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parlophone1

Kenwood C1/M1 combo

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Hi there...

 

I bought a combination of Kenwood C1 preamp with M1 amp, hoping to use them as a part of my future fully active system that I am planning to build.

It was a local found in decent shape, this system is from mid-1980s, checked by a local technician, everything works ok.


Auditioned it with two pairs of speakers at a salesman house. Was attracted to them cause of specifications, extremely low distortion and clarity. Very flat curve, with THD 0,004 at 1 V output.

 

What bothers me are the highest frequencies, they seem a bit subdued. Even tried new Hegel H80 as a preamp with Ken M1, hoping to hear a difference for the better in that department. There was a difference but not for much.

Otherwise, this combo produces some nice music with plenty of details and separation of instruments and huge dynamics.

 

Have any of the forum members had this combo or just a preamp to share their experiences?

 

Both components are not so complicated, was thinking to recap them in a future with Nichicon capacitors kits that are around for sale.

What are opinions on that?

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80'S  quality , reliable , simple , and an overall good starter system  -

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Posted (edited)

Hi, I just got that same combo on Saturday. Also in decent shape, sounds nicely to my ears. I'm also planning to eventually re-cap but want to listen to vanilla vintage for some time first so I can compare later. There's nice thread with a lot of details about C1 restoration on Audiokarma. And another one on M1 restoration from the same guy. There's even Mouser BOM somewhere in C1 thread. People there report that sound gets improved from lows to highs after the upgrade.

I have M1 connected to recently re-capped Heresy II's and I'm stunned with the sound although I'm starting with my own home hifi so practically everything sounds better then what I had before ... which was nothing 😄

Edited by cube48

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Thanks for your review.

I have compared C1M1 with new modern gear that cost much more, and could hear minor improvements but those also do not justify the price difference.

I also anticipate that rerfreshing will bring more ballance and detail to the sound. But even as it is, it is ok for not so critical listening.

I wish to get more ballance in all of the frequency spectrum, a kind that I remember from Sony Esprit amps. Otherwise, this Kenwood is solid performer.

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How do you percieve treble gain on C1? Does it help a bit with your subdued highs? For me adding a touch of treble (+2) opens highs nicely, especially in certain speaker positions (still experimenting). Bass and loudness adjustments are somhow harming the low end of Heresy IIs, rounding it and taking the bass snap away, so I'm leaving these in flat setting.

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Threble adjustment on a preamp in my system does not help. Just makes the highs more thin.

I leave all the knobs in neutral position. Only when listening at low volume, than the loudness knob gets to the right a notch or two.

Subsonic buton (or whatever they call it, it is after the tone controls) is in off position, eventhough the manual says it should be on. It does no difference here. And it should not, based on measurements that I found in some old site.

 

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Managed to trigger fuses for EMIT tweeters on my Infinities Qb, by accident of course.

Listening music in the dark, and accidentally touched the volume knob on Kenwood C1. Volume went quickly to 11 o'clock position and fried the fuses. Thank to the constructor for putting fuses here, otherwise I would be left with fried tweeters, which are not easy to find any more.

 

 

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I have that amp and like it a lot. I had mine recapped and it did help the sound. When I first got it it sounded kind of soft, with weak bass and now that I think about it the highs were probably rolled off a little too-still sounded great but in a different and less accurate way. In any case I think recapping is a good idea for reliability's sake, 35+ year old caps in there...

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Did you recap yourself or gave it to professionals? Only recapped the amp, do you have the preamp also?

 

What new caps were used?

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2 minutes ago, parlophone1 said:

Did you recap yourself or gave it to professionals? Only recapped the amp, do you have the preamp also?

 

What new caps were used?

Think Emile had that also.

Recall their may be gain control on rear. Been awhile so maybe wrong.

Glad you like.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, parlophone1 said:

Did you recap yourself or gave it to professionals? Only recapped the amp, do you have the preamp also?

 

What new caps were used?

I had a pro do it. I'm using a passive preamp (an inline volume knob basically, so no caps) but I did try it out with a Kenwood Basic C2 for a bit to use my turntable. I managed to recap the C2 myself, that was my first and only time doing something like that and luckily it worked out.

 

I can PM you the info of the guy that worked on my M1 if you wanted him to do yours. If you can do it yourself though I'm sure it'd be cheaper to get the kit from DRM Audio, that's where I got my C2 capacitor kit from.

Edited by dane71

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Thanks,

 

I was looking at DRM Audio site, guess that will be my project if I ever get that much time to deal with it.

 

What is your opinion on C2 preamp? Some say that is better than C1, but more prone to failure due to age.

Is a passive preamp better and in what way?

 

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I don't feel like I have enough experience to tell you how good a C2 is, but I can tell you that I love it and most people seem to say great things about theirs. I would guess that the basic C1 sounds just as good but with less features.

 

The big difference between it and a passive preamp is the complexity. I think the main idea of a passive preamp is that it's not powered, and usually that means less features. Less features means a very short and simple signal path, which is theoretically good for maximum sound quality. I don't think the difference is a huge deal in practice though. My passive preamp is basically just a volume knob that sits on my desk, which is perfect for what I'm doing. I'm using the M1 amp with a Modi DAC connected to my computer as my "daily driver" system. You can look up the Fostex PC-1e or Emotiva control freak (discontinued) to see what I'm talking about exactly. If I was using the amp for more of a normal stereo setup like I was using before I'd go back to the C2, actually I'd like to set up a vinyl only system in another room with it someday.

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Every day I am more pleased with the functionality of that set.

Designers have my respect regarding functionalities and for what this amp/preamp is designed for.

They have everything they should have, and nothing of they should not have. Unlike majority of Hi-fi equipment produced these days.

 

All controls are here with a purpose.

For example, if listening with headphones is your thing, both speaker sets (A and B ) can be switched off with a press of a dedicated knob. Headphone amp built into these is very good.

Everything has a switch dedicated to a certain purpose. Functionality and simplicity of use is just sweet.

 

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