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Aksa 55 - small review
Aksa 55 - small review
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Old 24th May 2006, 05:21 AM   #1
sparkle is offline sparkle
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Location: middle of nowhere...
Thumbs up Aksa 55 - small review

Well, my friends..... over the past 6 months I have been living with a nice little amplifier designed by a good guy called Hugh Dean, owner of Aspen Amplifiers. I am writing this because I want to explain the positives of this little jewel in our diy comunity. This is because I have seen in some other forums that some guys try to accuse Mr. Dean of taking too much money for nothing out of our pockets…. Well, those who pay always complain that their purchase is too expensive don't they? …. Unfortunately most of these guys didn’t even listen to the AKSA, so their judgment is not real.
Well, I hope that this small contribution helps to prevent such things happening again.

Arround six months ago I started to build Aksa 55 N+ amplifier. The information provided was more than enough to help me to build this nice kit. Also, if I had any questions I was free to ask Mr. Dean for help.

The quality of the pcb boards is very good. They are small but not too small – just about right for DIYers that want a very compact looking amplifier – in fact Mr. Dean told me that he has invested (during his development time) around 600 hours to fully develop the amplifier boards. Well, that is a lot of time – the result is in my opinion very, very good. I did not feel that there were any abnormal problems while soldering the boards. I even spent the money and soldered everything on the boards with WBT silver solder (well – it can't make things worse, can it? ). I also changed every electrolythic capacitor to Black Gate standard types I had lying arround that were the same value as described in the amp schematic. I had the feeling that this might be better than using the capacitors provided in the kit. Resistors were also changed to Dale RN55/60 resistors.... Well, Mr. Pass uses them so I figured they might be better than the ones in the kit! Yes, yes, I know – I changed a lot in this kit – but my opinion is that the change is only to a better not a worse sound (I hope I was not wrong!)
My current system at that time was an Onix OA24 preamplifier, Onix SOAP 2 power supply for the amplifier and Onix OA601 power amplifier. The speakers were Rogers LS2a/2 studio monitors and I ran a nice diy dac and Pioneer transport. The system sounded good in my opinion but I wanted more of everything – to develop it further, in other words.

I decided to take some notes so that I could examine the burning in process . When I first switched on the amplifier I noted no power-on thump – the amp was dead quiet as though it were not working at all! The sound was very fast but not sharp – it was faster than my Onix power amplifier. Also the sound seemed to have more air and a huge sound stage. I was very impressed and very happy with the result.

After that first audition my nightmare with burning in really started... Since I don't have too much confidence in myself I did not want to leave the amplifier turned on overnight... Also I don't have too much time to listen to music during the day so I was playing the amplifier only 2-4 hours daily. After a few days of taking notes of the changes to the sound I decided to stop because the sound was varying a great deal – from simply astonishing to worse than !@#$ – sorry.... After about 100-150 hours of listening (and often fighting with myself – asking what was in my mind that i build this thing), the amplifier started to settle down and take its final form.

The end result – my Onix is not playing any more - it is to be sold! I have a tube preamplifier that I am working on right now based arround the 12B4 tube (it is pretty much in its final stage) .... I have new speakers too , the Fase Arias . Well, guys this little beauty opened up new territories I had never heard in my home before... The AKSA has a very big capacity (it can perform that good that sometimes I have the feeling that my preamplifier is a lot inferior to it and that I should consider using something better for a preamplifier) – it is a VERY emotional amplifier, and very gentle but this doesn't mean that it doesn't have bass slam – it knows how to make you FEEL the music – and has taught me to listen to the music not the system (in my constant trying to build the system that would perform music the way I like, I have forgot that). Even when I was listening to my old speakers and Onix preamplifier, I forgot the music! Sometimes I am so satisfied with my feelings while listening to the music from Aria, Aksa, 12B4 combination that I don't want to move a muscle so that the feeling is not scared away.... You know how it is!! I can’t even start to ask myself how good Aksa 100 amplifier must sound.....

So I must ask all of you, how much is this feeling worth to us MUSIC LOVERS? ..... Well, to me – a lot – I have been looking for it for a long time... finally I have found it – and for a reasonable price too.

I must thank Mr. Dean for his help and ideas – he always had time to reply to my (sometimes stupid) questions. He was always kind – I did not feel at any time that he was angry at somebody or something – he was always calm and helpful. I want to thank him also for developing his amplifier, and no guys, I don't have my wallet in his company, I am telling this because I want to tell it; because I am happy and satisfied.

I will not post pictures here because my amplifier is still open - made on mdf board - i will send them when it is inside the box... )

Best regards and happy diy

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Old 25th May 2006, 06:49 AM   #2
AKSA is offline AKSA  Australia
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Many thanks, Daniel, appreciated.

Comments, anyone?

Aspen Amplifiers P/L (Australia)
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Old 25th May 2006, 12:27 PM   #3
sparkle is offline sparkle
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Dear Mr. Dean,
no problem - this little beauty is worth every word I said....
Best regards and please keep up the good work

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Old 19th June 2006, 12:18 PM   #4
sparkle is offline sparkle
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well, still no pictures and no box but i am very close now, having interesting ideas to work with....... attached is the picture of one idea for the box
the heatsink was almost cold during the wither and first part of the spring - now the temperature of the environment is arround 30 oC and You can feel that heatsinks are warmer a lot. well, she is having a hard time too....
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