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The AMP-11R and its matching external power supply are carved from Apple-approved solid aluminum stock. 10-watt power remains solidly on FirstWatt turf but 20dB of max gain make up. As a single-input integrated or amplifier with volume control there are conventional RCA voltage inputs and Bakoon's proprietary BNC current inputs aka Satri links. A 100kΩ input impedance for the former and 3.68Ω for the latter paints the picture.
With RCK-11 custom rack

Besides Cardas terminals there's also a 6.35mm headphone jack promising the perhaps ultimate headfi amp. Power consumption at idle is 10 watts, 50 watts at max. Dimensions remain suitably demure—a footprint of 195mm square, 40.5mm height—and weight is a combined 6.4kg. Not he-man but she-woman hifi. The gutted images show Ayre R-Series style construction. The photos above already hinted at the horizontal volume wheel if you paid attention.
Those studying up on Bakoon's website would quickly learn that the company has put out a steady stream of products since 1991. If 21 years later you hadn't heard of the brand until now, it's fully working testament to the owner's refusal of spending coin on silly marketing. He prefers to finance ongoing serious research instead. This led to the brand's silver bullet in the BPM-7120SP iteration shown as the central Satri gain circuit which has since been upgraded to the EX version shown on the next page.

AMP 11-R in black

As did Krell's C.A.S.T. interface, the Satri Link relies on components equally outfitted. Current-mode signal transfer allows for 100-meter interconnects without any loss. Back in the real world of hobbyist home hifi—and given that Bakoon currently only makes a matching phono stage—you and me quickly forget about those BNC sockets and revert to our customary RCA plugs instead. Be sure though to set the selector switch to 'up' so you don't accidentally feed the Satri IC a direct voltage signal.

[Triple audio show stack of EQA-11 & AMP-11R with Avantgarde Acoustic hornspeakers.]

EQA-11 phono stage
An interesting claim for the Satri circuit is the absence of any slew rate. The designer claims zero time delay or signal loss between input and output. Time in fact is his major obsession. It's led him to reject tubes and negative feedback. For that story do refer to his interview on the website. It makes for an interesting read. For yet more out-of-box thinking consider the mere existence of Bakoon's BPS-01 battery supply. It runs 4800mAh and 2400mAh Li-ion cells to output +5, +6, +9 or +12V (3 hours recharge for the first two values, two hours for the second two). Components like Apogee's Duet2, Lindemann's USB DAC and such can thus be flown solo without the usual tether from the power utility. A replacement BPS-02 is announced for July 2012.

Summing up, Bakoon crosses off a number of unusuals. While they had very practical 100-watt monos in the past [SHP-5516M at right], the present lineup was down to an exclusionary 10 watts. The DAC had disappeared. So had the AMP 31's remote control. And aside from the obvious Satri circuit and quite radical marketing avoidance to remain below the radar, there was extremist circuitry packaged in highly stylized enclosures. Those two sides of a coin—audio circuit engineering and industrial design—often don't show up together particularly with small companies. Here Bakoon's Akira Nagai reminded me of Zanden's Kazutoshi Yamada. Both would ask why premium sound shouldn't coexist with visual elegance. This even extends to the company logo and clever tag line: For Ears and Years.

Socket identifiers are on the lower lip to face up for easier visibility

I don't know about you but the longer this professional cynic of been there done that circled this wagon, the more he couldn't stop grinning. This was a badly needed breath of fresh air. Simultaneously it felt uncompromising to the core. A real find admittedly two decades late but hey, better than never.

Vinyl, lap top and digital iPod dock. Clearly Bakoon practices eyes wide open.

No wonder the industrial designers cum audiomaniacs at Sweden's Klutz Design took note and signed up for domestic distribution rights (which presently cover all of Europe save for Italy until other importers are added). What's more, the Klutzes only sell the Bakoon AMP-11R packaged with the matching miniature rack. It's so cool that giving you the option not to have it is not an option. Score another one for different and unusual. This included surprises. "The amp I'm sending you is the 'new' (from February) upgrade to 15 watts. I've asked Soo In to send me all the specifications if they differ in any areas other than output power. This upgrade includes not only new power modules [boards at left] but also the latest IC/Satri EX circuit from Bakoon in Japan. It's a unit we've been demoing since April so it's well played/burned in." Who'd say no to a colossal power increase of 50%?

Bakoon Products Int'l office and showroom in Pangyo, Korea

On the subject of Japan vs. Korea—-Bakoon maintains operations in either country—Michael provided the following: "Bakoon Japan is the progenitor of the Satri circuit and focuses solely on the Japanese market. Bakoon Products Int'l in Korea is a JV (as far as I understand it) which develops products and sells them outside Japan. Bakoon Japan supplies the proprietary IC, product development is done jointly and the packaging and aesthetics are the sole work of Bakoon Int'l (Korea)." This explained the two sides of the coin.

Klutz Design system with Antelope Audio Zodiac Gold DAC and Trenner & Friedl Pharoah speakers.