The Wolf Ear Audio Thread. Kitoki Impressions and Discussions.

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Wolf Ear Audio

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I just listened to Halie Loren's Crazy Love, and that is the way I feel about this amp. It is shockingly good.
I had to check out who that artist was. I'm glad I did, because the music was quite nice to listen to!

restrav

I am very interested in demoing this amp. I dont have that many posts but I have been a member in diyaudio for years now and here for 2 years. I have already been part of a Grado headphone tour on Headfi.org. I just acquired a very nicely made full range speaker specifically designed for tube amps.
« Last Edit: 16 Mar 2016, 09:44 am by Dadbeh »

Wolf Ear Audio

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I am very interested in demoing this amp. I dont have that many posts but I have been a member in diyaudio for years now and here for 2 years. I have already been part of a Grado headphone tour on Headfi.org. I just acquired a very nicely made full range speaker specifically designed for tube amps.
At this time I do not think I will be adding anyone else to the tour, as it looks like it run fairly long as it is. If anything changes, I will b sure to post here about it. However, if you are interested in purchasing, all my products come with a 30-day in-home satisfaction guarantee, so if it does not match well with your system you can always return it, less shipping costs.

OzarkTom

I hate this amp. It is time I send it to the next listener.

Just when I thought I was off of the amplifier merry-go-round, this amp shows up and proves me wrong. Now I must sell some of my excess equipment and buy me one.

I guess it is my fault.  :duh:

mike_w

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I just listened to Halie Loren's Crazy Love, and that is the way I feel about this amp. It is shockingly good.

On your recommendation, Ozark Tom, I picked up Halie Loren's Heart First CD.  Amazing disc, thanks for your post!  It is a great performance and sounds amazing on the Kitoki. 

What I did not expect from getting this amplifier is how I would critically start to listen to other parts of the system.  After replacing the integrated amplifier, I had to find a phono preamp.  That arrived a couple of days ago, so I am listening to vinyl now with the Kitoki, which is proving to be fun.  Now, looking at the Rega, I am wondering if I can do better there too for a reasonable cost?  Also, those old speaker wires could probably be improved on...

Ah well, at least I am having a good time with the music and the Kitoki!

Best regards,
Mike.

OzarkTom

The Kitoki amp has left the building. I want to thank Wolf Ear Audio for being on their tour.  This is one tour amp I am seriously going to miss. Review still oming.

Wolf Ear Audio

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The Kitoki amp has left the building. I want to thank Wolf Ear Audio for being on their tour.  This is one tour amp I am seriously going to miss. Review still oming.
Thanks for participating. I hope you enjoyed your time with it!

Andrew

mresseguie

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Well, I'm impressed so far.  :thumb:

Any higher wattage models in the pipeline? (18w to 35w)

Regards,

Michael


Wolf Ear Audio

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Well, I'm impressed so far.  :thumb:

Any higher wattage models in the pipeline? (18w to 35w)

Regards,

Michael
Sorry for the late reply. I have intentions to do some higher wattage models, but it probably won't be until 2017, realistically. I can't give more info than that at this time. I have a couple new products that I should have ready in the next few months that hopefully will be exciting for headphone users!

OzarkTom

I should get my review up and running. To make it easy on me, I could copy and paste all of the above reviews. But here are some of my personal notes.

Since I had tube issues that delayed me, I forgot that Andrew had included one of his personal power cords. I had a good power cord hooked up, but Andrew's was even better,  smoother and more dimensional.

The Kitoki, as someone else here mentioned is fast. My Zellaton's has to have a fast amp to sound right. Most tube amps with transformers sounds slow and sluggish.

The Kitoki sounds better plugged straight into the wall than into a line conditioner.

As much fun as the chip amps are, this amp is a few steps up. And as for power, the Kitoki plays my Zellatons as loud as a 25 watt chip amp.

I could go on and on, on how fun this amp is. It will play your best recordings very  lively, and it will play your bad recordings very listenable. I sure hated  to see this tour amp leave. I need to be like Mike and buy me one.  :thumb:

Thanks Andrew for the tour!

G Georgopoulos

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The Kitoki sounds better plugged straight into the wall than into a line conditioner.



thanks for the tip mate... :thumb:
can you please explain why?

OzarkTom

thanks for the tip mate... :thumb:
can you please explain why?

It sounded more open and dynamic in my system.

I forgot to mention, I used the IFI Itube as a pre, a great synergy between the two. These two together make a great value.

mike_w

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It sounded more open and dynamic in my system.

I forgot to mention, I used the IFI Itube as a pre, a great synergy between the two. These two together make a great value.

Hi OzarkTom,

I was curious how using the Itube would complement the Kitoki.  Being pretty new when it comes to using tubes, I am wondering if I would notice a difference when running a DAC into the iTube first and then the Kitoki?  If you run the signal through the iTube first, do you use the variable gain stage of the iTube and put the Kitoki volume control at the maximum setting?

Cool to read that you noticed the speed of the amplifier too.  That was one of my first reactions and I didn't expect that from a tube amplifier.  The solid state amp has actually moved from the shelf to the closet...

Thanks,
Mike.

OzarkTom

Hi Mike,

The ITube has a 3D circuit that can be switched in or out. It adds a little pzazz to the imaging.

Wolf Ear Audio

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Just finishing up the chassis layout for my two headphone amps. I'm really excited about it!

seikosha

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I’ve a had a great time with this Kitoki amp, and have been fortunate to be able to spend quite a bit of time with it since the next person on the list is on vacation until the end of April.  For a few years now, my reference amp has been the little 2 Watt Decware Zen powering Omega Alnico and RS5 monitors.  It’s been a match made in heaven with a lot of synergy, and even though I’ve had numerous amps pass through my listening room the last couple of years, at the end of the day, the Zen always seemed to stay on top.
First some notes, my listening room is small at 10*12.  Having a small room, I quickly learned that I’m never going to be able to have any sort of visceral bass in this space, which is fine because I’m not a bass head anyways.  My priorities are midrange purity, imaging and transparency and these are what I focused on in this writeup.

The Kitoki is the first amp I’ve had that competes with the Zen.  The differences are so slight that there is no way I could pick one over the other.   Both are transparent, fast, dynamic, detailed and image like crazy.  For a first product, Wolf Ear Audio is showing an awful lot of promise.

When I unpacked the amp and set it on the shelf, I instantly got an “oh no” it’s broken experience.  Before turning it on, I wanted to turn the volume all the way down and as I grabbed the nob to gently turn it, nothing happened.  It felt like it was locked in place.  Nope, it was just that the clicks on this volume control are so tight, with such solid and positive steps that you really did need to grip it and turn it.  I liked it!
For the first time ever, when putting an amp in my system, I couldn’t tell within a minute what the differences between it and the Zen were.   After some hours of play, I did start to get a handle on where they differed, which for me, was primarily in the upper midrange.  On some female vocals, the little Zen can exhibit the tiniest amount of glare.  Is it a fault of the Zen or the recording?  I don’t know.  However with the Kitoki in the system, I soon noticed that when this glare was present, the Kitoki took it away;  all of the sudden, some recordings with the slightest bit of glare, now sounded smooth and perfect.  No hint of any glare at all was present.  However, the flip side was that occasionally, with for instance some male vocals, I’d lose just the slightest bit of raspiness that would really make a vocalist come alive; things were smoother, but ever so slight.  I’d compare it with sitting a couple of rows back from a live acoustical (non miked) performance when you were already near the front.

I’ve got a Decware Mini Torii using 6V6/6L6 tubes that does a wonderful job on female vocals, making them seem even smoother than the Kitoki, but there are times with the male vocals that it just sucks the life out of them too much making some recordings unenjoyable.  The Kitoki never did that; I never had the desire to switch it out.

Another area which the Kitoki shined was its quietness.  No question, solid state or tubed, this is the quietest amp I’ve had in my listening room.  With an amp connected and plugged in, I’ve always been able to hear (with my ear next to the driver) either the slightest bit hum or a slight hiss.  It’s the nature of dealing with high efficiency single driver speakers.  The first time I tried this with the Kitoki, I was shocked.  I didn’t hear a sound.  I actually looked over to see if the amp was on.  That was a first in my experience.  Later I tried the same experiment in ultra-quiet early hours of the morning, and I could just barely sense the slightest bit of hum.

During my listening hours with the Kitoki, on more than a few times, I said to myself.  “I think this amp might be giving me a little more of the “blacks” between both the notes and the spaces within the soundstage.”   Perhaps this was an artifact of its quietness.

All of the above were my impressions with the SV83 tubes.  I have spent a few hours now auditioning it with the EL84’s. Just as with the Decware, EL84’s are interchangeable in the Kitoki.  In the past, I’d rolled some TAD EL84’s with the Decware and wasn’t super impressed.  The sound became less dynamic, lost volume and just became too polite.  When I threw in the Tung Sol supplied EL84’s into the Kitoki, I smiled.  Yes, the EL84’s seemed less powerful but they were still very dynamic and not soft sounding like they were with the  Decware.  “Ahhh”, I thought….”now here is something really tangible that I can write about explaining how the Kitoki differentiates itself!”  But then I on a whim I figured, I better try these Tung Sols in the Zen as well and sure enough, they showed that it was the tubes, not the amp that had initially turned me off to EL84’s.  Overall, the EL84’s retained much of the SV83 sound just sort of relaxing every thing across the spectrum.  They were nice and very listenable.

So it looks like I have another week before I have to think about shipping this amp out to the next on the list.  As I said, I don’t have much listening on it with the EL84’s so I’ll try to get more time with those tubes  and I have yet to touch the beautiful Power Cord and Interconnects that Andrew included.  I’ll follow up with some impressions when I’m done.

Really all I want to do now is just turn on the amp and enjoy it.  Sometimes when you have a nice amp, it’s not so much fun to “review” it, you’d rather just turn it on and appreciate it which is what you want to do with this Kitoki.

Wolf Ear Audio

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Had a bit of an issue with a customer getting some bad NOS Japanese tubes and thought I would share my thoughts on them.
It took out about half the output stage on both channels of the customers amp. All fixed up now, but, as both the tubes each took out their channel they were plugged into, suggesting it was the run of tubes they came from and not just a single bad tube. I also tried them in my personal amp and it almost instantly fried a bunch of parts in the output stage (the Japanese tubes were sent to me along with the amp so I could check them out).
We only warranty for the matched tubes included with the amp, so I would suggest you be careful about where you get your tubes from (If the 6P15P-EV tubes included aren't your thing, I really like the new production Mullard tubes in this amp and know they work well)
My suggestions for now is just to stay away from NOS Japanese EL84/6BQ5 tubes.

Wolf Ear Audio

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Just thought I would let everyone know that I have my own circle now!
I am very happy to be a part of this community and thought it was about time to become a bigger part of Audio Circle!

Wolf Ear Audio

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I have a B-Stock Kitoki unit I will be putting up for sale in the next couple days. There is nothing wrong with it and it is not a used unit, but the anodizing didn't come out as well as the other chassis, so I will be discounting it down to $1500 CAD ($100 off regular price).
I thought I would let everyone here know and get a chance to get it before I post it on my website.
If interested shoot me an e-mail. It can still have the other upgrade options added as well if interested.

Wolf Ear Audio

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Re: The Wolf Ear Audio Thread. Kitoki Impressions and Discussions.
« Reply #79 on: 15 Sep 2016, 08:18 pm »
I've been tinkering with some pretty serious changes to the driver stages in my spare time and I'm really liking it!

I'm not quite finished playing with it yet, but once I am it will definitely be getting added to the options for the Kitoki on my web page.
This change will not be using the 6N1P for the driver, but instead be using an EL84/6P15P-EV instead!

It is by far my favorite change and adds some pretty serious authority to this already awesome amp and has the desirable side effect of decreasing the overall distortion as well while still remaining an amp that uses no feedback!

As it is not yet available on my web page, if interested, please feel free to send me a message or e-mail.