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Revier : Elekit TU-8500


Posted on 2016/06/24 by Noam Bronstein in Audio Reviews, DIY, Gold Star Awarded, Preamplifiers, Tubes // 0 Comments

From the Land of the Rising Sun, A Revelation in Preamplification

Review by Noam Bronstein

Let's be up front about it: we're fans of Elekit gear here at Wall of Sound. Both Tim and I have enthusiastically reviewed their amps (1, 2). I recently acquired a used TU-879S amp (which I love), and Scott built and owns a TU-8230, that manages to occupy a place of high standing among his legions of great amps. Put simply, Elekit makes high-value, well designed kits, which are expertly documented for the English-speaking world by Victor Kung, and distributed through his VK Music operation.

When I noticed the TU-8500 preamp kit on the VK site, I asked Victor if he'd send me an unassembled one to build and review, and he was happy to oblige. My kit arrived a few days later, double-boxed, and included the Amtrans AMRS resistor pack upgrade. Time to dust off the soldering iron and get busy!

Other reviewers have called out the (Ele)kits as being typical of the Japanese "OCD-grade" attention to detail, and I have to agree. Everything is meticulously packed, with the parts sorted and arranged in a way to inspire confidence. The quality of the chassis and printed circuit boards are very robust. The R-core power transformer is quite substantial, and nicely finished. The NOS GE tubes (more on this later) are in original boxes that look new enough to have been produced this year. In fact, right down to the dozens of crisp, well-marked zip-lock baggies, the whole kit has a shimmer and sheen that just screams "quality". So far, so good!

elekit-3Knowing that my soldering skills aren't the greatest, I mentally allocated "a week or two" to complete the build. I needn't have been so pessimistic - I was done in less than two evenings. Everything went together very nicely - I would describe the instructions and overall process as enjoyable, and fairly easy. Let me qualify that: this is not the easiest kit out there, in the sense that the PCB's are small, and some of them are densely packed. The phono board in particular, contains a lot of parts, in close proximity to each other. If your eyesight, or hand-eye coordination, is poor, something like the point-to-point Bottlehead Foreplay might be a better choice. I built one of those many years ago (fifteen!?), and it was quite easy, BUT - it was very hard, and I mean impossible, to tame the hum. And really, once you added the tiny C4S boards, the soldering wasn't that much easier. Anyone with patience and moderate skill can build the Elekit preamp. And oh, it's dead quiet. Zero hum, whatsoever.

(keep in mind, too - the Bottlehead route means separate kits for line stage and phono stage)

Ok, enought about that

Edits: 06/24/16

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Topic - Revier : Elekit TU-8500 - vkung 21:33:42 06/24/16 (0)


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