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Old 13th January 2007, 12:33 PM   #1
Kenkaru is offline Kenkaru  United States
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Default LM3886 or S5 K12M? ...chip or tube

Hello,

I've been lurking off and on in the DIY audio for a few years but haven't got my hands too dirty yet. I built a set of Dayton III's a few years back and I was very happy and impressed with the results.

Now, I am interested in trying out a DIY amp kit. I am looking for the best sound I can get for under $200.

What will be better a 3886 chip amp from chipamp.com or k12m tube amp?

Which ever way I go, I plan to build the basic kit first and then do the upgrade mods after. I don't yet have the speakers to go with the amp-to-be so I have some flexibility there.

I may ask this same question over in the chipamp section depending on what responses I get here.

I've done quite a bit of searching and I just need to have a little conversation here so please don't tell me to "search n00b!"

Oh and BTW, I have experience in soldering and assembly so that's not a concern.

Thanks very much in advance!

Ken
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Old 13th January 2007, 12:51 PM   #2
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As much as I am not a chip amp fan I will tell you that the chip amp does sound better than the K12m does. At $164.95 the k12 will get you into the lower end of tube amps. The chip amp can be built well within your budget and will sound better.

If you are handy and still wanting a tube amp you might try checking ebay for a pair of Wurlitzer 6L6 amplifiers. They have a 6sn7, 6L6's, and a 5U4 and will produce about 18 watts of power.
The Wurlitzer is an organ amplifier and does sound quite good. They are cheap too.
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Old 13th January 2007, 03:17 PM   #3
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Ken,

I have built both the S-5 Electronics K-12M Tube Amplifier and a LM3886 Chip Amp. Both are excellent and preform much better than they should given the price.

In a nutshell, the LM3886 has a lot more power, is less sensitive to speaker impedance, has more bass and depending on the music, it seems a little more detailed at times.

The K-12M has much better performance in the critical midrange. But, the K-12M is only good for about 3-5W, above that is becomes strained.

If you don't have an efficent speaker, your choice is the gainclone. Otherwise, both are very good choice.
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Old 14th January 2007, 02:37 PM   #4
Kenkaru is offline Kenkaru  United States
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Thanks for the great responses! I'm going to go ahead and order up some gainclones. I'll post some pics when complete!
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