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. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I am a believer in using the very best capacitors and resistors after hearing a pair of Tannoy Westminster Royal SE speakers with the crossovers modified to be external and use the best Dueland capacitors. It was a fabulous experience.

    I would love to try that on my AN E SPE HEs, it when my technician told me the starting price that he previous owner is working with for the new crossovers, I decided that these ones were good enough for me!
     
    Fred Hansen likes this.
  2. Salectric

    Salectric Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    I would suggest caution before replacing any parts in an Audio Note crossover, or indeed any speaker where the designer chose components based on how they sound. I am sure Peter Q selected the caps in your crossovers with care in order to achieve the sound he wanted within a given cost constraint. Duelund caps will sound different, no question, but will that sound be an improvement? And will it be consistent with the sound priorities Peter had in mind? Maybe, maybe not. Based on my experience with Duelund CAST caps, resistors and wire, I doubt it.

    A while back I was trying to get the very best sound possible out of my high-efficiency Jensen/Altec horn speakers, and I tried lots of different crossover components including Duelund CAST capacitors, resistors and wire. Over $3000 in Duelund parts alone. None of the Duelund parts made the cut, even after many hundreds of hours of break in. Now your experience may be different; there are certainly many people who like them. All I am saying is don’t assume they will be the best for your particular speakers just because some people say Duelund caps are the “best” or because they are expensive.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
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  3. slcaudiophile

    slcaudiophile Forum Resident

    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    you make a good point ... I know AN ensures each of the 16 versions of the E's sound best based on type, price, etc ... but it is interesting to think about. but your point is taken.
     
  4. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Yowza.
     
  5. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Thanks Fred. I think that you are right, these will quite a good improvement. Any upgrade beyond that would be quite expensive and probably beyond my budget.
     
    Fred Hansen likes this.
  6. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Thank You! I will pass along the compliment to him as I am sure that he will be pleased. He puts a lot of time and thought into his work. He created these at the request of a customer and I think that he hit it out of the park.
     
    Fred Hansen likes this.
  7. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I definitely understand where you are coming from, but I am not too concerned as he owns the Signature version of my speakers and put these together with great care. He and I have had long talks over the past few years about any upgrades to my system that would be due to upgrading components inside. He has already replaced some older caps and resistors in my DAC 4.1/X BalSig and in my Kassai amps, with the latest Keisei versions. Although I would probably prefer the very best Black Gates, they simply can’t be purchased any more (I don’t feel comfortable buying any that I see for sale on eBay), so these are the next best.

    Lastly, he swapped out his external crossovers and tried my new crossovers over a long weekend and passed along his thoughts about the differences. His enthusiasm is what helped me decide to purchase these.

    I had planned on sending my speakers back to Hove, England one day down the road to upgrade to the Signature version, but this will be quite similar in performance and much more affordable for someone on the west coast of Canada.

    By the way, this isn’t some big sideline business for the tech that I know. He was simply putting together these crossovers at a customers request. Now the new Dueland crossovers are being built by the customer himself.
     
    Fred Hansen likes this.
  8. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    The person that I know who upgraded his crossovers in his Tannoy Westminster Royal SE speakers spent FAR more than that on his crossovers! I was a bit shocked when I heard how much those cost. However, the speakers were absolutely amazing. Definitely money well spent.

    The crossovers that bought have more than $3k in parts in them as well. This is an expensive hobby at times!
     
  9. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Are you referring to the fairly well know audio writer Jeff Day?
     
  10. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    Sal makes a very good point about expensive parts being not necessarily good; it really is a matter of voicing. A dealer once asked me to listen to an amplifier and give my opinion. It was one of his amps, the sound of which I am quite familiar with, but, this one sounded particularly bad. It turned out that someone had sent the amp to one of those outfits that "upgrade" components. In this case, certain capacitors were "upgraded" using Blackgates. The dealer said that, in voicing this amp, he tried Blackgates and rejected them in this particular application. In other designs, he liked, and used Blackgates.

    This sort of right-parts-for-the-right-application decision can actually be quite complicated. This same dealer recommended using Blackgates for an upgrade to a particular amp. The customer took the amp home and did not like the sound. When the dealer got back the amp and tried it out, it sounded good. After a couple of back and forth with this customer, the dealer figured out that there was a difference in the way the customer used the amp and the way the dealer used the amp. The dealer left the amp on for very long stretches of time, while the customer listened in short intervals. It turned out that the Blackgates did not sound good unless the amp was on for quite a long time.
     
  11. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    My McIntosh MC30 monoblocks from 1961 impressed a guy so much he went out and found a pair. Instead of restoring them to exac specs he upgraded everything. Now it sounds like any other stereo amp, all the magic is gone. I told him not to do that.
     
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  12. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    Yes I am. I visited Jeff for a weekend with Rafe Arnott. Lots of fun!
     
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  13. Don Parkhurst

    Don Parkhurst Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I agree. The MC-30 mono amps that I had listened to at Jeff Day’s house had vintage components throughout. He had experimented with different components and really preferred the vintage parts. He felt that the good folks at Mac had found the right parts the first time around. However, Jeff experimented with the crossovers for his Tannoys and found that the Dueland caps were a terrific upgrade.
     
  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Neat.
     
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  15. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, D.C.
    The builder of my amp and linestage uses mostly vintage parts and wire. It takes a long time to build because a lot of parts have to be collected to first find those that are working within specification and then to actually place them in the circuit and listen to the result. I have seen him going through the process of auditioning resistors and capacitors; it takes a lot of patience and commitment to trying to achieve perfection to build this way.
     
    Don Parkhurst likes this.
  16. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Does anyone remember the old "Audio" magazine article by Marsh and Jung testing the audio qualities of capacitors? 1980

    Those guys were ahead of the curve.
     
    Don Parkhurst likes this.
  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    I miss the old AUDIO. That was a great mag.
     
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  18. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Me too. I was super bummed when they vanished from the scene. That was the only mainstream American magazine which, while largely based-around performing objective measurements, still acknowledge that subjective evaluations had some value, rather than simply ridiculing them as Stereo Review often did.
     
  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    I didn't understand the whole "objective/subjective" thing when I was a kid. I do remember that Stereo Review did go by measurements. If it measured perfectly, it was a perfect sound reproducer. That was obviously so wrong but at the time, it made sense.

    I do remember the great record reviews in Stereo Review. They said (when Sgt. Pepper came out) that Ringo's cymbals sounded like trashcan lids. I loved that, because, well, they did.
     
  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    DACC8ED9-C0A0-41ED-A867-3FA347129A37.jpeg

    2019 update. Still loving this Ongaku. It's beautiful looking and sounding. Lets the good shine through in any recording, wonderful or shi**y.
     
    NOS300B, slcaudiophile, DanG and 5 others like this.
  21. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    Can I like that post twice?
     
  22. John Mee

    John Mee Forum Resident

    With a very similar system to Steve's and the same amp, I would absolutely have to concur. And then when the 4242e tubes were put in, it took it to a whole new level....

    The only thing I don't like about AN is that I ->KNOW<- if I spent more money it would get even better :) Now if I can figure out how to get the M9 Silver sig (or better yet, the Ultra), the Ultra amps and some AN-E Sootto speakers, with all Sootto cabling.... Peter, I hate you!
     
  23. finn

    finn Forum Resident

    Only Betty could make that shot work.
     
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  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Mastering Engineer Your Host Thread Starter

    Bettie's butt meets the Wolf Man. Not the pic I intended to post, made me laugh though.. Trying to figure out how to tie in to Audio Note somehow...
     
    NOS300B likes this.
  25. finn

    finn Forum Resident

    I don't think you should try and explain it. I don't think anyone has a shovel that big to fill the potential hole.
     
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