I purchased this unit in 2008 after much reading about the "Supreme" series on various internet forums, etc. It is in perfect operating condition. The only cosmetic imperfection is one, very small indentation/smudge at the top' left/rear of the casing (that went unnoticed for some time). The faceplate is perfect. After a lengthy listening period my opinion was that the amplifier lived up to it's reputation, in terms of overall balance, smoothness detail and control. However, I also read that it could be even better. I had to find out.
In 2009 I contacted Glenn McDonald (aka "Echowars") via the Audiokarma web forum and requested to be put on his waiting list for a complete refresh/update of the amp. In 2011, after two years waiting during which I moved from my house to an apartment, my number finally came up. Given the change in my living environment, I considered "cancelling the order". But, curiosity got the better of me. I just had to hear the Kenwood at its' best. So, off it went.
I got the amp back in September 2011 and have been enjoying it ever since. Simply put, it is outstanding! Unfortunately, it is also more that I am truly able to appreciate on a regular basis while living in an apartment. (This is why I am also selling my beloved Kef 104/2 loudspeakers.)
(The following information is from Echowars September email correspondence to me):
"The amp is done..."
- 100% of the original electrolytic caps were replaced
- The four large power supply caps, originally 15,000µf 71V were replaced with new Nippon Chemi-Con 18,000µf 75V units, and all were given a 2.2µf 250V film bypass cap
- Each channel of the power amp got 7 new transistors to replace some that are known to be less than reliable
- It also got two four new sealed Bourns offset trimpots, and two new Bourns bias adjust trimpots,as well as new zener diodes
- The amp had the original Sanken output transistors, and these are working fine. They were removed, cleaned, and reinstalled with new mica insulators
- The regulator board got all new zeners as well, and a few oversized electrolytic caps to lower the ripple a bit
- All the output voltages were custom trimmed with a resistor on the backside to bring the output voltage to within 3% of the desired value
- The startup delay cap for the relay was doubled in size to give about 4 seconds of delay when powered on (the stock cap kicks in the relay too fast)
- The speaker relay was replaced with a new Omron job
- All the preamp boards got new electrolytic caps
- All the caps of 1µf and under were replaced with stacked film caps, and the signal path caps were replaced with Elna Silmic II caps, which are some of the best around for this purpose. The rest are a combo of Panasonic FC or FM, and Nichicon HE or PW
- The stock AC cord was replaced it with a new 16ga appliance cord
- A new headphone jack was installed
- The pilot lamp was replaced with a new #192 lamp that should last a very long time
- All the switches and pots were cleaned with DeOxit and Faderlube
- Clipping measured at 135WPC; at the rated 100WPC, I measured 0.0125% THD+N @ 1KHz
Basically, the measured specs on this upgraded/refreshed Model 500 are the same as the advertised specs for the Model 600.
I have an old camera. So, the pictures aren't the greatest. If interested, I will send more by email... and try to make them come out better.
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