Japanese Audio: How do the best compare?

joaovieira

Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2013
296
152
285
Brazil
I heard YS Sound amp and pre in Munich in 2017. They use to show up with Zellaton Speakers and Schnerzinger cables.
I am a tube guy, don’t like very much SS, but it was one of the most natural sounds I have ever listened to.
But the price is for few.
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
12,745
1,253
588
I heard YS Sound amp and pre in Munich in 2017. They use to show up with Zellaton Speakers and Schnerzinger cables.
I am a tube guy, don’t like very much SS, but it was one of the most natural sounds I have ever listened to.
But the price is for few.
Very interesting...i had never heard of this company until you mentioned it. Can you tell us any more about the sound or the company itself? I just went to their website. Seem like specialists in preamps...though have also just seen they do have mono amps but there is almost no information out about them.

https://www.yssound.jp/Products/preamp/yss782
 
Last edited:

jep123

VIP/Donor
Dec 23, 2012
251
42
268
Norway
Another brand from Japan but not very famous : Spec Audio . Is anyone familiar with their amps ?
Class D made in Japan sounding like tube amps according to my reading but never listened to them ...
Good amps, but nowhere near Kondo or the other exotic brands mentioned here. But they do sound "tubelike"...

JP
 
  • Like
Reactions: mtemur and hogen

joaovieira

Well-Known Member
Feb 16, 2013
296
152
285
Brazil
Very interesting...i had never heard of this company until you mentioned it. Can you tell us any more about the sound or the company itself? I just went to their website. Seem like specialists in preamps...though have also just seen they do have mono amps but there is almost no information out about them.

https://www.yssound.jp/Products/preamp/yss782
I don’t really have more information about YS. I was surprised by the almost perfect presentation. certain the best of the best of show.

Then I saw the prices. Pre and power together are over €700.000.
A Brand to be heard in Munich every year, impossible for me to buy it.
 

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
2,250
2,349
515
Very interesting...i had never heard of this company until you mentioned it. Can you tell us any more about the sound or the company itself? I just went to their website. Seem like specialists in preamps...though have also just seen they do have mono amps but there is almost no information out about them.

https://www.yssound.jp/Products/preamp/yss782
YS Sound amps are beautiful. I have heard them a few times over here. Yes they are not cheap. I think their amps are around 120kusd but that was a while ago.

p5840ffa6e3b9f.jpg
mocbest2.jpg
 
  • Like
Reactions: XV-1 and joaovieira

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
12,745
1,253
588
I don’t really have more information about YS. I was surprised by the almost perfect presentation. certain the best of the best of show.

Then I saw the prices. Pre and power together are over €700.000.
A Brand to be heard in Munich every year, impossible for me to buy it.
Thanks...yes, that is what I read as well. 1500 watt per channel monos
See below: https://audiobacon.net/2019/06/13/high-end-munich-2019-the-best-sounds/4/


From Audio Bacon - High End Munich 2019 Best Sounds commentary:
"Zellaton & YS Sound
I’ll admit – I was drawn to the shiny drivers on these 300 lbs, 4-ohm, 3-way floorstanders. Super pretty. These German Zellaton speakers were driven by Japanese YS Sound electronics. Interestingly, they’re also incredibly sensitive at 90 dB.

Gregorio Paniagua’s Fons vitae / Dementia praecox angelorum played with brilliance. It was able to balance vividness and tactility into a powerful and engaging sound. Admittedly, it wasn’t quite my taste (tonally) but the amount of spatial clarity and atmosphere did draw me in – and kept me there.

 
  • Like
Reactions: joaovieira

RdW

Well-Known Member
Apr 8, 2018
61
18
75
Netherlands
Robert Koda - Excellent
Kondo - lovely
Luxman - superb value with some really good stuff
Air Tight - love the sound signature. I want to try the 3211 monoblocks.
Accuphase - not bad but would not rate it as high as the ones above although i haven't heard it in a while
Esoteric - used to hate it. Apparently the latest chips are a bit more palatable.
Shindo - Liquid
Zanden - Up there with the best
Soul Note - ?
Don't forget Techdas...or all the magnificent cartridges

Like the summary! Wondering how i.e. a Kondo K10 would compare to ”mainstream” US (D’Agostino, Constellation, Pass and alike)
 

restock

Well-Known Member
Nov 13, 2016
8
5
85
Toronto, Canada
Robert Koda - Excellent
Kondo - lovely
Luxman - superb value with some really good stuff
Air Tight - love the sound signature. I want to try the 3211 monoblocks.
Accuphase - not bad but would not rate it as high as the ones above although i haven't heard it in a while
Esoteric - used to hate it. Apparently the latest chips are a bit more palatable.
Shindo - Liquid
Zanden - Up there with the best
Soul Note - ?
Don't forget Techdas...or all the magnificent cartridges

Excellent short summaries!

I'll comment on some of the ones I owned or heard more extensively at friends/dealers:
Shindo - Lively, detailed, good textures. I really loved the original Ken Shindo designs - Monbrison, Haut Brion, Cortese. I would consider an original Giscours too.
Accuphase - Delicate, refined, good textures and detail. The Class A tend to be also more engaging with better flow. Out of the solid state ones by far the best built and reliable (Luxman, Esoteric) - absolute perfectionists and Accuphase have been fine-tuning almost the same line-up for 10 years. Moved to an E-600 from a Gicours/Cortese which should say a lot.
Luxman - Great value item. I feel the lineup lacks a bit direction - tube/solid state, inconsist design across lineup, lot of turnover of new products (which can be good/bad). Good sound and like their lively Class A/B sound. For Class A I would go Accuphase.
Kondo - Sounded spectacular and will always remember my first time hearing the Ongaku...
Esoteric - Well built digital players, but never liked the sound very much.
Air Tight - sounded good each time I heard, but not quite as special as Shindo/Kondo...
 

Raker24

Member
Jul 28, 2020
42
31
18
67
The new TAD Reference CR1 TX speakers and M700 monoblocks are out of this world. The Evolution series D1000 Mk 2 SACD player is also very fine, much better than the Esoteric K-01X I used to have. I'm listening to them right now in Singapore with a full loom of Audience Front Row power cables, interconnects, and speaker cables, which contribute to the rich, dynamic, detailed, and pacy sound.
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
2,541
2,167
580
Hong Kong
A good read on the Kondo Audionote Japan, about the current state of the company after the passing of Master Hiroyasu Kondo :

 

Sablon Audio

Industry Expert, VIP Donor
May 22, 2015
1,120
796
378
Thanks for sharing CKK, that’s a great article from Peter.
 

Direct Drive

Active Member
Sep 16, 2020
138
94
30
East Anglia, UK
Some great names. What about Leben?
 

amadeus

VIP/Donor
Jan 13, 2018
235
216
200
-Robert Koch from Robert Koda.
-Mr. Yamada Zanden Audio
-Kiyoaki Imai Audio Tekne
-Masaki Ashizawa Kondo Audio Note JP

And do not forget mr Komuro he is a very underrated SE Amp designer one of the best!
 
  • Like
Reactions: djsina2

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
2,541
2,167
580
Hong Kong
-Robert Koch from Robert Koda.
-Mr. Yamada Zanden Audio
-Kiyoaki Imai Audio Tekne
-Masaki Ashizawa Kondo Audio Note JP

And do not forget mr Komuro he is a very underrated SE Amp designer one of the best!
Don't forget :
Takashi Shindo & Yoshinobu Shindo of Shindo Audio. They are sons of the late Ken Shindo.

And Mr. Miura of Air Tight Audio too.
 

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
2,541
2,167
580
Hong Kong

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
2,541
2,167
580
Hong Kong
In the 1970s/80s, both Mr. Atsushi Miura and Tim de Paravincini (of EAR later) worked in Luxman in Japan.
Later on Miura San established his own Air Tight company.

Here is a Taiwan interview of Miura San. It's in Chinese but there are some beautiful photos :

Here is a short interview in English :
 

KyoichiOda

Member
Feb 10, 2021
42
49
20
I would like to add.
Cybershaft - clock generator
Sforzarto - network player and clock generator
Soulnote - DAC, clock generator, pre, power and phono amplifier
Ause Audio - DAC and power amplifier
 

Gregadd

WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
7,928
552
550
Metro DC
Yes, and the two brands I mentioned don’t have all that artificial top end sizzle that so many audiophiles crave.
Huh?
 

BruceD

VIP/Donor
Dec 13, 2013
1,351
355
240
Kenjiro Matsumoto of MacTone JP

In my system his Amplifier replaced Shindo/Luxman/Jadis/Cello/Pass/ Rowland.

A very well respected brand in Japan--good to see In Living Stereo NYC stocking the brand in the US

BruceD
 

Mikem53

Well-Known Member
Oct 1, 2020
662
562
105
Let’s not forget Technics, Pioneer/TAD, Denon... big companies but they make some really good (and some maybe not so good) gear. I love my SP10 Mk.3 turntable and my Denon 103r is pretty cool for the $ too.

I have never heard them, but am very interested in ALE and GOTOH drivers. I’d love to be able to build a pair of horn speakers someday and these are companies I’d be interested in checking out.
I would add Sony to that list also.. Maybe not the high end so much anymore, but they pioneer many great innovations that companies utilize.. The SACD1 scd777 held their own for many years..
 

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing