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This review first appeared in the November 2010 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read this review of the Emillé Labs KI-40L in its original Polish version. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own reviews, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Emillé Labs - Ed.

Reviewer: Wojciech Pacuła
CD player: Ancient Audio Lektor Air 
Phono preamp: RCM Audio Sensor Prelude IC
Cartridges: Air Tight Supreme, Miyajima Laboratory Waza
Preamp: Ayon Audio Polaris III with ReGenerator II power supply
Power amp: Tenor Audio 175S and Soulution 710
Integrated amp: Leben CS300XS custom
Loudspeakers: Harpia Acoustics Dobermann
Headphones: AKG K701, Ultrasone PROLine 2500, Beyerdynamic DT-990 Pro 600 Ω
Interconnects: CD-preamp Acrolink Mexcel 7N-DA6300, preamp-power amp Wireworld Platinum Eclipse, speaker cable Tara Labs Omega Onyx
Power cords: Acrolink Mexcel 7N-PC9300 (all equipment)
Power conditioning: Gigawatt PF-2 Filtering Power Strip
audio stand: Base under all components, Pro Audio Bono under CD
Resonance control: Finite Elemente Ceraball under the CD, turntables change continuously
Review component retail: €6.750

The Emillé bell is the largest of all South Korean bronze bells. It measures 3.33 meters high, 2.27 meters in diameter, and 11 to 25 centimetres in wall thickness. It also weighs 20 tons (some sources cite ‘only’ 18.9 tons). This bell was cast in 771AD. As far as I can tell, all we know about Poland from that faraway epoch are the names of some legendary princes. That’s it. Korea meanwhile has a world-class relic. Euro centrism comes naturally to us Europeans but that forgets how the oldest most advanced civilizations emerged in the Near and Far East. We have no right to underestimate the Koreans.

Even with this admission, I was frankly ill-prepared to accept that a high-end audio company might arise from there. Some time ago we reviewed interesting gear from April Music’s Stello brand so I knew that advanced audio did come from Korea.

With all due respect to Stello however, Emillé is in a rather different league. They emerged with their very own aesthetic and design. Launched in 1993, they only now become internationally known but are doing so effectively and in unmistakable style.

Currently there is no Polish distribution for Emillé but after reading a few reviews in my favorite HiFi+ journal to be curious about the brand, I asked Srajan for assistance in organizing a review for High Fidelity. He passed on my interest and I was promptly contacted by Vital Gbezo, Emillé’s international sales manager who is based out of the UK. He offered me for review the KI-40L integrated amplifier which I gladly accepted.

It's a big solid machine weighing 28 kilos and offering 40wpc from KT77 power tubes. As the description portion of this review will confirm, build quality is excellent. Unfortunately there’s no remote and volume for each channel is set independently. Those are the two personal downsides to the design. The packaging is extraordinary and sets a reference for all audio equipment. It’s a wooden crate with a traditional Korean iron lock and reinforced metal corners. The amp originally arrived with JJ power tubes but shortly thereafter Emillé decided on the Russian Golden Lion reissues from Genalex. Those were duly submitted and it’s what I used for review. There’s also an optional two-tier Acrylic plinth with aluminium spikes which wasn’t available for review.

Sound - recordings used for this test: Stereo Sound Reference Record. Jazz&Vocal, Stereo Sound, SSRR4, SACD/CD; Tulipany, soundtrack, muz. Daniel Bloom, feat. Leszek Możdżer Trio, Warner Music Poland, 77911, CD; Artur Lesicki Acoustic Harmony, Stone And Ashes, Fonografika, 559040, CD + Master CD-R; Charlie Haden &Antonio Forcione, Heartplay, Naim, naimcd098, CD; Depeche Mode, Fragile Tension/Hole to Feed, Mute Records, 12BONG42, 2 x 180 g, maxi-SP LP; Diorama, Cubed Deluxe Edition, Acsession Records, A 114, 2 x CD; George Michael, Patience, Sony Music UK, 515402 2, CD; Gerry Mulligan & others, Jazz Giants ’58, Verve/Universal Music Japan, POCJ-2732, CD; Gerry Mulligan Quartet, Dragonfly, Telarc, CD-83377, CD; Madaleine Peyroux, Bare Bones, Rounder/Universal Music LLC (Japan), UCCU-1188, CD; Metallica, ReLoad, Sony Music Japan, SICP-481, CD; Savage, Tonight, Extravaganza Publishing Srl/Klub80, CD001, 25th Anniversary Limited Edition, CD; Wong San, Feel Like Making Love, Pony Canyon, PCCY-50014, HQCD.