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Finally identified as "a single Mosfet works for each half of the signal" to indicate balanced or push/pull drive*, the KAP-777 was obviously designed for high output current, high power and real drive or load invariance from 2 to 8Ω. As such it produces 200/400wpc into 8/4Ω and includes the top Harmonix power cord plus the special TU-505EX MkII Harmonix footers.

* Idle power consumption of 95 watts further shows class A/B bias - Ed.

A selection of discs used during the test: Brian Eno, Craft On A Milk Sea, Warp Records, FLAC 24/44,1; Bruze Katz Band, Mississippi Moan, Master Music/Combak Corporation, NT006, XRCD24; Chet Baker, Chet Baker Sings and Plays, Pacific Jazz/EMI Music Japan, TOCJ-90028, HQCD.; Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Study In Brown, EmArcy/Universal Music Japan, UCJU-9072, 180g LP (mono); Danielsson/Dell/Landgren, Salzau Music On The Water, Act Music+Vision, ACT 9445-2, CD; Deep Purple, Perfect Stranger, Polygram Records/Polydor K.K. Japan, 25MM 0401, LP; Ella Fitzgerald & Joe Pass, Take Love Easy, Pablo/JVC, JVCXR-0031-2, XRCD; Frank Sinatra, The Voice, Columbia/Speakers Corner, CL 743, Quiex SV-P, 180g LP (mono); Frédéric Chopin, The Complete Nocturnes, piano: Gergely Bogányi, Stockfisch, SFR 357.4051.2, 2 x SACD/CD; J.S. Bach, Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin, Pavlo Beznosiuk, Linn Records, CKD 366, HDCD/SACD; Jim Hall Trio, Blues On The Rocks, Gambit Records, 69207, CD; King Crimson, In The Wake of Poseidon, 21st Century Complete Edition, Universal Music Japan, UICE-9052, HDCD; Laurie Anderson, Homeland, Nonesuch, 524055-2, CD+DVD; Pat Martino, East!, Prestige/Mobile Fidelity, UDSACD 2018, SACD/CD; Radiohead, The King of Limbs, Ticker Tape Ltd., TICK-001CDJ, Blu-spec CD; Suzanne Vega, Close-Up. Vol 1, Love Songs, Amanuensis Productions/Cooking Vinyl, COOKCD521, CD.

Like every other product this Reimyo amp deserved the best review methodology. In the first step I compared it to a reference equivalent in my own system where the KAP-777 duly replaced the Soulution 710. However the Japanese amplifier was designed with its CAP-777 preamplifier mate in mind and as a high-power replacement for a tube amplifier (the stable mate PAT-777). That’s why in the second stage of the review I specifically explored the CAP/KAP-777 combo. I then added a third off-site stage at Janusz’, one of the regular hosts for our Krakow Sonic Society whose system features Ancient Audio 300B monoblocks to stand in for the Reimyo 300B amplifier.

Stage 1 - Reimyo KAP-777 vs Soulution 710: Pitting against one another these two very expensive power amplifiers was fascinating proof for how circuit-based categorizing and predictive assumptions don’t matter in the real high end. What happens at the very top eludes common beliefs and accepted truths.

The Japanese amp’s timbre was quite different from the Soulution’s. On first encounter it seemed much warmer than my reference to repeat to a large extent what I had gotten from the equally costly Tenor Audio 175S which I used for more than 6 months. And that really is a sound which to a large extent duplicates also the timbre of the PAT-777. I deliberately said really to confirm the assertion of our Polish importer who claimed that the KAP-777 directly ‘replaces’ the tubed Reimyo amp by differing as little as possible except for the obvious - avoiding the usual issues of an 8wpc power spec. Distributors are sellers of course and their promises as such often are self-serving but in this instance I had to concur.

This was a very concentrated palpable sound. It reminded me very much of both the PAT and the Tenor. Moving from the Soulution to the Reimyo also moved the microphones closer to the instrumentalists and the vocalist closer to his/her mike. Even with timbre adjusted to make it the same for either position, the microphone closer to the artists will always create the more palpable strong and concise image. That also was the case here. From the throats of Fitzgerald, Baker and Anderson to the guitars of Pass, Hall and Fripp, everything was more potent and present. The sound became more intimate, almost sensual.

This rewarded individual elements by extracting them from out of the mix as though with a little boost. The first (frontal) plane or layer of the soundstage thus became paramount. This doesn’t imply that it was otherwise flat. There was good holography and depth. The focus was simply on attack and bloom for a sort of sonic fullness. Far less attention was on the decay but more about that anon. For now let’s inspect how it portrayed the event. For it was always an event. This amplifier attempts to clone some tubular phenomenon especially from the 300B whereby anything played over a good system becomes a sort of celebration, an event which is unique to a particular time and space.