2024-05-24

HiFi Review – Cover Story
Audio Note Meishu Phono 300B Kapellmeister Flagship Vacuum Tube Integrated Amplifier

“’God is in the details’⋯ this saying makes me want to change it to, ‘Allure and temptation are in the details!’”

“The Meishu Kapellmeister is not a straightforward extension of Meishu Tonmeister, but another branched variation. It also signifies that Audio Note is confident in developing the Meishu’s fully-fledged platform into a top-end integrated amp.”

“[Audio Note] wanted to push Meishu to another level, and [their research and development engineer] Darko Greguras accepted the challenge as a very serious and personal mission. ⋯[He] hoped to have a top-end amp that can be used in a smaller space, and a top-end integrated amp at that!”

“Audio Note’s senior R&D engineer Andy Grove assisted in designing a dedicated power transformer specifically for this important part of the circuit. Then, it is newly improved and paired with Audio Note’s own AN-Perma 50% nickel steel core output transformer. ⋯⋯The circuit is entirely hand-made with silver with hard-wired connections, and treated solid-wood plywood is used as the circuit substrate.”

Audio Note’s attenuator is self-made with independent Tantalum film resistors and 36 progressive levels. It is a set of high-end audiophile attenuators that feel solid and sound refined when you twist the dial. Equipped with XLR balanced inputs, the homemade pure silver transformer serves the XLR balanced input coupling, and the left and right channels are each hidden in two metal shielding drums.”

“As for the highlight of this amp, the MM phono stage occupies over 20% (one-fifth) of the area of the chassis. It is on par with the M8 Phono pre-amp.”

“With the M8-grade tube phono pre-amp, as soon as it starts playing, the difference in airiness, liveliness, viscerality and temperature is astonishing. It’s like upgrading to another more advanced system.”

River Chan
HiFi Review
2024.4