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Audio Note

Wharfedale EVO4.4 Speaker

vivek_r

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Compadres,

Last weekend, a friend and I listened to an all Audio Note system at the dealer in Mumbai. TT2 turntable with power supply, CD 2.1x, OTO Phone SE and AN SPE HE loudspeaker.

It was very musical and engaging, and got us both stomping feet and nodding heads. We listened to Ellington at Newport (piece of jazz history, diminuendo and crescendo with the main man Paul), Argerich playing Tchaikovsky, a swing LP and then some. Rejecting tube stereotypes, the sound was not overly warm, and the clarity was great. Good scale and tone with classical (Holst the Planets). It brought out music and detail in poor recordings too (example Girl from Ipanema in Getz-Gilberto).

In that room, the bass was a bit strong on close miked bass recordings (think it was the room which was indeed small), but on many other recordings, the bass seemed right and enjoyable.

There was another system in the other end of the room which had the Audio Note Zero set up with Audio Note K speakers. The Dealer (Aernoud) did not want to play it as it was not set up or broken in, but I insisted as it seemed like an opportunity not to miss. And I was glad - it did not need any huge adjustment to scale down, as the musicality on the Shostakovich's dark String Quartet 8 (with Borodin quartet) was lovely.

Aernoud emphasised on synergy that arose from the system, but we audiophiles like a car with a transmission from Ferrari, engine from Lamborghini, blah blah. And someone will come and say "you need to change the radiator pipe"...fun).
IMG_0691.JPG
It was also possibly the highest efficiency loudspeaker that I listened to (and need to go to Prem's!). Hoping to get a low priced AN system for review in Hifitoday...so lets see. I think the India website has some idea of prices or you can call them up (I asked but do not remember the prices that were rattled off).
 

heliumflight

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I was also heading the Audio Note direction for my 99db speakers. I must say that he suggestions given by Aernoud are sincere and he is a passionate audiophile. I'm quoting some of the advise which may benefit music lovers consideing taking AN route. Audition was not possible in Delhi hence I went SS way.

Information regarding the iZero you can find here: https://www.audionote.in/product-page/ax-two

Our Customer Satisfaction Guarantee (CSG) (including warrantee) is here: www.audionote.in/csg.

Currently we don’t have a pre-owned iZero or SET amplifier in stock. SET (integrated) amplifiers start at 4.7L, SET power amplifiers (need a separate pre-amp) start at 2.2L. 300B SET’s power amps start at 3.2L.

At first glance your best bet is the iZero amplifier which is Rs. 1,44,500 inclusive of GST and shipping to your place.

Its really better to buy a good PP amplifier than a cheap/bad SET.

Note that, as per our CSG, you can trade in our amplifiers at a later stage to obtain a SET amplifier.

I hope this helps.
 

sidvee

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Hoping to get a low priced AN system for review in Hifitoday...so lets see. I think the India website has some idea of prices or you can call them up (I asked but do not remember the prices that were rattled off).
Thanks Vivek, I am eagerly looking forward to your review.
Cheers,
Sid
 

essrand

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Really cool. I just saw their Audio Note starter kit ad on Audiogon, and visited their site.

Their audio starter (4L all inclusive) sounds like an amazing deal. The setup you guys heard seems to be very similar to their starter kit. If I were to do my audio all over again, I might have taken them up.

Your post makes me want to visit them too. Looking forward to the review!
 

square_wave

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Lovely report Vivek. I have heard couple of their speakers at the Adelphi mall in Singapore. I don't remember the model names though.Tonal fidelity is amazing with these speakers.
 

bhagwan

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Interesting observations by FM's
I did go to AVI for a 'demo' of the Audio Note Systems.
2 rooms were set up.
Well appointed.
Most gracious host.
It was a pleasant afternoon spent.
However, this is not the direction I like my music to take.
What I listen to [music] @ my house & what I heard @ AVI - Audio Note
are 'very' different.
I am not certain if this would be liked & recommended by me.
That said I do respect & admire Mr. VR & certainly respect his
opinion.
 

Kannan

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Interesting observations by FM's
I did go to AVI for a 'demo' of the Audio Note Systems.
2 rooms were set up.
Well appointed.
Most gracious host.
It was a pleasant afternoon spent.
However, this is not the direction I like my music to take.
What I listen to [music] @ my house & what I heard @ AVI - Audio Note
are 'very' different.
I am not certain if this would be liked & recommended by me.
That said I do respect & admire Mr. VR & certainly respect his
opinion.

Bhagwan sir, could you elaborate on what was different.
 

sandyboy101

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Yes, some user reports would be awesome.

I also saw that audionote is now in india.
https://www.audionote.in/products?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrZmH8P6i2QIVTjiWCh2EPQj9EAEYASAAEgIQAfD_BwE
Heard the AN Soro signature SE amp (~18W), it was connected to the same speakers as the above pix show, with a CD player and power supplies and AN cables.
The music (mostly blues) was awesome and as mentioned above there were some moments when I found the bass vibrating the room a bit. They also have their own music company for vinyl and cds.
The 2 way speakers are designed to be placed in the corners with external crossovers to keep the design as simple as possible.
They do talk about using matching components from AN and their speakers are all very high efficiency (~91 dB and above). But mention what gear you will be using and they recommend accordingly.
The Soro signature se was about 6.5L and the speakers about 16L.
The Soro pp is about 3.5L.
The music/audition stays with you long after...there is some magic dust there.
(Till the prices come and thump you on the head)
 

panditji

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Too expensive for my taste especially when everything is from one brand... Please also try and listen to a mix of music to get a better idea of the system as genres like Blues and Audiophile music CDs generally sound nice on everything.. Would be great to know how they sound with different music and average recorded music...
 

bhagwan

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The greatest advantage audio note has is that because its hardware cannot do top resolution and the level of Finess possible is limited, all kinds of music and genres can be played and enjoyed.
I have realised, the higher up the hi fi ladder one climbs, the rarer the option on recordings become.
Essentially, the top resolving set ups are very un forgiving, hence any recording with any small issue shows up in an instance....
This is where audio note excels... It plays all good and nothing great. It keeps most people happy. I like that.
Bhagwan
 
M

mpw

Guest
one of the falsehoods people realize too late is that they need a very costly and resolving system to play music..

the focus is on playing music and not enjoying it..

In this rarefied atmosphere - positioning of maybe 1 centi-meter matters..

but thats not what one is looking for ultimately..

coherence and musicality is what satisfies ultimately..

Recordings and availability in India is another issue..

No point having a very high resolving system and a average recorded CD or vinyl..

regards
 

Hari Iyer

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coherence and musicality is what satisfies ultimately..
I liked this part very much.

Of the 50 odd setups I had heard till date I could remember only 2 to 3 setups that gave me the WOW feeling till date in past 35+ years.
 

bhagwan

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I liked this part very much.

Of the 50 odd setups I had heard till date I could remember only 2 to 3 setups that gave me the WOW feeling till date in past 35+ years.
Super.
What were those...??
Do pen them down, so we too could get some insight... Please. Would be much appreciated...
 

sandyboy101

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Too expensive for my taste especially when everything is from one brand... Please also try and listen to a mix of music to get a better idea of the system as genres like Blues and Audiophile music CDs generally sound nice on everything.. Would be great to know how they sound with different music and average recorded music...

He did play some classic rock, western classical, AR Rehman, jazz...it all sounded very good, i would have streamed some Apple Music to see how that sounded but there was nothing to support streaming.
The problem is I don’t know how an individual component will blend with the rest of my system. They do have a 1 month 100% return/refund policy though.
 

square_wave

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This is where audio note excels... It plays all good and nothing great. It keeps most people happy. I like that.
Bhagwan

Is this experience consistent even if you go up the chain in the lineup ? I once heard a top of the line audionote setup on a horn setup. Sounded awesome!
 

Kannan

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Is this experience consistent even if you go up the chain in the lineup ? I once heard a top of the line audionote setup on a horn setup. Sounded awesome!

I would be interested in reading the reply of the Audio Note person to the 'Plays good but nothing Great" comment.
 

kvm

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The greatest advantage audio note has is that because its hardware cannot do top resolution and the level of Finess possible is limited, all kinds of music and genres can be played and enjoyed.
I have realised, the higher up the hi fi ladder one climbs, the rarer the option on recordings become.
Essentially, the top resolving set ups are very un forgiving, hence any recording with any small issue shows up in an instance....
This is where audio note excels... It plays all good and nothing great. It keeps most people happy. I like that.
Bhagwan

Hi Sir
Deeply respect your experience and exposure to various systems.
May I know which AN config you had auditioned? As you know they have multiple levels/ configs and each step up the ladder significantly improves the SQ.

But, in my modest Level3 system, I don't have any complaints with either resolution, imaging, separation, tonality etc. I find a lot of 'emotional connect' with what is playing and to me that's paramount than any other technical aspects of rendition.

I don't know if they will project very wide/deep soundstage as others but I find it quite musical and deeply enjoying in all respects - with a majority of genres.

Yes, probably L4/5 systems might be much better but those are at, price wise, 'stratospherical' levels! (at least to me!)

Yesterday we added DAC 2.1 Balanced and I could immediately sense a significant improvement in the vocal/instrument tonality and the detail retrieval compared to my 2Qute DAC. This is when its just new and am sure after 300 hrs (as per Aernoud) of 'burn-in' it would improve further.

I do find the system quite 'sensitive' to component quality too - we could immediately find SQ changes between transports (we tried my PC setup with ISO Regen and Singxer F1 D2D vs AN CD transport) and even power cords too! - which I believe is good in a way.

Of course, all this is 'subjective' as I hear in my system, in my room. :)
 
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