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Elekit DIY kit - experience/evaluation?

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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

 

Edited by LeftEyeShooter
added tubedepot link

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There are a lot of parts... and you have no soldering experiance.

 

You will have to decide, I'm afraid. It is a solid kit with good part and I have considered it myself. I would also pjt it together myself as I've been soldering for years

 

Adding another 1/4 of the price to assemble seems a little high to me but it is a bit complex. Do the folks in Poland offer any kind of warranty on the assembly. If they can do quality work then maybe yes.

 

Bruce

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I agree with Bruce @Marvel.  That kit has a lot of parts to be soldered by someone with no soldering experience; it has a lot of parts for someone with soldering experience. That said, as an incurable DIYer, I’d encourage you to watch several YouTube soldering tutorials, first try something less ambitious, and then go for it.

 

The following link is to an Amazon offering that fits the bill.  Are you able to get something like that delivered in Belgium at a reasonable cost?  If you take your time, triple check your work and keep the tip of your soldering iron clean with a damp sponge, you should be fine.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Gikfun-Electronic-Transparent-Speaker-Amplifier/dp/B01MZYNW5Z/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1547383379&sr=8-8&keywords=diy+amplifier+kit

 

 

 

 

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I agree with the above. Maybe there’s a ham club near you; those folks will have many members that can solder properly and help out with checkout of the circuit or that can teach you how to solder.

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7 hours ago, codewritinfool said:

I agree with the above. Maybe there’s a ham club near you; those folks will have many members that can solder properly and help out with checkout of the circuit or that can teach you how to solder.
 

 

That is an excellent suggestion. Finding a local DIY person would be perfect, and amateur (ham) radio enthusiasts are a likely source.

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While I think it is easy enough to be self taught to solder to the point of assembling a TU-8200, but starting with the amp is not the way to go.

1) The Elenco Practical Soldering Kit is a great first introduction to soldering.  It got my then 7 year-old son soldering to the point of "pretty good".  I was impressed.  Once you do that - do another couple kits.  You should be pretty good at soldering circuit boards at that point.

2) Get a reasonable iron - temperature controlled.  You don't need anything amazing, the YiHUA-936B is a reasonable choice for 25USD.  I used one to assemble my TU-8200, but you really need a temperature controlled iron as some of the heat sinks require a good amount of heat to flow solder.  You'll probably want to get a handful of extra tips too - can't hurt.

3) Here's the kicker - you're going to outlay at least 100 Euros on practice kits, iron, solder, parts, magnifier glasses, tip cleaner, etc.  Don't look at DIY as a way to save money on the first amp.  Mainly because having built a TU-8200DX and done some mods I'm pretty close to taking on a TU-8600.  I really enjoyed building, but I had prior soldering experience doing repairs of electronic musical instruments and working in a structural laboratory a while back.  I considered the building half the fun of the amp, and the amp is no slouch.

4) Just as an aside, the RP-160 is about the lowest class of speaker I'd consider the TU-8200 and its variants on - I've run my RB-51II off it, and while a nice sound, the quality of the amplifier is held back by the inefficiency of the speakers.  I really enjoy the Elekit with my Heresy III speakers for what it is worth.

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I agree.  DIY is for fun and satisfaction, not merely to save money.  You may want to consider using your “cheap” Chinese amp to enjoy listening to music while you learn to solder by assembling small hobby projects.

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18 minutes ago, DizRotus said:

I agree.  DIY is for fun and satisfaction, not merely to save money.  You may want to consider using your “cheap” Chinese amp to enjoy listening to music while you learn to solder by assembling small hobby projects.

 

Once you know how to DIY you start justifying dropping 180 USD on four coupling capacitors and consider that a reasonable expense.  The rabbit hole of DIY does not save you money.

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Thank you all for the input. Not having the dexterity, nor the ambition, I'll  continue to enjoy my little Chinese amp with two small tubes, and hopefully, later on, buy a decent quality tube amp!

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I was a little intimidated with learning to solder but found it a rewarding skill to learn. 

My kit-building started with Akitika which has really well written instructions and a very nice sound though solid state. My kid is using it with a pair of KG 2's. Great support form the Akitika designer. I picked it up from him and he showed me a few soldering tips. The rest I learned off of youtube with a circuit board and some resistors I got from Radio Shack for practice. Learning to solder opened up so many possibilities. Ive done some speaker wires and a number of small projects including Crites xover rebuild kits for the Klipsch I use. 

I then did the DIY Pass ACA monos and eventually a Bottlehead Smash pre, now using this setup with Forte II. 

I have a pair of KG 4 and am also thinking of trying Elekit for them. 

 

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On 1/14/2019 at 12:01 PM, LeftEyeShooter said:

Thank you all for the input. Not having the dexterity, nor the ambition, I'll  continue to enjoy my little Chinese amp with two small tubes, and hopefully, later on, buy a decent quality tube amp!

 There seems to be quite a few Line Magnetic amps for sale in Europe. They are well made and highly regarded. 

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