I had originally intended to make this my final post of “Listening Impressions” on my Audio Note Kits Kit 1 300B SET amp. Things do change, though, and as the amp continues to burn in I have had many very notable and unexpected moments of enjoyment, a few of which I’d like to share.

Over the last few days of listening, the Audio Note Kits Kit 1’s ability to throw an expansive sound stage seems to have increased quite a bit. This makes the experience of listening to even very familiar music that much more immersive and engaging.


I was listening earlier today to the Rhino LP Todd Rundgren Anthology (1968-1985) [Rhino/Bearsville LP R1-71491]. On Be Nice To Me, a heartrendingly gorgeous song, the Kit 1 conjured Rundgren’s high background harmonies with great spaciousness and his lead vocals, recorded very up front and “dry,” were presented with arresting presence, realism and  immediacy. As for the much better known hit song We Gotta Get You A Woman, the piano and rhythm section was wall to wall across the front of my listening room. I’ve never heard it sound that way before!

Over the last few days of listening, the Audio Note Kits Kit 1’s ability to throw an expansive sound stage seems to have increased quite a bit.


Also on LP, the fantastic Cuban jazz saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera’s album Why Not! [Columbia FRC39584] seems to have been recorded live in the studio with no (or very little) overdubbing. On the wildly energetic opening track, Gdansk (composed by D’Rivera in honor of Polish freedom fighter Lech Walesa) the placement of musicians in the studio, as well as the feel of the reverberant studio space, is superbly rendered by the Kit 1. The amp also nails the reedy tone of D’Rivera’s sax and the bite of the ensemble’s trumpet. It’s excellent.


Finally, as a long time James Taylor fan, I have often enjoyed listening to One Man Band [Hear Music CD HMCD2-30516], live concert CD recorded a number of years ago in an old theater in New England. The live version of My Traveling Star (a beautiful tune originally from Taylor’s October Road studio album) features a large chorus singing the glorious background harmonies. (Taylor introduces the song as featuring “something of a gimmick.”) Via my old, Manley gear, the chorus was clumped together, slightly to the right of center stage. But if you watch the DVD that accompanies the CD, you see that the “gimmick” was that the chorus had been prerecorded and was featured on a video screen that dropped from the ceiling of the theater above the stage. With the Kit 1, the chorus sounds much more spread across the stage, yet, at the same time, you can hear that the voices are emanating from two distinct banks of loudspeakers, which must be how this was done in concert. In addition to this little revelation, you can hear the hall ambiance and the separation of individual choral parts is extraordinarily fine.

I’ll have a few final thoughts to share about the Kit 1 over the next few days. To all of you who have shared this journey with me, thanks for checking in!

Until next time…


  1. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience. I’ve really enjoyed your build and your writing skills.

    I would love to tackle a DIY project and probably will. This will be a useful reference for sure.

  2. Rick,
    What a nice post! Thank you so much. It is very gratifying to know that people “out there” are getting something out of my efforts!
    I hope you do tackle a DIY audio project one of these days. I can’t tell you how gratifying it is to build something with your own hands and get these kinds of terrific results.
    In a future post, possibly the next one, I’m going to post a list of build tips for this particular project. There are a few things that, in hindsight, if I had known about while I was building a kid, would have made the project easier. Stay tuned for that.
    Thanks again!

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