Japanese Audio: How do the best compare?

Mar 8, 2015
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#1
Kondo, Zanden, Accuphase, Esoteric are all big names and boutique brands are highly regarded.

What are your favorite brands and or pieces?
 
Mar 8, 2015
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#3
Love Audio Tekne!! I think most Japanese gear gets the midrange very right first..
 
Likes: jcarvalho

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
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#5
Big fan of Zanden digital which I have owned (2 generations) for 12 years. I have heard the Zanden 9600 monos as well.

I have heard one of Audiocrack's earlier sensational systems with Kondo reference equipment.

I have auditioned Shindo preamps in the system...quite mesmerizing when playing Clapton Unplugged. Agree on its midrange.

For what it is worth, when i compared side by side with CJ, I found that on Clapton, that Shindo midrange was pure magic. He was right there in the room...alive. I practically bought it on the spot as I was deciding at that time. A few test tracks later, on certain orchestral, I 'thought' I detected that with the Shindo the violin lower strings came forward more (ever so slightly) than they might normally do in my 'guestimate' of what I felt the orchestra and piece 'should' sound like. By contrast, this seemed to me more evenly 'in balance' with the CJ. I came away thinking that Shindo had beautifully edged the mids forward just a gentle touch...and that was why Clapton seemed so 'present' but also why the orchestral strings seemed more forward and 'on display' in the orchestral ensemble than I felt they should have been.

It was purely a personal postulation...I went with CJ...but boy I still remember Clapton Unplugged. And the Shindo preamp remains one of the more memorable auditions in 20 years.

I would respectfully suggest Robert Koda could be added to this list of exotic Japanese legends. I will hopefully have more to say on this next month...
 
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howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
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#6
Robert Koda - Excellent
Kondo - lovely
Luxman - superb value with some really good stuff
Air Tight - love the sound signature. I want to try the 3211 monoblocks.
Accuphase - not bad but would not rate it as high as the ones above although i haven't heard it in a while
Esoteric - used to hate it. Apparently the latest chips are a bit more palatable.
Shindo - Liquid
Zanden - Up there with the best
Soul Note - ?
Don't forget Techdas...or all the magnificent cartridges
 

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
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#7
I would respectfully suggest Robert Koda could be added to this list of exotic Japanese legends. I will hopefully have more to say on this next month...
;)
 
Likes: ashandger
Mar 8, 2015
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#8
I do like the Koda Stuff, and I think there are some equipment, perhaps some of the best, that never see these shores. For example has anyone heard Technical Brain gear?
 

JackD201

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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#9
BaLABO :)
 

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
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#10

JackD201

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
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#11
Like an R34 GTR :D
 

gian60

Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2016
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#12
I always loved Japanise tube amp,for their sound,quality of component and constructio.

In 1980/81 i had a fantastic pre HAL AMP,much better than ARC,CJ and Counterpoint of that era,and from 1989 until 2015 i listen always with Japan tube amp.
In 1989 i bought a top system from Yamamura and then Audiotekne,Audio Note,and had many products,Shindo Petrus,mono pre,with 300B Limited and Shinonia,Mactone otl M8V,Uesugi pre and phono for second system,Kondo.

Then i bought CH Precision and i am very happy.
Today if i had not CH i would like to buy Balabo or Technical Brain
 
Likes: Cantus

moby2004

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2018
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#13
Another brand from Japan but not very famous : Spec Audio . Is anyone familiar with their amps ?
Class D made in Japan sounding like tube amps according to my reading but never listened to them ...
 

gian60

Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2016
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#14
One friend of my friend live on Germany has Kaiser Kawero with Kondo M7 and Gakuon and bought also an integrated Spec and he prefers to Kondo
My friend on Italy tried
But told me good but nothing special
 
Likes: moby2004

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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#15
i'm loving my CS Port LFT1 tt and Phono pre. i hear that CS Port has been very impressive in Japan and has a strong following. just now emerging in the rest of the world.

obviously i think highly of my Etsuro Gold cartridges (bought three of them), which are made by Excel Sound Corporation (also Hana cartridges---a value leader).
 

Ovenmitt

Well-Known Member
Nov 21, 2017
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#16
Let’s not forget Technics, Pioneer/TAD, Denon... big companies but they make some really good (and some maybe not so good) gear. I love my SP10 Mk.3 turntable and my Denon 103r is pretty cool for the $ too.

I have never heard them, but am very interested in ALE and GOTOH drivers. I’d love to be able to build a pair of horn speakers someday and these are companies I’d be interested in checking out.
 
Likes: hogen

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
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Switzerland
#17
WAVAC

One of the most beautiful sounding amps I ever heard was the WAVAC HE805... unbelievably present and alive. Saturated (but oh so seductive) tone. One of the few sounds I will never forget.
 

gian60

Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2016
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#18
I have one friend with goto 4 way system,one with Ale 6 way ,DEP Super,100 kg heavy also the tweeter,I had also a 3 way horn speaker with ale dE serie and 1750 DEP on one one way speaker
Awesome
 
Likes: Ovenmitt

Alrainbow

Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2013
1,851
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NYC , USA
#19
Robert Koda - Excellent
Kondo - lovely
Luxman - superb value with some really good stuff
Air Tight - love the sound signature. I want to try the 3211 monoblocks.
Accuphase - not bad but would not rate it as high as the ones above although i haven't heard it in a while
Esoteric - used to hate it. Apparently the latest chips are a bit more palatable.
Shindo - Liquid
Zanden - Up there with the best
Soul Note - ?
Don't forget Techdas...or all the magnificent cartridges
Hail Howie ...!

Good list , only addressing accuphase vs luxman do prefer the Accuphase stuff to Luxman ...
 

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
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#20
Hail Howie ...!

Good list , only addressing accuphase vs luxman do prefer the Accuphase stuff to Luxman ...
I have never actually owned Luxman but have owned an Accuphase SACD player which was excellent but the recent Luxman products seem to have taken a major step forward whereas Accuphase seems to be stuck in a rut somewhat....
 

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