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Playing around with high end gears...with some surprsing results.


Andrew S.
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Yesterday I was at a mate's house (Jack's) with some pooled gear.

 

We went through Ocellia amp and speakers, 47 Lab Gaincard, Kondo Neiro 2A3 SET amp, Kondo Pre and Gakuoh 300B Push Pull, driving Lenehan ML1's, 47 Labs Lens and Avanatgarde Trio. Sources include 47 Labs Midnight Blue tuner, PiTracer + Gemini Dac, 47 Labs Koma TT and SPJ La Luce TT.

 

I got introduced to Beijing Opera. May I never hear it again.

 

The Trios just give you this wall of sound. I'm not a massive horn fan these days but really enjoyed the Trio's. They gave a sense of realism that was spooky. I had a hint of what the big Kondo's could do at the end of our session when they began to get some warmth in them: the system presented with a truly holographic sound field with beautiful tonality and timbre. Just wonderful. "Something Else" (Cannonball Addley) was a real treat on both TT's. The character being very different between them. The SPJ being super analytical and detailed and the 47 Labs being slower, more laid back. Very instructive.

 

I also loved the Berlioz played back on Jack's SPJ TT through the Horns. It was marvelous with great power and nuance.

 

 

Bass integration in Jack's room is an issue beneath 70-80Hz with certain types of music but that isn't news to anyone. Especially Jack. I really haven't heard decent bass integration yet in any hi fi system I have heard (except the Aussie SGR's - they nailed the sub 60Hz stuff - and some OB's bass drivers I have owned or heard). It is so hard - the room is the thing in these frequencies + getting the tonal quality right is very difficult between 2 disparate speaker types (box woofers and horns, ESL's and sub's for instance).

 

The highlight of the whole afternoon for me was the Kondo 2A3 integrated. It was simply the best amplifier I have ever heard. 7 watts per channel of Heaven. I very much want to hear it with my Quads....so they will be making a journey up to Jack's at some stage.

 

A little bit of magic happened when the 2A3 got hooked up to the 47 Labs Lens (which I have at home now for an audition and review). Deeply involving with layers of texture and the blackest backdrop you could think of. Being an ESL fan you can imagine how I love super fast single driver monitors. Without preempting more considered thought I can say they are the closest speaker I have heard to Quad 57's. More similar than different. Super fast, very precise imaging and a timbre that is perfect. Better than any other monitor I have heard for the sound I like. Useful extension down to the mid 60's as well. Listening to Ane Brun as I type. Gorgeous.

 

The Lenehans showed great promise. Clearly they struggled to perform with Jack's amps: with the most powerful being Jack's 50wpc gainclone they woke up a little but lost the magic the tubes gave them. I reserve until I have heard the system from which they came - Transporter + Supretek Pre + Passlabs 150 driving them. I suspect I will be well impressed with this combo. They certainly gave a performance that belied their size.

 

Now a word on the sources....the TT's were all well and good (great actually) but I generally preferred Jack's Pit Tracer & Gemini digital combo. Rarely have I heard CD presented so naturally - it was like the best of analogue without the downsides. Just beautiful. As good or better than I have heard in digital playback.

 

And I liked the 47 Labs Midnight Blue tuner - alot.

 

For me the standout among all this mega $$ gears was (well next to selling my left kidney for the Kondo Niero 2A3) the 47 Labs Lens. A 10 inch single driver front ported box that presently is doing duty in my main system with surprising results - they may not be my Quad 57's but they sure are close.

 

As an aside I have a MDHT Havana USB dac on order and will be comparing it to a) the 47 Labs USB Shigaraki dac and b) a AN Sig 2.1 I can get hold of.

 

Next time I'll also take up my MacBook with both Twilight and PV engines and see how they go against the 47 Labs Pit Tracer + Gemini - which is awesome.

 

 

Best Wishes

Andrew

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Thanks for sharing Andrew.

 

I've always had a lot of interest in the products of 47 Labs.

 

Re the Lens, how was the upper midrange? I thought I had heard that the Lens was quite a bit forward, perhaps even more off balance?

 

I'd love to get a single driver system I could really enjoy - for a second system / change of pace / etc.

 

clay

 

 

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Nice change from debates over dacs anyway...

 

Ummm...forward? I'll have to think about that. Maybe. Upper mids are great. It's a great little speaker for sure.

 

Edit - yup it is...ahhh...lively. Definitely got a bump somewhere where the toes want to tap - I guess around 4Hz or so: Very in your face. Sounds terrific but gets a little tiring after a while. Happily have them for a second pair. Very entertaining. Especially with certain types of music.

 

Best Wishes

Andrew

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