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ZenZoo 15th June 2010 03:26 AM

Best Complete KT88 Amp Kit under $1K?
I've been lurking here for a while, but this is my first post so please be gentle.

I'm looking to build my first Tube Amp and would like to start out with a compete DIY Kit and am looking for recommendations. Preferably one with good instructions, descriptions, pics, etc. A complete starter kit would be nice so I'm not hunting for months for all the parts.

I'm considering the Dynaco VTA ST-120 from Bob Latino which is 60wpc
tube4hifi ST70 page
I'd prefer building mono's, but am still considering this one because it can be ran in mono as well... of course I'd have to build a 2nd one down the road if I like this one enough to do so.

I'd like to stick with a KT88 design as I have about a dozen of them laying around, but would consider other options as well. I'll be powering a pair of Von Schweikert VR4 SR MKII's which are 92db. However, Albert (the designer/mfg) says they are pretty power hungry and recommends solid state rather than unless unless I get ones with sufficient power. I've been running them with a McIntosh MC2102 which is 100wpc and is certainly ample. My room is 25'x25'x9' and I listen to a wide variety of music and occasionally at higher volumes, but generally it's moderate volumes with female vocals, acoustic or live music.

These Von Schweikert are wonderful and musical speakers and would like to reward them with a similar amp. Preferably for under $1K (excluding tubes and chassis) if I can get away with it. I'm hoping this will be the first of many projects to come... Tube Pre-Amp, Tube DAC, Phono Stage, etc.

Thank you for your consideration - I look forward to spending some quality time here!

aardvarkash10 15th June 2010 03:43 AM

a little over your pricepoint for a pair, but solid and simple build. And monobloc design straight up. Enough power? You be the judge.

Edit - ok, within your range since they include tubes abd chassis. Spend the differnece on boutique stuff of your liking...

Rockmore 15th June 2010 04:18 AM

Zen- for that kind of money, get yourself one of Will Vincent's remarkable builds, and save money on top of that. he always has something on Audiogon.

Coherent 15th June 2010 04:26 AM

Try two of the triode electronics MK III 60W monoblock kits imo. The st120 would also be a nice choice. I built a VTA st70 kit and the thing works great. Clear/easy to follow instructions and all of the parts are included.

ZenZoo 15th June 2010 04:38 AM

Thanks aardvarkash10 - I know not all watts (or OddWatts) are created equal, so I'll keep it in mind. But for now I'd like to look for something with a little more power.

Thanks Rockmore - Will Vincent does have some nice gear and plenty of power... but I couldn't find any DIY Kits. That's the main reason I'm here - I want to start building my own. If you have a link, please ship it my way. Thanks!

ZenZoo 16th June 2010 11:05 PM

Thanks Coherent - It looks like all of these are variation on the Dynaco Line. So I'm still leaning toward the ST-120, unless I find something more attractive in the upcoming weeks.

If anyone has other suggestions, please let me know. I'm also not opposed to one that is completely point to point, although I really haven't come across any that fit my needs. Thank for your help!

rmyauck 17th June 2010 01:21 AM

The Triode ST-70 board is a Williamson design I believe which is supposed to give more detail in the sound. The output trans are probaby the same as the ST-120 uses. MarK III type. The newer ST-70 board with EF86 input & ECC99 inverter splitter tube would be the board to use as mentioned previously on this form by a member experienced with it. It looks like the board Triode offers for Mark III Mono is the older one. If you want mono you would need 2 boards. You would leave each a bit less populated with parts. (Gives you a few spares) Use an aftermarket PS boards too such as Geek's which allows independent bias for each output tube and other good features. You can then run KT-88's with the upgraded PS transformers available for the MIII for 60W/CH. You could probably spend a bit more on the output transformers if desired. Maybe Edcor is as good or better than Dynaco copies for less $. I think under $95 ea and PS trans are less too. If your handy make your own bases using metal pates with wood sides to save $ and can be made to look great. Hide circuit boards under plate for wife appeal & safety. Look at amp pics on this form and tubelab section on this form has a pic's section too. Should be doable for under 1K and maybe a bit over with expensive but great sounding Gold Lion KT-88 OT tubes.

boywonder 17th June 2010 02:12 PM


Originally Posted by ZenZoo (

If anyone has other suggestions, please let me know. I'm also not opposed to one that is completely point to point, although I really haven't come across any that fit my needs. Thank for your help!

Updated Mullard 5-20 monoblock design with KT88's for around 60wpc:

Further iteration of the KT88 5-20 design using MOSFET followers:

A little more complex for additional performance.

freax 2nd December 2012 12:14 PM

I wonder if ZenZoo knows about this, its a bit late (2 years) but its better late than never:

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