November 1995 -- Audio Note UK's Kit One
Even after only a brief audition of Audio Note UK's Kit One, I'm ready to declare this single-ended 300B based stereo amp as the greatest SE amp value on this planet. The kit retails for $1,200, yet in my estimation it bests amps costing three times as much. Hell, let me be even more emphatic: this baby is competitive with amps costing ten times as much.
My sample came fully assembled from the US Distributor, Angela Instruments. However, looking over the construction manual, this project should be a piece of cake for an experienced home constructor.
The Kit One will not win any beauty contests. But this "Ugly Duckling" can sure sing. The music flows with gusto and verve. It squeezes instrumental images into incredibly palpable outlines. Soundstage transparency and microdynamics are outstanding. The upper mids, though, lack the sunny disposition of say a 211-based SE design. Harmonic textures are painted slightly gray in color.
Mated with the Poly Natalia Loudspeakers via the 4-ohm taps, bass lines were fleshed out with excellent definition. There was plenty of bass detail to behold. In this respect, the Kit One blows away the Cary Audio Design 300SEI
My samples came outfitted with the Golden Dragon (Chinese) 300B output tubes. I'm not sure if these are standard. The manual refers to the US Cetron tube which is also an excellent tube (I prefer it to the stock Chinese 300B).
Equipment Source: Angela Instruments 10830 Guilford Rd., Suite 309 Annapolis Junction, MD 20701 Tel.: 301-725-0451 Fax: 301-725-8823