Corsonus Kodachi - new electrostatic amplifier
Dec 7, 2020 at 10:02 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 29

project86

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Feb 21, 2007
Posts
7,770
Likes
4,273
Over the past few years, I've been steadily divesting myself of my Stax collection. It started with my SR-009 and SR-404LE - two products which I loved but just didn't use all that often. Then came the SR-007mkII which was the best example of that particular model I could find (after trying over half a dozen sets). Finally, earlier this year, I did the unthinkable - I sold my beloved and increasingly-rare SR-4070 monitors. Many regrets followed. Thankfully, all of them seemed to go to loving new owners who had more time than I to appreciate their electrostatic goodness. And I still have my custom KGSSHV and the excellent Kaldas Research RR1 to keep me company.

CSC_0012.JPG

The buyer of the 4070 was a particularly refined collector, who brought up an interesting topic... he asked if I'd heard the Corsonus Kodachi electrostatic amplifier. Not only had I not heard it, I had not even heard of it. I admit that I can't keep up with every new release that comes up around here, but given my enjoyment of electrostatics I figured I'd be on the ball in that area. Apparently not.

After checking out the Corsonus product page, I was intrigued, and thankfully got a chance to demo the amp for myself.

DSCF1334 (1).jpg

Justin Chow is the man behind Corsonus, the name of which has Latin roots - the Heart (cor) behind the Sound (sonus). Justin has been around the forums for ages (even longer than I have) and has been working as a professional classical musician as well as moonlighting with DIY designs. He has some bold ideas for new products in the works, but for the moment Kodachi ($3600) is the first and only Corsonus product.

Justin was kind enough to send over a prototype Kodachi for me to play with, as well as his personal set of Stax SR-009 to supplement my Kaldas RR1. No promises were made other than I'd check it out and see what I thought. After doing so, and hearing about Justin's other ideas, I'm excited to see what the future brings. Of particular note is the fact that Justin is not only doing everything in the USA, but actually in-house for the most part - I won't go too much into detail for the moment, but it's extremely ambitious.

DSCF1347 (1).jpg

I'm working on a more thorough write up, but for now wanted to get some discussion going and show off this beautiful design. Yes, it's a rough prototype with some blemishes, and the PSU enclosure is a slightly different shade than the amp itself, but it's enough to give you a great idea of what we're dealing with. The amp is a hybrid tube/SS design and comes stock with Tung Sol 6SN7GTB tubes. Buyers can opt for Psvane CV181-Z or Shuguang Treasure WE6SN7 for an additional cost (I used the Psvane). I paired the Kodachi with the Sonnet Morpheus DAC fed by the matching Sonnet Hermes streamer, grabbing music from my custom server via Roon.

DSCF1423 (1).jpg

Listening with the SR-009 as well as the Kaldas RR1 was extremely enjoyable. My KGSSHV gives a faster yet comparably more edgy tone, with larger dynamics but also less emotion and tonal warmth - particularly in the midrange. The Kodachi is uber-smooth, but still has superb detail, and pairs just perfectly with the SR-009. The RR1 is darker and the pairing still sounds great, so this is not strictly a warm amp for use with bright Stax models - even with the rich flavorings of the Morpheus, it still retains enjoyable top-end extension and plentiful detail.

DSCF1348 (1).jpg

I'll add more impressions and comparisons as soon as possible. I know there are a few others out there with this amp and I'd love to hear their thoughts and see their rigs as well.
 

Attachments

  • DSCF1333 (1).jpg
    DSCF1333 (1).jpg
    3.7 MB · Views: 0
  • DSCF1336 (1).jpg
    DSCF1336 (1).jpg
    3.3 MB · Views: 0
  • DSCF1337 (1).jpg
    DSCF1337 (1).jpg
    3.4 MB · Views: 0
Dec 8, 2020 at 6:50 PM Post #2 of 29
Hmm... this looks interesting. I look forward to what else you have to say about this amp. Unfortunately the review on YouTube was not very helpful.
 
Dec 9, 2020 at 11:47 PM Post #3 of 29
I haven't watched that video but I knew it was coming as I sent the amp/009 to him when I was done with it. I agree with your assessment and we'll leave it at that.

My biggest takeaway from the time I spent with the Kodachi is that it's pretty unique in the world of stat amps. It's comparatively warmer and smoother than a BHSE or a Carbon. But I wouldn't call it "dark" per se. It doesn't sound like any of the Stax branded units. It's worlds better than the Woo amps imho, on pretty much every level (I guess I'm not much of a fan of their work). It's got a beautiful tonality, highly engaging midrange, generous and well-controlled low-end, and somewhat forgiving treble which still gives plentiful detail.

Because of this somewhat unique balance I found it equally at home with the uber-detailed SR-009 as well as the dark/rich Kaldas RR1. Wish I still had my SR-4070 as I imagine that would be a superb combo.

And rolling tubes makes a pretty significant change to the sound as well. I only tried the Tung Sol and the Psvane so I barely scratched the surface, but I can already tell there is gobs of potential there for tuning to a specific preference.
 
Dec 12, 2020 at 9:24 AM Post #4 of 29
Interesting KGSSHV. :wink:
5718880.jpg
 
Last edited:
Dec 12, 2020 at 10:20 AM Post #5 of 29
Nice looking small unit, I like that (and the visible valves!). The sound description reminds me what I say about my tiny SRA-3S. And the price is a bit more accessible than other electrostat amps. Unfortunately, I cannot reach their website at the moment.
But what worries me again, and again : (except Paltauf, but their amp costs $1000 more!) why do all these modern amps (like Stax itselfs does, what I don't appreciate at all) omit the normal bias socket ? Is it such a shame, or "old-fashioned", to use normal bias Stax headphones ?? Adding a NB outpout would not require a lot of extra cost, and I think it would lead more users to purchase this kind of amp, when you know, for instance, that he NB Lambda is one of the best Stax of all times.
 
Mar 29, 2021 at 7:54 PM Post #7 of 29
Interesting KGSSHV. :wink:
5718880.jpg

Nice! Mine is from Geoff (Headinclouds), and I love it. Best KGSSHV I've ever heard, and I actually might like it better than the Carbon my buddy uses. They both have appeal but the Carbon does not blow mine away by any means.

Nice looking small unit, I like that (and the visible valves!). The sound description reminds me what I say about my tiny SRA-3S. And the price is a bit more accessible than other electrostat amps. Unfortunately, I cannot reach their website at the moment.
But what worries me again, and again : (except Paltauf, but their amp costs $1000 more!) why do all these modern amps (like Stax itselfs does, what I don't appreciate at all) omit the normal bias socket ? Is it such a shame, or "old-fashioned", to use normal bias Stax headphones ?? Adding a NB outpout would not require a lot of extra cost, and I think it would lead more users to purchase this kind of amp, when you know, for instance, that he NB Lambda is one of the best Stax of all times.

Yes, the pics of it alone made me think it would be larger but in person it is very compact and manageable. The Corsonus website has never been down for me, not sure what the issue was when you tried but it works fine right now.

As far as normal bias capability - I assume it's just because we are already dealing with a niche product (stats in general) and normal bias earspeakers are something of a niche within a niche. True, it doesn't add much cost, but it's something that the majority of customers likely won't use... so asking them all to subsidize the cost might not make sense.

I suspect Justin at Corsonus may be able to customize an amp with that option, but you'd have to double check with him.

Good to see another manufacturer in this space. I am just getting into the electrostatic journey.

Nice! It's a fun path indeed, especially if one is ready to "settle down" with something they enjoy for the long term. There are always new dynamic and planar launching that make big promises, but Stax doesn't really play that game.
 
Mar 29, 2021 at 9:28 PM Post #8 of 29
Nice! Mine is from Geoff (Headinclouds), and I love it. Best KGSSHV I've ever heard, and I actually might like it better than the Carbon my buddy uses. They both have appeal but the Carbon does not blow mine away by any means.



Yes, the pics of it alone made me think it would be larger but in person it is very compact and manageable. The Corsonus website has never been down for me, not sure what the issue was when you tried but it works fine right now.

As far as normal bias capability - I assume it's just because we are already dealing with a niche product (stats in general) and normal bias earspeakers are something of a niche within a niche. True, it doesn't add much cost, but it's something that the majority of customers likely won't use... so asking them all to subsidize the cost might not make sense.

I suspect Justin at Corsonus may be able to customize an amp with that option, but you'd have to double check with him.



Nice! It's a fun path indeed, especially if one is ready to "settle down" with something they enjoy for the long term. There are always new dynamic and planar launching that make big promises, but Stax doesn't really play that game.
Haha. A year far too late, friend.

I am the one whom brought this design to Geoff. I also agree, I preferred the build to the Carbon.
 
Aug 4, 2021 at 7:56 PM Post #10 of 29
Got this on loan a couple days ago and really enjoying it so far with my Shangri la Jr. I dare say I think I am enjoying it more than the Formula S + Power man -> Susvara but will give it more time.

226007008_364151788650689_8256831452651259965_n.png


Unfortunately I do not have as much experience with other estats or energizers. The only other energizer I have in-house is the Stax SRM-007t which so far (understandably) doesn't compare to the Kodachi. Haven't experienced 009 for more than a few minutes, so can't draw that comparison either. I can say this is a great sounding setup and will post some thoughts and impressions in a week or so. :)
 
Aug 4, 2021 at 10:50 PM Post #12 of 29
Aug 5, 2021 at 4:40 PM Post #13 of 29
Got this on loan a couple days ago and really enjoying it so far with my Shangri la Jr. I dare say I think I am enjoying it more than the Formula S + Power man -> Susvara but will give it more time.

226007008_364151788650689_8256831452651259965_n.png


Unfortunately I do not have as much experience with other estats or energizers. The only other energizer I have in-house is the Stax SRM-007t which so far (understandably) doesn't compare to the Kodachi. Haven't experienced 009 for more than a few minutes, so can't draw that comparison either. I can say this is a great sounding setup and will post some thoughts and impressions in a week or so. :)
For the price point, with the complexity of the case for heat dissapation, is it made in the US or does it come from Asia? Also any inside pictures of the power supply and amp section?
 
Aug 5, 2021 at 5:28 PM Post #14 of 29
For the price point, with the complexity of the case for heat dissapation, is it made in the US or does it come from Asia? Also any inside pictures of the power supply and amp section?
From the website, it appears that the energizer is designed and manufactured in-house in the USA
1628198824333.png


As for inside pictures, I don't feel comfortable opening it up, but maybe the builder @mypasswordis may be able to provide some
 
Aug 5, 2021 at 5:30 PM Post #15 of 29
Justin, the guy behind Corsonus, is a long-time forum dweller (longer than me) and DIY builder. I won't go into his whole background as I'm not sure what he wants out there, but he is extremely invested into building the brand. To quote one of his early messages to me:

"I design and manufacture everything in-house, from CAD, CAM, fixturing, machining, circuit design, board layout, coding, and more. I just researched and built my own anodizing setup to finally resolve a bottleneck/supply chain issue."

So yes, made in the USA for sure, and he's got a lot of interesting ideas for additional products in the works. If his execution even partially matches his ambition, we should see some great stuff in the future.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Back
Top