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  #1  
Old 15th March 2018, 10:47 AM
300BG 300BG is offline
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Question Which do you prefer?

Quick question I have both the K5881 MK2 and KaT88 and I've been listening to them both.
I need to rationalize my amps as we are downsizing so the question is, which of the above two amps do you prefer and why?
Thanks

Brian
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  #2  
Old 15th March 2018, 04:12 PM
bob orbell bob orbell is offline
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Default Re: Which do you prefer?

Silly question Brian, only you have the answer. BOB
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Old 15th March 2018, 07:44 PM
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Phil Y Phil Y is offline
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Default Re: Which do you prefer?

Hello Brian,

I have only heard a K5881 briefly and never compared the 2 but you could argue that if you have no particular speakers in mind, the KiT88, being more powerful is a more versatile amp. It could be used with a wider range of speakers, but as BOB says, it is really only you who can decide which you like best !

Phil.
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Old 16th March 2018, 08:58 AM
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Default Re: Which do you prefer?

The question was, which of those two amps would WE prefer, and why.

I don't see that Brian was asking anyone to decide for him, just asking for personal experiences.

Nowt wrong with that.
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Old 16th March 2018, 09:01 AM
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Default Re: Which do you prefer?

Not a silly question at all. Brian asked which do you prefer and why? Obviously what Brian prefers will be a subjective conclusion he will reach on his own.

I have listened to both versions of WAD 5881, owned WAD KaT88 and listened extensively to WD88XL. I have also listened to several other commercial amps with KT88 output stages. My general observation is the 5881 is a softer less dynamic sound compared to KT88 options which seem to have greater punch and authority. I prefer the KT88 but YMMV.
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Old 16th March 2018, 09:49 AM
FreddieT FreddieT is offline
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Default Re: Which do you prefer?

I have both the 5881 Mk2 and a WD88XL and Greg's experiences tally with mine. The 5881 has a sweet top end to my ears, but the KT88 edges it in terms of punch and authority. This is the one I use daily.

The 5881 has tapped output transformers which may help speaker matching (the 15 ohm tap is unusual but useful for some). I am fortunate that the 6 ohm outputs on the KT88 match my speakers rather well.

It is worth carrying output ground lift modification on the K5881 (it is hum prone) and the 75mV input sensitivity is a nuisance; requiring attenuators even with a passive pre for everything except old FM tuners, phono stages and tape decks with low outputs. The K5881 is responsible for me giving up on transistor heavyweights when I used it as a substitute for a Naim NAP250 (yes!!) when the Naim needed a repair. The money raised selling on my Naim kit was used to buy the Phono3, WD88XL (following Matthew kindly lending me one) and a Pre3 based preamp (I added remote control and eventually the Pre4 was born). I still had change. It was interesting that much of the Naim kit went abroad - the 250 went down under.

So the K5881 has a special place in my collection - although one day I ought to let it go to a home where it gets more use.

F.
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Old 16th March 2018, 11:46 AM
bob orbell bob orbell is offline
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Default Re: Which do you prefer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg. View Post
Not a silly question at all. Brian asked which do you prefer and why? Obviously what Brian prefers will be a subjective conclusion he will reach on his own.

I have listened to both versions of WAD 5881, owned WAD KaT88 and listened extensively to WD88XL. I have also listened to several other commercial amps with KT88 output stages. My general observation is the 5881 is a softer less dynamic sound compared to KT88 options which seem to have greater punch and authority. I prefer the KT88 but YMMV.
Ah, OK Greg, English never was my strong point, . BOB
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Old 17th March 2018, 05:16 PM
300BG 300BG is offline
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Default Re: Which do you prefer?

It's difficult for me to decide one over the other.
I agree the KaT88 is like a heavy weight boxer after a flyweight has left the ring. Very bold and full of confidence. The K5881 is light and delicate persuasive without shouting.

If I could have only one I would go with the K5881 to me it's just more engaging 😀

But sometimes you want a punch in the head and for that you need the KaT88 👿
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Old 17th March 2018, 05:50 PM
bob orbell bob orbell is offline
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Default Re: Which do you prefer?

If I could have only one I would go with the K5881 to me it's just more engaging 😀
Like I said, only you have the answer.
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Old 17th March 2018, 11:43 PM
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Default Re: Which do you prefer?

So, Brian, clearly you have a dilemma so many others have also had. For me, in this situation, Id be looking at how much fine and micro detail is being revealed. Looking for subtle sounds such as voice fine detail (breathing etc) or the modulation in a violin string can be a revelation, however, I would think the ultimate goal is, within any and all your limitations, what sounds comprehensively best to you. An authoritive sound with a fine detail presentation is generally difficult and expensive to achieve. I would always prioritise the slam and authority over a fine detailed presentation. When money and time allows, progress to a system that does both slam and nuanced detail. IMHO, this is for many, the grail most audiofiles (audiofools&#128514 are after. In terms of priority, I would always load weight, slam and authority before fine detail and sound nuances, although my ultimate desire is to have both reliably reproduced in my listening room.
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