The time has come… Saturday, 6 July 2008… The Aikido Blind Test session at Tubelover, South Jakarta, Indonesia. Total we have 11 contenders today. All with John Broskie Aikido Pre-Amplifier design. Some use the original PCB ordered from here and some prefer their own point-to-point design. Various tubes are here, small 9 pin tubes, Octal, and also the miniature like 6111WA and 6021.

Here is some snapshot from the event.


We use the Jadis Defy 7 Push Pull Power Amplifier rated around 100 Watts RMS (twelve 6550 tubes). The speaker is Tannoy Stirling with Fostex Super Tweeter. The CD Player is Audio Research CD3 MkII.


One system is not enough. We also have another setup. The second setup is full solid state system from Linn (Linn Majik CDP and Integrated Amplifier also Linn Speakers).

The reference Pre-Amplifier is Blue Circle BC5 (around US $7.000, I think).


Mr. Arif Wicaksono is configuring the Linn Integrated Pre-Amplifier on the top of Jadis Defy 7.

The first winner of the day. Standard Aikido Stereo 9 pin PCB with 6×4 and IRF830 tube/MOSFET regulator. Simple design, great result.


The second winner. Not much detail that I can remember. But you can see the tube rectifier and 6SN7 tubes I believe.


The 6111WA and 6021 also could sneak into the 3rd position. Well done, since this is also a simple design and small package Pre-Amplifier. The AC Filament contributes to its musicality although it uses silicon rectifier.


All the contenders gather on the center of the room.


Adjusting level before the competition. We want to make sure that all Pre-Amplifiers have same “loudness” level.


The amazing 10Y tubes in Aikido configuration. Too bad it doesn’t sound as good as expected due to the parts shortage (the owner doesn’t have stock for high end components, so he only uses “el cheapo” Nippon Chemicon capacitors for power supply, too low capacitance in coupling, cheap metal film resistor, etc). Next time, this one should sounds better. The WE 274A rectifier helps this system a lot!


Believe me, it’s not a PC. It’s an Aikido based Pre-Amplifier. Classic but creative solution from Mr. Paul Yahya.


The 1st winner, Mr. Didik Wiryawan (left) receives the “gift” from Mr. Arif Wicaksono (host/Tubelover).


The three champions (from left to right, the third to first winner). As you can see from the photo above, the third winner (6111WA-6021, in front of the “giant” 10Y) has the smallest Pre-Amplifier form factor compared to the others. But he could win the third position and beats the rest 8 contenders. Small tubes doesn’t mean “small” sound, right? 😉


All the audience and also judges for today event.


The beautiful 10Y tubes. These 8 tubes light very bright. We do enjoy the light from these tubes. Hope next time it will sound as good as it should.

The overall competition is very tight. Almost all the Pre-Amplifier shares the “similiar” sonic signature, although all of them use different tubes and components. The judges (including me) need to push our ears to the limit. We need to concentrate to find the best winner from those 11 contenders. We just realize that this Aikido design is very good and not very “picky” in terms of tube and component selection. Almost all tubes could share similiar sounds. Most of the time, you have to really concentrate to hear the different. Some of the Pre-Amplifier (let’s say 10Y) are not good when connected to the Linn Integrated (Solid State). We suspect this due to the higher output impedance from the 10Y tubes which can’t be handled by Linn Integrated, so the result is poor sound output. This is just a prediction. We need to investigate more.

This thing also happens to some of the Pre-Amplifier. Some Pre-Amplifier sound good when connected to Jadis Defy 7 (Push Pull Tube Amplifier), but sound bad/worst when connected to Linn Integrated, but some sound ok when connected either to Jadis or Linn. So perhaps some of these Pre-Amplifier are picky with the Amplifier and some not.

So, that is the show. Special thanks to Mr. John Broskie from TubeCAD who has invented very good Pre-Amplifier design. This event is dedicated from Indonesian Audio DIY Community for you, Mr. Broskie!