ANK AudioKits support forum
Looking to get back into Audio Note ownership and wonder which of the three following scenarios is the best place to start?
Option 1: Audio Note OTO SE. My local Audio Note dealer has a demo model without phono stage available for $2500 plus taxes. Carries full warranty and looks new.
Option 2: Audio Note M1 paired with Audio Note Conquest. Both are trade ins to a dealer I have dealt with before however he offers no warranty on trade ins. He is NOT an Audio Note dealer.
Option 3: Purchase the new 5th Anniversary Kit 1 with source selector switch from Audio Note Kits.
Associated gear would be a pair of restored Snell JII speakers along with an Audio Note Kits Dac2.
I originally purchased a used SORO SE a few years ago (very early model with inputs on the side) and while I was generaly pleased with it, it was heavily used prior to my purchase and despite my swapping out the full compliment of tubes, I never got it to work properly and was unable to find any local tech willing to service it. As such, I am a touch apprehensive about going with Option # 2 (M1 with Conquest)in case the same thing happens again.
Plan eventually is to replace the Snells with the AE speaker Kit but for now, I am looking to get the best sounding and relable amp solution so all opinions are welcome and appreciated.
Question is, which scenario is the best sounding / performing?
Thanks in advance,
I would go with option 3 if for no other reason that you will learn about building amplifiers and then you can repair the thing yourself should it fail. And it sounds great too.
I own the OTO Phono SE and all I can say is that it sounds wonderful. But it sounds different than a 300b. It is an EL84 based amp and has it's own kind of sound. I know a fair number of people who like it more than the Soro - and even a few who like it more than the Meishu - so there. To me the OTO will wind up being a classic - it sounds terrific. Having said that, I also know one salesman of Audio Note that prefers the Soro - and lots of people like the Meishu a bit better (I'm one of them) but lots of luck affording it or the tubes! OTO Tubes are dirt cheap and last longer so that is something to consider.
The great thing about the kit option though is that you can upgrade it, you have tube options - and you can always build a phono stage kit too. I would love to hear a newer kit - they look like they have come a LOOOOONG way since the one I heard about 5-6 years ago.
Feeling a little impetuous, I ended up picking up the demo OTO SE from my dealer this afternoon for less that what the base Kit 1 costs. I understand that the Kit 1 has the potential to sound better than the OTO SE as I would constantly be able to upgrade it down the road however I don't think I have the patience at the moment to undertake a complicated build and felt that the OTO SE sounded terrific as is.
That said, I may undertake the Kit 1 later on down the road and in the meantime, will contact Brian to order a Dac Kit as my first entry to kit building. Pretty daunting I must say though as I suck t soldering!
> > That said, I may undertake the Kit 1 later on down the road and in the meantime, will contact Brian to order a Dac Kit as my first entry to kit building. Pretty daunting I must say though as I suck t soldering!
No worries about soldering, here are my tips:
1) Use a 50W temperature regulated iron - Antex do a good one for a reasonable price (about 40 UK pounds when I bought one)
2) Buy tip cleaner, use it when you first use the iron (otherwise the solder will not respond to the tip) and regularly thereafter
3) Make sure the joint is physically stable (not moving) before soldering. A tool called "helping hands" is useful for holding wiring in place while soldering
4) Heat the solder at the joint until it turns like water and flows around and between the joint. Should take about a good 5 seconds, maybe more.
I've heard the OTO SE on a couple of occasions and it's a lovely integrated amp. Probably a keeper, but if you ever get to building a Kit 1 and like that better, you could sell the OTO with little or no loss.
I keep having the feeling that my current speakers would love an EL84 amp.
Just to say, that by building the kit, having the circuit diagram and having the quiescent operating points - it should be feasible to service it yourself (providing you observe the usual safety procedures).
Such is the advantage of kits.
Good post! Hmmmmm - Lets see - I have would have to say Option 3 - the Kit1 5th anniversary route is the way to go!! Maybe we are a little biased! ha ha - Can you send us an email at email@example.com and I can give you some good advise on various kit options for what you would like to achieve with budget, room size , speaker efficiency, musical tastes etc.. Thanks Brian Smith
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