FYI There is no "Upgraded" or "V2" Willsenton R8


Some have said the R8 had been upgraded so I contacted China hifi.

I just received this email from China Hifi:

 

The R8 tube amplifier has never launched an MKII version, and has kept its original model and performance parameters unchanged. The factory has not made any major adjustments to the performance and circuitry of the R8.

The performance and sound characteristics of the R8 amplifier remain original. The factory will not change the model without public notice. The MKII version circulating on the market is purely misinformation.

We will maintain communication with the factory. If there is indeed a major upgrade or revision of R8 in the future, we will notify you in time. Thank you for your understanding and support. If you still have any questions, you can contact us at any time.

Willsenton Audio Factory and China-hifi-Audio

chedga

The only thing I see is people talking about tube upgrades and a couple mentioning DIY upgrades. Can you site a specific instance?

It seems Willsenton and dealers do not want to admit there were improvements made.

This lady has made a lot of changes to the Mark I R8, just search her videos.

She’s the reason I went with a Muzishare X7 over the R8, because if I ordered the R8 the was no way to find out if it was the improved version.

She talks about a Mark II here, go to around 4:50 minute mark in the video...

 

Seems like it would be pretty easy to prove if they upped the size of the caps. Someone is lying. 

My guess is that no, there is no MkII of the R8. Willsenton is to decide to call an updated model like that, which does not mean that nothing was changed in the R8. As they say:

“The factory has not made any major adjustments to the performance and circuitry of the R8. The performance and sound characteristics of the R8 amplifier remain original.”

From what I know it’s not uncommon to make little changes while a model is in production and that’s what they say: nothing major was changed. And whatever was done does not affect the sound. So there’s no reason to call it MkII. It seems that Willsenton grudginly acknowledges that Skunkie was right with her criticism of the circuitry, made changes accordingly and prefer not to acknowledge her input.

Hard for the company to ignore the web modders of this unit who have been doing and showing their work online, and who have given their reasons for their work. Willsenton has been trying to compete in the market as a full-featured product brand but they have unintentionally become a producer of a product base for an equipment modding community who tear the units down and replace stock components and rework the wiring scheme, then move on to tube rolling. I am sure that isn't where Willsenton wanted to be. This started with end users trying to fix real defects in the product.

 

 

@chenry what web modders are you referring to? It’s seems like there is only one YT personality focused on modding this amp, she also seems to be the only one saying there were major revisions and referencing a mk2 version. Has Willsenton been selling flawed amps and then quietly fixed all these issues without any formal notice? Is it possible a YouTuber is trying to make a name for herself and boost sales for her business? Like I said, if they made obvious changes like changing cap values it should be simple to confirm exactly what they did. I haven’t sat through her entire r8 video catalog, but I didn’t come across any before or after segments or sound demos when I skimmed through.

Ok before anyone jumps down my throat, it appears skunky designs isn’t a business, and she isn’t doing content for financial gain beyond donations that I can see.  She also doesn’t list any electrical engineering qualifications or certification licenses of any kind.  It just says she’s a hobbyist.  I guess that’s good news in that may lesson her liability if she ever got sued.  She may also be on the hook for libel if the guys at Willsenton feel their reputation has been damaged by her content.  If a kind lawyer out there reads this please drop her an email and provide some helpful guidance.  I’d hate to see her get sued when it appears she is just trying to be helpful to the diy community.  Maybe she could add a few disclosures to the videos and website.  

Good luck with that claim. She pretty much did a Cook’s Tour of the amplifier showing the things that weren’t good quality and the components that were below spec. She has nothing to worry about on the issue of "libel," not least because her attention was drawn to the device when she was consulted on a remedy for a major failure of one unit which she identified the defect in design and created a solution to fix it, which then Willsenton implemented ("please tell the jury why, if it was OK already, as you say it was".) Willsenton then also improved the quality of the resistors and capacitors, some of which were under spec, and a choke, also under spec. She compared it to a Muzishare amp at the same price point, which is totally fair game for consumer review.

She isn’t offering engineering consulting services, so the point about professional credentials is moot. She is a skilled hobbyist AFAIK.

YT isn’t the only web venue where R8 modders are active, they are on AK, Reddit and probably other places I have not seen. I have seen other mods different from hers on YT as well.

Willsenton made improvements in component quality and resistor placement. The overall design as a KT88/EL34 push-pull octal tube design didn't change. The amp has been a successful product in its original production and will presumably continue with its un-announced improvements.

Companies are not required to create named editions of products, which should be obvious.

I just confirmed my R8 has a 180ma choke which I could see without removing the bottom plate. My resisters look the same as the ones in the video, so I’m thinking willsenton implemented these mods over time. But I can confirm there are revisions with at least some of the parts changing over time. Not sure if these result in sonic benefits but I’m more inclined to believe skunky in thinking the revisions should at least make the r8 a little more robust. ChinaHiFi is being a bit careful in their wording and should have acknowledged these changes regardless of whether or not they result in sonic benefits.