Skip to content

Facts of life before the encounter of Takumi

Ok guys, here are some facts to share before I pay PT a visit this afternoon:

1. Not a fan of Horn speaker even though Cessaro is a much better horn amongst others.

2. Never any successful story of hybrid amp so far as VR pointed out.

3. In my experience, solid state driving horn is disastrous.

4. My benchmark is Tidal amplification/Sunray. Those who already listened to this system knows the height of the bar.

5. I am unbiased. No emotional attachment to any brand even Tidal (just so far nothing has beat it hands down)

6. I am looking for a "music" experience, not a "sound" experience. Some amp can do great sound but that is not the evaluation criteria at this level.

7. I dislike all Kondo electronics. It is good machine made by respectful engineer but sorry not my cup of tea. The pastel tonality sounds very strange to my ears. Association with Kondo to me thus means nothing.


  • You are one hell of a tough guy. But good to know all of your thoughts at heart before the auditioning.
  • You sound tough. Why don't just take a casual attitude and tell us your impressions? We don't need to be that serious in audio. It is fun and music that we are chasing after.
  • Raymond,

    Your disclaimer read as if you are preparing for surrender to the Takumi.

    In my view, the "sound of music" as generated by top end gears are simply a reflection of the designers' presentation of music. The variable factor is the system factor as PT has spoken on numerous occasions but that is an exogenous issue. I would be very interested to hear your view as to Takumi's music orientation (e.g. vs. Da Vinci's supremacy in classical music although I do not have in-depth experience to comment where its strongest suite lies in terms of sub-genre).
  • oh dear uncle ray, your words carry lots of weight. Your attitude sounds like a freaking stubborn college professor; 've no idea what you'll write here afterwards. But you will either make people relieve or drive them crazy cos of losing sleep. Damn you!
  • Uncle, we are waiting for you.
  • Raymond,
    I am also waiting eagering for your audition result and whether you feel my earlier comment is valid or not...with the isolation feet and SRA, I am sure Takumi would fly.

  • The presence of the one box Zanden 2500 CD player is a skillful setup – a reflective of the seller’s confidence knowing most of us owns state of the art digital front end. It was purposely done this way, in my opinion. The weakness of hybrid design tends to merge the weakness of transistor and tubes at the same time producing shit. Even if the strength of the two camps can be merged flawless somehow, I am fearful of finding two characters from the amplifiers – that may be good to some others but to a long time owner of Tidal electronics –two characters are not better than one character. The description of Takumi by Marvel, I am afraid, is wrong – at least to my ears because I could not detect two distinct character in the two hour long listening sessions with my own tailed CD program spanning from African music, Chorale, Vienna New Year Concert of various years and some blues/Jazz.

    The Cessaro Alpha One is not bad. That is the second time I listened to this macho horn beast. I felt uncomfortable looking at the big wooden horn that is too dominating from an aesthetical point of view. My reference is not the type of amp-to-amp comparison. I always listen holistically because music is a wholesome experience. In this regard, I can confidently say the system that I listened yesterday was “exponentially” better than the last time I visited this place to taste the Tripoint.
    It is so much better because there was no bass last time. There was no control, no speed, no substance, no articulation but just a bunch of shitty bass frequencies fooling around the room. Yesterday, the performance of the bass rivals the Sunray. The 16” TAD bass finally showed off the color. here is still slight time lag between the lower mid range and the upper mid bass but that is a physical problem that no amps can correct. The subsequent upgrade to “Beta 0.5” should eliminate this fatal fault.

    It is not because this amp carries a coloration in bass that draws my attention to it. It was purely the sound quality last time was so shitty that made me wonder what is the primary reason driving the exponential improvement. I felt challenged after 30 minutes as I was intentionally trying to find faults. But other than the noisy air conditioning and reflection at the back wall, everything seemed just right. At some moments, my bias on Horn speakers simply vanished. Perhaps, I could only criticize the room is not long enough for the focal point to stand precisely. For Horn speakers, it is better to sit farther away so as to acquire better sense of the sound-field.

    The integration from the lowest bass allowed in this room all the way to the top end is seamless (other than the physical design limitation already mentioned). There is depth on each musical note springing out from different instruments with colors. I believed Marvel refers these musical colors in resemblance to the Da Vinci. I somewhat understand why he might draw this conclusion but this is not exactly right as the color that went into my brain yesterday was the color exactly was “recorded”. There is no enhancement of color. The “surrealism” (this is a compliment) of the Da Vinci is one of a kind. Alecy calls such as “supremacy” on classical music. The Takumi does not belong to this category.

    It was 4pm when I looked at my watch. I arrived at 3pm. I told PT I will leave after the last recording – Vienna Boys Choir – very old recording bought in the mid 80s. I was touched by the fragility of very fine voices from the boys. I was very touched. The layering of high frequency harmonics is naturally extended and correspondingly decayed, extremely well done exactly as they should behave in concert hall. The mid range is resolved and naturally rendered. I moved on to listen more choirs one after another. The experience was so peaceful and wonderful. When I looked at my watch again, it was 4:30pm, I just realized I had not tested string and cello. Sorry guys, it is not my style to over-describe anything that moves my inner feeling. The whole system has the kind of ease that I have from my Sunray.

    I have to apologize to PT that I didn’t speak too much during the 2-hour session even though you had tried hard to create some topical lines to develop a conversation. That is probably your sales skill but I prefer reliant on my ears and experiences to do the judgment. Thank you for passing me the telephone number of Mr.Lee, only later had I found out he is such an asshole. Maybe all used hi end dealer behaves the same.

    To Robert Koda, your amp is well done.
  • This is a very true report. Facts and feelings are well presented with an attitude that we know well. I feel uncomfortable and may start loosing sleep tonight. Damn it!
  • Another major point to share last Friday was the following:

    The use of an English horn at the beginning of the 2nd movement of Dvorak's New World amplified by the Takumi produces the correct tonality - not an easy task. Other than the Tidal impact amplifier, all other super tube amplifiers that I had own or listened to distort the tonality of the Enlgish horn to a sound mixture of oboe and clarinet. If you are not familiar with the tonality of the instrument, such distortion will not affect the way you enjoy the musical program.
  • Raymond,

    Your audition session must gave PT a hard time as he is sometimes very talkative particularly on exciting gears...for the PT I know, he doesn't sell and in fact, sometimes, he persuades people not to buy (or not at that moment)...

    My listening did really give me a strong feeling that Takumi can sound like DaVinci on cerain music which I think DaVinci does very good (eg. vocal, violin) and it does sound like Tidal for some other music (eg. Beyond live concert)...with my 'mental' projection of Takumi having the isolation feet and SRA, I am still of the opinion that it represents the best of both tube and solid state camps that I have ever heard of. Like you, I also surrendered!

  • Uncle Ray and Marvel bro, you got me.
  • Uncle Ray, can you elaborate on the tonality part? Do you mean my amp cannot reproduce the tonality of an English horn?
  • YES. It can't play piano to my standard but great for Mahler and large scale opera. Perlman (the violinist) once comments two keystrokes from Horowitz elicit 40 forty colors from his Steinway Piano. I don't know how to count colors but I do know our amp can't reproduce color variations (the color is monotonic most of the time). The Takumi that I heard last week is colorful and that was played through by a one box Zanden CD player.
  • Your comments are lethal. They make my heart feel heavier. Other than Marvel bro and Uncle Ray, can I seek for 3rd opinion?

    Mr.So, what's your opinion?
  • Uncle Ray, if I may challenge you by raising this question: if Tidal impact produces the correct tonality of an English horn, what makes you so fond of the Takumi? Why do you need two amps doing the same quality job?
Sign In or Register to comment.