The AKSA GK-1 is a hybrid solid state/vacuum tube line preamplifier which couples program sources to the AKSA power amps. The GK-1 is available as a complete kitset in two options; GK-1 Entry Level offers single stereo input and output and level control without source switching; and GK-1M, manual variant, offers five way source selection. (GK-1R, the remote variant, is no longer available as the full featured version will shortly be available as a retail product called the Swift.) The Manual GK1 is available with an optional MM phono section of exceptional performance. The M version is simply constructed to complement the Entry Level, which serves as the common foundation and contains all the analog circuitry.
The purpose of the GK-1 is to add that indefinable tube romance and palpable 'thereness' to a spectacular, solid state power amplifier. The GK-1 deepens and widens the sound stage, and further adds musicality, greatly enhancing the listening experience. This unusual product brings palpable engagement and emotional communication to a long listening session. It makes you smile, sets your foot in motion, and brings the ocassional tear to the eye. The GK1 is a very real, inexpensive alternative to a large, expensive, and costly-to-maintain multistage tube preamplifier.
The GK-1 is the ultimate step up from the Nirvana TLP, with further enhancements to channel separation, sound stage, bass definition and musical involvement. It is designed without compromise for premium sonics, with absolute high end goals. The GK-1 is completely dual mono throughout, including two custom wound power transformers, and it uses no less than six onboard discrete power supply regulators. The volume control is fully buffered, gain is 6dB, bass is tight and punchy, yet wonderfully musical. Midrange is so rich one could swear the performer is in the room, and the top end offers a crystalline sweetness which is a revelation. Soundstaging even confers height; difficult, almost impossible to render with most components. All these qualities are in no way diminished with the phono option, which is configured for Moving Magnet cartridges of 47K impedance.
The GK-1 permits use of very long interconnects whilst preserving full compatibility with the AKSA and most other power amps. This preamplifier adds that mystical "warmth" associated with tube audio equipment, yet delivers solid state resolution, impact and drive. This is power with glory at its beguiling best....
BUILDING THE GK-1:
The GK-1 Entry Level kitset comprises:
A high grade PCB, two tubes (valves), all components, full power supplies, including two custom manufactured premium quality, grain-oriented EI transformers, special audio taper dual gang volume control, four gold RCA sockets (Stage 1) for inputs and output, IEC power socket and fuse, teflon-coated hookup wire, solder, with extensive and detailed instructions. The constructor is also offered full email support and backup.
The GK-1M kits contain the Entry Level kitset plus an input/switching pcb, proprietary British high quality rotary switch, four 2x2 gold plated pcb mount RCA sockets, associated wire, two gold plated C&K Switches, and the option of MM phono. (On sale from March 2003).
WHAT YOU NEED TO SUPPLY:
Because the AKSA kitset has been conceived as "high end audio for everyone" the choices you make for the case/enclosure are dependent on your preferences and budget. You can either buy a regular stock item, make the enclosure, or have it custom built by a metal work shop. The enclosure should be at least 320mm wide, 300mm deep, and 75mm high. These are optimum dimensions, but they may be changed within certain parameters.
TOOLS AND FACILITIES:
MM Phono Stage
A very high quality phono stage of astonishing synergy with the AKSA products is offered as an option. This feature is not available with the GK-1B Entry Level, but is incorporated into the input/switching pcbs of the M and R variants. The phono used two stage active feedback/passive EQ, and exploits the very latest in IC technology to offer very low noise levels, and unique, musical treatment of the ubiquitous clicks and plops which plague the vinyl medium.
Imaging is a great strength of this circuit, and it is possible to clearly discern height as well as depth and width in the soundstage.
The components for the phono stage are sold as a supplement to the GK-1M and GK-1R kits.