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Audio Note Dacs, transports and wire

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I haven't seen any discussion of Audio Note UK (AN) DACs, transports or ICs on this forum. I have heard several of their Dacs and transports (in shops and at shows), and i certainly have never heard anything so life-like and enjoyable. I finally broke down and bought one of their one-box players with a Dac 1.1 x/II Sig in it. I rewired the inside cable to AN-Vx digital and analogue and bought a AN-Vx interconnect, too boot. The sound just keeps improving (I also put some AN coupling caps in my deHavilland UV2 preamp, so many things are happening all at once). What i like most about it - and this is the main feature of all AN equipment - is that it makes music sound alive and vibrant, a pleasure to listen to. As you work your way up their line, this just gets better and better: music sounds more and more like real music.

The AN lexus cables, both ICs and speaker, are the best-buy I have found in cables period, even though the price has risen about 60% in the lat three years. They have fabulous detail for a copper cable, a little ear-friendly warmth, and lots of body. The AN-Vx is an all silver cable that adds detail, inner resolution, greater tonal balance, and a certain je ne sais quoi that makes music sound totally alive. This is not a screetchy, in-your-face silver cable at all.

To give you an idea of the "balance" in my headfi system: I have a 65% invested in my CD player, 15% in an IC and 20% in an amp (although I own 2 others that cost far less). I think this is about right.
post #2 of 24
I totally agree with you about Audio Note dacs. I have an old dac1 that I bought on Ebay years ago for $400. It still beats the three or four other dacs in the $1500. I've tried. The most analog-like dacs I've ever heard. When finances allow, I'm going to get the 2.1c kit.
post #3 of 24
It is something of a mystery why anyone would buy anything from the so called "Audio Note UK" given their origins and past actions. Kondo on the other hand...

post #4 of 24
That's interesting. I've always wondered why there were two Audio Notes with the same product names.
post #5 of 24
Originally Posted by dvse View Post
It is something of a mystery why anyone would buy anything from the so called "Audio Note UK" given their origins and past actions. Kondo on the other hand...

General Asylum: Dear friends of Audio Note Japan by Hiroyasu Kondo
Here's a different perspective:

I love my 2A3 amps from Audio Note UK. They sound better than Kondo's offering which I've also had.
post #6 of 24

Audionote (uk) and Kondo

I have heard both Kondo (Audionote Japan) and Audionote (uk) gear and found both to be terrific sounding (I own an Audionote (uk) Kageki amp).

I don't know personally what went on with the breakup in the business partnership between Peter Qvortrup and Mr. Kondo, but, I suspect that there is more to it than Mr. Kondo describes in the Audioasylum link. I was told by a dealer who carried both lines that more than the name "Audionote," used outside of Japan, and a distributorship was involved. This dealer said that Mr. Qvortrup gained control of some of the manufacturing equipment as well, particularly the machines for drawing the wire and making transformers. I don't know if this is true or not, but, I did notice that some Kondo gear stopped using proprietary parts and had off-the-shelf transformers (Tamura, if I recall correctly) in them.

In any event, as I said earlier, I think both product lines are terrific, whatever the truth behind the split. I have listened fairly extensively to an Audionote (uk) DAC 5 and a top of the line kit DAC. The kit DAC had all of the available parts upgrade and cost something like $3,800, which makes it a bargain, compared to the DAC 5 (or almost any other DAC I've heard). These DACs deliver a very natural, relaxed sound without obliterating detail or sounding sluggish. There is something special about these none oversampling DACS.
post #7 of 24
Originally Posted by Donald North View Post
Here's a different perspective:
General Asylum: Re: Audio Note of Japan (KONDO) by Peter Qvortrup - Audio Note (UK) Ltd.

I love my 2A3 amps from Audio Note UK. They sound better than Kondo's offering which I've also had.
The "different perspective" is little but a self-serving attempt to put spin on some pretty hard to justify facts. Indeed it's fairly damning even when considered on its own, outside of wider context.
post #8 of 24
So AN-UK believes that we'd never hear about Kondo without them "bringing him into the limelight"? Everything in his reply only served to substantiate Kondo's accusations imo.
post #9 of 24
I don't see any point in trying to read tea leaves and divining, from the scantest evidence in bulletin board postings, who is tell more of the truth. The fact is there are now two companies producing different, though similar gear. Both deserve to be considered and evaluated on their merits apart from issues surrounding the nasty divorce.

I like the sound of both lines. I prefer the looks of the Kondo line. As for construction/reliability, I don't know. My Audionote (uk) amp has been 100% reliable over the five years, or so, that I've owned it. A friend's DAC 5 Signature DAC has had to go back to England twice, I believe, in about seven years.

It has been a while since I've heard Kodo gear, so I hope someone can chime in on how the gear sounds now that Mr. Kondo is gone. Some companies can move on without the founder, but some cannot. I hope Kondo moves on successfully.
post #10 of 24

audio note dac

I just saw this thread. Unfortunately it seems to have petered out and or got bogged down in people taking sides in a business struggle.

I was hoping to find some discussion of audio note. I have a 1 1x sig dac I bought used from Audio Note Singapore a few years ago. It is a great dac and the only thing standing between me and more Audio Note gear is the cost of the items ... and the fact that I've never heard any of the products.
I bought the Dac blind (deaf?) on the strength of the reviews. I was not disappointed and it has held up well.

I love to hear the products further up the scale.
post #11 of 24
Do give them a listen. I am particularly fond of their preamps (take a look at their M9 phono for example) and amps, but the entire range is great.

Audio Note
post #12 of 24
Hi Donald,

I've seen and heard both the M10 (WAY too big and WAY too expensive), and M 8, but not the M 9. I bet the M 9 is something special. I had my eye on the M 8, but ultimately got something else (Emotive Audio Epifania, and Viva Fono), in part because of the lack of remote control. To a purist that may sound silly, but, I like being able to precisely set volume (critical to sound quality) and channel balance by remote. Still, the M 8 is terrific sounding.

For products below their absolute top levels of quality, kits may be the way to go. I am quite impressed with the sound of their top kit model DAC with all the extra trimmings (upgraded parts).
post #13 of 24
Hi Larry,

I'll be getting a M9 in the next few months to demo to a guy. I can't wait to hear it myself.

Yes, remote volume control is very nice I made a remote-controlled version of the Silver Rock for myself.
I like their lower-priced amps too. One long-time favorite is the OTO SE. MEISHU is good too (I'd love to hear a 2A3 version). I haven't played with their dacs in several years.
post #14 of 24

Wow, lucky you. You get to audition an M9 as part of "work." What kind of system is it going to be auditioned in and what kind of system will it go into if the customer actually buys it? Also, if the phono section is being auditioned, are you using a step up transformer?

As for your interest in 2a3 amps, I really like my Kageki (parallel 2a3 monoblocs). I know the 2a3 is a touch on the leaner, analytical side of things, compared to the 300b and the 45, but upper end extension and "air" is unmatched. I particularly like this amp with the EML meshplate tubes. Fortunately, the Kageki runs this somewhat delicate tube gently enough that I get pretty good life out of that tube.
post #15 of 24


Originally Posted by Donald North View Post
I like their lower-priced amps too. One long-time favorite is the OTO SE.
I have an older OTO SE which I am about to take out of storage. I will just bought and will be getting soon a stax transf. srd7-sb and a pair of lamdas. Since I like tubes behind stax, and since these are vintage products demanding less powerful amplification, I am hoping this will be a good combo. Alsso want to pair them with some amphion ions in a nearfiedl setup.
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