CES 2013: Kondo











Kondo/Audio Note assembled a rather elegant room at CES this year, showing off their $75k/pair Biyura loudspeakers, which feature an all-new enclosure. The Biyura are a field-coil magnet design with a horn-tweeter with a “pure silver diaphragm”. They’re 116lbs each.

Driven here by a pair of prototype 211-based monoblocks, called Kagura (price still TBD). The amps are 110lbs each because there are four rather massive transformers per channel; max output is 55wpc, and yes, that’s a parallel single-ended configuration. I was told that the amps are “almost finished”, though some tweaks may come to the aesthetic.

Ginga turntable is now in Gen II, featuring new materials and a brand-new power supply. Price has increased to $130,000. Ouch. But … it does come with a tonearm.

A new phono preamp, the GE-1 ($13,500), is also new, and stakes out the penultimate position in the lineup. It offers 34dB of gain.

The sound in the room was pretty much what I expect from Audio Note — a mid-range as rich, full, and inviting as a fondue pot. Remember fondue? Anyway, it’s delicious. Like many rooms at the Venetian, bass was a challenge, but there was a wonderful delicacy to the sound that just begs for intimate music.