HiFi Review – Audio Note Meishu Line 300B Tonmeister Vacuum Tube Integrated Amplifier

DATE : 13 Dec, 2019
CATEGORY : High-end Audio

“The first adjectives that come to mind with the Meishu Line 300B Tonmeister and the AN-E / SPe HE speakers are ‘everlasting’ and ‘thought-provoking’. ”

“[Audio Note is] convinced that the best way to make a great amplifier is to keep the circuitry simple and refined, and to optimize each and every component so that they work seamlessly and harmoniously in synergy.”

“Both input and driver stages are new and improved. They are similar to the brand’s flagship Ongaku, where the inter-stage transformer driven by 12AU7 and 5687 vacuum tubes uses a transformer designed and manufactured in-house to achieve the best energy transmission, which helps make the sound more uniform and more convincing. Compared with the previous circuitry, this is the most fundamental improvement. ”

“The matching output transformer in the new Meishu is developed and made in-house by Audio Note, with custom-made aluminium foil electrolytic capacitors (by the famous Japanese factory Rubycon) according to their specifications, as well as special resistors. This allows them to have complete control over the performance and sound of the entire amplifier, from input to output, to meet their stringent quality control. The process is something which manufacturers who rely entirely on ‘off-the-shelf’ components simply cannot compare.”

“The design concept of the AN-E / SPe HE speakers relies on a sound that complements the selected drive unit, rather than a sound that wrestles or resists against it. Other designs strive to eliminate the resonance, and keep the cabinet as quiet as possible, even muffling it, but Audio Note chooses to let the resonance of the speaker co-exist and complement the drive unit, combining the natural resonance of the cabinet itself with a frequency band that benefits from, and enhances the performance of the drive unit. The considered speaker system design makes full use of the energy from the amplifier. ”

“Its shallow cabinet and wide surface provide optimal conditions for the drive unit, allowing it to work as though it were installed on a virtual wall. This creates a sound field without interference and brings about a very wide and uniform diffusion effect. ⋯⋯ In order to get the best driver unit and crossover combination, they started a dynamic matching process to ensure stereo pairing. After pair-matching, the master curve of each speaker has a difference of only less than 0.4dB between paired speakers. To Audio Note’s knowledge, no other speaker manufacturer can achieve such a close match, and test 100% of their products. ”

“[The AN-E / SPe HE speakers] were placed close to the back wall with diagonal corners on both sides, so they were acoustically integrated into the room to create a wide and uniform sound field. When Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 was playing, with a timpani and a full orchestra, while the volume was strong and the energy convincing, the entire orchestra not only crossed between the two speakers, but its sound also spread from left to right across the room beyond the speakers. The sound of each instrument emerged in the room according to the order where it would have been placed, and it was as though the two speakers blended into the room and disappeared from view. ”

“I would use ‘everlasting’ to sum up my feelings about this combination with an 8-watt 300B amplifier and ultra-efficient speakers. To be more specific, it is calm yet not tranquil. Its delicateness lies in the expressiveness of the music, rather than deliberately showing off and magnifying the details. Its emotions and contagiousness stem from the sensory stimulus of its musical interpretation rather than mere sound effects. Musical details, contrasts and changes are clear, orderly and elegant, so that I can delve into meticulously savouring and interpreting the music. At the end of the day, the ultimate focus is music plus enjoyment! ”


HiFi Review – December 2019

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