Country of Origin
Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (i5, 256GB SSD, 40GB RAM, Sonoma 14), 4TB external SSD with Thunderbolt 3, Audirvana Studio, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 & SW-6 switch, Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Active filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos & EX-M7 on subwoofer; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox; Phones: HifiMan Susvara, Meze 109 Pro; Loudspeakers: Qualio IQ [on loan] Cables: Kinki Studio Earth, Furutech; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: FiiO R7 into Soundaware D300Ref SD transport to Sonnet Pasithea; Preamp/filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Amplifiers: Gold Note PA-10 Evo monos; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini or Acelec Model One + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF, Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Clock: LHY Audio OCK-2; Head/speaker amp: Enleum AMP-23R; Speakers: EnigmAcoustics Mythology M1; Headphones: Final D-8000 & Sonorous X, Audeze LCD-XC, Raal-Requisite SR1a
Upstairs headfi system: FiiO R7; Headphones: Meze 109 Pro
2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m
Review component retail: TBA
These and the following 4-up photos are by Alessandro Coletta, the industrial designer of Tektron's Masterpiece models.
Neptune. With six planets in Aquarius, I'm the original Aquaman; minus Jason Momoa's mane and ripped physique. Can't have it all. Kicking off this tangent was a surprise email from sunny Catania. "Remember me? Years ago we organized a review with Marja & Henk who then unfortunately passed away within days of each other. With much delay we managed to get our loaner back. I'm now readying our new Masterpiece model Neptune which I would like to send you in Ireland. Can you help me?" 'twas Attilio Caccamo of Tektron Italia. Indeed, I remembered it all. Getting someone into M&H's house in the aftermath of their deaths to locate the amp and its packaging, submit prior email threads to the law firm charged with the dissolution of their estate to prove that the amp was indeed on loan and due back then getting it moved to a manned office in Holland where FedEx could execute a pickup… it had all been painfully slow and sad beyond compare. I definitely owed Attilio a review. Now Neptune had my name on it not just because. At 19wpc…
… this tube integrated would have plenty of traction to airlift our Nenuphar v2 from a speaker brand Attilio exhibits with regularly, even distributes in Italy. So strictly speaking this review should fly the formal Italian flag. Given how rare it is to come across a piece of advanced hifi kit from the isle of Inspector Montalbano and risotto al nero de seppia—a classic rice dish with squid ink—I simply decided otherwise. Why not plug Sicily for different reasons than the usual?
The first valve integrated I ever reviewed was Bel Canto's 845 before their subsequent embrace of Tripath then ICEpower then nCore. How time hustles when you're having fun. These days my valve presence is down to a lone Vinnie Rossi L2 Signature preamp flying direct-heated Elrog ER50 power triodes. Without transformers or capacitors, those feed a Kinki Studio THR-1 Exicon Mosfet amp for HifiMan Susvara headfi of the highest calibre. Reacquainting myself with single-ended 845—or were these 211?—on properly pre-approved loudspeakers seemed most à propos all around.
A bit later Attilio's wife Angela filled me in on the basic specs. "These indeed are 211 and driven by 6SN7. Input sensitivity is 400mV for full power and the circuit is auto bias to require no adjustments. The volume control is a high-quality potentiometer under remote control. Inputs only switch manually. Standard output impedance is 8Ω but other common values are available by request to avoid multi-tapped transformers. The transformers are EI cores with high-quality laminations all made to Attilio's specs. Formal bandwidth is 14Hz-36kHz. We're still working on the remote's styling so don't have photos yet. The XLR are true balanced inputs internally converted to single-ended via transformer. Dimensions of the Neptune are 60x46x24cm DxWxH and weight without tubes is 35kg. The tubes themselves are pair-matched JJ 6SN7 and Psvane 211-TII."
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