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.
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.
Some time has passed since Fostex FE108-Sol drivers took the place of the former Sigma model in my back-loaded horn enclosures and I had enough time to experiment further with them. As mentioned earlier the disposal of the notch filters, necessary for linearization of the frequency response of the Sigmas, brought a great deal of refinement. I realized how destructively the combination of resistor, capacitor and inductor on the signal path could act and from the perspective of time I can say – there is no way back to use them.
Today I would like to talk about the backbone of my system – the rack, this sacred place where all the electronic components are placed. Some of you might ask what is the difference between a regular lowboard one can obtain in every furniture shop and a HiFi rack made especially for audio applications. In order to comprehend the difference one should first realise what a tremendous impact vibrations have on audio reproduction.
I had a chance to try a new amplifier over the weekend guys. It was a non-negative feedback solid state device in the price range slightly below 3k euro. I spotted it long time ago after reading a rather positive review in a french magazine. I contacted the brand owner and asked if I can have one for a week to check how it will perform against my current tube amplifier. Though it was twice as expensive as my current one I was quite sceptic about the transistor contender being able to outperform my tube Line Magnetic LM-211IA amp.