K&K Pre amplifier


Kevin at K&K sells a preamp kit under the name Raleigh. I believe that Raleigh is another small manufacturer, whom Kevin works with. I have used his phono kit for some 7 or 8 years now and am more than happy with it, a great unit.

I have been using an ARC reference 75 for over a year now, with a very good passive pre. It is a self build copy of the Music First Audio baby reference, with the same transformers. When I bought the ARC, I briefly compared this unit with the ARC reference 3 pre. It was'nt a proper comparison, but I think I preferred my unit. It does lack a bit in the macro dynamics department though and I am wondering about trying a tubed pre.

Has anyone used the K&K unit, there are'nt any reviews of it I can find. Other suggestions for a unit under $5000, including second hand, would be welcome. Another thought was the Audio Horizons pre, frequently commented on, in this forum.
Thanks David
david12
I too am a K&K phono stage owner and fan of Kevin's work.
However, I think you might be disappointed with most any active preamp after living with a TVC. I have tried many, including ARC, Audible Illusions, Art Audio, CJ, deHavilland, Lamm, etc. None of them could hold a candle to either my previous S&B based TVC (that Kevin himself constructed) or my current autoformer pre.

Unless you really see the need for gain in your system, I would stay where you are.

Shakey
This doesn't directly correlate with your equipment, but my experience does.

I went from a Sonic Euphoria passive (which was excellent), to a Transcendent Sound Grounded Grid Preamp, which is a kit.

I used upgraded output caps, NOS Amperex tubes, and Goldpoint attenuator.

I needed more gain than I had with the passive pre, to match up with a new less sensitive amp purchase. I wound up selling the passive pre, and the new Grounded Grid pre fulfilled my needs for resolution and detail, and all the other parameters we care so much about.

Just another option to think about.

Regards,
Dan
Shakey,
I had a Sonic Euphoria pre that I preferred over some active pre's.
When i got a Shindo pre, first an Aurieges and then a Masetto, it was game over. Try a Shindo sometime, I think you would be mightily impressed.
All the quiet, beauty and transparency of the passive but with the dynamics and fullness of the better actives. Really best of both worlds, imo.
Thanks to both of you. My suspicion was that the passive was going to be hard to beat. The very well thought of ARC ref 3, sounded thick and congested in comparison to the passive. It was just a whim I had really. I would still like to get a really good active tube Pre in my system to compare it with, but not so easy when you are looking at second hand buys.

As an aside, people say buy second hand, you can always sell it for what you paid for it. I never can, I always get less. Perhaps I am a pushover for sellers
So you don't consider the ARC Reference 3 a "really good tube pre"?

The CJ Premier 17LS, the Lamm LL2, and the Art Audio VPS are what I consider good tube preamps. Oh, and I also had the Cary SLP-98. None of them were as good as a transformer/autoformer line stage. The CJ might have come the closest, but still no cigar.

Shakey
Just my impression about the ARC Ref 3, Shakey and that was in comparison with the Passive Pre. I had a CJ Premier 17 about 10 years ago, a lovely piece of kit.

Thanks for the information about Shindo, I have heard them, but they are hard to find second hand.
How much did the music first clone cost to build ?
I did'nt make it, I bought it on E-bay from a guy in Hungary. A bit of a risk, but it payed off. It cost me £900, which is less than the cost of the S and B transformers, so it was a bargain. It would certainly be cheaper than buying a Music First Baby reference, if you built it yourself, or got a tech to do it for you. The quality is in the transformers and I suppose how well it is built or soldered. I would have thought it ought to be pretty close to the quality of the Baby reference, if well constructed.
Suggestions for other Preamp's under $5K? Put your brake's on and hold tight for the remarkable, about to be released in December, the Spread Spectrum Technologies Thoebe II Preamp with all the circuit wizardry of legendary circuit designer James Bongiorno. The Thoebe II is about 90% of the Ambrosia performance which has smoked and blown away in the past Preamp's in the $10K to $15K range. For the first time, since Wyred4Sound now owns and builds the Spread Spectrum piece's, one will have the choice of the Wyred4Sound STP-SE 2 Pre upgrade or the much more attractive Thoebe II for $3K. I'd go with the Thoebe II over the Wyred. Nice looking stuff.
Thanks for the plug, Audiozen. Yes, we're rolling out the new website this month with refreshed look, feel and info on all the SST products. Current URL is ampzilla2000.com but that could change (that will at least forward to any new URL).

If anyone is interested in SST products and not on our email list, be sure to sign up to receive news from us at wyred4sound.com

Tony
Marketing Director,
Wyred 4 Sound
Thanks for the plug, Audiozen. Yes, we're rolling out the new website this month with refreshed look, feel and info on all the SST products. Current URL is ampzilla2000.com but that could change (that will at least forward to any new URL).

If anyone is interested in SST products and not on our email list, be sure to sign up to receive news from us at wyred4sound.com

Tony
Marketing Director,
Wyred 4 Sound