Audio Note UK Ongaku Kensei 211 valve Single Ended Triode balanced amplifier now up & running!

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steve Hoffman, Jul 22, 2017.

  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    My Audio Note UK Ongaku is here in the States!

    Cleared customs after a week (probably scratching their heads as to what it was) and is coming soon. A great honor to be able to use one of the best amplifiers in the world in my Audio Note UK system. A perfect matchup with one of the best preamplifiers in the world, my Audio Note M9 phono. It will be interesting to hear what this sounds like.

    The wonderful Audio Note Genrei monoblocks that I have been using for the past few years are going to Warren Jarrett's "Audio Home" in Fullerton where some lucky soul will snap them up. They are awesome amps (as anyone who was at our Audio Home Open House will attest to.)

    So this new beast has 27 watts of class A power per channel (more than enough for my AN Alnico speakers). It's probably the only amplifier that I will ever use that has no upgrades possible. It's the top of the Audio Note UK heap.

    From Audio Note:

    "The ONGAKU integrated has rightly earned a place in history; its name is synonymous with the finest possible audio reproduction, and for once the reality is equal to the legend! The ONGAKU Kensei shares the same circuit as its integrated sibling, but instead is equipped with a single pair of Balanced / XLR inputs. Each input is connected to an in-house custom designed and manufactured, fully silver wired, balanced input transformer, offering the perfect input interface for any of our Balanced output equipped preamplifiers.

    It is a Pure Class A Singled Ended valve amplifier that uses the highly regarded VT-4C / 211 triode valve, producing a level of performance that is radically superior to any other current designs.

    Only the finest possible components have been employed: -

    Audio Note (UK) Silver wire has been use exclusively for all internal wiring, including all transformers and power supply connections.

    Audio Note 2 watt Tantalum resistors have been used throughout.

    All capacitors are either Black Gate Electrolytic or Audio Note (UK) silver foil.

    All transformers are our own in-house custom designed and manufactured devices; driver and output transformers are fully silver wired AN-Perma 50 nickel C-core and the mains transformer is a fully silver wired HiB double C core.

    No stereo power amplifier has ever produced the levels of musical purity delivered by the ONGAKU Kensei… It is without doubt the finest possible stereo chassis power amplifier available today.

    It has been specifically engineered for sonic performance rather than technical specification, and fulfills all Audio Note (UK) Level 5 criteria: -

    Pure Class A operation

    Zero Negative Feedback

    Single Ended Output Stage

    Valve Rectification

    Directly Heated Triode operation

    Materials and component quality

    Stay tuned!
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    The long-suffering DHL sez it's coming today. So we'll see. 'Tis exciting.

    When a shipment is delayed through customs, it's poor DHL that gets yelled at. Not their fault. Thanks to @Warren Jarrett for some quality phone time with DHL, getting the straight scoop. Much appreciated.

    Today, my buddies at DHL say:

    "Please be advised that your shipment has received customs clearance release. So, barring any unforeseen delays, you should expect delivery of your shipment today 07/24/17 before 5pm your local time. Because your shipment has been released, I will now close your import file. We do apologize for the delay. Have a wonderful day."
  3. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Washington, D.C.
    I can understand your excitement. I hope US customs was not too curious about your item. I saw an Audio Note Gaku-On amp that had tremendous cosmetic damage. It looked like someone hit it repeatedly with a hammer and tried to pry the bottom off with a crowbar. The carton the amp came in was in flawless condition. It had to have been treated this way in customs. Nonetheless, the amp sounded terrific.
  4. klonk

    klonk Forum Resident

    Enjoy, once they arrive.
  5. This sounds great! I looked on the site, though, and I didn't see a price. Boooo!

    Oh, I see it now. Ummmm...That can't be right, can it? :confused:
  6. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    I can't seem to find anything except a reference to the price in 2013. It was (only :)) $127,000 then-any price increases in the past 4 years?
  7. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Something like $140,000.00 now maybe. Not sure.
  8. This isn't a thread crap. I'm trying to look at this from a design point of view.

    ZOTL40 Mk. II

    DECWARE Zen Torii Mono tube amplifiers model TORIIMONO

    Am I missing anything? One doesn't use transformers, and I'm not familiar with the VT-4C/ 211 tubes.

    I guess I'm just an SS guy coming to grips with tubes and prices of units. It's all Greek to me.
  9. Otlset

    Otlset under western skies

    Temecula, CA
    Oh my, that's one hell of an amp our host will be getting!

    As a longtime David Berning fan, I wonder how his highly praised (by Robert Harley) SET model 211/845 amplifier ($70,000) with his patented ZOTL impedance converter would compare.

    SandAndGlass likes this.
  10. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream

    I'll have to stick with my lowly Dynaco MKIII's, but would love to see them. Perhaps an unboxing video?

    I enjoy this like watching somebody driving a Ferrari. It ain't never gonna be me, but I still get excited by it.
  11. MisterBritt

    MisterBritt Senior Member

    Santa Fe, NM, USA
    Looking forward to some pictures if you can do it. Congrats!
    Don Parkhurst likes this.
  12. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    I'll do pics, sure. Remember, gang, this is a generous loan. But it's just a loan.

    The supreme Sootto silver XLR interconnect alone costs more than my last house. Quite a surprise to find this in the box.. I think a 2 meter stereo pair is £12,550 or something like that.
  13. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Boston MA
    Steve is giving shipping updates.:D I don't blame him, this is certainly something to look forward too. I wonder if Steve is going to move the 105 lb amp by himself.;)
    Don Parkhurst likes this.
  14. timztunz

    timztunz Audioista

    A treat only experienced by a rarified few. Congratulations.
  15. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC In Memoriam

    Fullerton, CA
    Current price in the USA for an Ongaku Kensei is $140,000.

    For Ginrei mono amplifiers, that Steve is giving back, the USA price is $102,000. These provide about twice the power but do not contain all of AN's most premium internal components.

    So this is an interesting question that Steve will be able to answer. Which is more important, more "than necessary" power, or more exotic "than necessary" internal components?
  16. David Cope

    David Cope Forum Resident

    Mystic, CT
    At a guess, knowing Steve (a bit), I'm leaning toward him favoring the O.K. There will be break-in time aplenty, of course.
    Don Parkhurst likes this.
  17. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    San Jose, CA
    I can imagine that with all that silver, the Black Gates and the silver Audio Note capacitors, that it will take quite some time. Is this a brand new, never played unit?
    Don Parkhurst likes this.
  18. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Yes, brand new unit.
    Don Parkhurst and FashionBoy like this.
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    You know me too well!
    Don Parkhurst likes this.
  20. JMT

    JMT Forum Resident

    Rocklin, CA
    It's good to be Steve!

    Sharing your anticipation and excitement, really looking forward to your impressions (and the pics).
  21. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    Brilliant amp!! I bet your Alnico's will jump up and dance......What are you gonna play first?
    Don Parkhurst likes this.
  22. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Ha, good question. Some break-in music on CD. I have this crazy pipe organ disk that I use..
    Don Parkhurst likes this.
  23. Catcher10

    Catcher10 I like records, and Prog...duh

    That's crazy......Ha!

    Ntotrar and SandAndGlass like this.
  24. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic Forum Resident

    Steve H, ummmm.... what's an Ongaku? ;)

    BTW, she's really great and has tighter bass and a few other improvements over the original Japan Kondo version (made when Kondo-san was still with us).

    Enjoy the.... you know. :)
  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    @enjoythemusic. Thanks, Mr. R. It was reading your initial review that started me down this path. In other words, it's entirely your fault.

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