ANK AudioKits support forum
In Reply to: RE: AN DAC 3.1/4.1 versus the competition posted by M3Pilot on March 06, 2011 at 05:01:59
Well with the AN Kits - I suppose their biggest advantage is that you can listen to the production models out there first before you buy one. Kits scare people I think because you buy unheard.
I would suggest you put a little money of your budget and attend an audio show. Granted the sound of the rooms is not perfect by any stretch but everyone is in the same boat with room quality and generally size and shape so no one has any advantage/disadvantage (mostly) and you can pretty much listen to every major player and some smaller guys. And you hear them with the gear they select and feel is the best match. AN Kits sometimes goes to such shows as well which is great to listen before you put out cash.
You can usually get into any show for very cheap. California Audio Show is in San Fran in July which Dagogo will run again this year - But there seems to be one every other month somewhere in the U.S.
My plan is also to get an AN digital something. I loved the one box player but I think I would like the DAC instead and end up with something more upgradable.
With the speakers - I only heard one KIT E and for me anyway I think the production version sounds better perhaps because of the tighter tolerances or their in house matching process that can't be done as a kit build, and to me that may be why the kit sounded comparatively dead - still better than a lot of other speakers but it also didn't sound like an AN E. But then maybe it was the builder?
I can't see that applying to any of the amps, DACs etc though since it's more about the parts quality and you can pay less and get better parts going with the kits bypassing the expensive British Labor and overhead.
"With the speakers - I only heard one KIT E and for me anyway I think the production version sounds better perhaps because of the tighter tolerances or their in house matching process that can't be done as a kit build, and to me that may be why the kit sounded comparatively dead - still better than a lot of other speakers but it also didn't sound like an AN E. But then maybe it was the builder?"
I would have a pretty high confidence level with the speakers. Auditioning impressions will be strongly influenced by system components (including wires and power conditioning), the room (and positioning in the room), quality of power (how much noise is on the line), and especially cabinet construction (materials, joints, etc.). I think that if you like the AN/E sound you will be pleased with the kits.
I heard the Kit E at Soundhounds with the Audio Note Soro and one of their cd players and matching cables and AN E stands. So the room was exactly the same and both the Kit E was compared directly against a very old AN E/LX (a chipboard version) back in the early 90s. So it was an apples to apples comparison. There is a massive price difference between the kit E and any new production E but personally speaking I would buy a ten year old AN E (or sacrifice some bass for an AN J which I own) production model over a kit E based on that audition. It's the only kit I've heard so perhaps the builder did something wrong or overdamped it - but it sounded less open and alive compared to the production models that I've heard. And that's the problem when auditioning someone's kit - if they do something wrong or not bang on perfect then the result may not be what "is possible" from the design. But it certainly leads me to conclude that there is a "lot" to the matching process of the production models.
Just to clarify, did you do the comparison in the early 90's, or was the production ANE/LX was an early 90's model?
Given all the variations available (internal wiring, voice coil wiring, driver efficiencies, crossover caps, etc.), I would think it rather difficult to compare a production apple with a kit apple, with the assumption that they are the 'same'.
I do think that driver and crossover matching is critical, no doubt. The extra level of matching for the production speakers gives them a performance edge. An interesting comparison would be between production and kit models of the same general cost...
Well Soundhounds carries Audio Note. So I've heard much of the AN E line up including the new ones and models like the SEC silver sig. The comparhe ison done was around 2003-2004. I believe there were only a couple of kit levels at the time but the kit in theory should have been better since the speaker was using Russian birch and fresher drivers than a very old production LX (they still have the LX).
What you would have to do is compare the top of the line Kit with the cabinet price in and compare that to a production model. So maybe a top kit might price out at an entry level AN E/HE LX or something. Does the matching process trump the use of alnico drivers and silver wiring for instance?
Yes there are quite a few variables when auditioning speakers - the stands actually make a huge difference along with the cabinetry for a start - also we have the 94db ( 02) and 98db ( 03) version of the kit speakers -I find the kit1 for example really likes the 98DB where as 12W and above is fine with the 94db kit - the cabinets are also quite a difficult build for a first time project even for an experienced carpenter - we have built about 50 sets now ( we have made a lot of jigs!) and have a lot of expertise which is why the kit cabinets from audionotekits are so high quality - the other thing is the type of amp driving the speakers whether its single ended or push pull - which style - interstage etc etc.. so there can be a lot of variable and then of course room dynamics at shows or in home environment- let us know where you heard the speakers and any other details about room, amplifiers , music etc... thanks Brian
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