Lithuania is a land of miracles. I believe in that. Seriously, I do. These miracle creations do not happen by themselves, they are produced by wonderful people. I cannot stop being astonished how so many unbelievable things can happen in such a small country.
It is true, it’s not that easy to spot the real miracles because they are usually covered by a thick layer of envy. Most often, the people that are the negative, are the ones that cannot produce anything themselves. Envy is like a toad that just lurks inside and emerges with aggressive and resentful comments.
In this story, I was amazed by the power of real enthusiasm. The kind, that storms over the highest mountain tops and the deepest oceans. When you’re moving forward without looking back or forth. If a person reached the top in one field, new challenges do not scare him. We could probably find other reasons to why this happened, but we’ll have to settle with what we got here so far.
I present to you the new creation of AUDIO NOTE – newest mono block power amplifiers ONGAKU SHINGURU. This is a worldwide premiere! The very first ones travelled straight to Lithuania. Believe you me, it was enough of one moment to understand that I was witnessing a real miracle. These amplifiers are one of a kind, but what is no less extraordinary is the human enthusiasm, which is the only reason they came to our country.
It is worth noting the prehistorical events ONGAKU SHINGURU reaching Lithuania. The cornerstone of this story is the acoustic system “Westlake Audio TM-3VF”, which arrived to Lithuania around a year ago. Very few have heard how these legendary American speakers recreate music, but many have talked about it. Therefore, it is no surprise, that there were “Westlake” sellers that stated the need for extremely powerful transistor amplifiers. I won’t lie, we tried vintage options and the newest technology possible. The most disappointing were legendary amplifiers “Accuphase M-100” (monoblocks were attached to the preamplifier “Accuphase C-270”). 500W (8 Ohms) of power, but the sound created was dark, as if it was imprisoned and tiring. It seems like that is the signature accent of “Accuphase” that has stayed with them up to this day.
The only thing that gave some life to “Westlake Audio TM-3VF” speakers was power amplifiers “Parasound JC 1” (together with “Parasound JC 2” preamplifier”). Once again, 2 x 400W (8 Ohm) of power, but sound was still lacking energy, as if low frequencies were pushed through the speakers with brute force. Then I thought “maybe if watts are not helping the problem is in the speakers itself?”. What if it’s just another legend that failed to pass the test of reality? And why did I decide to get my “Audio Note I Zero” tube amplifier from my car trunk? I carry it around quite often because it is very compact and light, tube based and sounds adequate. Quite frequently I find myself in new acoustic environments with new systems and I like to have a component that I know well.
These “Westlake” speakers have a 99dB sensitivity, therefore the people that are convinced that you need many watts for them are either liars or they do not know the thing (it is actually enough of an amplifier with a power of just a few watts to fill the room with sound). So that is what I did, plugged in the giant “Westlake Audio TM-3VF” speakers to my tiny “Audio Note” amplifier (2 x 8W of power, 7kg in weight) and I could see a tiny glimpse of hope. The contrast was so big that I wanted to go all the way to the top. What happened next, revealed that real enthusiasm can raise you all the way to metaphysic tops. In this case, it was “Audio Note ONGAKU Shinguru” amplifiers.
If I had to describe in one word how this amplifier recreates sound, I’d say LIGHT. With all the other amplifiers tried “Westlake” speakers had a dark and displeasing undertone. It was the first time in my experience when amplifiers changed the sound outcome radically. This was the line crossed when music is being reshaped by sound parameters: different frequencies, diapasons, and such. From the very first notes with “ONGAKU Shinguru” you get the feeling of unlimited freedom. It’s infinite, no limits, just blissful light. It’s true, when sound was put up, there was so much energy, that it seemed as if the speakers were going to lift themselves up from the ground. When spent more time listening to the system you can hear the astonishing realism of sounds, where double bass sounds like double bass, viola sounds flood so naturally, and your ears are being soothed with realistic and mesmerizing vocals.
For those interested in the more detailed description of these amplifiers I cannot offer much. These are completely new units, that need more play through (300h-500h). This time I could offer only my first, maybe a little exaggerated, but very emotional experiences with it.
22 watt Class A single-ended no feedback mono triode power amplifiers with ultra-simple fully transformer coupled circuit topology with in-house designed and wound input, driver and output transformers.
All Audio Note™ silver wired, AN Perma 50 double C-cored output transformers, 2-watt Audio Note™ silver tantalum resistors, Black Gate™ WKz and NH type capacitors in power supply, Black Gate™ N-type decoupling capacitors, no signal coupling capacitors whatsoever (!).
Tubes: 2 x NOS VT4-C/211, 2 x NOS 5R4WGB, 2 x NOS VT25/10Y.
Audio Note (UK) Ltd.
“ONGAKU Shinguru’’ were used in system with:
Preamplifier – “Audio Note M8 Phono”
CD transport – “Audio Note CDT Three”
DAC – “Audio Note DAC 2.1x Signature”
Reel to reel tape recorder – “Otari MX-55”
Turntable – “Nakamichi TX-1000“
Loudspeakers – “Westlake Audio TM-3VF”
Music albums that were used in audition of “Audio Note ONGAKU Shinguru”:
VTT2 “Vital Tech Tones, Vol. 2”
The O-Zone Percussion Group “La Bamba”
Johno Rutterio „Requiem, Five Anthem”
Yo-Yo Ma “Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone”
Dave Brubeck “Take Five”
Abbey Lincoln “Abbey Sings Abbey”