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. Sugar Man

    Sugar Man Forum Resident

    Palos Verdes
    Good stuff! While you are at the pinnacle of the Audio Note mountain, I am humbly beginning my journey in the valley, with a pair of AN bookends - an iQ3 cartridge and a set of AlNiCo's I'm currently building cabinets for out of the heartwood of mystical Chernobyl Baltic Birch (well, maybe not from Chernobyl...)
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
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  2. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Sounds like fun.
  3. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic Forum Resident

    Niiiice! So many great woods to work with nowadays, lovely choice. Just beware, once you go AN Level 5 or higher silver step-up transformer and Io-2 cart it's game over man. Game over.
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  4. cobbler

    cobbler Forum Resident

    Northants, UK
    Give me Ongaku or give me death! :)

    Your review perfectly captured the amplifier, great writing.
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  5. MisterBritt

    MisterBritt Forum Resident

    Santa Fe, NM, USA
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  6. Larry I

    Larry I Forum Resident

    Washington, D.C.
    The Ongaku is a great integrated amp, as well it should be for the price. I have not heard the latest iteration, but, the model I heard was terrific. I have heard a number of AN level 5 components and really like the sound of all of them. Is it the silver caps, the trannies with silver secondary and primary windings? Who knows?

    I own a Kageki, which is a Level 5 component, but, much lower in output (SET 2a3s in parallel). I also have AN wire: a 4-meter run of Sogon interconnect between linestage and amp, and a 2 meter pair of Sogon speaker wire. I don't have a full AN system, but, I have heard and liked their DACs as well.

    Still, I also like some other non-AN gear. I currently run a custom-built pushpull amp using the 349 output tube. It is actually less powerful than the Kageki (it is rated a 5 watts/per channel). While I really like their speakers too (among the very best commercially available speakers), I also like my sort of custom horn-based system. So, that makes me an AN fan, but not a fanatic.
  7. John Mee

    John Mee Forum Resident

    Actually it is considerably less than that now after a 20% reduction due to Brexit
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  8. John Mee

    John Mee Forum Resident

    Actually there are some upgrades. I replaced the speaker wire terminals on mine and it opened up the sound, much more air and tighter bass.... Almost as much as when I put the SOOTTO cable on but a WHOLE lot less money. Too bad its a loaner so you can't do the mods. Definitely put your Elrogs in there too. You might also consider the Philips rectifiers from Upscale Audio.

    BTW, anybody that is coming to this weekend's California Audio Show in Oakland, please stop by the Audio Note room and say hi..
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  9. John Mee

    John Mee Forum Resident

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  10. cobbler

    cobbler Forum Resident

    Northants, UK
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  11. VinylRob

    VinylRob Forum Resident

    Mind bendingly cool hardware you have there Steve, you're a very fortunate fellow, happy listening!

    And I feel your pain, just waited three entire weeks to clear a Reed 3P 12 tonearm from customs. In this case, the poor folks at UPS could only suggest, when it clears, it clears and we will have it to you in another business day. The parcel was expedited a quarter of the way around the world in just two days... and then just sat in Louisville, Kentucky, what seemed like forever. Geez.
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  12. John Mee

    John Mee Forum Resident

    No need to apologize...
    That is not an "old amplifier".... The Ongaku is an integrated amplifier and the Ongaku Kensai is a power amplifier. Both are still current production.
    For the Ongaku, see Audio Note
    For the Ongaku Kensai, see Audio Note Hungary - STEREO POWERAMPLIFIERS - Ongaku Kensei (the factory website does not have a page for that yet).
  13. finn

    finn Forum Resident

    You will have fun Mr Hoffman. Make sure you wear a back brace when you lift the amp, best as a 2 man job and the SOOTTO requires a very long run in time, much more than the general 200 hours.
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  14. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Thanks. Looking forward to breaking in (or "bedding" as they say at AN UK.)
  15. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    It's up and sounding great right out of the box. The WWII era 211 tubes are silk screened with the Audio Note UK logo. Nice touch! Here pictured with the M9 two-box preamp. Also in the pics, Symposium platform and Sound Application LineStage power conditioner. kensei 1.jpg kensei 2.jpg kensei 3.jpg kensei 4.jpg
    samurai, Litejazz53, Manimal and 18 others like this.
  16. Tullman

    Tullman Senior Member

    Boston MA
    ^^^Looks great Steve! What speakers are you running with it?
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  17. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Audio Note UK AN-E/SPx HE Alnico.
  18. Rob Hume

    Rob Hume Forum Resident

    Gorgeous amp combo Steve. Enjoy! Looking forward to reading your updates.

    I echo Finn's comment regarding Sootto IC 'break in'. I've put around the 200 hours on mine and they are still improving although a fantastic improvement over ISIS straight out of the box.

    PQ takes possession of a new pair of AN-E Sogon's for his home system shortly and I have bought his SEC/Sig's which arrive on August 10th. Your amp combo would be perfect with them! No "loaners" for lower profile guys like me so the Ongaku Kensei (which is my end game power amp) is some time away but no complaints as it's a great journey to be on.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
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  19. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    I enjoy the break in process. Am truly looking forward to it.
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  20. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    Sounding better each hour. Warm up takes about 90 minutes each time.. Fascinating, hearing the thing actually start to bed.
  21. klonk

    klonk Forum Resident

    Why don't you let it run continuously, much faster break in and no warm up required?
  22. jupiterboy

    jupiterboy Forum Residue

    Buffalo, NY
    Lovely. Interesting that they use potted transformers in this application.
  23. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    I never, ever leave tubes on when I'm not here. It be dangerous, man.
  24. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Chicago metro, USA
    Really nice!
    Is a SET amplifier your preference compared to others?
  25. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your host Your Host Thread Starter

    No. The SET amps are wonderful but without an accurate, musical speaker that can be powered by 10 watts, they are (were) useless to me. That is where the Audio Note UK AN-E speakers come in. Game changer.

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