Reviewer: Jules Coleman
Source: Well Tempered Classic w. Roksan Shiraz; Well Tempered Reference [in for review]; Combak Reimyo CDP 777 [in for review]; Redpoint TT/Triplanar Arm/SPU Royal N cartridge [in for review]

Preamp/Integrated: Shindo Monbrison [full-function]; Shindo Catherine dual mono preamplifier; Combak Reimyo tube line stage [in for review]
Amp: Shindo Sinhonia monos; Mark Pearson-built Mullard EL-34; Cr Development Artemis Gold; Combak Reimyo 300B [in for review]
Speakers: Audiopax REF100 [in for review]; Hørning Hybrid Agathon Ultimate [in for review]; Harmonix Bravo [in for review]
Cables: Stealth Indra interconnect; Stealth M-21, M-7, PGS interconnects; Audience Au24 interconnects; Shindo Laboratory interconnect; Stealth Hybrid MLT speaker cable, Audience Au24 speaker cable; Audio Note Kondo copper speaker cable; Harmonix Golden Performance interconnect and speaker cable; Stealth M-7 power cords; Harmonix Studio Master power cords; van den Hul Mainstream power cords
Powerline conditioning: BPT BP-3.5 Signature; Reimyo ALS-777 [in for review]
Stand: HRS M-3 isolation bases; HRS MR1 rack [in for review]

Sundry accessories: Harmonix feet; Black Diamond Racing and Poly Crystal cones; Vibrapods
Room size: 30' x18' x 9'
Review component retail: $4,495/DAP-777 DAC; $21,995/PAT-777 amp; $3,795/ALS-777 powerline conditioner; $13,995/CDP-777 CD player; $13,995/ CAT-777 preamp; $3,895pr/Bravo speakers

Every once in a while one hears an audio component and knows without analysis that it is exactly right. That is the way I felt when I first heard the Reimyo CDP-777 CD player recently reviewed in these pages. Place a Reimyo CDP-777 into your system and playback will be detailed, resolute, coherent, appropriately dynamic, natural and immediate. It will be all these things but you are unlikely to notice any of these characteristics. All you'll notice is the music largely untouched by mechanical and electrical artifacts. And that's when you know it is right. The hard part is explaining what is right about it to others.

The CDP-777 is one of several high end audio components offered by the well-known Combak Corporation of Japan. Combak produces two lines of audio components. The various tuning devices, cables, power cords and the diminutive Bravo speaker are offered under the Harmonix name. In addition to the CDP-777, the Reimyo lineup includes the ALS -777 line stabilizer, the CAT-777 tube line stage, the PAT-777 tube amplifier and DAP-777 digital-to-analogue converter. Components in the Reimyo lineup are intended to be statement products and are not designed to meet a specific price point.

All Reimyo components are the result of what Combak refers to as 'High Tech Fusion'. In practice, this means that each component is the result of a collaborative effort of skilled designers and manufacturers. The chief designer for Combak is Kazou Kiuchi. Kiuchi-san oversees each collaborative effort and all the components express his musical vision. In part, he is able to impart his vision on such diverse projects because his particular skill lies in the areas of component tuning and voicing. All components are ultimately voiced to reflect as best as possible his musical sensibilities.

In addition to Mr. Kiuchi's input, each component features the design and production technology of Kyodo Denshi, the highly respected manufacturer of precision tools and Phase Tech cartridges, as well as the line stabilization expertise of Bill Stierhout of Quantum Resonance Technology. Thus, each component that carries the Reimyo name is jointly designed, features QRT technology, is built by the folks at Kyodo Denshi and features the tuning and resonance control of Mr.Kiuchi. Few design houses can boast of a more well-regarded design and manufacturing team.

Beyond the membership of these three folks, the high-tech group differs from component to component. The most widely known

and, by my lights, best components in the Reimyo line are the compact disc player and DAC, both of which are built around core elements contributed by the Japan Victor Corporation (JVC). The one-box player features both the K2 extended processor and XRCD mastering transport. Whereas the CDP-777 incorporates the latest 24bit version of the K2 processing technology, the DAC makes good use of an earlier 20bit iteration. It has been extremely favorably reviewed here and elsewhere. I find it a bit livelier and a touch less refined than the CD player. At its current price of $4,400 compared to the player's $14,000, it also represents a tremendous value in high end performance - far and away the best value in the line and among the very best values in the digital domain bar none. The very few DACs with which I am familiar that equal or surpass its performance come in at no less than two and three times its price. One has to ascend to the Zanden DAC to be certain of an improvement.

The digital components so impressed me that I wondered whether the entire Reimyo line would speak in the same voice. Listening to the CD player in particular gave me an unusual degree of confidence in Mr. Kiuchi musical sensibilities. If the player represented his vision of what music playback should sound like, he would be more than welcome to come to my home and put together and set up a music playback system without any input from my end any day. My confidence in his taste and judgment only grew once I met him for the first time at this year's CES show in Las Vegas. We had occasion to chat and it turned out that we share an abiding affection not only for tube electronics, stylish design and physical fitness but more

importantly, both lamented the passing of the Fostex 208sigma fullrange driver. Fostex now puts out a driver with the same designation which does not compare favorably to the original. I had a pair of the original 208s in a Jericho horn enclosure and it was one of my favorite speaker systems during the period in which I was completely enamored of horn- loaded (and largely) fullrange driver loudspeakers.

At CES, Mr. Kiuchi and the good folks at May Audio, North American importers and distributors for Combak, suggested that I listen to the full Reimyo system as supplemented by appropriate products from the Harmonix lineup. They arranged for all the Reimyo products save the DAC and appropriate interconnects, cables and power cords to be delivered to my NYC apartment. The goal was to listen for and characterize as best I could the Reimyo sound while looking both for particular components of note and synergies among them. I was excited by the prospect but careful not to commit myself to a full-blown separate review of each component. I could not plausibly do that without tying up my reviewing schedule for the next year or so. Instead, I would review separately the CD player -- already done - and the little Bravo speakers. That review is well underway as the little Bravos were among my reference loudspeakers during the time with the Reimyo system. It should be completed by the fall. The rest of the system was to be taken as a whole. Still, I spent a lot of time with various of the components in a variety of contexts so that I got to know each sufficiently well on its own terms.

So what exactly was the system?
The Reimyo/Harmonix system was as follows: The musical source and center of the review system was the CDP-777 one-box compact disc player above and left [photo below compliments of Image HiFi].

Preamplifier duties were handled by the CAT-777 tube line stage; amplifier power was provided by the PAT -777 300B-based amplifier; line conditioning was handled by the ALS-777; all interconnects and cables were Harmonix Golden Performance; all power cords were Harmonix Studio Master. The system as a whole was set up in my New York City apartment with basic room dimensions of 17'x17'x8'. The listening area is open to one side to where the overall room volume confronting a system is considerably greater than that.

Without exception, every component in the Reimyo lineup is beautifully made. Fit and finish is impeccable. There are far too many products that are all about appearance – all fancy faceplates and expensive machining, pure Hollywood – with nothing on the inside other than a few printed circuit boards populated by modest parts. Count me among those who prefer that money be spent inside the chassis where it might make a greater contribution to the sonics. To their credit, all the Reimyo products are works of art on both the inside and the outside. There is obvious attention to detail everywhere. It shows aesthetically and sonically.

The Reimyo lineup does not currently include a speaker. In New York, I was able to use three different speakers with the Reimyo system: The Combak Bravo; the DeVore Fidelity Gibbon 8; and the Audiopax Ref
100. The Bravo is a stand- mounted small speaker that makes nopretense at being fullrange. It is also not particularly sensitive at 87dB. The Gibbon 8 is around 90dB and much closer to being fullrange. I had the good fortune of having John DeVore set it up for me and we spent several hours together listening to the Reimyo/DeVore combination. I have also listened to the mid-sized Gibbon 8 being powerfully driven by the 10-watt Shindo Cortese amplifier which appears to be John's favorite amplifier for his speaker. So I was pretty confident that the Gibbon 8 would prove a congenial match for the Reimyo amplifier. The Audiopax Ref 100s are even more efficient and extended than the Gibbon 8 but I was able to listen to them in conjunction with the Reimyo system for only a brief period.