Athens 2014: Kondo and Leben with Blumenhofer Acoustics


hes-2014Japan has a tradition in tube electronics, probably second to none. In just one room, I found the best of the old school in thermionic valve designs coming from the Far East mixed with the best of the new — Kondo’s GE-1 phono stage with matching CFz step up transformer and Leben’s CX28 pre amplifier with external power supply unit driving the CX600 power amp. Another classic Japanese piece, the ZYX Omega low output moving coil cartridge acted as source.

The Germans on the other hand have created a school in recent years for what concerns turntable design and horn speakers. Bauer Audio provided the dps 3 turntable and in-house tonearm, while speakers were from Blumenhofer Acoustics. The Genuin FS-2 is built around a 12 inch paper woofer loaded in ground firing bass reflex with a 1.4” horn loaded, titanium compression tweeter. A particularly tube friendly speaker with flat 8Ω impedance curve and efficiency rated at 94dB.

These two schools seem to perfectly match one the other, this was a very nice sounding system, even more so if we consider the hotel room acoustics. I heard Ella Fitzgerald singing “Black Coffee” with a vibrant and clear voice like few other times. Requesting something more complex Leopold Stokowski got on the podium in the show classic “Rhapsodies” from Living Stereo. Flutes and strings blended in seamless fashion and the 12” woofer provided all the bass one would want for a moderate room.






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