HiFi Bargains: SACThailand Minute EL84 Integrated Amplifier

I purchased the fully-assembled SACThailand Minute EL84 Integrated Amplifier back in 2006 for $325 (it was also available in kit form for $295) pegging its 14-year use cost at around $28/year. That, my friends, is a HiFi Bargain.

I came across SACThailand back in 2006 when working on a review of the AudioTropic Musical Machine integrated amplifier which employed output transformers from SACThailand. When I spied with my little eye the diminutive Minute on the SACThailand website with its single pair of EL84 output tubes [footnote 1] for a whopping 1wpc of output power in Triode mode or 2.4wpc in Ultra-Linear Class-A, I knew I must make a Minute mine.

In additional to the aforementioned EL84s, a single dual triode 6072A tube, Wima coupling capacitors, and the company’s SILK S-503 output transformers sit in the signal path.

All supplied parts include Audio grade Kiwame Carbon film resistors, Carbon Composite resistors, MKP Wima coupling capacitors, Elna Cerafine bypass capacitors, Ceramic PCB sockets, JAN or Electro-Harmonix 6072A tubes, high quality connectors and switch, ALPS RK27 blue, SILK transformers, UF-1010 ultra fast recovery diode, classic aluminum anodize chassis.

When you’re talking about 1  – 2.4 watts of output power (1.5 watts/Peak Triode, 4 watts/Peak Ultra-Linear), you’re also talking about the need for some very (very) easy-to-drive speakers. I’ve been using my Minute with an original pair (with the binding posts residing on the top) of the single-driver Horn Shoppe Horns. These days, this combo provides our ‘home theater’ sound along with the Schiit Multibit Bifrost DAC. And let me say, this system does a great job with movies and music (streaming from Tidal) bringing as much boom boom into the room as we desire.

The little single RCA input Minute is nice and solidly built and the only thing I’ve had to do to it over these past 14-years is change the tubes and dust.

Original SACThailand Minute Specifications

Stereo Vacuum Tube amplifier feature EL84 running in either Triode or Ultra-Linear Class-A with zero Feedback
Power Output: 2.4 watt/RMS (4.0 watts/Peak) when run in Ultra-Linear Mode, 1.0 watt/RMS (1.5 watts/Peak) when run in Triode Mode
Total Harmonic Distortion: less than 5% at RMS power
Frequency Response: 20-40,000Hz (-3.0dB) at RMS power
Noise figure: below -80dB
Power consumption: 40 watts
Average Interior temperature: 65C (max), 49C (normal)
Dimension: 26 x 34 x 11 cm. (W x D x H)
Weight: 6.2 kg.

1. I’ve never heard an EL84-based amplifier sound bad