October
2020

Country of Origin

Germany

Solo

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (4GHz quad-core with Turbo boost, 32GB RAM, 3TB FusionDrive, OSX Yosemite. iTunes 14.4), PureMusic 3.02, Audirvana 3, Qobuz Hifi, Tidal Hifi, Denafrips Terminator, Soundaware D300Ref SD transport & USB bridge; Preamplifier: Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature with WE VT52/300B or Elrog 50/300B; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-7B monos; Headphone amp: Kinki Studio; Headphones: Final D8000; Loudspeakers: Audio Physic Codex; Cube Audio Nenuphar; Aurai Audio M1 [on loan]; Cables: Complete loom of Allnic Audio ZL3000; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, LessLoss C-MARC Entropic cords between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc Krion and glass amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators; Room: 4 x 6m with high gabled beam ceiling opening into 4 x 8m kitchen and 5 x 8m living room, hence no wall behind the listening chairs
Second system: Source: Soundaware D100Pro SD transport; DAC/pre: COS Engineering D1; Amplifier: Bakoon AMP-13R; Loudspeakers: Acelec Model One w. Franck Tchang magnesium 360° super tweeters, Zu Submission subwoofer, LessLoss Firewall for Loudspeakers; Power delivery: Puritan Audio Lab PSM-156; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Room: ~4x6m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win7/64; USB bridge: Audiobyte Hydra X+; Headphone amp: COS Engineering H1; Headphones: Audeze LCD-XC; Powered speakers: Fram Audio Midi 150
Upstairs headfi system: Source: Soundaware A280 SD transport; DAC: Auralic Vega; Integrated amplifier: Schiit Jotunheim R; Headphones: Raal-Requisite SR1a
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; DAC: Kinki Studio; Preamp: Wyred4Sound STP-SE II; Power amp: Pass Labs XA-30.8, LinnenberG Liszt; Loudspeakers: German Physiks HRS-120; Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: TBA

From our own private loge or small theater box from where to enjoy an ideal stage performance, we arrive at Ologe by way of portmanteau. From our prior speaker review, "the history of Ologe describes a long hard road of evolution, from birth of concept by knowledgeable enthusiasts to concrete realization of a commercial enterprise. What began on paper as a driver/cabinet design to achieve linear frequency response and a wide soundstage from a low-volume sealed enclosure would involve engineering efforts in Germany and Japan, then take serious investment to come to fruition. As the design went from paper to product, it required extensive prototyping as the company perfected manufacturing techniques. Cone material was sourced from Germany, UK and Japan, drivers were made in Taiwan and assembly was done in Japan all to stringent tolerances. By the time Ologe began shipping in 2010, four years had passed.

"Our Teutonic manufacturer is a prime example of a local company with global affiliations. It is a German brand, Asian funded, with an R&D office based in Germany and daily administration run out of Japan. The lineup is currently comprised of a preamp called the Uni, the Solo and Duo amplifiers as well as four full-range loudspeakers, the Zero, One, Five and Ten plus the Twenty subwoofer." That had been our status quo on this underground company in February 2012.

8 years later, their narrow Solo integrated is fitted with 3 x analog in of XLR, RCA line-level and RCA phono; 1 x RCA out and ¼" headphone out; digital of USB/Firewire in, HDMI in/out, Bluetooth; ground post; single-wire custom terminals; and global 115-240V 50/60Hz power so likely switching.

Kept count?

Then you saw that transcending a lucky Irish clover of four leaves, Solo goes to the rarer five: headfi, phono, pre, 786kHz DAC, integrated amp.

Extremely good fortunes?

My introduction to the quintet which goes solo came by way of one Lee Chung Hung aka Ivan Lee from Hong Kong's Bellagio Tower 9. There he isn't just Ologe's domestic ambassador and boss. He'd already contacted us on behalf of S.M.S.L. by Foshan electronics of Shenzen. Small world.

Knowing at this point no more about Solo than could be gleaned from its photo, it still was clear that unlike Ivan's budget brand, the Ologe would be high end. As such, it had to be priced commensurately. From Glen's earlier review, I also knew that for their loudspeakers, Ologe rely on proprietary drivers. Didn't that predict for Solo far more than an OEM class D power module, standard Sabre DAC, op-amp based headphone drive and other commonalities? If so, what would the juicy details be? I already had one more crumb. Ologe also have Trio, a matching 3-channel amplifier. Didn't this suggest that their compact kit also anticipates 5-channel home-theater clients? Clearly this wouldn't be your average Electric Avenue multi-channel receiver.