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Takumi K15 by Robert Koda showcasing at AE
The chassis is beautifully crafted.
The first batch are all sold without audition by loyal customer. We are thankful of Marvel lending his 001 K15 to showcase at AE for 2 weeks.
A few weeks ago, I was shown an email from Robert that '001' has been specially reserved for myself...I feel much honoured...Incidentally I was an early adoptor of his K70 and K10 and find them extremely calm and coherent. It really defines and redefines what musicality means to me...I always find short of vocabulary to describe what musicality is and how it is different from coloration, but K10/K70 really drown me in the sea of musical enjoyment. I am glad to see a Whatsapp message from PT yesterday that K15 belongs to his own choice of 'Ultra End' league....among them, I also have the Trinity Supreme....I really look forward to getting it together with Trinity and run them in my system...at this level...I wonder what the difference would be....
PT, burn it in for me but plesae don't burn it...ha ha...
The key is to integrate this great machine into the system and champion it to perform like what PT has done at AE.
The Dalby D7SE is so far the best of the best in the books of PT based on listening experiences at AE so far. We know the capability of Robert and the K10 has won accolates around the world. But a word of reminder from myself that all of us must understand the concept of "gain".
A preamp has a output gain of 6db is not inferior to another preamp has a output gain of 12db. It depends on the source. Inexperienced audiophiles mistaken loudness is equivalent to dynamic. Let's say when you are using a Tidal Prescenio with 12db output gain and you are trying to mate it with Opus Prime with high gain setting (>6V), it will sound very loud and energized but dynamic is severely compressed. You need to switch it back to low gain (3.3v). Read the damn manual and don't just conclude here and there by means of plug-and-play. Likewise, a preamp with output gain of 6db will sound better with a source with higher output gain. This is about matching. I can demo a 12db gain preamp and intentinally match it with a high output source to disgrace the preamp. By the same token, I can match a low output source with a 6db gain to make unjustifiable claims.
The rule of thumb is to have the analog volume of the preamp around 12 o'clock to 2 o'clock area. If the preamp already sounds very loud at 9 o'clock position, dynamic compression results. Because the energy hits the ceiling too soon, missing all the steps.
Nowadays, all digital sources output is in excess of 4V on XLR output and this is acutally fairly abnormal from studio standard. Anyway, the reason why a system sounds good has many element that has to be understood from a holistic approach. The reason why XLR or RCA sound better has a lot to do with the output gain of the source and the corresponding output gain of the preamp.
Generally speaking, I like preamp with 6db output gain as it allows me to have more flexibility of control. But audiophiles basically don't care especially those pride themselves in the ultra end.
Read the damn manual!
What is the improvement of the K-15 over K-10 ?
Is there any specification changes ?
Please share more.
dynamic range in excess of 148db. Almost impossible to overload the K15
Common guys, give us more info about K-15 please
Imagine the climatic moments in music. On a modest system. Everything
falls together in a "Bomm" sort of sound (Telarc 90's!) and to the
untrained ear this sounds dynamic and exciting.
But... One soon gets tired of this sort of "home theater" expression.
While the K-10 sounds more like the "Bomm", the K-15 does something
else. Each instrument within that
"Bomm" is separated out to be its own instrument. This is exciting
because it is actually more dynamic and one hears things a fresh -
Instruments that where once buried together
to form a singular sound now present themselves as independent
instruments but timed together precisely.
Play a piano on a K-10. It certainly is beautiful but the K-15 takes it
to a new level: The "pressure" one can get in bass is now also apparent
in the mid tones. Its like a "shock-wave" has been initiated into the
room. In the midrange! With no harshness, no "edginess".
Play some rock - Say Def Lepard. From the first second one hears a yell
from the singer that was never there before. The drums (with added
studio reverb) kick in and
you think the speakers are about to shatter. Such a full body, such impact! The reverb now clearly defined is totally divorced from the speakers. Extra "double beat" roles and turns on the drum kit become apparent. The timing in the music makes the whole experience even more addictive as the disc ends and you reach for the next even though it's past twelve.
A vocal disc. The throat, lips, tong. Every little detail is there. Its "hot", wet and close. Steamy. But effortlessly floating in space...
Some of the K-15 features.
Five stereo inputs - each available as balanced and single ended. (20 sockets)
Two stereo outputs - each available as balanced or single ended. (8 sockets)
Higher quality, rhodium plated RCA sockets.
Earth "lift" switch and grounding post.
Front panel power control.
Rear panel mounted voltage selector.
An amazing new volume control L-pad type with 32 positions. The volume is built with 8 stacks of resistors of the highest audio quality, nude and encased in a acrylic cover to avoid contamination. This volume control also features and improved "curve" so that the finest graduations are at the most common volume settings.
All new, massively improved ITC MKII gain stage (the heart of the matter).
Lower noise new DC regulators.
New, highly specified low radiation R core power transformer.
Power transformer and power switch mounted in a sealed MU METAL enclosure for ZERO magnetic emission.
Visuals and chassis details.
The K-15 retains the full copper chassis but is now clad in an additional three piece milled top and sides. Not only does this improve visuals but the aluminum, combined
with a silicone laminate (used internally too) makes the chassis very inert from vibrations with this constrained layer damping construction.
Solid 8mm precious Ruby on off indicator - backlit by LED.
Engraved and gold plated Takumi logo mounted into the milled front panel.
Engraved and gold plated marker discs for volume control and input selector mounted into the front panel
When is mine due?
I am offering my Tidal Prescenio for sale. Interest parties, please contact me at
Great job, indeed. Action speaks louder than words.
edited September 2013
I went to AE showroom today afternoon to get the first hand experience on K15. I am totally with Raymond that Robert has done a great job. I appreciate him that he could still got breakthrough (actually a big step) over K10 which is already a top range pre-amp. K15 inherits K10 bright and detailed character but with substantially more energy in the mid-tone to bass range. Dynamics contrasts in this region is ultra end performance. Comparatively, K15 is not just like a more "stronger man" than K10, but also more matured. It is very detailed and fast and every musical note is in full controlled. If K10 allows me to listen to music clearly in details, then I would say K15 let me feel like it is reproducing the actual music instrument before me. Presence of all objects in the music landscape is imposing. With more running in and fine tuning of speaker position, I can project the full performance of K15 is immense.
Hello Azzurrii, I believe sat behind you and big piece at the AE show in Jul.
It is not easy to describe Robert's achievement this round because it is a new experience. I have been thinking thoroughly about how to describe my assessment. It is much more about "more energy" this time.
Did you notice thar during playback of large scale orchestration recordings, the K15 is able to differentiate the "group dynamics" of different subsets? For example, the movement of mass strings is a "group behavior". When this group is exhibiting their own dynamics, another group such as the "brass/winds" session is also living with their own "group dynamics". When different groups are performing simultaneously, the K15 is capable of showing different group dynamics at the same time. This is truly awesome, I mean more than awesome. When you listened to Tidal Prescenio or Boulder 2000 series preamplifier, they achieve tremendous image separation and sound-staging in the conventional Hi Fi jargon, but they depict different group behavior "as if they move mechanically at the same time".
This is the attribute I really want to single out how K15 should reside at higher league. It is not about more energy. It is about the right energy corresponds to the right instrument. In recordings with only 2 instruments such energy differentiation is easy. When it becomes 4 or more, most preamp cannot differentiate their respective energy level, that is why I got a feeling that the more demanding the recording, the more color K15 can be shown.
I knew William Wong bought one on the spot yesterday.
It has been awhile. Isn't it? Where have you been? Do you know the whole world is watching our conversation here? People took our comments seriously. It is better to have you to drive the discussion. I am just an arrogant ass picking fights from time to time. And my language is dirty!
Our dear Robert, from your perspective, seems exceed your expectation in the realization of the K15. I can see you are selling your German baby and the Transformer source. It will probably take some time to offload them.
My name is Piano Tuner. My standard on piano playback is extremely strict. Piano has a very wide dynamic range. It carries both the characteristic of string and percussion instrument. It is also a very physical imposing object. The demand on tranient resolution is also extremely high.
Extending on the concept of "subset of group dynamics" from Raymond, I would like to further enrich this discussion. On piano recording, the dynamic behavior of "each keystroke" is vividly revealed all the way from high pitch notes to the lowest key on the left. The dynamic behavior of the 1st key remains (harmonic decay) on its own when the 2nd keystroke is pressed to generate a new dynamic behavior (from leading edge to the harmonic tail). Now imagine this is repeated N times during a pianst recital or studio recording playback, the experience of tone variation given the speed and trainset is simply a kaleidoscopic listening experience assuming the front end source component has very low coloration and the correct speed.
This is a new experience. It is not just about clarity of resolution of each key in a static form. It is the dynamic resolution of each evolving key or subset of whatever.
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