First impressions of Audio Note OTO Phono SE Signature integrated amplifier

I have the pleasure to enjoy Audio Note OTO Phono SE Signature amplifier in my system, guys. Peter Qvortrup, the owner of Audio Note UK, was so generous to sent me one unit to test and review. In my initial email to him I simply stated that I am interested in this pure class A single-ended amplifier that would probably suit my taste better than my push-pull Line Magnetic LM-211IA . Few weeks later Andy Whittle, the sales manager of Audio Note UK, was standing downstairs with a big, 20 kilogram heavy box containing the requested amplifier. After unpacking I realized that I am not accustomed to see such a solid build  every day.

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Visit by Michael Methe

I went to Kassel over the weekend guys, just for the sake of meeting Michael Methe and his buddy Martin Bober as well as to listen to their systems. For those of you who have never heard of Michael I just want to say that he is very special for me and his blog  was the main inspiration to get into blogging myself. He is pretty well known in the audio circles here in Germany and his website is a database of very well documented DIY projects, customization of commercial products and experiences in the realm of audio reproduction. Following his winding road in chasing the perfect sound has brought me great amounts of pleasure and has raised my level of understanding.

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Audio system adjustment with the help of natural sounds

Today I would like to talk about a method for adjusting an audio system with the help of recorded natural sounds. Why natural sound recordings? There are several reasons but the aim is to lighten the process of referring to real life acoustical events. First point is that such records are carried out in an open space – somewhere in the woods or in the fields – which means that they are stripped of any room resonances and reverberations. Though close miked studio recordings also strip most of the environmental acoustic artefacts, resonances and reverberations inherent to the musical instruments themselves might overlap with reverberation modes of the reproduction space, which become relatively hard to distinguish.

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Line Magnetic LM-211IA integrated tube amplifier

I postponed writing this review for quite some time, being aware that reviewing component I own and use as a reference might not be very useful to the reader. I mean LM-211IA is the best amplifier I’ve ever had in my system and since I’ve never heard anything better, I have nothing other to say but to apologetically prize its virtues and express my positive feelings toward its performance. This I guess might be pretty boring to read and that’s why I was thinking to write this review once I stumble upon an amplifier that outperforms it, so that I could have a critical point. But it happened so that Srajan offered me to write this review as my first contribution to the 6moons magazine and I had no choice but to comply.

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My audiophile journey

It all started with the love for music. We didn’t have proper audio back at these communist times in the 80s, which were dominated by cheap Russian transistor electronics. I was introduced to what should have been an advanced audio system in the home of my teacher where I was taking drawing lessons together with a bunch of other kids. The room in the old house was brightly lit and we were all staring at the still life arranged in front of us.

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