This is the audio manufacturer we carry. Both amplifiers are well known and popular for their sound.
Each has a different appearance, from the chassis construction to the internal circuitry and characteristics. The sound reproduced also shows the characteristics of each manufacturer, so I would like to talk about the characteristics of each manufacturer and the differences in sound from my personal point of view.
Click here for the product page of Bakun Products
This is the only manufacturer that does not use vacuum tubes. It is an audio manufacturer based in Kumamoto, Japan, that has recently received rave reviews in audio magazines such as MJ. In addition to home audio, they also make professional amplifiers and microphones.
The most distinctive feature of their products is the SATRI circuit developed by Bakun Products. The SATRI circuit is almost distortion-free (0.05% for EX specifications / 0.007% for UL specifications) and enables ultra-high-precision amplification.
The SATRI-IC was designed to faithfully reproduce the recorded sound source, and is capable of ultra-high-precision amplification with virtually no distortion (distortion ratio of 0.05% to 0.007%). The MK4 series has now evolved to the fourth generation under the genius developer Mr. Nagai, and the newly developed HIBIKI circuit has been added for even higher definition and higher precision sound. The clarity and transparency of the sound from high to low frequencies is enhanced by a very quiet background due to the high SN level. The sharpness and clarity of the contours allow for the subtle and faint background sounds that may or may not be audible, as well as the slightest lip movements of the emotional vocals to be conveyed. The sound reproduction is completely free of coloration or embellishment, with no emphasis on high or low frequencies, and reproduces the atmosphere and scene of the recording site as it is. However, because it is faithful to the sound source, owners who place emphasis on low frequencies, such as heavy bass, may wish for a little more low frequency.
Another Baccoon product that sets Baccoon apart from its competitors is the SATRI-LINK connection, which uses an electric current output along with the SATRI circuit. The SATRI-LINK connection enables Baccoon products to carry a much more informative music signal with a higher DC current than the usual connection method (voltage connection), with almost no noise. This is the essence of the Bakun sound.
On the other hand, it has a high affinity with other manufacturers' amplifiers, and can be used in combination with them without any peculiarities. It has a wide range of nostalgia that allows you to enjoy tube amplifiers other than the CAP series without killing the characteristics of the tube amplifiers you use.
The appearance is a matter of taste. The contrast between the black body and the orange logo and knob is actually the same color as the color scheme of most speakers and wooden racks, etc., and has a high affinity and blends in without any sense of discomfort.
The orange knob is made of Bakelite, a high-grade material. The chassis is made of aluminum. The reason for this is that steel distorts the sound, and using copper or shielding with other materials to avoid this would increase both weight and cost. Aluminum is also lightweight and contributes to compactness, so it is probably a big advantage that there are no installation difficulties. The transformer uses R-cores and toroidal cores, which have low flux leakage, so magnetic effects are not a concern. Speakers are also no problem. However, the magnetic force of the drive system used by the player is strong, so it would be safer to keep a slight distance between the speakers and the transformer, or, when stacking them on top of each other, to put a preamplifier between them, leaving a space for one speaker.
Astro Electronic Planning
Click here for the Astro Denshi Kikaku product page
This manufacturer produces audio equipment, mainly vacuum tube amplifiers, which have received high acclaim in audio magazines for their robust chassis construction and sound.
Astro Denshi Kikaku is characterized by its robust chassis construction. The upper models are made of 2mm or 3mm thick folded stainless steel (duralumin is used for mid-level models), and the feel to the touch lightly surpasses that of familiar tableware, being of a higher grade of purity than that used in fairly expensive stainless steel cutlery. This chassis alone is quite heavy. The inside is further reinforced with stainless steel or oxygen-free copper. The mirror-finished exterior, with almost no seams or rivets, is solid and cold, yet it is highly finished. The reflection of the gentle light of the vacuum tube under a warm-colored light gives it a very atmospheric appearance.
The front panel, common to all models, is a 10 mm ultra-thick aluminum plate to reinforce the tightness of the entire chassis and the design of Astro Electronic Products. The heavily gutted and reinforced chassis, which Bakun Products did not choose, shuts out vibration and noise superbly. The vacuum tube mounting ports are double-layered for heat dissipation and vibration control. The power amplifier has independent left and right volume controls, which are useful for small balance adjustments, and it is possible to listen to music without a preamplifier, as long as it is not vinyl records.
Transformers are mainly made by Hashimoto Electric and other custom-made products specified by Astro Electronics, and capacitors and volumes are also carefully selected and all assembled with arranged wires. Almost all assembly work is done by a veteran amplifier craftsman, so although the materials used are different, the quality of the product is the same regardless of the price, so the low-priced model may be a very good value. The sound created by the well-thought-out chassis, excellent transformers, and large-capacity capacitors has nothing to do with the warmth and softness of the image of tube amplifiers. The sound is crystal clear, transparent, and bright. The sound image is firm and three-dimensional, and the low midrange is rich and generous. The mid- to high-end preamplifiers offer a higher extension of the high frequency range, clearer contours, and richer musical expression throughout the entire range. The sharp, uncolored sound may sound cool and clear for a tube amplifier, but it reproduces the sound source clearly, powerfully, and with rich detail and expression.
Astro Denshi Kikaku prefers to use 12AU7 and 12AX7 for amplifiers and KT88 series and 300B for output tubes, not only because of their good sound, but also because they are widely available and easy to obtain. As you know, the sound of a vacuum tube is different if the manufacturer is different even if the model number is the same, and we dare to choose an easy-to-obtain ball so that the owner can enjoy music by easily replacing the compatible vacuum tube with the one that suits his/her taste. Therefore, with the exception of some high-end models, all tubes can be replaced without bias adjustment. This is a slightly different approach from that of Yamamoto Acoustic Craft, which dares to use hard-to-find vacuum tubes and enjoy their sound.
Yamamoto Acoustic Craft
Click here for the product page of Yamamoto Acoustic Craft
Yamamoto Acoustic Craft has been developing various audio accessories. Yamamoto Acoustic's amplifiers are made of a combination of wood with beautiful natural wood grain and brass, which is different from those of the above two companies in terms of appearance and warmth. The wooden chassis, with its smooth surface and beautifully processed curves, enhances the presence of Yamamoto Acoustic's amplifiers, perhaps because woodworking is something that people have been familiar with since they were small children, and is quite satisfying to look at. The charm of wood is a mysterious thing, and people always want to touch and try the feel of any wooden product.
The use of cherry wood and ebony, which are claimed to have good resonance, is also expected to have a damping effect due to its moderate hardness and flexibility, contributing to the sound quality. We have also improved reliability and sound quality by using carefully selected domestic and foreign components, such as Yamamoto Acoustics' original products and originally processed capacitors. In addition, non-magnetic brass covers and Teflon insulation are also used.
Yamamoto Acoustic & Crafts uses specific vintage tubes such as Western Electronic and Emission Labs, which are hard to find, to create an amplifier dedicated to enjoying music by making the most of the tube's appeal. It can be said to be for those who want to enjoy music with the vintage tubes of their dreams to the fullest. This is a different way of enjoying music from Astro Denshi Kikaku's use of easy-to-obtain vacuum tubes to enhance the owner's preference and degree of freedom.
Yamamoto Acoustic Craft's sound is softer and gentler than those of the above two manufacturers, and has a warmth that is typical of tube amplifiers. It can be said that it retains the tube-like character. The sound is seasoned in a good sense, while the individuality of the vintage tubes used is properly derived from them. All power amps are single type. There is no ambiguity in the sound. The single amp also expresses the delicate sound well. The music is richly expressed mainly in the high and mid range, but the low range is a little quieter. Since it is a single amplifier, the output power is only a few watts. If you want to enjoy the sound to the fullest, speakers with high efficiency would be ideal.
Yoshishiba Acoustic Industry Co.
Click here for Yoshishiba Acoustic's product page
Yoshishiba Acoustics is represented by Mr. Yoshishiba, who is the chairman of the executive committee of the Vacuum Tube Audio Fair held in Akihabara every year. Yoshishiba Acoustics is perhaps the most unique of the four companies represented here. Yoshishiba's amplifiers do not have a brand design that can be recognized at a glance, and there is not much sense of unity. What they all have in common is a nostalgic, retro feel. Each amplifier created in Mr. Yoshishiba's image has its own unique design. Mr. Yoshishiba's temperament as an artist rather than a technical craftsman is strongly reflected in his designs.
The same is true for sound production, which differs from the modern approach of manufacturers who faithfully reproduce the original sound source. The sound of the amps I admired in the past was even better than it is today. I always think about how I can listen to music comfortably and how I can immerse myself emotionally in the music, and I am always working day and night to improve the sound quality of my amplifiers. I am always thinking about how to improve the sound quality of amplifiers and how to make listening to music more pleasurable and emotional. The key to producing this sound is Yoshishiba Acoustics' original transformer. It is a hand-wound transformer that took time and effort to arrive at through trial and error. The most advanced technology that we are constantly and greedily researching and experienced in order to create the ideal sound.
Yoshishiba Acoustics is strongly conscious of the sound of European and American amplifiers. We feel that the sound of long-established European and American tube amp manufacturers is fundamentally different from that of Japanese tube amps, and in order to create a sound that surpasses theirs, we thoroughly study, compare, and research old Western and other amps from their wiring diagrams and components, and apply the results to Yoshishiba Acoustics' sound.
The four companies have four different ways of thinking about and approaching sound.