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. Rob Hume

    Rob Hume Forum Resident

    Location:
    England.
    I have the same 211 6v6 combo in my Tomei Kensei. Awesome! Interestingly my left side 4242 valve shines somewhat orange compared with the right which yours appears to do in the pics??
     
  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    That’s natural. Peter sez don’t worry. Some even glow bright red.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  3. Rob Hume

    Rob Hume Forum Resident

    Location:
    England.
    Thanks Steve. I was going to ask Peter next conversation. I'm going from M6 to M9 pre shortly and if the upgrade is as big as NOS GE 211 to 4242E's I will be happy. That's how great these valves are in my opinion.
     
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    To me, the M6 is really the sweet spot in their entire preamp line. Yes, I love my M9, but the M6 is damn good and I miss it (currently with @Warren Jarrett).
     
  5. Rob Hume

    Rob Hume Forum Resident

    Location:
    England.
    Wow! Food for thought Steve
     
  6. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Trust me on this.
     
  7. Rob Hume

    Rob Hume Forum Resident

    Location:
    England.
    I do. To be honest I feel the same about the Tomei. Fantastic as the Ongaku is the Tomei has that lovely blend of refinement and weight. All silver level 5 can sound a little thin for all its vast space and refinement. I was hoping the M9 would be simply more open and refined than the M6 without losing anything.
     
  8. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    It is, yes. But the M9 costs over $100,000.00. That's a lot of kale. Maybe you can find a used one somewhere..
     
  9. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I love my M6 Phono. It is the latest version with the improved volume pots.

    I had an older version of the M6 Line and it had a slightly richer sound that appears to be linked somewhat to the BlackGate caps in it. I sold that preamp in order to get an M6 with the built in phono stage and to get a newer preamp as the previous version that I owned was already 12+ years old and I wanted to keep this preamp for a very long time.

    When I received the new preamp (after an 8-9 month wait!), I found that it wasn’t as warm and rich sounding as my previous M6 Line preamp. Of course, it needed about 200 or so hours to ‘bed in’ as Peter Q says. It improved nicely with burn in and also by changing two of the tubes to NOS tubes.

    The differences that I am describing are small ones, but the slight warming or enrichening of the sound from burn-in and tube rolling brought the sound to a higher level than the previous version. Now that I have hundreds of hours on the preamp it has improved even more, to a level that puts a smile on my face every time that I play music.

    I can’t imagine changing my preamp. Of course, I can’t afford the large step up in price to the M8, so that helps! I’m a happy owner.
     
    Fred Hansen likes this.
  10. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I sure hope that the new version of the 300B is as impressive as the new 4242E. I have AN Kassai monoblocks with 4 Western Electric 300B tubes and I would love to get top notch tubes that won’t set me back $5k for four of them on the used market. The new Western Electric factory looks quite promising, but we don’t know how long until the tubes are available and how much they will cost or how good they will sound. My tubes are still going strong, but it’s going to be expensive when the time comes to replace them.
     
  11. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Hi Don - you may not be able to the M8 but perhaps down the line there is a way to upgrade to the M6 Signature which is a 2 box M6 preamp. Not on the website of course. I believe this is priced in between the M6 and M8. But not sure if a regular M6 can be upgraded to the Sig or the Sig version is designed wholly as a 2 box preamp. The dealer here sold it so I have not had a chance to listen to it for more than the one time. The dealer here also sold their TT3 Reference turntable - which sucks because I sure as crap can't afford it so the only way I could hear it was at the dealer.
     
  12. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    And I thought that the M6 was expensive...
     
  13. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Me too!
     
  14. Rob Hume

    Rob Hume Forum Resident

    Location:
    England.
    Give over Don you've spent a fortune on hifi :). A very good and well balanced set up you own as well
     
    Don Parkhurst likes this.
  15. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    I agree.
     
  16. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks Rob! I love my system but any upgrades from here on will be quite expensive as you know....

    The next step will be installing these external crossovers sometime next year:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Fred Hansen, Tullman and Rob Hume like this.
  17. kessi

    kessi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Finland
    Don, please share a little bit about your crossover upgrade? Haven't seen before that someone is replacing AN-E internal crossover with external. How did you match them with your drivers?
     
  18. Rob Hume

    Rob Hume Forum Resident

    Location:
    England.
    So you are modifying your ANE Spe HE's? I look forward to hearing the results. As you know I use the same speaker and mine have just got better and better as the system has progressed toward level 5. The Spe HE version of the E's are such a "sweet spot" in the range like the Otto Sig, 2.1 Sig and 4.1 Balanced DAC's, M3/6 pre's etc.
     
  19. Salectric

    Salectric Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    I see the crossover box has the AN logo but it sure doesn’t look like an AN product. For example the binding posts don’t appear to be AN’s normal silver posts. And Mundorf capacitors! I thought AN used their own copper and silver foil caps in their external crossovers.
     
  20. Salectric

    Salectric Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    The Mundorf Silver/Gold/Oil caps are not cheap by any means. The 10uf cap shown in the photo is $300 each from PartsConnexion. I just find it puzzling that Audio Note is using Mundorfs instead of their own caps.
     
  21. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Sorry to mislead you...

    These are not official AN crossovers. My local AN dealer has an excellent technician who put these together for a client who requested that. The tech has AN-E SPE HE Signatures (from the factory) and he worked with this client to put together a top notch external crossover, without having to ship big, heavy speakers 5000 miles to the factory. The client loved these so much that he is going all in on a crossover with the top of the line Dueland caps. Very expensive!

    In order to help pay for the new crossovers, he offered these to me at a crazy good price. I am starting to save up for the 12 meters of SPe speaker cable that is neede for true biwiring. I’m excited because this will really let my system breathe dynamically. Each component in the crossover was chosen for its quality. My technician has tried these external crossovers in his factory Signatures. His enthusiastic response put a smile on my face :D
     
    Fred Hansen, Salectric and kessi like this.
  22. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Sorry for the derailing of the thread! Back to the Ongaku Kensei....
     
  23. slcaudiophile

    slcaudiophile Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    that is interesting ... i wonder if using the duelund caps would yield a significant improvement. i can’t wait to get my E’s! should be in a month or so!
     
  24. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    Great to see these pictures of your crossovers, Don. You'll be very pleased. I don't think you will be thinking about upgrading anymore.
     
  25. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Your technician did a fabulous job. One of the nicest crossovers I have seen - very high quality work. I'd like to see a shot of the new one with the Dueland parts.
     
    Fred Hansen likes this.

Share This Page