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  • Kondo Review

    Been finishing this up and reason have been light in the forum for the last couple of days. Life of the reviewer. More reviews coming!
    There are tube electronics and then, there are tube electronics. In the wonderful world of tubes, the most popular, reliable and successful amplifier designs nowadays are dominated by push-pull, OTL, triode and pentode circuitry. When it comes today to preamplifiers—and in particular phonostages—hybrid circuits more often than not today rule the roost. Sure push-pull amplifier... Read More »
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    The price of that gear is hideous. $12K for a SUT? $100K for a preamp? $170K for a pair of monoblocs? Are they serious?
    Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

    Comment


    • #3
      JC, Question, is it ok for there to be probably 20+ different speaker manufacturers building speakers for $200K plus and Soulution, Boulder, WAVAC, Lamm, CH Precision, Vitus, and on and on that build amps and preamps that retail for well over $100K per pre or amp(s)? Or that MSB, DCS and a few other digital manufactures build digital front ends well in excess of $100?

      Or what about the $28K SAT tonearm and maybe a $15K cartridge on maybe a AF1 "Premium" TT at $150K? Or the $200K Continuum TT from 10 years ago?

      I have personally sold and installed two with the third being installed in two weeks Goldmund Apologue systems (Retail $540K) in 2016. Over 20 Goldmund Apologue systems have been sold in the last two years.

      Or it's ok that Wilson's new speaker is $700K (they are building 51 pairs of the new speakers) or that the Magico Ultimate system which with amps is between $500K-$1M.

      Or that the Living Voice systems complete cost with electronics goes well over $1M.

      It's ok for all of this but the hand made Kondo, world class SET gear's pricing is "hideous".

      There are a lot of very successful people in this world that enjoy the fruits of their labor, it is unfortunate that there are those that choose to insult both these happy and proud owners and the manufacturers of the gear they own. Everyone is free to have their opinion, and not saying that you should not feel the way you do, that is your prerogative, but it seems fair to point out that there is a LOT of expensive audio gear on this planet and that in that realm Kondo gear's pricing is not "hideous".
      RHAPSODY.AUDIO

      http://www.rhapsody.audio




      Pilium Audio, Magico, Alsyvox, Bayz Audio, Diesis Audio, Kondo, Nordost Supreme Reference Dealer, VYGER, VYDA Cables, Constellation, Taiko Audio - Extreme server, Aqua Acoustic Quality, Raidho, TechDAS, Critical Mass Systems, Aurender, TelluriumQ, CMS/Center Stage, Devialet, REL Acoustics, RD Acoustics

      Comment


      • #4
        This will come off way more hostile than intended so apologies in advance.

        Why is price ever a discussion is either audio forums or for that matter single piece audio reviews? Price discussions have their place in comparisons elsewhere they just seem like sour grapes. When judgements about equipment are made via pricing you automatically put both manufacturers (and customers) on the defensive and it turns into a "I know you are, but what am I" spitball fight

        If you can afford it but prefer the Lambo over the Ferrari becaue it does the same thing but costs less, well we don't need 30 pages of why that is.
        If you can't afford it, no need to discuss why is there?
        If you want to complain about value, doesn't Consumer Reports have a site for that?

        In my "yuth" I went through a phase of putting together audio components. Copying others work was hard enough. Coming up with new designs and putting them together for commercial sale is an endeavor beyond my skillset and anyone who does it via the old fashioned way can charge any price the market will bear IMO.

        The Kondo gear under discussion is hand made and yes very expensive. In no way can you consider the gear a good value but that doesn't make the price hideous. No matter the level of the gear if it sells then the manufacturer stays in business and gets to continue the cycle. Kondo/Audio Note have been at it for some time so I am guessing someone likes their offerings.
        Turntable: - 1. Fairchild 750/OMA slate plinth
        2. Analog Engineering AE-2008 MinusK support.
        Tonearm: 1. Schroder Custom
        2. Schick 12"
        3. Abis SA-1
        Cartridge: Miyajima Kansui and Premium BE Mono
        PhonoPre: AprilSound LR, EMIA Strain Gauge, EMIA silver SUT
        CD: Wadia 860x
        Server: Innuos Zen Mini Mk3
        DAC: Computer Audio Design 1543 Mk2
        Preamp: Bent Audio TAP-X w silver autoformers
        Amplifier: AprilSound SET50 monoblocks
        Speaker: Pioneer PAX-30C

        Comment


        • #5
          OK, maybe "hideous" was too strong a word, but at those prices, I fail to see how it represents good value. Just my opinion. I am well aware there is other gear out there with similar price tags but those are for more complex limited edition speaker systems, turntables, etc where lower priced gear in same category cant compete sonically.
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

          Comment


          • Rhapsody
            Rhapsody commented
            Editing a comment
            JC No harm in expressing your opinion, just had to express mine as well. Especially after carrying the 135lb Kaguras up and back to Myles, and knowing how they sound and even make the room they are in "feel" just sitting there without playing. I have one Kagura customer, who's wife says he "bows" to them when he walks buy them....seriously.

            Not saying at all that they are a "value" product, they were not designed or intended to provide "value". Although with saying that the 40+ global purchasers of Kaguras to this point must have seen some value to lay out the $$$. Peace

        • #6
          Very nice Miles. I enjoyed the review and the insight into a system I will probable never get to experience. I appreciate a true artisan effort.

          Comment


          • Rhapsody
            Rhapsody commented
            Editing a comment
            Gusf, if you are ever in Manhattan please give me a call. I would be happy to set up the Kaguras/M1000 for us to "have a listen".....not to buy, just to listen and enjoy some music.

          • Gusf
            Gusf commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for the kind gesture. I would love that!

        • #7
          For better or worse, high end audio is increasingly becoming more and more like the Swiss boutique watchmaking industry. Price is dictated not only by the performance of the product but also by its desirability and limited availability. In the end it is not really a question of right or wrong but a value judgment of the purchaser. Unfortunately, there will always be some who could appreciate what the product offers but cannot justify the cost.

          On a separate note, Myles, would you comment a bit more about the sound of the M1000 Mk II in comparison to that of the CJ GAT 2 and to the Doshi phono?
          Rockport Sirius turntable, Lyra Atlas SL cartridge, Audio Note M9 SE Phono stage, Audio Note M10 (Signature) linestage, EMM Labs TX2/DA2 digital, Audio Note Balanced Kegon amps, EMM Labs MTRX amps, Acapella Triolons, Jorma Prime and Odin 2 cables, Stage 3 Kraken power cords, HB Marble Powerslave, Finite Elemente Pagode Reference stands and Cerabases, Halcyonics active isolation bases, HRS Equipment stand, Stillpoints Ultra 6 footers, Furitech cable isolators and plugs, Loricraft and Audiodesk vinyl cleaners, Yamaha CT7000 Tuner.

          Comment


          • #8
            I enjoyed reading the review Myles, so thanks.

            Let me ask you, how difficult is it for you to go back to your meagre () setup after spending months with such gear?
            Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

            Comment


            • #9
              Just read the review. Great writing. Nice gear for sure, last time I heard a Kondo rig It had Vox Olympians at the end of the leash. It was a fantastic aural experience and it looked even better than it sounded. Must have been great to live with for a couple of months.

              Comment


              • #10
                The Kondo cost more than my Condo. I couldn't even afford the home owners insurance on that stuff.
                Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                Comment


                • Beaur
                  Beaur commented
                  Editing a comment
                  One man's condo is another man's daily wage! It's all relative. I can find someone who will say that none of the gear you have listed in your signature is a good value! It's all relative which is why discussions on price are, best case nonproductive.

              • #11
                Great review. Many thanks for posting. Were the power cables Kondo? Would be great if Bob V recorded a short video of these amps driving the Magico speakers in his store (S7 of S5 MKII) and posted it on this forum if possible? No worries if not....will just have to visit Bob next time in NYC.

                Comment


                • MylesBAstor
                  MylesBAstor commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yes PC were Kondo too.

              • #12
                Sorry S5 Mk. 1s here. Mk. 2 is major upgrade.



                Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                ________________________________________

                -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                Comment


                • Gusf
                  Gusf commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Ha ha! That even sounded excellent on my IPad.😉

              • #13
                Wow, that was quick! Sounds wonderful through my headphones. Many thanks for sharing.

                Comment


                • #14
                  Good write up I would love to hear a set up like that some day.

                  Comment


                  • MylesBAstor
                    MylesBAstor commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Sure Bob would love to have you over if you make to the Big Apple. So would I Garth!

                • #15
                  There is a tendency to view the high end of the high end from a single perspective. It's like three people looking at a coin 90 degrees apart, one sees heads, one sees tails, one sees a stick (from the side). One sees only the expense, one sees only the performance, one wonders what the fuss is about.

                  Things like the Kondos and other very expensive gear are not consumer goods, they can only exist in a luxury market. Much like Bugatti, a Swiss complication, a real bespoke suite (British, others need not apply), a Holland and Holland best double and similar luxury goods. John Atkinson posited the very high end was moving in that direction some years ago at CES IIRC.

                  Looking at the Kondos from two perspectives on may draw the following conclusions.

                  1. These are not mass production goods. The build quality is superlative, every component must either be the best commercially available if it meets standards or is custom made if no such component is available. They are assembled by a very few craftsmen over two months. Paying a living wage to the craftsman, the principles of the company, covering the overhead, research and development and any other expenses. Then the importer/distributer/retailers all have to make enough profit to pay import duties, all overhead expenses and wages/salaries and still make a living themselves.

                  2. On the other hand. Like virtually all luxury goods, based purely on function the price is not justifiable. That is does it perform a measurable 170 times better than my amplification whether by objective measurement or subjective listening. It may be arguably the best component extant, but the cost of improvement is not linear, it's logarithmic.

                  So which viewpoint is correct? Both? Neither? A little of both? To my mind the only way to consider such products is as luxury goods and as such pricing is irrelevant.

                  As an aside, I had a few folks over a week or two back and they were stunned to learn my speakers cost $2,154, the amp and preamp $1,200 each and so on. While they all agreed it sounded great, they just couldn't see paying that much. See, same thing in the cheap beer seats.

                  Comment


                  • MylesBAstor
                    MylesBAstor commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Thanks, I apparently was writing the same thing at the same time.
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