It’s time to check in with VKMusic and Victor Kung, who I am convinced is actually on a mission from God. Victor and his wife once again ran the kind of simple marketplace table that would be ignored by most audio snobs. Point and laugh at those poor snobs, people. They have no idea what they’re missing.
VKMusic’s line of kits covers just about all the bases. Whether you’re looking for a cheap, Class D amp that will snap together like a Lego set or a 300b SET for under a grand, they’ll have something for you. Cheap desktop speakers? No problem. NOS DACs and CD transports? No problem. It’s all there, and it all costs less than a pair of audiophile-approved interconnects.
My favorite category killer remains the single-ended Elekit TU-8200DX integrated amplifier ($725). It’s a straightforward kit with huge upgrade possibilities. Even stock, it offers one of the most fun headphone outputs that I’ve heard at a show. Want to tame that LCD-3 without breaking the bank? This is your huckleberry. Want to make things better? There’s room on the board to upgrade the volume pot, and there’s plenty more space to add in some boutique capacitors. Want more power? Switch the amp over to pentode or ultralinear operation. Want a single box solution? Toss another fifty bucks at it for a built-in DAC. I want one for my office. If the speaker performance turns out to be half as good as the headphone performance, I want another one for my living room.
Now there’s a matching preamp for folks with more traditional needs. The Elekit TU-8500 will run you $495. It offers a three input 12au7 line stage and op-amp phono stage that can even handle low output MC cartridges. I can’t wait to get my hands on one.
If you’re even slightly comfortable with slinging solder, you owe it to yourself to get some of these kits before you drop any more money on power cables.