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HeadAmp Blue Hawaii

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Just a quick question. Been looking around at various electrostats (future investment ), and more importantly amplifiers lately and that instictively brought me to Gilmore's designs. So my question is: Does HeadAmp / Justin still build and sell these or is it only the KGSS that he sells nowdays? Would one have to buy it used or have someone build it for you?

What was the price of the Blue Hawaii anyway? I seem to recall it being somewhat more expensive than the KGSS, but that was like tree or four years ago.
post #2 of 28
Justin no longer build the HeadAmp Blue Hawaii.
But since late last year he have been developing a HeadAmp Blue Hawaii Special Edition, which will be produced i 10 units only and expected to sell for ~$4-5000. More info here.

When in production I think the HeadAmp Blue Hawaii sold for $2500.
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
Alright, thanks alot krmathis.
post #4 of 28
The Blue Hawaii sold for 2500$ stock but there were a few options available. It should be easy to throw one to together if you have the plates made and order the transformer from Victoria Magnetics. It's not a beginners project but a little experience and common sense will carry you a long way.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post
The Blue Hawaii sold for 2500$ stock but there were a few options available. It should be easy to throw one to together if you have the plates made and order the transformer from Victoria Magnetics. It's not a beginners project but a little experience and common sense will carry you a long way.
Well, I'm educated in electronics and can handle a solder pretty well myself so throwing one together myself might not be a problem (when / if the time comes), reading circuit schemes isn't a problem either. It's just that I built a DIY amplifier years ago that I estimated would cost about $250, final price landed on like $500, so I've been kind of afraid of repeating the same mistake since then...

When you say plates do you mean circuit boards? I suppose as long as I have thoes, throwing one together shouldn't be that much of a problem.
post #6 of 28
With justin's previous amplifier the aristaeus i was absolutely the last
person to get mine. That was not going to happen this time. That
and my machine shop is way faster than justins.

I want to make it clear that this is 100% the work of justin wilson, i'm
just along for the ride. In the pictures below, the circuit boards are
the 100% ready production boards, and the rest of the machining is
me and my Fadal 4000. This is my personally owned and paid for
unit. (the kgbh-se that is, a fadal won't fit in my garage)

And yes, the thing is seriously sweet with a number of enhancements.

Warning as usual all pictures are king size.


http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22719.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22722.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22727.jpg

the top and bottom panels courtesy the fadal.
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22729.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22730.jpg

the top and bottom bars also courtesy the fadal.
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/bars.jpg


in listenable condition...
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22761.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22762.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22763.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22764.jpg

I should have front and back panels this week sometime.

Of course i really want the professionally finished stuff
from justin when it is ready, but immediate gratification
is just not fast enough anymore. You know i'm pretty
desperate when i machine my own chassis.
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin gilmore View Post
With justin's previous amplifier the aristaeus i was absolutely the last
person to get mine. That was not going to happen this time. That
and my machine shop is way faster than justins.

I want to make it clear that this is 100% the work of justin wilson, i'm
just along for the ride. In the pictures below, the circuit boards are
the 100% ready production boards, and the rest of the machining is
me and my Fadal 4000. This is my personally owned and paid for
unit. (the kgbh-se that is, a fadal won't fit in my garage)

And yes, the thing is seriously sweet with a number of enhancements.

Warning as usual all pictures are king size.


http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22719.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22722.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22727.jpg

the top and bottom panels courtesy the fadal.
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22729.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22730.jpg

the top and bottom bars also courtesy the fadal.
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/bars.jpg


in listenable condition...
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22761.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22762.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22763.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22764.jpg

I should have front and back panels this week sometime.

Of course i really want the professionally finished stuff
from justin when it is ready, but immediate gratification
is just not fast enough anymore. You know i'm pretty
desperate when i machine my own chassis.
Hehe, sure looks like a nice amplifier. Definately a summer project for next year.

Funny regarding the pictures though, they almost fit on my 22" widescreen... almost...
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindless View Post
Well, I'm educated in electronics and can handle a solder pretty well myself so throwing one together myself might not be a problem (when / if the time comes), reading circuit schemes isn't a problem either. It's just that I built a DIY amplifier years ago that I estimated would cost about $250, final price landed on like $500, so I've been kind of afraid of repeating the same mistake since then...

When you say plates do you mean circuit boards? I suppose as long as I have thoes, throwing one together shouldn't be that much of a problem.
Yesð I meant PCB's. I'm so used to talk about PCB's in the context of stators I keep calling them plates. The cost can get out of hand but odds are you will use better materials so it will be money well spent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin gilmore View Post
With justin's previous amplifier the aristaeus i was absolutely the last
person to get mine. That was not going to happen this time. That
and my machine shop is way faster than justins.

I want to make it clear that this is 100% the work of justin wilson, i'm
just along for the ride. In the pictures below, the circuit boards are
the 100% ready production boards, and the rest of the machining is
me and my Fadal 4000. This is my personally owned and paid for
unit. (the kgbh-se that is, a fadal won't fit in my garage)

And yes, the thing is seriously sweet with a number of enhancements.

Warning as usual all pictures are king size.


http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22719.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22722.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22727.jpg

the top and bottom panels courtesy the fadal.
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22729.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22730.jpg

the top and bottom bars also courtesy the fadal.
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/bars.jpg


in listenable condition...
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22761.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22762.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22763.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22764.jpg

I should have front and back panels this week sometime.

Of course i really want the professionally finished stuff
from justin when it is ready, but immediate gratification
is just not fast enough anymore. You know i'm pretty
desperate when i machine my own chassis.
The amp looks really nice but all that signal routing through the PCB brings back nasty flashbacks from some 70's designs but wire has it's own problems too. The important question is how does it sound?

So are you working on any DHT based designs for the SR-007? Those EL34's simply aren't big enough.
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post
The important question is how does it sound?

So are you working on any DHT based designs for the SR-007? Those EL34's simply aren't big enough.
It sounds absolutely wonderful. Dead quiet too. I'm going to have to build
at least one more.

I certainly know how to do a DHT based electrostatic amp. I even know
how to do a grounded grid version. The amount of additional iron necessary
to pull that off however requires a power supply that would be absolutely
gigantic. Or high frequency switchers for the fully isolated filament voltages
which i really don't want to do. Or car batteries, which i also don't want
to do.
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spritzer View Post
Yesð I meant PCB's. I'm so used to talk about PCB's in the context of stators I keep calling them plates. The cost can get out of hand but odds are you will use better materials so it will be money well spent.
Thought so.

The price mainly got out of hand for me due to the fact that the place I bought components from split the order up and sent the transformer as one package, internal components in another and so on. Shipping prices piled up after a while. Then I bought a set of tubes which cost me quite a bit, aswell as some 9-pin tube holders (couldn't find a better word...).

Guess you have a point though, at least when it comes to a fairly large project like this one.
post #11 of 28
I will say this version looks a bit simpler to build, though the psu looks a bit more complex... and, with less heat? Kudos for getting rid of the massive banks of the 2sa1968, which were the biggest pain to fab sinks & mount.

My BH (only possible by the gracious help of both Dr Gilmore AND Justin) cost me roughly $1800 in parts, including about $400 for attenuators. It is not a go-it-alone type project, IMHO.

BTW, anyone know how many BH exist, in whatever form?
post #12 of 28
pabbi,

The amp uses the same amount of power but the larger heatsinks outside of the chassis will do a much better job keeping the amp cool. The tubes' current sources are also new as you noticed.

The power supply is greatly improved, the tubes get 2 minutes to warm up and then the high voltage slowly comes on. This will be much easier on the amp and the power supply components

I built around 12 of the original Blue Hawaii and will be building 10 of the new KGBH SE (about half are reserved at the moment). I don't know how many are in the world, but I would guess it's around 25-30

HeadAmp Audio Electronics - home of the Pico and Gilmore amps.  Now with Audeze, Fostex, HiFiMAN, Sennheiser, and STAX.
Find us at www.HeadAmp.com

Reply
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pabbi1 View Post
I will say this version looks a bit simpler to build, though the psu looks a bit more complex... and, with less heat? Kudos for getting rid of the massive banks of the 2sa1968, which were the biggest pain to fab sinks & mount.

My BH (only possible by the gracious help of both Dr Gilmore AND Justin) cost me roughly $1800 in parts, including about $400 for attenuators. It is not a go-it-alone type project, IMHO.

BTW, anyone know how many BH exist, in whatever form?
That's not too bad. I would expect it to be significantly more expensive. Guess that's excluding tubes? Getting a two pairs of matched EL34s might be kinda expensive...
post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin gilmore View Post
With justin's previous amplifier the aristaeus i was absolutely the last
person to get mine. That was not going to happen this time. That
and my machine shop is way faster than justins.

I want to make it clear that this is 100% the work of justin wilson, i'm
just along for the ride. In the pictures below, the circuit boards are
the 100% ready production boards, and the rest of the machining is
me and my Fadal 4000. This is my personally owned and paid for
unit. (the kgbh-se that is, a fadal won't fit in my garage)

And yes, the thing is seriously sweet with a number of enhancements.

Warning as usual all pictures are king size.


http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22719.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22722.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22727.jpg

the top and bottom panels courtesy the fadal.
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22729.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22730.jpg

the top and bottom bars also courtesy the fadal.
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/bars.jpg


in listenable condition...
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22761.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22762.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22763.jpg
http://gilmore.chem.northwestern.edu/g9f22764.jpg

I should have front and back panels this week sometime.

Of course i really want the professionally finished stuff
from justin when it is ready, but immediate gratification
is just not fast enough anymore. You know i'm pretty
desperate when i machine my own chassis.
Looks nice so far!
I am desperately waiting for some pictures of the end product before I decide if the Blue Hawaii Special Edition is the right one for me. It need to have the same professional, well machined, look as the Aristaeus for me to bite on it.

Can't wait!
post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin gilmore View Post
It sounds absolutely wonderful. Dead quiet too. I'm going to have to build
at least one more.

I certainly know how to do a DHT based electrostatic amp. I even know
how to do a grounded grid version. The amount of additional iron necessary
to pull that off however requires a power supply that would be absolutely
gigantic. Or high frequency switchers for the fully isolated filament voltages
which i really don't want to do. Or car batteries, which i also don't want
to do.
You can always use another Blue Hawaii

I find that the SR-007 needs an even more powerful amp then the BH so DHT's are the best way forward. Massive Japanese iron for the PSU is a necessity and massive film caps to compliment them. I'm going to throw something together to see if this is indeed the way to go. I've pretty much decided to use 845's for output duty as they are cheap and sound great. Everything else is hard as the drivers need to be massive so something like a SV572 would do the job but they are out of production and the prices are climbing. Still much cheaper then a 300b. I will probably have a single ended input stage with a transformer doing the phase splitting for the push pull output stage. I really want to try a transformer coupled amp for some insane reason.

Quote:
Originally Posted by justin w. View Post
pabbi,

The amp uses the same amount of power but the larger heatsinks outside of the chassis will do a much better job keeping the amp cool. The tubes' current sources are also new as you noticed.

The power supply is greatly improved, the tubes get 2 minutes to warm up and then the high voltage slowly comes on. This will be much easier on the amp and the power supply components

I built around 12 of the original Blue Hawaii and will be building 10 of the new KGBH SE (about half are reserved at the moment). I don't know how many are in the world, but I would guess it's around 25-30
The old version gets pretty warm but that's a good thing up here in the frozen north. The delay on the HV line is a good move as the Chinese tubes don't last long in the old version. The Valve Arts you shipped with my amp were starting to show signs of wear after about a month but the Mullard XF2's are still perfect after 3 years.

There are no plans for a tube rectified PSU for the Blue Hawaii? That is pretty high on my to-do list after building a 845 based amp. It would definitely add a
different tone to the sound and the small caps make it even faster.

Btw. It's pretty cool that my amp is one of 12 made. How many were silver?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindless View Post
That's not too bad. I would expect it to be significantly more expensive. Guess that's excluding tubes? Getting a two pairs of matched EL34s might be kinda expensive...
EL34's can still be found dirt cheap, I've bought quite a few quads of Mullard XF2's for under 200$ each and you can't do much better. The new stuff is much cheaper. The difference in tubes is huge and it's hard to stop using the Mullards after you've heard what they do.
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