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Akitika GT-108 Stereo Amplifier Kit Review

Rate this amplifier kit:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 103 46.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 99 44.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 8 3.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 12 5.4%

  • Total voters
    222

worktheweb

New Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2024
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Ok, of the 185 people that rated this kit a 1 or a 2, how many of you have actually assembled it? If you haven't actually assembled it and listened to it I really don't see how you can rate it. That's ridiculous. It's like asking my mother for her opinion on something.

Here's a hypothetical to illustrate: "Say Bob, how is Restaurant X?" Terrible. "Terrible, really? What was the food like?" I didn't eat there. "Say what?" :facepalm:

That said, I recently assembled a GT-104 kit. I have 4ohm speakers so that makes the most sense. MB Quart 2000 towers circa 1993. Recently as in I finished it yesterday 3/21/24. I wanted something more challenging than the Pass ACA kits that I had assembled previously. This kit did not disappoint. It was exponentially more complex than the ACA kit! So complex I decided to build one channel twice. Well, not deliberately. I'll explain.

I spent the extra money for the printed manual which was well worth it. I have a laser printer but why print B/W when I can have a bound color copy of the instructions? The manual has clear steps and a checklist for every single component. For the amplifier components there's 2 columns, one for each channel. Mine has a 3rd column. :p I assembled everything then during final checking I realized I had swapped a 25 for 25K resistor on one board and had mixed up some diodes. I should point out I wasn't super careful with diodes on my first channel. Every component with a multiple is on a strip and I separated some diodes then realized I could barely tell them apart. My confidence on that channel was low. I fixed all that stuff then wired everything up and put it in the chassis for final testing.

Power supply had proper voltage, the LEDs lit up on each amp channel and the protection relays clicked on as expected. I went to adjust the bias voltages and realized I had 0V on each channel. Hmmm. Started troubleshooting although didn't really know what I was looking for. Mistakenly shorted two diodes with the lead of my volt meter and saw a spark. Oops, hope that doesn't come back to haunt me! (It did). Gave up and emailed tech support at Akitika and fessed up about the short. Got an email reply and a text message almost immediately which was pretty remarkable. Dan (the owner of Akitika) responded and said based on my symptoms I had most likely reversed the two driver transistors. I took a look and that is exactly what I did. Sigh. I unscrewed the heatsink and amp assembly which was complicated by the fact I had smeared heat sink compound on the bottom of it. I have a nice Hakko desoldering gun so I made short work of the transistors and retested. Still no bias voltage and this time no LEDs. Aw crap. Disconnected the amp boards and tests one at a time. The left one, the one I had messed up the diodes on, worked great and I was able to adjust bias. The one I shorted was ungood and actually made the power supply go into protection and shut down.

I emailed Dan back and gave him the good/not good news and he and I made plans to get together the next day. He wanted to talk with me about what happened, what I did, etc. We talked for over 40 minutes and he walked me through some troubleshooting. After frying a resistor during testing he concluded that I had more than likely blown an output transistor and who knows what else. I could start shotgunning replacement parts but his recommendation was that I buy another channel. I agreed and he sent me an invoice and shipped it the next day. I assembled that channel in record time and it worked perfectly.

I've done some initial listening and like what I'm hearing so far. Clarity is great, bass control is also very good. Going to play background music and stuff for a few days and get into more serious A/B comparisons next week. I bought one of the Neohipo VU meters based on Amir's review (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0CLP33P5D) so I can switch amps without rewiring. The Neohipo is cool plus if you forget to turn it on the sound just passes through on the last selection you were using. I'll compare the GT-104 to my parallel mono ACAs and probably against my Proton AA-1150 which is also 50wpc.

So do I recommend this kit? Hell yeah! The customer support I received from Dan was fantastic! I had a lot of fun putting it together. Tons of components to identify, measure, then solder. I kinda Zen'd out during assembly. The most important part of this kit though is - I built this. 1.5 times in fact. Heh. My only goal was to see if I could handle a more complicated kit especially one that has received so many positive reviews for sound quality. I looped back with Dan and let him know I completed it and that I was going to post a review to this thread. He replied and congratulated me and said he's updated the manual to reflect my failures, er experience. :cool: He may or may not respond here. I might buy the preamp kit to see how it sounds compared to the Nutube kit I built from DIYaudiostore.com.

I edited this to add pix of the amp and of the manual. My wire runs inside the amp were cleaner the first time I assembled it. Not gonna lie, 2nd time through I was impatient. You can also see heat sink compound smears on the heat sink which I may or may not clean off.

Bob J.
 

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ta240

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 7, 2019
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I do not work for the company, just own one of the Z4, @amirm Is there a direct email for Dan to chat with you?
On the main page https://www.akitika.com/ there is an "Ask a Question" link that opens up an email to dan at akitika.com

The funniest thing about the review...Amir seems bothered by the flat THD characteristic. He praises its low noise...that's why the THD limit is so flat-ish...the NAD he shows is dominated by noise, that's why its THD is so high at low levels.

GT-108 has very low noise, so its THD doesn't rise at low levels.

His main complaint..

1. He wants more power for the bucks...OK
.....................
It's a very good review...the only thing ASR complains about is low power output for the money. Compared to many amps, this is however a very good value.
It is the modern way for reviews that I see so often on here: it isn't perfect for me, so it is bad! I haven't seen anyone that has built this complain of a lack of power. There is a good sized group of people here that don't seem to realize that most people never turn their music up as loud as they do. If you have power hungry speakers and you like to have your neighbors feel your music then probably don't build this.

What is weird to me is that the reviews can be very forgiving of things that would be considered bad like noise between songs, loud pops when powered on/off, reliability issues, lacking customer support, or lacking warranty support but if it doesn't hit a power per dollar output then it is junk.

It is similar to the way that harmonics are grouped in with all the other noise and distortion even though it has been shown to not be the same when listening. Sure if you want to consider anything 'added' to the music as bad, that is fine but actually state that. Simply say "It isn't technically perfect but the distortion that is there is not as bad as other types" or "The power output isn't where my listening demands would need it, but if X number of watts is enough for you then this would be fine"

In this review the fact that it is bought by most people as a kit is continually overlooked. We've even had commenters quote the assembled price as still needing assembly. Find me any other complete kit, where you actually solder components on circuit boards, that performs better than this. I honestly don't believe this product has any competition.

I often get the feeling that it is more about punishing companies that have the nerve to produce things that don't meet the standards as perfect than it is about informing shoppers. Reviews that are about informing prospective customers say "here are the good things, here are the bad things, here is who this is for, here is who it isn't for". But then you can't have the celebration that inevitably happens, from people that would never be a customer for the product no matter the review, when a component just gets a bad rating. I realize bashing things online is an actual hobby now.
 
Last edited:

JasonC331

Active Member
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Messages
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Isn't it pretty poor performance for the price? Plus all the work? I don't get paying $600+ and then probably several hours of your valuable time for a 70-ish dB SINAD...?
His samples come in at 83+, I don't see too many A/B amps getting 83+ even some that cost more than 5-10 times this.
 

JasonC331

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
Messages
138
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68
Location
Suwanee, Ga
Ok, of the 185 people that rated this kit a 1 or a 2, how many of you have actually assembled it? If you haven't actually assembled it and listened to it I really don't see how you can rate it. That's ridiculous. It's like asking my mother for her opinion on something.

Here's a hypothetical to illustrate: "Say Bob, how is Restaurant X?" Terrible. "Terrible, really? What was the food like?" I didn't eat there. "Say what?" :facepalm:

That said, I recently assembled a GT-104 kit. I have 4ohm speakers so that makes the most sense. MB Quart 2000 towers circa 1993. Recently as in I finished it yesterday 3/21/24. I wanted something more challenging than the Pass ACA kits that I had assembled previously. This kit did not disappoint. It was exponentially more complex than the ACA kit! So complex I decided to build one channel twice. Well, not deliberately. I'll explain.

I spent the extra money for the printed manual which was well worth it. I have a laser printer but why print B/W when I can have a bound color copy of the instructions? The manual has clear steps and a checklist for every single component. For the amplifier components there's 2 columns, one for each channel. Mine has a 3rd column. :p I assembled everything then during final checking I realized I had swapped a 25 for 25K resistor on one board and had mixed up some diodes. I should point out I wasn't super careful with diodes on my first channel. Every component with a multiple is on a strip and I separated some diodes then realized I could barely tell them apart. My confidence on that channel was low. I fixed all that stuff then wired everything up and put it in the chassis for final testing.

Power supply had proper voltage, the LEDs lit up on each amp channel and the protection relays clicked on as expected. I went to adjust the bias voltages and realized I had 0V on each channel. Hmmm. Started troubleshooting although didn't really know what I was looking for. Mistakenly shorted two diodes with the lead of my volt meter and saw a spark. Oops, hope that doesn't come back to haunt me! (It did). Gave up and emailed tech support at Akitika and fessed up about the short. Got an email reply and a text message almost immediately which was pretty remarkable. Dan (the owner of Akitika) responded and said based on my symptoms I had most likely reversed the two driver transistors. I took a look and that is exactly what I did. Sigh. I unscrewed the heatsink and amp assembly which was complicated by the fact I had smeared heat sink compound on the bottom of it. I have a nice Hakko desoldering gun so I made short work of the transistors and retested. Still no bias voltage and this time no LEDs. Aw crap. Disconnected the amp boards and tests one at a time. The left one, the one I had messed up the diodes on, worked great and I was able to adjust bias. The one I shorted was ungood and actually made the power supply go into protection and shut down.

I emailed Dan back and gave him the good/not good news and he and I made plans to get together the next day. He wanted to talk with me about what happened, what I did, etc. We talked for over 40 minutes and he walked me through some troubleshooting. After frying a resistor during testing he concluded that I had more than likely blown an output transistor and who knows what else. I could start shotgunning replacement parts but his recommendation was that I buy another channel. I agreed and he sent me an invoice and shipped it the next day. I assembled that channel in record time and it worked perfectly.

I've done some initial listening and like what I'm hearing so far. Clarity is great, bass control is also very good. Going to play background music and stuff for a few days and get into more serious A/B comparisons next week. I bought one of the Neohipo VU meters based on Amir's review (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0CLP33P5D) so I can switch amps without rewiring. The Neohipo is cool plus if you forget to turn it on the sound just passes through on the last selection you were using. I'll compare the GT-104 to my parallel mono ACAs and probably against my Proton AA-1150 which is also 50wpc.

So do I recommend this kit? Hell yeah! The customer support I received from Dan was fantastic! I had a lot of fun putting it together. Tons of components to identify, measure, then solder. I kinda Zen'd out during assembly. The most important part of this kit though is - I built this. 1.5 times in fact. Heh. My only goal was to see if I could handle a more complicated kit especially one that has received so many positive reviews for sound quality. I looped back with Dan and let him know I completed it and that I was going to post a review to this thread. He replied and congratulated me and said he's updated the manual to reflect my failures, er experience. :cool: He may or may not respond here. I might buy the preamp kit to see how it sounds compared to the Nutube kit I built from DIYaudiostore.com.

I edited this to add pix of the amp and of the manual. My wire runs inside the amp were cleaner the first time I assembled it. Not gonna lie, 2nd time through I was impatient. You can also see heat sink compound smears on the heat sink which I may or may not clean off.

Bob J.
I bought mine from Dan (pre-made and tested), and I will take it over any of class D that I own, it won from 11 people over a NAD M23 in a small listening test with this amp. It sounds amazing when made correctly!
 

ta240

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I bought mine from Dan (pre-made and tested), and I will take it over any of class D that I own, it won from 11 people over a NAD M23 in a small listening test with this amp. It sounds amazing when made correctly!
Listening tests are only valid when they reinforce the overall view of this site. They can be used to show that tubes and class a amps are terrible or that class D is better than class A/B but they won't be accepted as proof that A/B is preferred to D. In fact, even without listening you can get away with saying those things about the specified amps. ;)
 

Spkrdctr

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 22, 2021
Messages
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2,972
You have not lived until you toast some electronic devices. When I was a youngster but after I was a police officer, I was working in industrial electronics and I had lots of engineers on tap if needed. So, I would have them swing by with their coffee cup and see what I was destroying er, ah I mean testing. I figured out pretty quickly they had never seen a cap explode or transistors fry or the smoke set free in a device. So, I would tell them to stand back and then I would crank up the power A LOT. Soon I usually had white smoke billowing out of whatever was on the bench. Their faces always said it all. Every single one of them smiled from ear to ear. They loved seeing stuff go up in smoke. They had never done it. They really had a nice morning and you could tell it was going to be a fond memory for a long time. I should have charged them money! LOL

So, wear your ruined transistor on your chest like a medal. You can say you have been there and done it. Walk a little straighter and puff out your chest some too!
 

JasonC331

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Messages
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Location
Suwanee, Ga

JasonC331

Active Member
Forum Donor
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Feb 28, 2021
Messages
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Likes
68
Location
Suwanee, Ga
I had a probkem soldering the grounding part. Dan jumped on a skype call to help me fix it... how's thay for service!
That is another thing, his customer service is some of the best in the business! He wants all to enjoy. He retested an in-house sample at 3 am after I sent him these results. If anyone has a question he will call you in a second and does everything for a customer
 

JeremyFife

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Great review, and discussion.
I don't do any DIY or electronics so initially I simply looked at the measurements and voted low (not terrible).
The discussion has evolved: some nostalgia, some recognition that this is a good learning tool and some lovely interaction with the actual designer.
In some cases, there actually is more to this hobby than measurements :)
Updated my vote to Fine and I'm reading on with interest.
(still not tempted to try to build anything)
 

Ze Frog

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View attachment 357441

A User Testimonial​

"Completed the GT-108 and all went according to your excellent Assembly Manual, which is reminiscent of the old Dynaco and Heath kit manuals. Very well done indeed. Particularly enjoyed the Theory of Operation section.

More importantly is how excellent the GT-108 sounds. It is dead-quiet through my Cornwall III's. The improvement to the clarity and richness of the sound, compared to my Yamaha R-S500 receiver's PA section, was impressive, like getting brand new eyeglasses. You might be interested to know that my preamp and source include a Schiit SAGA S preamp and MANI phono preamp, Pro-Jext Debut EVO turntable with a Nagaoka MP-200 cartridge. The system sounds just fantastic now, thanks to your GT-108.

Best Regards

Fort Worth Audiophile"


from https://www.akitika.com/GT108.html
Lol, the power of the cult, no religion has ever garnered such blind faith.
 

Ze Frog

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What? For that price you get this mediocre performance, low power, basic design and have to put it all together by yourself??
Having it D.I.Y helps with the illusion though.

When you D.I.Y something like this you feel more connected to it and your mind tries to vindicate your handy work by convincing you it sounds better. I D.I.Y speakers, first few pairs I thought were the bee's knees, but they were actually not that great at all, took time and lots of comparing once the giddiness of making it my own subsided. It's a really smart move, I mean if this company made them as ready to go, then there's far more chance someone might spot things wrong, and it's also a double win because you save on production costs and if it should sound bad to someone, well they will think they messed up.

To be fair, it is pretty cheap, and there is something magical about D.I.Y audio gear, only that magic obviously doesn't show in measurements, lol. Still, likely interesting to a novice at putting electronics's together.
 

teched58

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That is another thing, his customer service is some of the best in the business! He wants all to enjoy. He retested an in-house sample at 3 am after I sent him these results. If anyone has a question he will call you in a second and does everything for a customer

If he's so customer servicey, how come he hasn't answered the question about if/when the preamp is gonna be available again?
 
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