HiFiVision.com - Audio Video Hi-Fi Forum


My latest build - the Elekit TU879S

Discuss My latest build - the Elekit TU879S at the DIY within the HiFiVision.com - Audio Video Hi-Fi Forum; Greetings, Presenting my latest addition to my audio setup - A DIY ELekit TU-879S integrated ...

Go Back   HiFiVision.com - Audio Video Hi-Fi Forum > Do It Yourself (DIY) > DIY

DIY Discuss all audio, video, hi-fi and home theatre DIY stuff here.


Advertise Here

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 13th March 2012, 06:57 PM
gobble's Avatar  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 5,305
Thanks: 730
Thanked 845 Times in 579 Posts
Reputation points: 857
gobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to behold
My latest build - the Elekit TU879S


Greetings,


Presenting my latest addition to my audio setup - A DIY ELekit TU-879S integrated pre-power amp kit. Actually I got this 6 months back and finished building this only in Jan, because I procrastinated after assembling and soldering 80% of it. Actual effort should be 3 days into 6hrs max. The kit was purchased from Victor of VKMusic in Canada for $580 and shipping cost me about $145 and with some extra PIO upgrade caps and sockets thrown in total came to $800 approx, shipping to Bengaluru.




Image courtesy: 6moons (I did not take any original pictures yet)

Links and reviews with some more assembly pics here :
My complete setup is now:
Quote:
Marantz CD6002 --> BlueJeans/Belden 1694A digital Coax --> Shigaraki 4715 DAC --> Nordost Blue Heaven IC --> Elekit Tu-879S --> Chord silverScreen spk cable --> Audire Fostex 166E Bass-Reflex speakers
The sound is accurate and sharp, without being edgy, and the timbre authentic. The bass is deep and well textured. Unlike before, the sound of the Mridangam is now huge and awe inspiring even without a sub (on a good/audiophile recording) - not talking about loudness and volume but in terms of depth and insight. Listening to the percussionist teasing bass notes out of the drum is now like looking into a deep dark well on a moonlit night with your eyes adjusting to the darkness, and seeing things from one fleeting moment to the next. The highs are also now much better etched and defined and cymbals splash out a bit now compared to the highly recessed treble sound before. Perhaps not a match for a two way with tweeter but atleast it has some air and a hint of crispiness now. The mids are as good as ever, transparent and clear, more resolving and insightful than before on vocals, any day better than any two or three way's I've heard- but thats mostly the fullrange speaker doing its magic with this tube amp ensuring that the music remains unmasked.

Another reviewer described it thus:
Quote:
This amplifier is free from coloration or excessive bloom in the midrange region, although it does have a slightly lean presentation. Clarity, detail, and accuracy are timely descriptors for the TU-879S, and this makes for a reasonably accurate rendition of the music.
elkit
The kit from VKMusic comes with an Original R-core licensed from Kitamura Kiden and manufactured by a subsidiary called Phoenix in Japan. (the kit from another famous online retailer doesn't). Victor obtained a 230V version for me as the stock one comes with 100V. I was really surprised on seeing it - although it is meant for a pre-power amp, it is as tiny as the local r-core we got for our Pass B1 preamp group buy. The output however has immense slam, dynamics and power for its size, equivalent to a larger heavy transformer. At 8.5W per channel, the amount of power it supplies drives the speakers wonderfully at between 9 to 10 O'clock on the volume pot in my 18ftx14ft living room, and at 12 O'clock on the volume, my Fostex 166E speaker drivers start to distort even before any audible compression from the tubes and output transformers. I guess that's the magic behind the original inventor's r-core with their R&D, compared to other manufacturers.They have achieved a size and weight reduction in the core without a corresponding drop in scale and power.

The other aspect I am impressed about is the good quality of components that come with this kit (Polypropylene caps where it matters). The minute attention to detail that went into the complete inventory of parts is impressive. Extremely well thought out down to the tiniest part, the finished assembly is way beyond what an ordinary bare-bones DIY kit will supply, and the final result of the build is comparable to any factory finished gear one could buy off the shelf at a much higher price. Easy to solder and assemble for anyone with a sight knack for DIY - its much more fun than buying gear off the shelf, not knowing whats inside.

Here is what 6moons had to say about the DIY kit
Quote:
Pure at heart, seeing things through a young mind, back to basics, simple is best, disciplined and logical, fun and educational... all these qualities are intrinsic to science projects and were exactly what I experienced with Elekit while assembling my own TU-879S.
And I couldn't agree more!

The tubes supplied with the kit are a Shugang 12Ax7B for the preamp section and two Electo-Harmonix 6L6GC power tubes. The 12AX7B is the 9th revision from Shugang and as I find it is a really really good preamp tube. Initially I was skeptical if the stock tubes that come with any kit would give it what it takes. So I also ordered a Jan-Philips 5751 mil grade NOS (at more than twice the price of a Shugang) and a pair of SED winged "C" power tubes, thinking they would take the sound into yet another level. But I wrong about both! First, after about 12 hours of listening over a few days, I plugged in the 5751 and immediately noticed something was not right. I played back the same series of albums I had in the afternoon and soon it dawned upon me that I was listening ot the same weakness in the sound that I have been aspiring to get rid of from my earlier gear since many years. With the 5751 NOS, the music lost the message, in comparison to the Shugang. It is an aspect often mistaken for smoothness, and sometimes preferred for it, by those that haven't yet realized a system that positively revels in accuracy of reproduction. The attack and definition went soft and the timbre and texture of notes was somewhat masked. The Shugang 12Ax7B to contrast is a really good tube in terms of attack, accuracy, liveliness and definition. To me it presents just right amount of raw edge without making the sound harsh. And it is very low noise - the musical notes are surrounded by a black silence. No hint of an audible noise floor here. So much for the famed mil grade tubes

The famed SED Winged =C= tubes were the other disappointment. Supposedly endowed with a hint (the right amount) of ripe bloom and complex harmonics, the audiophool in me imagined an experience similar to a fine wine tasting experience - "complex ... a hint of fruitiness... balanced... with body... toasty..." etc. etc., Alas! Again it made the Elekit sound quiet ordinary and similar to my earlier gear - a Myref RevC/E Gainclone. With the 5751 in the preamp section, a sense of masking was the more predominant flaw, while with the SED power tubes, the atmosphere and excitement was gone, and so was the attack as before. The EH's to contrast, provides a good amount on leading edge attack followed by air around the notes. The SEDs simply made the music duller in effect, the life in the music was taken away, lacking the air and atmospherics like my earlier solid-state gear. They say a tube requires a well matched circuit to bring out its magic, and I read somewhere that the SED requires a higher plate voltage to bring out the harmonics. But while I believed that about tube types, possibly it also applies to tube brands? The Elekit is self-biasing and I don't have a choice there, but I am not crying over it anyways since I found a magical combination with the originally supplied EH's and Shugangs.

Moreover, the Shigaraki dac is reputedly softer on the leading edge, compared to other high end dacs, and I guess I need the tubes with a good attack and bite to complement my system as a whole, so there is no progressive blunting of leading edge of notes down the chain... As a fun upgrade, I also have a quad pair of PIO Vitamin-Q caps that intend to replace as the input and output coupling caps in about 6 months down the line. Maybe they will add more body than there is with the accurate sounding EHs retaining their magic. Not that the EHs are sounding too thin - the other side of the coin when it comes to accurate reproduction. But simply because more may be possible... Then maybe if I ever have money to splurge, I will try the JJ Tesla 6L6s and KT-66 years down the line. Having tried 4 other NOS 12AU7s in another preamp kit earlier as well, its no more NOS for me ever - its like a lottery - they just burn a hole in the pocket and don't deliver. It also dawned upon me was that how easily I could have misjudged the Elekit if the "wrong" set of tubes had been supplied. I am so glad that the kit came with these and not some other! In practical terms that means one will not have to spend extra bucks in tube rolling to get a great sound out of this kit.

A year back I would not have known the difference and gladly made a song and dance about the sound with the 5751 just because it was a "toob" amp paired with a full-ranger - that legendary match made in heaven. But having auditioned the RWA signature 30.2 in my chain and doing an A/B with a 12AU7 based preamp in the original chain, I was wiser for it. In fact it was this realization about tonal accuracy and purity that led me to purchase a new DAC - the Shigaraki, a few months back. My decision about the Shigaraki was based not just on reports of its sound quality as perceived by the analytical mind, but balanced by its appeal to the intuitive mind as reported in various reviews like the one on 6moons. For example its reputed ability to paint the forest on the musical canvas and not miss the trees, and its ability to deliver a cohesion in the sound or the sum of the parts rather than the parts deconstructed. With this Shigaraki, I am happy that I can no longer hear artifacts in the SQ - a good analogy for what the average dac delivers is the debris in a comets tail. With the average budget dacs I heard, there was always something trailing the leading edge of notes that sounded like impurities. Almost inaudible but discernible if your senses became aware and your perception enhanced. With the new dac I am happy to say, the impurities are no longer present. Next step is to achieve the solidity of focus that a budget transport like the Marantz cd6002 cannot deliver, but that will be my last upgrade. Before that I will hopefully be acquiring a balanced power supply DIY kit from Transcend. And hopefully that will also inch me closer towards my quest towards vinyl like solidity in imaging focus, and improve the way the transport delivers. Waiting for dollar prices to drop to 44 levels though.

Aside from the dac, my decision for a tube amp kit goes way back in time, to when I got a pair of full-range speakers years back. That was based on my deep fondness for a 1970s Bush valve radio and its magical sound. However I had a hard time accepting the price of tube gear and a lot of trepidation about whether to afford Single-ended gear lacking slam, attack and punch, or a Push-Pull lacking the immediacy and musicality. After more than a month of listening, my impression about the TU-879S is that it does quiet a bit of both - provides the slam, kick and dynamics along with communicating some musical essence in the playback. This kit is actually a Single Ended Pentode design. The improvement over solid-state is so dramatic, the immediate lesson learnt is never to pair a full range speaker with solid state - even with the so called SS gear with supposedly tube like midrange qualities. The Gainclone I have been with so far (now dismantled for Rev-E upgrades), will now be put for TV viewing along with the Pass B1 when I build it.

--G0bble
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Ads
  #2  
Old 13th March 2012, 07:35 PM
soulforged's Avatar  
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 1,166
Thanks: 306
Thanked 338 Times in 214 Posts
Reputation points: 351
soulforged is just really nicesoulforged is just really nicesoulforged is just really nicesoulforged is just really nice
Re: My latest build - the Elekit TU879S

Congrats!

Looking forward to picutures of the actual build...

...and an invite to a listening-cum-Amrut-tasting session

especially intersted in listening to your Shigaraki DAC...
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 13th March 2012, 08:47 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 331
Thanks: 185
Thanked 124 Times in 100 Posts
Reputation points: 133
gopib will become famous soon enoughgopib will become famous soon enough
Re: My latest build - the Elekit TU879S

Excellent!! Your words say it all...you are enjoying it to the core!!
Pics of your complete chain now would be nice...
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 13th March 2012, 09:24 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 77
Thanks: 6
Thanked 9 Times in 6 Posts
Reputation points: 19
Beast_of_burden is on a distinguished road
Re: My latest build - the Elekit TU879S

Hi Gobble,

I have been scanning these forums for your review of the 6L6 amps since you mentioned several months ago that they were on their way. Well, my impressions are almost the same as yours.

I experimented with Jan-philips 5751 and it was a disaster in my amp as well - chinese made Dared 6l6 amp(not true monoblocs as they share the same power supply). As for the 6L6 - have tried Shuguang, winged C, Svetalana and EH - hands down the EH sounds the best to my ears. The best harmonics and again to my ear euphonic - blues, jazz and classic rock sound excellent. Be warned though that they arent as robust as the Winged Cs. Of the 12AX7 tubes, JJ803S have worked the best for me. I am running NOS RCA 12AU7 which do not contribute much of a sonic signature in my amp, but they are very quiet and reliable.

Coincidentally, my amps are driving FE206E BLH. I have run through my first quad of EH 6l6. Now looking to source another quad. Please let me know if these can sourced locally in Bangalore.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Beast_of_burden For This Useful Post:
  #5  
Old 13th March 2012, 09:45 PM
gobble's Avatar  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 5,305
Thanks: 730
Thanked 845 Times in 579 Posts
Reputation points: 857
gobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to behold
Re: My latest build - the Elekit TU879S

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beast_of_burden View Post
Hi Gobble,

I have been scanning these forums for your review of the 6L6 amps since you mentioned several months ago that they were on their way. Well, my impressions are almost the same as yours.

I experimented with Jan-philips 5751 and it was a disaster in my amp as well - chinese made Dared 6l6 amp(not true monoblocs as they share the same power supply). As for the 6L6 - have tried Shuguang, winged C, Svetalana and EH - hands down the EH sounds the best to my ears. The best harmonics and again to my ear euphonic - blues, jazz and classic rock sound excellent. Be warned though that they arent as robust as the Winged Cs. Of the 12AX7 tubes, JJ803S have worked the best for me. I am running NOS RCA 12AU7 which do not contribute much of a sonic signature in my amp, but they are very quiet and reliable.

Coincidentally, my amps are driving FE206E BLH. I have run through my first quad of EH 6l6. Now looking to source another quad. Please let me know if these can sourced locally in Bangalore.
Looks like its time to visit each other for a listen ...
Possibly the only source for tubes in India may be BE Amplifiers in Mumbai. I am afraid I don't have a local source. But I have two Winged =C= 6L6GCs to sell, along with the 5751.

I think I will go for a spare set of cryogenically treated EHs and the Shugang for long term. I guess I can depend on your review of the Svetlana and Shugangs and ignore those for the 6L6 ... (money saved!) I disliked the JJ 12AU7s but perhaps the 12AX7 is different beast albeit from the same brand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by soulforged View Post
Congrats!

Looking forward to picutures of the actual build...

...and an invite to a listening-cum-Amrut-tasting session

especially intersted in listening to your Shigaraki DAC...
I no longer stock Amrut unfortunately but you are more than welcome, I may have some Jim Beam left over (I stopped drinking hard sometime back). Only beer and wine for me.

And I am afraid to say, but I did not take any pics as I am of the opinion, to really enjoy something one has to not worry about how others will see it. The 6 moons site review has all the good pics of work-in-progress.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gopib View Post
Excellent!! Your words say it all...you are enjoying it to the core!!
Pics of your complete chain now would be nice...
Yep, after I dust my place clean ... which may be .. god lemme consult the astrological charts...

--G0bble
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 13th March 2012, 10:20 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 77
Thanks: 6
Thanked 9 Times in 6 Posts
Reputation points: 19
Beast_of_burden is on a distinguished road
Re: My latest build - the Elekit TU879S

Well, I have two pairs of JJ803S - the first pair with the red markings was very good. I ordered a second pair and this one came with yellow markings and isnt quite as good.

JJ 12AU7 not very good either - I am sure I have a pair lying around the house. Infact most of the new production 12AU7s are so-so. I bought NOS RCA for a CJ that i owned several years ago. These are the best bet - cheap, quiet and utterly reliable. Also easily available on Ebay. The CJ was transformed after the tube change. I sold the CJ for 725 USD after having bought it for 600 USD :-) The stock tubes were NOS - not all NOS are good.

The PIO caps in your amps should be contributing quite a bit to the rich harmonics. I noticed this on my other amp - Almarro A205A. However, this amp is very different from the 6L6 - can be very strident. The only time it played well was with the Lowthers in TP1 front horns. Infact, I am thinking of selling it.

I live in JP nagar thereabouts, I look forward to the opportunity of listening to your setup sometime soon. I know that you also have a REL sub that I would like to audition.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 14th March 2012, 01:27 AM
gobble's Avatar  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 5,305
Thanks: 730
Thanked 845 Times in 579 Posts
Reputation points: 857
gobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to behold
Re: My latest build - the Elekit TU879S

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beast_of_burden View Post

The PIO caps in your amps should be contributing quite a bit to the rich harmonics. I noticed this on my other amp - Almarro A205A.

I live in JP nagar thereabouts, I look forward to the opportunity of listening to your setup sometime soon. I know that you also have a REL sub that I would like to audition.
Hi BoB

You tempt me to upgrade to PIO caps sooner than later.
The REL sub unfortunately does not play well with the tube amp. I will post the problem tomorrow, perhaps someone can suggest a solution.

Will pm you about a suitable date for a listen later.

--G0bble
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 14th March 2012, 07:25 AM
captrajesh's Avatar  
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Trivandrum
Posts: 4,163
Thanks: 1,296
Thanked 1,515 Times in 867 Posts
Reputation points: 1528
captrajesh has a brilliant futurecaptrajesh has a brilliant futurecaptrajesh has a brilliant futurecaptrajesh has a brilliant futurecaptrajesh has a brilliant futurecaptrajesh has a brilliant futurecaptrajesh has a brilliant futurecaptrajesh has a brilliant futurecaptrajesh has a brilliant futurecaptrajesh has a brilliant futurecaptrajesh has a brilliant future
Re: My latest build - the Elekit TU879S

Well researched and wonderfully written review Rahul.

I'm mighty impressed with your fabulous audiophile vocabulary. I've learned a thing or two on what to look for in an audition.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to captrajesh For This Useful Post:
  #9  
Old 14th March 2012, 08:52 AM
gobble's Avatar  
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 5,305
Thanks: 730
Thanked 845 Times in 579 Posts
Reputation points: 857
gobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to beholdgobble is a splendid one to behold
Re: My latest build - the Elekit TU879S

Quote:
Originally Posted by captrajesh View Post
Well researched and wonderfully written review Rahul.

I'm mighty impressed with your fabulous audiophile vocabulary. I've learned a thing or two on what to look for in an audition.
Thank you. Actually I have skipped adding the so many "insights" and thoughts that I imagined, in a bid not fly away into the blue void with the helium balloon that's my head.

And so I made an effort to avoid superlatives and deny the existence of Nirvana to balance it out with a reminder of the reality that there's tons of great sounding gear out there with $$$$ prices that also does its job - even a better job, with nothing ever perfect...

PS: Looking forwards to your next visit to my place.

--G0bble
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to gobble For This Useful Post:
  #10  
Old 14th March 2012, 09:14 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Kerala
Posts: 1,387
Thanks: 1,036
Thanked 704 Times in 444 Posts
Reputation points: 716
hydra is a splendid one to beholdhydra is a splendid one to beholdhydra is a splendid one to beholdhydra is a splendid one to beholdhydra is a splendid one to beholdhydra is a splendid one to beholdhydra is a splendid one to behold
Re: My latest build - the Elekit TU879S

Excellent review, gobble! Like your setup, you've painted an excellent picture of the music. And you've also brought out an emotional response from me: I'm jealous!

Pictures would be nice, though I understand what it takes to clean up before taking pics


Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to hydra For This Useful Post:
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads for: My latest build - the Elekit TU879S
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
40$ Raspberry Pi - Could this be the latest HTPC? sudhishkv Home theater PC (HTPC) or media PC 64 1st March 2013 12:54 AM
My latest music set up jaudere My Audio/Video Setup 28 16th October 2011 03:35 PM
Latest SONY AV recievers ! abyshines Surround Amplifiers/Receivers 13 9th February 2011 04:01 PM
iPhone 3G 8GB : latest OS 4.0.1 Firmware sam9s For Sale by Owner 11 28th August 2010 03:40 PM
For Sale Iphone 3GS 16 GB : latest iOS 4.0.1 firmware Spidey For Sale by Owner 2 12th August 2010 04:36 PM



Advertise Here


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 08:03 AM.


Copyright © www.HiFiVision.com 2006 - , All rights reserved.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194