High End 2017: The tea ceremony of recorded playback with Kondo of Japan

Kondo Kagura 211 monobloc.
High End at Munich in the MOC is an A-List affair with thousands of people swarming everywhere constantly, and millions of dollars in ne plus ultra gear oozing cabling as thick as my thigh out of every nook, and cranny for the masses to ogle, and touch with sweaty hands.

Not so in the Kondo Audio Note room.

Ginga Turntable.
Here an air of genteel tranquility reigned, and everyone who came in the room seemed to bow their heads ever-so-slightly in recognition that they had entered a slow zone of sorts: A place where certain properties of time, and space had become suspended in order for the music to be presented with an air of deference.

Kaiser Classic loudspeakers.

Coverage of High End from Munich brought to you by VPI Industries.
To be sure, the Kondo room was not alone in its ability to instil awe, respect, and actual silence from the often over-talkative Europeans in the bulk of rooms, but it did seem to possess an air of the religious about it, a temple-like quality if you will.

The aural temple altar.
The system consisted of a pair of Kagura 211 Power Amplifiers, the new GE-10 Phono Amplifier with/matching GE-10 Power Supply (which debuted at High End 2016), a G-1000 Preamplifier with/matching G-1000 Power Supply, SFz Step-Up Transformer (SUT) the Ginga Turntable, with matching SME/Kondo V-12 tonearm, and the aged-silver wired IO-M cartridge. Cabling throughout was also Kondo. The loudspeakers were the gorgeous Kaiser Kawero Classic from Germany.

A slow zone of music worship.
Let there be no doubt this was a room of rarified high fidelity with the craftsmanship, attention to detail in circuit design, construction, and materials used commiserate with the six-figure price tag hanging on this system. The sound for the room was deliciously ripe, with more focus on tone, and timbre than absolute transparency to source, but the rich, timbral hues the system painted through the Kaiser Classics was unmistakably, and supremely dedicated to portraying musicality in its delivery. This is the sound of romantic aural homage to my ears, and instilled a passion, and a yearning in me to spend as many uninterrupted  hours playing records through it as possible.

–Rafe Arnott