp could probably do it. I got the 21 step attenuator and it's just perfect for playing straight from a DAC without a preamp. I can't get over how this amp sounds every instrument sounds very real, like the artists are standing in the room playing in front of me. Truly a wonderful amp and experience. Someday if I decide to upgrade to the monoblocks I know I will go right back to Bob at www.tubes4hifi.com for them.
So I saw a listing this morning for replica Klipschorn cabinets, made to PWK specs. No drivers or crossovers. The owner recommends re-veneering since they were built 30 years ago. Would you go for it? If so, what would be your total budget for the cabs, drivers and crossovers? How much work would it take to do it right?