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Vortex 1st February 2004 08:38 PM

Audio Note Kageki vs. EAR 859 vs. Audio Innovations: The First
Hi all,

I try to compare the design or sound quality of these three amps, REGARDLESS of price of course:
Audio Note Kageki:
"A pair of mono 8 watt Class A parallel single-ended no feedback amplifiers with all Audio Note silver-wired circuit and power supply, Audio Note silver foil signal capacitors and tantalum resistors, Black Gate caps everywhere, all Audio Note silver wired 0.2mm R36 C-core output transformers. They utilize 4 NOS 2A3, 2 NOS 5692 and 2 NOS 5U4G tubes."
EAR 859
"Enhanced Triode Mode stereo single ended valve power amplifier with control unit built in. 6 line inputs. 13 watts per channel output. Direct coupled circuit. ETM ensures superb linearity, and bullet proof reliability. "Highly Commended" by STEREOSOUND magazine, Japan. Winner of the Stereo Sound (Japan) Component of the Year Award for 1995-96. "
Audio Innovations - The First
"7.5 watt Pure Class A, Direct Heated Triodes type 6B4G or 2A3 , No overall or local feedback employed, Fully hardwired circuit. No Printed Circuit Board, Handmade paper in oil capacitors for best possible signal transfer, Non-magnetic resistors, Signal input wired with Audio Note 99.99% pure silver cable type AN-S, Cathode biased output stage... "

And now my question:

which design and why ?

For now, I prefer the parallel single ended double monoblock version, each monoblock delivering about 7 Watts power with 2 x 2A3 from JJ Electronics.

Does somebody know, if the above mentioned EAR "Enhanced triode mode" amp beats in sonic performance the two other 2A3 models ? (Let's say, I'll do everything perfectly).

I heard just one of them live, The First from Audio Innovations. It was amazing, no classic tube sound which tends to be too soft ... it was just fast, sounded like a transistor amp but in much more details and there wasn't any ear-hurting sound at all... it was just a REALLY beautiful smooth sound. Since I've heard it, I don't know what to say on the EAR .. I should perhaps hear it, too, but I unfortunately can't so I rely on your opinion.

They are also about the same price category - the AN Kageki is something else (ultra expensive) but still 2A3 SE.

So if somebody heard these (or perhaps other) 2A3-built SE amps and remembers on the sound quite clearly AND also have heard the EAR one, well, he could tell me, is the EAR really as succesful and sonically high-end as the reviews say, or is just another "no match" for the Kageki ?

I'm not going to copy them, neither have the circuit diagrams :) just interested in that sentence of Tim de Paravicini (designer of EAR 859):
"..most of the fashionable tubes tested (300Bs etc) offered very poor performance. Driven hard in single ended mode, these tubes give 10W, but with poor reliability".

What's the truth? And the Kageki?

:judge: !!!

fdegrove 2nd February 2004 12:31 AM



What's the truth? And the Kageki?
The truth, I think, is that it all depends on the speakers you use with these amps.

Of which the EAR is by far the more universal one but none of the three are bad amps...


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