Elekit TU-8600 or ANK Kit 1?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Sugar Man, Jan 4, 2018.

  1. Sugar Man

    Sugar Man Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hermosa Beach
    Just completed my Audio Note Speaker Kit-o4 build and am looking to upgrade my amp from my Bottlehead Stereomour II 2a3 SET (3.5W) and want more oomph and headroom.

    Anybody have any experience, input or opinions with the above two 300B kits?

    • The Elekit would be with the upgraded Lundahl TT-2770 C-Core transformers, Takman resistors, Mundorf Silver Oils and Genelax Gold Lion tube upgrade.
    • The ANK would be the Kit1-10 with C-Cores, Takmans, Mundorf Silver Oils and I believe entry level EH tubes. The ANK also would cost at least another $1,000.
    • Third option would be a Bottlehead Kaiju, however I have built many Bottlehead kits and love them, but looking to try out one of the above.
    The ANK should be very synergistic with my new speakers and looks great, but a $1,000 difference (with lesser tubes) is significant.

    Of course, if anyone has an Audio Note OTO SE Signature with Phono that they are looking to unload at an amazing price, feel free to pm me.
     
  2. Sugar Man

    Sugar Man Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hermosa Beach
  3. Benjamin Reed

    Benjamin Reed Member

    Location:
    London
    I think the Elekit would be the best option and great value for money.
     
  4. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Without hearing both we can't say but looking at the parts of both of them the AN looks clearly better. Especially when it comes to output transformers and the transformers are vastly more important than any tube. Since at some point the tube will die you will have to buy a set of tubes anyway

    The pics of the elekit show pretty puny butt transformers - do you have a picture with their c-cores?

    This is the Kit One

    [​IMG]

    The Elekit TU8600 uses what to me appear to be lesser parts quality throughout including the printed circuit boards
    [​IMG]

    Is the Elekit valve rectified?

    I mean it's not really a fair comparison - The AN Kit appears to be in another class - BUT it also comes with another class of price. Also pretty sure you can request different tubes or perhaps no tubes with either kit.
     
  5. Benzion

    Benzion Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I believe the Elekit is SS-rectified, I was looking at this kit myself at one point, but couldn't find anyone to build it for me.

    Also, when ordering the Ele-kit, some parts can be upgraded on the fly, they have a list of better transformers, resistors, and whatnot available.

    www.thetubestore.com

    www.tubedepot.com
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  6. stonedhenge

    stonedhenge Active Member

    I'd like to point out that ANK are (and have been for some time) a completely separate company from AN-UK. Their products are not simply audio note UK products in kit form and, judging from the ANK kit I built (EL34 monoblocks) sound nothing like them.
     
  7. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    With regard to AN Kits not being Audio Note - that is true because they generally make different products - EL34 amps, push pull etc but I think it is the dealers that try to push the differences so that you will buy the finished products. The fact is Andy Grove has designed most of Audio Note UK stuff AND most of the ANKits stuff - same designer = same ear. Much of the parts are still Audio Note or you can buy them as optional extras - so if you don't want Mundorf caps you can buy Audio Note Kassei caps at probably an additional charge.

    "The EL34 stereo CLASS AB1 amplifier from AudioNote Kits was designed by master craftsman Andy Grove of Audio Note UK. This amplifier is near & dear to Andy’s heart and he has used many years of amplifier design knowledge to come up with this EL34 tube amplifier for the DIY market." ANK Audiokits - L4 Series Power Amplifier - EL34 C-Core Stereo Edition


    And let's be clear - Audio Note finished product amplifiers don't sound the same - an OTO and a Soro and Meishu don't sound the same. The question is more about which kind of sound do yo like based upon the design of the amps - so in this case a kit with el34S just doesn't sound like a 2a3 or 211 or 300B. Find the one you like the most and go with that. All the designer can do is to try to make the best sounding EL34 amplifier he can but if you're not an EL34 amp sounding sort of fan then it won't likely be the amplifier for you. I tend to favour the EL84 in push pull amplifier. Although the ECL82 in the I Zero makes a strong case. And now I favour the 2a3 thanks to the Empress amplifiers.

    Audio Note was working on the EL34 Cobra amplifiers but they seem to have disappeared from mention - they looked to be a good affordable entry. Perhaps they will make it to market eventually.

    Personally I am not a big fan of the 300B and usually when I read people who don't like the sound of Audio Note rooms it's usually a 300B amp connected up. The sound from the 2a3 Empress is entirely different which makes the speakers sound entirely different! Bad rooms and good rooms also factor in but still. Parallel 300B also has big bold sound so this is also very different than the 8 watt DHT 300b.

    Most companies that make all kinds of tube amplifiers - EL34 and KT88 are the entry level offerings - then the SET amps are their flagships.
     
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  8. stonedhenge

    stonedhenge Active Member

    Furthermore, the EL34 kits contained no audio note components.
     
  9. Sugar Man

    Sugar Man Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hermosa Beach
    Now everyone responds - after I made my choice! :rant:

    I don't think it was possible to make a wrong choice, but I ended up going with the fully loaded Elekit TU-8600 that Victor Kung offers at ELEKIT TU-8600 with the Genalex Gold Lion tube set. Victor's passion and customer service are otherworldly - he literally responds within minutes of any questions even though he has a full-time job outside of VK Music. I liked the looks and synergy of the C-Core Kit 1, but it was going to be at least an extra $1000 with lesser tubes (the stock EH's). Parts quality was high grade for both kits if you went with all the upgrades each offered. Other factors that tilted the scale for me were the Part-Time Audiophile Best of 2017 shout-out here and Herb Reichert's favorable impression here.

    This was my first all circuit board build and if you can be nimble with a soldering iron, it is all very straight forward, and as mentioned above, Victor is always just an email away. It's still breaking in so I'll hold off on any comparisons to my Bottlehead 2a3 Stereomour II, but the Elekit is dead quiet - as in it must not be working - but it is. It is also not a romantic tube sound - it is super fast and detailed. Finished, it looks more like a commercial product than a kit.

    Perhaps an ANK phono or DAC kit is in my near future....

    [​IMG]

    According to Victor, the Lundahl's are custom made for the TU-8600. They are beasts. Victor then makes his own pcb's to simplify wiring the transformers AND he custom makes the wire looms. And @Richard Austen, while I don't want to get into the pcb vs. point-to-point debate, I was very impressed with the part quality of the upgraded TU-8600 and the pcb's, which were beefy. I agree with the your assessment of the stock version of the kit, but the base price on that one is under $1200, which would get you a lot of tube amp for the money.

    @Benzion, or any other forum member, I love building kits, and will gladly build one for you gratis, or sell you mine at cost and build another one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
    IanL, russk and Benzion like this.
  10. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    have you compared both audio note el34 and ANkits el34?
     
  11. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Thanks for showing the upgraded version as it looks a LOT better than the standard kit I posted. Looks good - and having dead quiet sound should be expected from tubes these days. It looks really good. The AN E will be happy with a good SE amp.
     
  12. stonedhenge

    stonedhenge Active Member

    Audio note don't currently sell an EL34. Despite the various topologies, there is a house sound to audio note gear though, which I'm sure goes beyond Andy Grove's circuits and has a lot to do with their great transformers and other bespoke componentry.
     
  13. scotth

    scotth Forum Resident

    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    Awesome! Just out of curiosity, why wasn't the Bottlehead Kaiju in the running?
     
  14. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    probably cause they use pathetic opt...
     
  15. Sugar Man

    Sugar Man Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hermosa Beach
    The "pathetic opt's" in my Stereomour II are giving the custom Lundahl's a run for their money - literally. In fact, at this point I'd say they are slightly ahead. With the total build about half the price.

    [​IMG]
     
    scotth likes this.
  16. Sugar Man

    Sugar Man Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hermosa Beach
    As I mentioned above, the Elekit definitely has a more commercial tube amp look than the Bottlehead gear (Eros pictured). My wife, surprisingly, prefers the Bottlehead look, which she says matches the new speakers. God, I married well.

    [​IMG]
     
    scotth likes this.
  17. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    thats a odd comment when most of audio note uk designs are built by the same designer at ANKits.
     
  18. scotth

    scotth Forum Resident

    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    My bad, not sure how I missed that.

    I do wonder how all three would compare. Too bad only the Crack seems to get reviewed by people who review tons of other equipment, hard to get a good idea of how these different kits' sounds compare.
     
  19. stonedhenge

    stonedhenge Active Member

    Andy Grove designed circuits for both, but not the same circuits. Also, audio note components are designed in house. Transformers are wound in house; components are bespoke and electrically matched; silver wire is used extensively. AN kits use transformers from an unnamed Canadian company; they look well made, but the fact is they are not audio note transformers. The transformers are a very big part of what makes audio note gear sound so good.

    Now, audio note don't currently sell an EL34 amp, so a direct comparison is not possible anyway. My EL34 monoblocks are the top option (the "Artiste" version) but have no audio note components; the resistors are Takman metal films, the C-core transformers are from the above-mentioned Canadian supplier; the output capacitors are Mundorf supreme (not silver-oil or silver-gold) although I had been led to believe they would be audio note caps; the electrolytic caps are run of the mill. The circuit boards are beautifully made, the components are high quality and they are an excellent kit, but they are very far from what audio note currently sells, despite the fact that the same guy designed the circuit. Ferdinand Porsche supposedly designed the Volkswagon beetle, but I don't think you'd claim that the beetle drives the same as a Porsche would you?
     
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  20. murphythecat

    murphythecat Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    allright, thanks. ill pass then
     

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