Audio Note

Of course this system had two speakers; it's just that both didn't fit in the frame.

As usual, I found cellist and Audio Note UK music ambassador Vincent Bélanger hosting the Audio Note UK room, but this time, Vincent wasn't alone. He was accompanied by two sales executives hailing from Audio Note central in England: Daniel Qvortrup, son of company founder Peter, and a chap who, at night, goes by the artist name A:D and by day, Adrian Ford-Crush. Adrian composes a style of bass-heavy electronic music that's popular in England called drum and bass. He and Daniel came to Montreal to help Vincent watch the room and play music, which included some of A:D's own compositions.

I've heard many Audio Note systems over the years, but never before one in this league, as measured by performance or price. It included a 27Wpc, single-ended, 211 tube–based integrated amplifier ($220,000) and a pair of AN-E/SPx SE Signature loudspeakers with the Apple finish ($25,000).

                      Daniel Qvortrup

Sources included an analog front-end I didn't audition: a TT Three turntable with PSU3 power supply ($25,000), an Arm Three/II tonearm ($3750), an IO II MC phono cartridge ($11,500), an M5 RIAA phono stage ($20,000), and an AN-S8 step-up transformer ($24,000)—and a digital front-end that I did audition: a CDT Four CD transport ($32,500) and a tube-rectified DAC 5 Special ($99,000). Cables were also by Audio Note UK, making this a purebred Audio Note UK system.

Listening to Adrian's spacey, beat-driven, effects-laden music streamed from an external hard drive, I heard a presentation that was fluid, seamless, deep-hued, textured, and layered in air currents—air seemed palpabe in the front of and behind the instruments. The soundstage was vast and seemed microscopically energised with tactile musical information.

Most importantly, this system made me really dig A:D's music.

Anton's picture

They once played LCD Soundsystem's "Daft Punk is Playing at My House" and that gear can party!

Great report!