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Old 9th June 2004, 06:23 AM   #1
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Default Good Inexpensive Starter Amp Kit

How does a tube stereo amp kit for $139.00 sound? It actually sounds very good thankyou! I'm talking about the S-5 Electronics K-12M Kit available from arizonahifi.com. It uses four 11MS8 9 pin vacuum tubes to produce 8 watts per channel into 8 ohms. Although this doesn't seem like much, it is enough to drive most efficient small to medium sized speakers to more than adequate listening levels in most listening areas (e.g., B&W 500 Series speakers in a medium sized living room).

The kit is easy to assemble with a clearly marked pc board and written instructions. The instructions, specifications, and photos are displayed on the above website. A volume control is provided allowing the dircet connection of a CD player.

Getting back to the sound ... great for the price. In fact, it sounds better than my A3 Musical Fidelity Integrated Amp which is no slouch at approximately $1000.00. Although not as detailed as the A3, the little tube amp is much more natural sounding with better depth, tonal balance and that tubed ability to bring the performance directly into your listening room. I slightly modified my kit with better input and output connectors (see attached photo), but it sounded almost as good with the stock parts.

I would be interested in finding out about other similarly or reasonably priced tube amp and preamp kits or assembled units. Also, if you have had experience with this kit drop me a line.
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Old 9th June 2004, 04:01 PM   #2
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What website and what attached photo?
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Old 9th June 2004, 04:48 PM   #3
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Hey Desert Rat,

Congrats on your success with the S5 kit! From what I've heard, its an inexpensive way to get a reasonable amp.

Can you tell us what the tube sockets are made of, how long you've used them, and if they are still clean? People reported plastic sockets that skortched after awhile, and I'm curious if they've changed them.

Voltsecond is respected, and has a page on his experiences and mods--you should check it out .

Have fun!

Best,

George "As Unseen On TV" Ferguson
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Old 10th June 2004, 05:49 AM   #4
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Default Correction

The website is www.tubeaudio.com, Sorry about the mistake. Apparantly the photo did not come through as an attachment. The website has photos of the amp, however.
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Old 13th June 2004, 03:54 AM   #5
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Default Dr. DeVille RE: Tube Sockets

The tube sockets don't appear to be different than what you described. However, small O-rings are now provided to insert under each tube to help with the heat problem. Since I just built the amp a few days ago, I don't know if this will solve the socket problem or not.
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Old 13th June 2004, 11:02 PM   #6
Sherman is offline Sherman  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by DrDeville
... Can you tell us what the tube sockets are made of, how long you've used them, and if they are still clean? People reported plastic sockets that skortched after awhile, and I'm curious if they've changed them.

...
Best,

George "As Unseen On TV" Ferguson

George,
I assembled one of these last winter. On the kit I received the tube sockets were ceramic, not plastic and didn't have o-rings. They have been working fine for six months with no discoloration or any hint of problems.

Also, in the kit I received some of the mods made by Voltsecond were incorporated into the PCB (off the top of my head I don't remember which ones but I remember something about changes on the output).

I still added the cap at the high voltage connections on the board and snubber caps on the tubes. On my kit I soldered most of the components on the bottom of the board so I could do a "tube out" chassis. That has worked out very well also.

Pic is in the gallery thread.
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