US road warrior David Cope was on hand to indoctrinate the unwashed into the ways of the cult that is Audio Note UK. I’m only half-joking about the cult-thing, Audio Note fans tend to get a little … enthusiastic … about the brand.
To be fair, there’s a lot to get enthused about.
The brand is one of those soup-to-nuts European brands where one-stop-shopping is quite the in-thing. I’m going to assume that you’re an audiophile for a moment and acknowledge that this is very old news, but it’s worth noting that not everything Audio Note sells is horrifically expensive.
David was showing a rather modest system, at least by brand standards. The AN-J/D speakers were shoved into the corners as per usual, using those corners as impromptu horns for a bit of a room-generated lift in system sensitivity, and the sound coming out of them was richly textured. Honestly, I get it. This is the kind of sound that really makes you take your hat off, pour yourself a little something, and put your feet up. And most of us could use quite a bit more of that.
David very helpful sent me a comprehensive room sheet — and for that, I have to thank him profusely. The gear descriptions comes from him.
CDT3 transport – $11,800 – Philips CDPro2 mechanism with a seriously tweaked power supply section. SPDIF single ended RCA and balanced XLR outputs are supplied. Choice of polished black acrylic faceplate/gold buttons or brushed aluminum.
DAC3.1x/II – $9,900 – A non-over sampling, unfiltered DAC based on the AD1865N capable of reading 24/96 files, (albeit truncated to 18 bits.) Audio Note purpose-designed and in-house wound transformers perform the I/V conversion and a pair of 12AU7s handle the analog output via Audio Note double c-core transformers. The power supply is tubed as well, using a 6X5 rectifier and ECL82 voltage regulator. Available in black or silver, as above.
TT Two Deluxe – $3,525 – Updated TT Two suspended, two motor turntable with wood-veneered Russian birch plywood plinth, all internals upgraded to superior materials. An external power supply with electronic speed switching is available as an option or upgrade. Black Ash shown.
Arm Three V2 – $2,000 – New Audio Note-designed 9” tone arm, AN-AI 99.99% pure silver wire with AN-Vx external cable. Single piece tapered arm tube from tip to tail. A drop in replacement for 9” Rega arms. Available in black or silver.
IQ3 – $980 – Our best moving magnet cartridge, with a Pocan body weighing 6 grams. The square cross-section titanium cantilever with an Audio Note type 2 is identical to the one used in our $4k+ IOI low output moving coil cartridge.
CD 4.1x – $11,800 – Our best one box CD player, combining our CDT Two/II transport, based on the Philips CD Pro2LF mechanism, and an improved version of the DAC2.1x/II sharing a single chassis. The DAC is based on the Analog Devices AD1865N and is capable of reading up to 24/96 files, (truncated to 18 bits.) Analog output utilizes a pair of 6H23N tubes, (the Russian equivalent of the 6922.) Output coupling is via Audio Note copper foil capacitors. The display may be dimmed or turned off and a remote control is included. Brushed aluminum fascia with aluminum buttons, or black acrylic fascia with gold buttons are available.
OTO SE Phono Signature – $6,325 – 10 w/ch, Class A, single-ended parallel EL84, MM phono integrated amplifier, providing five inputs. Tube complement: phono stage: 1 x 6DJ8, 1 x ECC83; line stage:1 x ECC82, 2 x ECC83; output: 4x EL84. Available with your choice of brushed aluminum or black acrylic fascia.
J/D – $3,700/pr, (hemp woofers $325 addt’l.; stands $640/pr.) – The entry-level Model J – A two-way, 93 dB/w/m sensitive, 25Hz-23Khz +/-6dB in room speaker system featuring a 1” silk soft dome tweeter and 8” paper bass-midrange driver. (Hemp, shown here, is available as an upgrade.) The cabinet front and back are MDF while the four sides are particle board, resembling our older lower priced models. Now supplied in Black Ash (only) wood veneer at the same price as the black vinyl wrap.