HiFi Review – Audio Note OTO Line SE Signature driving big Alnico magnetic speakers with the power of 10W vacuum valves

Driving big Alnico magnetic speakers with the power of 10W vacuum valves –
When Audio Note OTO met JBL 4343, TANNOY Berkeley and Arden

“For a second year in a row, the Audio Note OTO Line SE Signature integrated amplifier has been awarded our publication’s ‘Best Buy of the Year’.”

“Not only is it great for driving modern speakers, it is also a marvel with vintage high efficiency speakers, and that made my heart swoon!”

“This time, I found three pairs of speakers from the 1970’s with Alnico magnet monitors (the last all-steel ones manufactured by the plant) to pair with the OTO SE Signature integrated amp: JBL 4343; Tannoy Berkely; and Tannoy Arden. The source is the OTO’s trusty partner from the same brand, Audio Note’s CD4.1X CD player. […] The testing space measures 10 feet wide by 17 feet long.”

“When the OTO drives the JBL4343, they deliver an open high range, rich fine details at low volumes, warm and moving vocals with a sharp focus. The bass is solid and powerful, with vivid and dynamic rhythms. Together they deliver an energetic and refreshing performance.”

“The Tannoy Berkeley speakers use the 12” Monitor [High Performance Dual] HPD315, and its cabinet is made in-house with thick timber based on original drawings. […] Its sound is comparatively more refined and elegant, with flowing and lively beats as well as a calm and beautiful flair.”

“Tannoy Berkeley makes excellent company with this 10W integrated amp. In addition to the British charm that the OTO and Berkeley brings, there is also a feeling that the two are equals.”

“The Tannoy Arden uses the 15” Monitor HPD385. OTO drives the Arden with ease, while the latter’s 15” bass creates a larger sound space than the Berkeley’s 12” bass, the Arden also brings richer information and deeper low frequencies.”

“The power of the OTO lies in that it can control up to a 15” bass in this small, intimate space with great accuracy, delivering solid, strong, quickly fluctuating volumes with clean, tidy breaks and a steady submersion. Most importantly, it makes one savour its sound!”

“OTO Line SE Signature works very well with vintage high efficiency large speakers. I think its performance is particularly suited for smaller environments.”