don sach's custom kt88 tube amp

I was wondering if anyone has heard or actually owns one of these amps. I would like to hear your impression.thanks.

I can tell you that Don Sach's equipment is like nothing I have ever heard and is hard to believe that you get this level of sound/build quality at the asking price. I've owned lots of tube equipment, and this is the best I've heard regardless of price. I own Don's combo, DS-2 Tube Pre and his Kootenay 120 KT88 Amp, Walnut wood and love it...

Remember, this is customized equipment and Don has a waiting list that could take up to 3+ months since he builds them one at time...


Thanks Wig, I have ordered Don's preamp and I'm patiently awaiting it's arrival (hopefully early August) So I'm aware of the wait time, and Don was very clear and upfront about it. I'm currently running an Audible illusion mod 3a through a pair of sim moon 400m mono blocks, and I'm looking forward to hearing the Sach pre amp. If I like the pre, I would seriously consider the amp in the future. His stuff seems to check all the boxes.
@wig and @scarbpaul12 What type of music do you play most often? I'm curious as to whether a Don Sachs preamp is right for me and my very non audiophile approved music.
I listen to a wide variety of rock and roll, prog rock, Americana, folk, funk, r and b, reggae, some disco, all vinyl. I have a couple of jazz albums and no classical, although both interest me and I see it in my listening future.
I listen primarily to solo acoustic instrument to include Cello, Violin, Guitar, Classical and occasionally Jazz and I have never heard better bass in my system than with the Kootenay 120. The Vitus RI-100 didn't produce bass like this and it was over 350+ watts compared to a 65 Watts Tube Amp with independent and fully regulated power supplies for each channel.

I have Don's preamp and got a chance to compare his KT88 tube amp to my McCormack DNA .05 (Platinum Version) amp last week in an extensive listening session with my Spatial Audio M4 Triode Master open baffle speakers.  Personally, I hasten to say that the upgraded McCormack is easily the finest amp I have ever heard among the dozen or so I have had over the past 20 years, which include several CJ amps, Modwright, upgraded HK C-II and C-V, Moscode, Plinius, several class-D amps (forget about them!) and a few other decent amps that I now forget that I owned.  

I have talked to Don a lot about his amp and have thought that in comparison to a potent SS such as the McCormack, it would suffer in the control of the LF response.  

 Well, I am delighted to say that the KT88 amp suffers not a bit in the LF response compared to the much more powerful McCormack, which was completely unexpected.  And the HF was as brilliant as with the McCormack.  The most notable sonic aspect of your amp was the fleshed-out spaciousness of the vocals and instruments, a dimensionality of the sound that clearly exceeded that of the McCormack.

Don did the full-monty upgrades on my HK CII and CV amps years ago and so far as much recollection allows, his production KT88 is vastly better.  The amp appears on my volume pot (I have Don's preamp) to have the same SPL at 9:00 as does my McCormack amp, which totally surprised me. It is a very potent amp, but then my speakers present a 12 ohm load so they are easy to drive with a tube amp.

As lovely as the McCormack clearly is, it frankly sounds rather two-dimensional in comparison to the KT88 amp.  Yeah, you buy a tube amp to get that luscious 3-D sound with a roundness to the instruments playing, and the inviting mid-range, and I find, which surprised me, a firm control of the LF response with the KT88 that blew me away -- I have never heard that sonic attribute with any tube amp.  It has all the control of a SS amp, but a vastly better holographic presentation of the music. Perhaps it is cliche to say it, but it sounds so completely analogue in its performance with all the speed and accuracy of a SS amp.  I was enthralled with it in my system.  
Don Sach's DS2 Tube Pre and Kootenay 120 KT88 Tube Amp is quite amazing and I am enjoying my nightly listening sessions :)

Lucky you...  I am 50% of the way there.  :-)
@ whitestix

It was your initial impressions on Don Sach's DS2 on Audio Circle that peaked my interest and decided to jump in with both feet and what a discovery...

I ordered Don's amp yesterday.   I am in the queue.  Good things come to those that wait, although it is not my strong suit.  Don told me many times that his amp would be better than my McCormack amp with my Spatial Audio speakers,and I dismissed it, favoring SS amps with Don's preamp.  It was revelation from the moment Don's amp was replaced in my system...   It was exactly as good as he said it was, with a potent grip on the LF that I could not imagine.  So, yeah, I heard it and I bought it.  I know exactly how it will sound in my system.  

@ whitestix


Wig :)


I received my modified DS2 last week with Don’s latest Polish made Deulund copy oil caps and 6BY5 rectifier and it sounds amazing! I am hearing more transparency, better sound staging and imaging, more depth, lower floor noise, more air/ambiance. Bass is tighter, midrange is purer/more organic but you are going to be knocked over by its ”HOLOGRAPHIC” presentation; sounds emanating beyond the boundaries of my loudspeakers…

It is astonishing how you are immersed into the music with Don’s DS2 Tube Pre; his original DS2 is Amazing but the updated version is “UNBELIEVABLE”! For those of you who are in the market for a new pre-amp, I highly recommend that you put this pre on your short list. If you already own one of Don’s creations, get this updated version done ASAP!

I am not aware of any mods that can radically change the sound of a system for a very small investment. Act now and get your units in or orders placed soon… 

Wig :)

I have been using Don's amp in my system for a few months, but with the advent of the 100+ degree weather here in CA, I swapped back my excellent McCormack SS amp into my system to ease the burden on my air-conditioning load, as any KT88-based amp generates a lot of heat.  
OMG, the magic is now gone in my system. Don's amp is infinitely more musical and revealing, with a far greater sense of realism with the music.  It is a night and day difference.  
Just spent the last hour catching up on this thread, and AudioCircle, and
Sounds like the real deal. 
I would love to try his pre and amp.  Keep it coming folks! I'm enjoying hearing about your experiences.