Robert Koda Takumi K-10 preamplifier

When it comes to high-end, actually better to say to ultra high-end audio, we often ask ourselves where is the boundary, limit or logical borderline between hi-fi, high-end and ultra high-end performance. Are we talking subtle things, nuances and hard to embraced anchors of audio reproduction? Is it last 20 percent or last 3 percent of what we're getting at the upper echelon?

There is a certain movement of hardcore audiophiles and music lovers at Audio Exotics forum. These people seems to be one of the most demanding listeners and both audio - music connoisseurs. They're not strictly limited to Hong Kong. Forum passionate members spread around the globe borderless. So what is the connection here? Robert Koda!

Since the founding of Robert Koda, Robert Koch is pushing the limits of ultra high end audio performance. He started with one of the kind Takumi K-70 three chassis hybrid power amplifier and changed the hearts of many people that were certain how their audio journey ended. Even the audio press was impressed at each review. Martin Colloms gave the highest score ever to Takumi K-70 and few other reviews praised it highest.

True audio artisans

So what is it all about? I'll go into details along the review and listening notes, but Robert Koch is one of true audio artisans. It's the way he approaches designing, listening and reasoning, that attracts my inner audio clock at top most. We're in the beat of fast forwarding world where everything is done or has to be done in the fast lane. No space to rest just hectic rush. When things are done in a slower, thoughtful (soulful) way the end results can be of much difference. Like in music where the silence and time stops are needed and constitutional part of a score it seems that similar flux evoke artistry and objects of an audio art. Creating something unique, passionate and different is not just a matter of choice. Specially in ultra high end audio everything needs to be carefully tested, measured and non thelast taken under most demanding listening. These takes time, efforts and bold determination for pursuing something that redefine the "standard" or "ordinary." The end result in product that carries artisan DNA and a view to the musical world. I would even say a respect for music.

And while many times the path can be mystified at the end only the wholeness matters. Finished product stand on its own that speaks for itself. Robert Koch elegantly let his work speaks for itself. You can feel from the way that he correspond that a he's not only an artisan, but a true gentleman.

Lasting first impression 

Robert Koda Takumi K-10 preamplifier will stay here for prolonged time so listening notes and finally review will come in due time. Last night I managed to connect K-10 into my system. Result? I don't want to fall into esoteric jargon, yet the musical impact that Robert Koda Takumi K-10 preamplifier brought is one of the kind. The effortless lightness of music was beyond word - intoxicating. I was just reaching for the music in perpetum mobile. Night listenings are great, but regretfully too soon the sun is coming to abode.

Synery is all important

Funny thing. I always check my placebo effect or over enthused emotions for down to earth facts checked. I removed YBA Passion 650 AMP from the system. A sudden change. Dynamics, transparency, sense of space... Instead of music floating, there were just so called a contemporary assets of high end definitions. Soul gone! It seems that Robert Koda Takumi K-10 is a transparent medium, that conveys what is there. No second guesses. I'll go deeper into subject in upcoming weeks, but this proves the theory of perfect system balance. When things are at the right pace music just clicks. If not, then descriptions start coming in. When left brain hemisphere kicks in a way to grand way my red alert pops up. Something is simply not right. This gets down to the gut feeling. Music is much more then sum of logical rules and parts. Take some time on exploring recent and past studies. We react to music in much more deeper way that we're mostly aware of. What touches me and what matters to me most is the sense of musicality. The motion of sound. The interaction. No borders. No boundaries. Universe of true musical poetry, which interacts with listener on sub and lucid level. Those create our perception and reception of things audio.

As with few components I have had pleasure to spend some quality listening time in past few twenty some years Robert Koda Takumi K-10 preamplifier radiates the music with the natural warmness. I'm not talking about instant recognised tube warmness. That feeling can take on a cheap ride. One would bet all his money that Takumi K-10 is of tube origin for the delicate intimacy that only state of the art valve preamplifiers can achieve. Well, you cannot be more wrong. Takumi K-10 is solid state to the bone. Midrange natural timbre and embodied of three dimensional instruments reproduced by Takumi K-10 will fool you instantly. Even if your audio mileage is vast. It feels like Robert Koda Takumi K-10 preamplifier goes beyond tube or solid state technology. Anyhow. To shortly elaborate. Ask any experienced high-end audio designer about building state of the art tube and solid state preamplifier design. It's "quite" easy to design good or even great tube preamplifier. Going into solid state world things change drastically and dramatically. There are only few solid state preamplifiers in the world that reach the point of ultra high end performance. And even those have some invisible imprints of technology used. Takumi K-10 is embodiment or Robert Koch determination for perfection. It's easy to get philosophical about transcending technologies, yet when it comes to the real world implementation, measuring and most important listening all the charades and ego trips quickly falls into oblivion. Paper can take us much as needed. Real world reveals everything.

Among most demanding crowd Robert Koda Takumi K-10 is ranked as one of the five best preamplifiers in the world and more then often among first three. I can understand from my first impact why is it so.

Monet, Lucidity, Kurusawa

How to describe my short peek into the world seen and heard trough the eyes and most importantly ears of Robert Koch. The warm life like emotional impact that reminds me of Akira Kurusawa masterpiece Dreams. A lasted impression that I wont struggle with even an atom of energy to let go from my system. Think Claude Monet, Pissaro or Renoir picture with the clarity of best resolution possible. With age the view of later two got more intimate. Their later phase got more close to the aura of real people and things connected to the world around us. Such is a feeling of representation from Robert Koch view through the Robert Koda Takumi K-10 preamplifier. A mature and passionate. Real world persons with a true natural emotional behaviour and surroundings. Lucid, transparent and complete representation of music. Combination that is of most importance. A true look into music universe and interaction with the energy of composer. There is so much more to say, but let it reveal my feelings along the way. It's certain and obvious how this affected my perception of musical reproduction. Interesting how one component can have a potency of such.

Thanks to Razwan of Amplitune for providing the review sample. Razwan and Nikki choose Robert Koda brand after careful consideration and their quest for the best in high-end. Their journey to Japan embodied a personal strive for the musical transparent medium. I cannot be happier that Mr. Koch work captured their soul and satisfied their urge for upper echelon based on the music and not labeling of any kind.

Matej Isak Mono and Stereo ultra high end audio magazine All rights reserved, 2012 Matej Isak Mono and Stereo ultra high end audio magazine All rights reserved, 2012 None of the original text, pictures, that were taken by me, links or my original files can be re-pritend or used in any way without prior permission!