E&OE Copyright 2010-
Integrated Amps over £5,000
The Special Edition takes the concept of the Silver Night Anniversary (featured above) a step or two further. First, most noticeably, is fresh new case appearance, the work of leading designer Marko Schregardus, which has a cleaner look than the traditional Audion half width chassis and a light Gold finish to the fascia and transformer box with contrasting Black sides and Stainless trim (an all black/stainless version is also available for those with less adventurous tastes).
Feature wise it remains the same, with 5 line level inputs and the option of a remote control volume possible (please note the picture shown here is of the power amplifier version, detailed here).
Naturally what really concerns us is the sound, and thanks to all the internal hook up wire being pure Silver, some upgraded parts and a pair of even more serious output transformers, the improvements over the already stunning Anniversary are very worthwhile. There is a good percentage more of everything -
Hifi Choice have rated the almost identical power amplifier version very highly, a pdf can be seen here (opens in new window)
Audio Note Meishu Tonmeister
The Tonmeister is the latest generation of the classic Meishu design, and whilst looks little different on the outside, inside are some massive upgrades to the circuit design.
It introduces transformer, rather than capacitor, interstage coupling further down the Audio Note range than ever before. The benefits of transformer coupling when done well are quite remarkable, bringing about a directness to the sound that no capacitor, no matter how good it seems, is able to convey in the role of driving the output valve. The downside is the cost, they’re much more costly to implement. What Audio Note have done here is to redesign the power supply, reducing a power transformer and stage from it, simplifying it f you like, and therefore making the Tonmeister less of a price jump over its predecessor than you might otherwise expect.
The rest of the recipe is much as before, in its very substantial casework nestles a pair of 300B directly heated triode output valves use in single ended configuration and producing 8 watts per channel. A 12AU7 and 5687 are used as the input and driver stages, with a 5U4G rectifier in the choke smoothed power supply.
There are several different versions of the Meishu Tonmeister available, all with the choice of a black acrylic or aluminium fascia, the standard Meishu Tonmeister, Meishu Tonmeister Silver and Meishu Tonmeister Silver Signature, all are available with or without an excellent valve phono stage fitted. The Meishu Silver is uprated due to the fitment of tantalum resistors, copper foil signal capacitors, many Black Gate capacitors and HiB copper wired double C-
Audio Note Meishu Tonmeister Line integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Meishu Tonmeister Phono integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Meishu Tonmeister Silver Line integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Meishu Tonmeister Silver Phono integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Meishu Tonmeister Silver Signature Line integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Meishu Tonmeister Silver Signature Phono integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Jinro
The Jinro is a line level integrated amplifier using the venerable 211 output valve used in single ended configuration producing approximately 18 watts. The design is exceptionally simple, using a C-
Audio Note Jinro line level integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Tomei
The Tomei is the intermediary step between the Jinro and Ongaku, it features the same fundamental layout but instead uses 6463 valves for the input stage, an interstage transformer with a copper and silver wiring mix on high quality C-
Audio Note Tomei line level integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request
Audio Note Ongaku
The Audio Note Ongaku amplifier started life in the late Eighties, it soon became legendary and was undoubtedly largely responsible for the resurgence of interest in the ‘arcane’ use of single ended output stages, both thanks to its exceptional sound and a price tag that redefined the upper levels of hi end audio.
The Ongaku has evolved substantially since these times and now uses transformer coupling between input and output stages (instead of capacitor coupling used in the original). As befits its range topping status the transformers are completely silver wound and responsible for a large percentage of the cost increase over the Tomei featured above. As you’d expect the rest of the components are similarly uncompromising, with larger Tantalum resistors and Black Gate capacitors used throughout. The chassis is available with either brushed copper, piano black or aluminium top plates.
Audio Note Ongaku line level integrated amplifier: £POA at manufacturers request