Audio Note Kit Four Amplifiers

4.86/5 (7 Reviews)


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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Lou Ricc a an Audiophile

Date Reviewed: April 27, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I have been the happy owner of a Kit 4 for almost 5 years, during that time it has never failed to musically satisfy. The amp is very good stock standard, but it does respond well to a bit of judicious tweaking. I have tried many combinations of valves (NOS and current production), and the best compromise I've found is Sovtek 12AX7WXT (not the+version), Sovtek 6SN7, and Sovtek 6V6GT. The most significant improvements came when I replaced the bridge rectifier with BYW96E soft recovery diodes, result bigger warmer smoother more extended sound. Further improvements were had by changing resistors in the signal path to 1 watt carbon film types. I left the Beyschlag metal films in all non signal areas as they sound relatively good and are very reliable. Another significant improvement came about when a technician friend suggested that the coupling capacitors were of too high a value creating a bass response that was too extended for the amplifiers power rating. He suggested that .22 or .27 microfarad 400 volt rated types would do the job. I happened to have some NOS philips polyester film .27's which were duly installed. The difference was staggering more bass but faster tighter and much more tuneful, the benefits extended up through the mid range with improved articulation and reduced sibilance. All in all I'm very happy with the Kit 4, and it has seen off some real audio exotica including some of Audio Note's higher priced stablemates, especially the (in my view) overated SE types. This little amp drives real hard, and because it utilises a small amount of negative feedback (about 10db) it will drive speaker loads that would make an SE faint.

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Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Rick H. a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: April 21, 1999

Bottom Line:   
Re-tube update:I ordered a set of tubes from The Tube Store, in Canada. they are a matched quad of Phillips 6V6GT's (NOS JAN), Phillips 6SN7's (NOS JAN), and Ei 12AX7's (NOS). Total cost to me including shipping was $103. Quite reasonable. The amp seems to sound better in many ways but I will wait till I get my main speakers back before I can do a true comparison.

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Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Rick Hudak a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: March 30, 1999

Bottom Line:   
I have to agree with the other reviewers here. This little amp sounds incredibly good for the price and yes, mounting the transformers was a bitch. That part of the building took me longer than any of the other steps. 10 little watts will go suprisingly loud and once my amp was up and running (everything worked the first time I fired it up!!)my old amp, the Creek 6060, went on the auction block. There wasn't even a contest, that's how much better the Kit 4 sounded. The only thing I missed was being able to crank it up to party levels. I solved that problem by building a pair of rear-loaded folded horns. They are about 100db efficent and mate just wonderfully with the amp. Now... any of you guys have any tube recommendations for me? I am interested in trying to improve thing a little.

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Overall Rating:4
Submitted by Lee S. McDonald a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: December 13, 1997

Bottom Line:   
As my interest in audio evolved I was drawn to restoring audio equioment. I am not a technician, but am a keen hobbyist, enjoying his hobby, I find eqipment restoration and construction very satisfying and forever interesting...unless I an having troubles and want to put a bullet through said project or said self !I ordered a kit 4 from Steve at Angela Insttraments, to keep me busy while recovering from a surgery. The product was well shipped, and the selection of Iron, capacitors, resistors and wire was all I could ask at this price point. The only trouble I had was bolting the 2 output tranformers to the chasis, It was the combination of cardboard hands and the dyabolical nylon nuts ! Instructions were sequential and adaquate, I choose to use Audio Note Silver content solder, also from Steve, which to me sounds good,but is not as "wet' as other solders, so get it and fool with it before you put the iron on the first part.
Thansparent, punchy, extended but not rude treble. works well with a number of preamps. I have tried with it, I needed to bypass the volume controll, and replace the Sovtec 6SN7,s to get the amp "more better" ...but, thats my ears, my system.
With the frightful pricing of sinle ended amps, this is a honey. I feel confident that if you LEARN HOW TO SOLDER you can build this amp for a fist project.
My eldest step son Kenin Heavin is up for the hollidays, wants to take this amp back with him. He's running an expensive and damn lovely sounding single ended solid state at home , but he is loving this amp !

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Overall Rating:5
Submitted by Craig Vogel a an Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: November 8, 1997

Bottom Line:   
The Audio Note Kit Four is the best kept secret in Hi-End Audio! This relatively low powered (10 WPC) push-pull 6V6 tube design has an inherent musicality and rightness that is astounding for the price [I paid $400 plus shipping]. It is a relatively easy kit to build, with excellent instructions and the enthusiastic tech support of Angela Instruments' long-time vintage tube-o-phile, Steve Whats-His-Face [OK, it's Melthesian, or something like that -- no wonder his company is named ANGELA!].
I had previously owned and built the Audio Electronics SE-1 single-ended 300B amplifier. It was quite an achievement at its introductory price of roughly $700 with [builder-supplied] Chinese 300B's; however, even in the highly tweaked state to which I eventually upgraded it, the SE-1 suffered from a terminal mid-bass softness that drove me -- may Harvey Rosenberg forgive me! -- to a high-powered solid-state amp for a while. The Kit Four does not suffer at all in the area of mid-bass articulation; it can control cone drivers with the amplomb of a solid state amp, and deliver full-bodied mid-range and delicate highs like no other $400 amp in the last 20 years.

Forget the Stereo 70 legacy of top-end rolloff and mushy bass -- Audio Note knows how to design a modern tube amp that capitalizes on the strengths of those venerable bottles without repeating the sins of the past. Joe Roberts: how about an issue or two devoted to the tweaking of this marvel? Your SE-1 articles veritably created the single-ended niche for Audio Electronics/Cary. Won't you do the same for the push-pull guys?; Steve desperately needs an art director for his catalogs!

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Reviews 1 - 5 (7 Reviews Total) | Next 15

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