I’m fast approaching my 3 year anniversary with ANK and I have built over 50 kits- more than one of everything, in fact, with one glaring exception. One of the first things I built in my first week at work at Audio Note Kits was a driver board for a Kit 1. I have worked on Kit 1 prototypes, I have done full mechanical builds of the Kit 1, I have built power supplies for the Kit 1, I have photographed the Kit 1 for manuals, websites and marketing materials. The one thing I have never done, however, is properly _hear_ a Kit 1, ANK’s original product. Until now, that is! Product development never ends at ANK, and the Kit 1 isn’t exempted from this process. We are establishing a new baseline Kit 1 with all the latest upgrades- Takman resistors, updated chassis, updated transformers, etc. I just finished this new “prototype” build a couple days ago, and all I can say is “wow!” I finally know where all the rave reviews come from. This is a really special amp, a sort of unique topology in the ANK lineup, and the sound is really nuanced and sublime. It’ll really suck you in!
The Kit 1 is kind of an “old school” kit, so I went with a slightly more organic old-school wiring layout. There is a method to the apparent madness though! In addition to taking special care as to where AC might interact with DC, and where signal might interact with sources of noise, I also try to think in 3D to make the most of the space inside to keep these elements separated. I believe this is somewhat visible in the last photo.