"Audio Note has spent far more time looking at the efficiency/speaker load issues in relationship to the low power SE triode amplifiers than anyone else, and I believe that our solutions are both original and effective. Unfortunately nature is as cruel as she is kind when it comes to efficiency, bandwidth, size and price, so we have to accept the inevitable compromises that she gracefully enforces."
Peter Qvortrup Founder Audio Note UK
Audio Note is regarded as a world class manufacturer of low power single ended valve amplifiers. Their long term commitment to this technology also extends to high efficiency speakers. Their first designs were based around the famous Snell type speakers, and after many years of development and fine tuning their range of high efficiency, easy to drive finished products are perfect for systems with tube amplifiers.
Audio Note also offer the AN-E type speakers as kits. This is great news, as it give audiophiles access to top of the range products at a lower price point. The speakers are set up at the Audio Note UK factory and sold by Audio Note dealers throughout the world. ANK Audiokits sells the Speaker Kits exclusively to customers in North America.
Unless you use dedicated tube friendly speakers such as these, you will not get the best out of your tube based music system. It is essential for maximum dynamics and bandwidth and the best reproduction of that wonderful midrange of the Single Ended Triode!
Audio Note Speaker Kit 02 & 03
High efficiency speaker kits designed especially for single ended triode amplifiers
The Kit 02 is our entry level model with copper voice coils and is superb value for money with the sound quality on offer.
The Kit 03 is the next step up with Silver Voice Coils and gives a more sophisticated presentation. The use of silver in the higher level Audio Note products takes the sound quality to another level, but obviously has an impact on the price.
The speaker kits come with a complete set of drivers, tweeters, crossover, bass port, hardware and drawings. Stands and Cabinets are available as additional options (see our shop pages and select your options).
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Audio Note Speaker Kit 04 (AlNiCo)
High efficiency AlNiCo speaker kit designed especially for single ended triode amplifiers
The Kit 04 has raised a great deal of interest since its introduction. It offers the ultimate in speaker performance with its AlNiCo, silver coil woofers and tweeters and precisely matched and calibrated crossovers. This is the first time a tube friendly speaker of this quality been offered as a kit.
What is AlNiCo? AlNiCo is an acronym that refers to the materials used in the magnets and is widely accepted as the ultimate material for speaker magnets as it offers superb tonal reproduction. The composition is made up of aluminium (Al), nickel (Ni), and cobalt (Co).
AlNiCo Magnet Dome Tweeter
The double AlNiCo magnet is mounted to a special soft iron top plate which acts as the focusing ring around the silver voice coil, the front mounting plate is made from aircraft grade soft aluminium.
The Audio Note AlNiCo magnet 1 inch dome tweeter became standard on Audio Note's top level finished products speakers, the AN-E/SEC Signature and the all silver AN-E/SOGON.
AlNiCo Magnet Woofer
The 8 inch AlNiCo woofers come with hemp cones and silver voice coils.
Integrated matched crossover and rear panel
The crossover parts are mounted on the back of the rear panels to keep wire lengths to an absolute minimum. Each crossover is matched to its woofer and tweeter at Audio Note UK - you will find that the number on the crossover corresponds to its matched woofer and tweeter.
The 04 speaker kit come with a complete set of drivers, tweeters, crossover, bass port, hardware and drawings. Stands and Cabinets available as additional options (see our shop pages and select your options).
...I put them together just yesterday; they have about 20 hours of playing time, including break-in. It may seem silly to post a review after such a short period of listening, but I do have 12+ solid hours listening, and at this point I know what I like and am able to form judgments quickly. I also believe in the value of early impressions...
...[The kits are very easy to assemble. Especially since I also purchased the solid-birch cabinets from ANK Audiokits which were perfectly made & finished.]...
The crossover seems to be absolutely, completely seamless. It is undetectable. The speaker is as coherent as any single-driver speaker (or planar) and sounds like a point-source with one voice.
The tonal balance is as perfect as I have heard. They are not bright, dark, tipped-up, recessed or anything else: they just 'sound like music' (to use the phrase that's become a cliche some love to hate).
They are astoundingly dynamic for a non-horn-loaded speaker. Actually, I think this is mostly because they are a horn-loaded speaker: the corners are their horns. This is the way they were designed to be used and the way I'm using them. I think the live cabinet also accounts for the excellent dynamics...
One of the best things that can happen to you when you first hear a new piece of kit is that you hear something that you have never heard before on a very familiar recording. Well, that is exactly the thing that happened on the very first track I played. I suspect this is due to the fine integration between the woofer and tweeter and also shows up a 'gap' in Tannoys' frequency response - something I had been told about being a shortcoming of dual concentric/integrated speakers.
They have vastly exceeded my expectations and I so wish that I had made this upgrade to my system a long time ago.
They also seem to have a kind of sparkle to them that doesn't just apply to the upper ranges. This makes acoustic tracks, especially, delightful as it brings out the natural vibration of the individual instruments. Perhaps some of this sparkle comes from the resonant features of the cabinets themselves? I am not sure but something nice, and out of the ordinary, is definitely happening.
I simply can't fault them as they totally outshine my old Tannoys and have brought a sense of musicality to my system that I have only heard a few times in the past at Hi-Fi shows. I recommend these speakers very highly indeed...
|Paul Brookes - UK|