Country of Origin
Reviewer: Marja & Henk
Financial Interests: click here
Sources: PS Audio PWT; Dr. Feickert Blackbird MKII/DFA 1o5/Zu DL-103;
DAC: Mytek Brooklyn; Mytek Brooklyn Bridge; T+A DAC8 [loaner]; TotalDAC D1 Direct [loaner]
Streaming sources: Devialet AIR; La Rosita Beta; Qobuz Desktop, Tidal Desktop; Sound Galleries SGM 2015 [loaner]
Preamp/integrated/power: Audio Note Meishu with WE 300B (or AVVT, JJ, KR Audio 300B output tubes); dual Devialet D-Premier; PTP Audio Blok 20; Hypex Ncore 1200 based monoblocks; Trafomatic Kaivalya; Trafomatic Reference One; Trafomatic Reference Phono One; Music First Passive Magnetic
Speakers: Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega; Arcadian Audio Pnoe; Podium Sound One; WLM Sub 12; Sounddeco Alpha F3; dual Zu Submisson MKI; Soltanus Virtuoso ESL
Cables: complete loom of ASI LiveLine cables; full loom of Crystal Cable cables; full loom of Nanotec Golden Strada; Audiomica Pearl Consequence interconnect; Audiomica Pebble Consequence USB; Audiocadabra Ultimus3 Plus Dual-Headed Solid-Silver
Power line conditioning: PS Audio Powerplant Premier; PS Audio Humbuster III; IsoTek Evo 3 Syncro; AudioMica Allbit Consequence
Equipment racks: Solid Tech and ASI amplifier and TT shelf
Indispensable accessories: Furutech DeMag; ClearAudio Double Matrix; Franc Audio Ceramic Disc Classic; Shakti Stones; Kemp polarity checker; Akiko Audio Corelli,Costello and Phono Booster; Pink Faun LAN Isolator; Farad external power supply
Online Music purveyors: qobuz.com, tidal.com, bandcamp.com, amazon.co.uk
Room treatment: Acoustic System International resonators, sugar cubes, diffusers
Room size: ca. 14.50 x 7.50m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls, wooden flooring upstairs, ca 7 x 5m with a ceiling height of 3.50m, brick walls and concrete floor downstairs
Price of review item in EU: €5'800 ex VAT
Publisher's foreword: Our archives already contain 2 reviews of the AMP-13R, one by yours truly, one by Warsaw correspondent Dawid Grzyb who here contributed the photos of the collage above. Why now a 3rd review? The global economic pause of 2020's health crisis with its travel and production bans delayed new Bakoon products yet the company still wished ongoing coverage in our pages. With an AMP-13R demonstrator sample in the hands of their Dutch importer, Marja & Henk were ideally positioned to do the honors. Their usual reliance on valve gear and ultra-efficient hornspeakers would present the petite Bakoon amp with a very different set of sonic preferences and ancillary challenges. If one opinion is good and two are better, three surely are best. With comprehensive product tech and history covered in the previous reviews, our two writers today will jump right into the thick of it to dispense with the usual introductions. Ed
From Soo-In Chae's test bench on the AMP-13R's HF performance: square waves at 200, 500 and 1'000kHz, sine waves at 500 and 1'000kHz (blue input signal, green output signal)
The popular "One Kiss" by singer Dua Lipa with DJ Calvin Harris is one of those ear worms which keep rotating endlessly in your inner jukebox. It's not our musical taste but its line "one kiss is all it takes falling in love with me" did go on and on in our brain box. That was very appropriate for our experience with the Bakoon. To paraphrase, "one song is all it takes to fall in love with this amp". From the moment we connected the small FlatMan on one side to the Taiko Audio Extreme server with T+A DAC8 and on the other to our 109dB Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega horns with additional BAT super tweeters, it was full surrender on our end. Resistance was futile. This li'l black box really rules. From the first notes there was full control over the speakers and the extreme bandwidth delivered a profound solid sound while creating a wide, deep and high musical image (provided the source material embedded that information in the first place).
One of the first albums we played was the Django Collective Helsinki's Do Standards. Yes, the name of the ensemble, album title and cover art would, in the more physical world of record stores we left behind, have led to a skip while sifting through the CD bins. In the virtual world of today however, you can easily sample a few streamed tracks. And we liked what we sampled. Three guitarists, a bassist, a string quartet and a violinist play together exceptionally well. Not only that, they managed to arrange overplayed Reinhardt repertoire in a vibrant new way to add spice and freshness.
Rendered through the AMP-13R, all twelve tracks were convincing in the sense that the quintet depicted nicely in the room, with instruments at realistic size and appropriate air around them. "Snake Charmer" not only conveyed the music but an impression of the recording venue, a cozy cabin somewhere in Finland. We stayed in Scandinavia to enter the realm of modern Jazz Rock. Njet Njet 9, obviously, is a 9-piece big band; well, smallish big band. Their third album III doesn't hide its big-name influences especially in the use of multiple layers. Even though all band members are still quite young, their music and sound are absolutely mature. On three tracks they're joined by singers Stina Koistinen and Kaisa Sainio plus human rights defender Ramy Essam from Egypt.
Lots of brasses are always nice to have, perhaps not for midnight dreaming but during the bright light of day. And the little Bakoon put them nicely in the frame. Piercing when blown hard, growling when needed… we loved the baritone sax played by the group's only female member.
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