The Audio Archon & Audio Note (UK) System

Trends come and go. Manufacturers lose their shirts and pull up stake. This year's hot design trend becomes tomorrow's price knockdown. Amid the hype and ballyhoo often found in high end audio, Audio Note (UK) remains an oasis of beauty, purity, and simplicity, and at affordable prices. A legacy brand that doesn't feel the need to change designs, when, after all they make music, Audio Note (UK) offered lucidity and great music at AXPONA.

The Audio Note (UK) system assembled by Mike Kay of Libertyville, Illinois' Audio Archon and Audio Note's Adrian Ford-Crush costs a total of $28,133, not an inconsiderable sum. But when the brands in some AXPONA rooms charge more than that for their cables, the value, consistency, and sanity of Audio Note (UK)'s products ring out like a bell. Enter here weary audio traveler and find ye rest!

The system included an Audio Note TT Two turntable ($4280), Audio Note Arm Two tonearm ($1800), Audio Note IQ3 cartridge ($1250), Audio Note R Zero phono stage ($2000), Audio Note CDT1 CD transport ($4950), Audio Note Cobra D/A integrated amplifier ($5450, shown above), and Audio Note AN-E-D Hemp loudspeakers ($6400/pair). Audio Note Lexus interconnects ($330/1m pair), Audio Note Lexus USB cable ($290/1m), Audio Note La Biwired speaker cables ($1340/3m pair), and Audio Note ISIS power cables ($43.0/1m) completed the system.

The Audio Note EN-E-D Hemp speakers were set very wide apart and toed-in hard to the listener. This setup created massive scale in a soundstage of great depth, with practically 3D spatial images emanating free of the speakers. Cannonball Adderley's Cannonball Plus vinyl had plenty of resonance and wallop. Massive Attack V Mad Professor's No Protection CD worked the speakers like a ship climbing waves at sea. Then Adrian Ford-Crush pulled out the vinyl LP of Prince Jammy vs King Tubby's His Majesty's Dub, and it was game over, dude! The walls seemed to melt; the windows became transparent even though the curtains were drawn. I felt myself disappear into a massive wall of sound inhabited by floating congas, ricochet reverb, throbbing bass, and woozy, larger-than-life vocals. The system vanished, only the music remained, filling the room like a holy cathedral of sound. Headphone sex anyone?

avanti1960's picture

lively, effortless dynamics, and a clear, refined wonderful sounding midrange. There was nothing dull or plodding about the sound of this system- it was perfect to my ears.
Advantage A/N E speakers that like to be placed in a corner or against the wall- perfect for a smaller room.
Many other rooms had obvious issues.
Why does Stereophile fail to mention anything negative about the sound of a room?
Plenty to choose from.

tonykaz's picture

Hmm, hardly a mask wearing person in sight.

Attendance seems low compared to when I was doing shows at CES ( back in the 1980s ) .

Did you find a wonderful 'discovery' that you will reveal to your curious fans ?

I hope Audio Note might loan you a Cobra Integrated for a nice while and you could then do a little tube rolling to discover if it's the tubes or the clever design. ( I'd bet it's the careful tube selection )

Big Shows are supposed to be for new Dealers to Select Product Lines, aren't they ?, did you happen onto any excited NEW Dealers opening up all over the Country ????

I hope you get to write a 5,000 word report highlighting new trends like the scarcity of record players or anything else that's noticeable .

Thanks for being there and writing about it.

Tony in Florida