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OBITUARY OF HIROYASU KONDO

 
We regret to inform that on January 8th 2006, Hiroyasu Kondo, founder of Audio Note Japan, passed away peacefully in his sleep while attending the T.H.E. SHOW audio show in Las Vegas. He is survived by his wife, Kazuko; his son, Yuji; and his daughter, Hisae.

Hiroyasu Kondo, the second son of a Buddhist priest, was a professor of electronic engineering and molecular metallurgy. He founded Audio Note in Japan in 1976, facilitating his desire to develop audio equipment capable of reproducing the essence of artistic performance captured in recorded music. He was often referred to as the "silver smith" for his revolutionary use of age annealed silver in his audio equipment. The Kondo ONGAKU amplifier will forever be a symbol of his success.

Kondo San had suffered ill health for some time. In order to ensure that the Kondo standard would flourish, he appointed his close colleague, Masaki Ashizawa, who he worked with for 16 years, as the President of Audio Note Japan six months ago.

On behalf of Kondo San's family, we would like to thank all those people from around the world who have sent tributes expressing their affection for Kondo San and acknowledging his place in audio history.

Give me that emotion!

 

It has been great to receive a
pair of ART speakers called the "EMOTION". I had been promised, before they arrived, that they were wonderful but knowing manufacturer as I do, I know that each and everyone of their "newborn babies" is wonderful! Anyhow, the EMOTION have arrived and I will say from the outset that they are truly a great speaker.

These speakers re-produce the intent of the music, and I am not surprised that Derek and Ramsay (of ART) have decided on the name EMOTION for them. And, by the way, a big thanks to David Speirs, my long time audio guru, for putting me in touch with Derek in the first place, and so leading to these new speakers' arrival.

You will see from the picture that the EMOTIONS are a 2-way speaker, using the very best parts possible, including Jensen capacitors and Kondo internal wiring.

I have had the opportunity to play them to one or two friends, and the reaction has been always good, in fact ecstatic!

It did occur to me, when I came to write this piece, that I have been writing rather a lot about speakers this year. The reason for that has been my frustration (and I know it is the frustration of many) with speakers, and their limitations, and which always seems to be the component that let's the system down. I have really struggled to find a reflex box speaker that does anything other than an "average" job, at best, and it has been very frustrating.

The ART EMOTION came about because I asked Derek some time ago if he could make a speaker that could convey all the excitement and immediacy of a horn speakers but also capture the fuller, more solid sound that box reflect speakers can manage. It would be helpful too, if they could be made as domestically friendly as possible. I needed this type of speaker to mate with relating low powered amplifications.

My favourite electronics are products made by Kondo and Kimura San (Kimura San of 47Lab), and they are both of the "small watt" school. To my ear, this is a good thing, big powerful amplifiers sound to me thick and course and there is certainly nothing thick and course about Kondo or 47Lab amplifications. However, it does mean that speakers are harder to match because the speakers have to be relatively sensitive to work properly.

When I received the EMOTION, I used a pair of 47Lab Gain Card amps, with a Kondo IO-j cartridge and Kondo KSL-M7 phono amp; I tell you the result was just staggering. They produced a huge realistic presentation with a tremendous sense of the weight and scale of the music. Scale is so difficult to capture (and yet so important) and the only other speaker I have ever owned that did this successfully was the "Carfrae", now, alas, no longer made.

The other bonus is that the EMOTION can be placed against the rear wall, if necessary, in a smaller room because the ports fire down onto the base of the wooden stand which is an integral part of the speaker. I think they look quite elegant in a rather old fashioned simple way. No "bells and whistles" to their looks but nevertheless they appear pleasing with their very high quality veneer.

In any event, this speaker seems to have no fault (and this is a remarkable achievement in itself) and lots of virtues. I am always a bit amazed at how much can be said by equipment reviewers and this article is only intended as a statement of my own belief, and so keeping it short, the EMOTION works!

If any product deserves to be successful this is it; the ART name is still not very well known, but my goodness, these EMOTIONS are good enough to make them a serious player!

Hong Kong Tube Audio Show 2005

 
We were delighted to welcome Kondo and Masaki San and the team from Audio Note Japan to the Hong Kong show. A really unusually pleasant big room was filled with the sound of music, care of the KSL ONGAKU 211 amplifier and a KSL-1000 pre-amplifier. CDs were spun by a 47Lab PiTracer. Kondo cabling DAC and IO-j cartridge, and a DPS turntable with Ikeda tonearm completed the electronics line up.

For the first time at a show Wilson Watt 7s speakers (provided kindly by Ken Chan at the Sound Chamber) were the loudspeaker of choice mated with Kondo electronics.

If the comments from the people attending were genuine we achieve the best sound of the show by a large margin!

Some pictures below record the attendance at the show by the ANJ International team (who are the international marketing people for Kondo) and the Audio Note Japan team, including Kondo San and Masaki San themselves.

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