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Akitika GT102 Amp and PR101 Preamp Kit
Akitika GT102 Amp and PR101 Preamp Kit
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Old 13th April 2019, 01:04 AM   #1
Neville is offline Neville  United States
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Georgia
Default Akitika GT102 Amp and PR101 Preamp Kit

I have built many Pass diy amps and other preamps available here and on other websites and was itching for another project. I looked over the Stereophile Recommended Components looking for the Elekit 8600 review and stumbled across Akitika....$314 for a complete amp....in kit form? WOW. I wasted no time in searching for reviews and reading Stereophile's review. Not bad. I ordered the amp and preamp. Whilst waiting for it to arrive which was only 2 days, Dan answered all my questions and very promptly. Both kits came well boxed, padded and also broken down into packets with labels. I downloaded both manuals and got soldering. There are online videos of this kit and some good reviews out there so I will briefly go over the highlights and some things to watch out for when building.

GT102 AMP:
Glad I started off with this because the power supply build was easy and got a little busier, not harder, just had more parts. The manual was so easy to follow and the parts so well packed I kept on shaking my head. This is Dan's pride and joy and it really shows. Amp fired up on first go. BUT if you are a frequent reader/builder in Pass forum you will know that you should ALWAYS power on your builds (in partial stages) with a bulb tester. I did this together with a Variac, probably overkill but I always test my builds this way. I have to be honest and was disappointed that my build had ended. I did not rush it and spent 4 weeknights taking my time soaking it in. I found it easier to mount the heatsink to the LM3886 chip with the supplied screw, soldered points in opposite directions to make it sure and removed the heatsink to complete the rest of the joints. Then applied the thermal paste to the LM3886 so it "glued" well to the heatsink. It is optional to apply thermal paste to the bottom of the heatsink and I do suggest you do this. Playing at loud volumes gets it warm but not "toasty". As for the rest of the build it was smooth sailing. Could a beginner finish this? I believe so, as long as they have soldered on those solder test kits or have at least a project under their belt.

So .....?
Now dont expect a 17" 50 pound chassis but do expect some good sounds to emit. I compared it to a Classdaudio.com amp I had built several years back and it was more detailed, had more bass and was a bit warmer. Compared to Parasound Halo A21, the GT102 lacked bass and warmth but still had more detail. Not bad for a kit huh?

K lets move on.

PR101 Preamp
Now this is where you needed a lot of patience and better soldering skills. PCB did have couple spots where you had to pay attention as to which component was being soldered but if you took your time and read the manual you were OK. I do advise that you read the entire manual or at least couple pages ahead of section you attempting as to get a better understanding of how they all fit together. I think I was spoiled by how easy the amp was to read and build and had to reach out to Dan couple times. He was quick to reply once again and we even had a live troubleshooting session. How is that ????? A+++ Service.

So what drew me to this preamp? It has a lot going for it, plenty of inputs, remote capability (if you spring for the remote $) AND the biggest PLUS here is that its upgradable. Just like a computer, there are two vertical slots and one horizontal that allow you to add in your own builds. Dan already has a Phono preamp card that you can add in as an upgrade and has plans for others that I cannot discuss. You can power your kits/builds from the myriad number of 12V and 5V connectors on the power supply PCB.

Yes again it fired up first time ! Oh I did purchase different LED colors so I could tell from my couch what I was pressing on my remote. So how does it sound ? Well, does not impart any sound so really, nothing. Let's just say I dont miss my Rogue Audio tube preamps. Together with the amp it is really a nice combo and sounds very, very good. It played whatever source you gave it and never colored it. The sound was mostly between my speakers and slightly 2 rows back. I was surprised by how much gain it has, I could not move the volume beyond 10 o clock - it was loud with my 88db LSA speakers. I dont plan to test the front panel input nor purchase the headphone add-on so cannot say anything about it. The volume, balance controls are a little cheap but c'mon what you expect? The fit and finish of the chassis is superb.

Overall it was a joy to build and tweak with LED and swapping opamps. I really cant see much else that can be tweaked. it just works so well.
Now dont get me wrong, I love the Pass forums but having to read 500 pages for one amp and have to follow up with what parts have been replaced can be very time consuming. With this kit, it is all there, no hunting and purchasing parts here and there.

After thoughts: I have been thinking about purchasing another amp to bi-amp my speakers. They are so cheap you could easily put them into service as surround sound amps too (Dolby Atmos).

Thank you Dan and I wish you success and look forward to more kits !

Check out Akitita and no... I do not work for them

Last edited by Neville; 13th April 2019 at 01:45 AM.
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Old 13th April 2019, 11:58 PM   #2
Bare is offline Bare  Canada
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Join Date: Dec 2001
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Dunno.. had an earlier one..
In fairness it Worked well, especially considering it's an LM3886 chip amp.
However My Pass F6 diy.. using a simple stepped pot as Pre.. is a whole 'nother planet of better sound... Epiphany time indeed.
Less costs to build My F6 copy as well.
Despite your obvious enthusiasm, Frankly I can't comprehend why you think the Akitka is even sonically close to a Pass amp.
Good amp certainly (similar to an older mid level NAD to be perfectly honest)
But to a Pass design ?? that's a fair bit of a hyperbole imo.
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Old 14th April 2019, 03:38 PM   #3
Neville is offline Neville  United States
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Georgia
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bare View Post
Dunno.. had an earlier one..
In fairness it Worked well, especially considering it's an LM3886 chip amp.
However My Pass F6 diy.. using a simple stepped pot as Pre.. is a whole 'nother planet of better sound... Epiphany time indeed.
Less costs to build My F6 copy as well.
Despite your obvious enthusiasm, Frankly I can't comprehend why you think the Akitka is even sonically close to a Pass amp.
Good amp certainly (similar to an older mid level NAD to be perfectly honest)
But to a Pass design ?? that's a fair bit of a hyperbole imo.
I never compared this amp to the Pass amp. I only said that instead of reading 100's of pages and having to find newer parts in the BOM, this was all provided for.

As to comparing it to an older NAD, I guess its subjective and I think it sounds better than the older NAD's. Now comparing it to CJ, ARC and the higher end Rogue Audio, is it fair? There is a price point for everything.

I just wanted to let other DIY'ers know of this kit.
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Old 14th April 2019, 04:17 PM   #4
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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Akitika GT102 Amp and PR101 Preamp Kit
I think that $314 for a complete kit with chassis, trafo, pcbs and all parts bagged and labeled is a really good deal. I am quite impressed actually. It is interesting how the designer chose to make it a single ended supply with capacitor coupled output like a classic amp. Despite being only an LM386 chipamp, they can sound very nice and given the extra regulated PSU and start up relays etc. this is a very nice value for the beginner. I'm quite surprised how anyone can make a profit selling it for this price.

On the other hand, the sound quality really depends on your needs and preferences. I think a LM386 can be perfectly fine for someone who likes a conventional Class AB SS sound with low distortion.

Class A amps like an F6, F5, M2, etc are a different animal. They may not be ultralow distortion, but they may sound more musical or engaging to the right ears. Nothing wrong with that. But I am pretty sure a Pass F6 buit with a chassis, trafo, connectors, wires, binding posts, IEC's, fuses, PSU caps, etc will be more than $314. Closer to $400 I would guess having built a fair number of amps.
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