Robert Koda’s Takumi K-15 EX Joins the Ten Elite
Robert Koda joins DeVore Fidelity in Absolute Sounds' elite Ten audio artisan collection.
Robert Koda's exquisite Takumi K-15 EX preamplifier is the latest item to be hand-picked to join Absolute Sounds' new distribution concept called Ten – a hand-selected collection of extraordinary sonic creations curated by company founder and MD, Ricardo Franassovici.
Founded in 2008, Robert Koda was born from the passion and experience of Robert Koch, a music lover and audiophile who worked for Audio Note Japan (Kondo) for many years. After the death of Mr Hiroyasu Kondo in 2006, Robert decided to work independently. He called his new company Robert Koda – a combination of his first name and his wife's maiden name.
We are told that Robert Koda's 29kg Takumi K-15 EX is one of the world's finest line preamplifiers, boasting extraordinary engineering of a kind more commonly associated with the finest timepieces, or hyper-performance motorcars enthuses Ricardo Franassovici.
At the preamplifier's heart is Robert Koda's ITC (Inverted Transconductance Coupling) design – a unique arrangement of semi-conductors pioneered in the preceding K-10 preamp and taken to the next level in the K-15 EX to apparently achieve truly exceptional subjective and measured results.
We are told that the ITC circuit provides an excellent interface between the source component and power amplifier, delivering massive power gain with remarkably low distortion whilst remaining immune from the negative influences of power supply noise. The circuit is elegant, simple, unflappable and totally effective over a dynamic range in excess of 145dB.
The Robert Koda K-15 EX has a quoted frequency range of 20Hz to 20KHz, +/- 0.05dB, and a maximum output of 30V RMS single-ended, 60V RMS balanced. THD is stated at less than 0.0003% at 2V RMS out, 1KHz, balanced input. However, this has been estimated “due to measuring equipment limitations”.
The K-15 EX sports perhaps the most extravagantly designed balanced-mode volume control in existence – at its core is a massive, custom-built eight-channel switch incorporating 256 nude, made-for-purpose resistors of the finest audio grade. However, only two resistors are used per channel phase at any one time in this 'L-pad' configuration. It is highlighted that the switch itself maintains perfect contact pressure; while the contacts are solid silver and generously proportioned.
The uncompromising details continue with all the inputs being hand-wired and mechanically switched to eliminate the use of circuit boards, relays and solid-state switches. Furthermore, it is details such as delicate signals are carried in bundles of four-nines silver wire, while a solder of 99.99% pure copper and lead-free alloy is used. We are also advised that the selector switch is specifically made for the delicate task of handling sub-microcurrent signals without corruption.
The preamp offers five pairs of true balanced XLR inputs along with five pairs of RCA. Outputs are two pairs RCA and two pairs true balanced XLR. The RCA sockets are said to be milled from high-purity copper and rhodium-plated to ensure optimal signal transmission, states the brand.
The K-15 EX's chassis is made from layered copper to shield the circuitry from electromagnetic interference, says the manufacturer, who adds that the most sensitive elements within the ITC circuit are further protected in individual mu-metal capsules, ensuring total immunity against external influence. Additional internal isolation is provided by the fully annealed Permalloy vault that encapsulates the power supply, we're told.
To deliver an exterior as exquisite as the interior, a graded aluminium finish is applied to the copper chassis, with gold-plated inserts and a ruby lens, adding to the perception of elegant luxury.
The Robert Koda Takumi K-15 EX is available in the UK from spring as part of the Ten collection, priced at £60,000.
StereoNET UK’s Editor, bass player, and resident rock star! Jay’s passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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