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With the KT66s of the Leben or KT88s as in the Mcintosh MC275 things get warmer and darker. By comparison Emillé’s take feels more correct though ultimately it is still a warmish sound. That’s why female vocals sound so terrific. I listened to Feel Like Making Love by Korean artist Woong San on the Korean Pony Records label issued as a HiQualityCD. It had only later been mastered in DSD. I'm no fan of converting recording formats as something always gets lost in the process. This particular CD is a great example for this theory. The instruments sound very good indeed but the vocal itself seems somewhat colored and the sibilants are more emphasized than they should be. The Emillé documents this fact very well. Apart from that correct indication of mastering artifice however, I witnessed a spectacle. I use italics not to imply that I didn't really like this spectacle but because it was not equal to a live performance. It was simply a brilliant but hifi spectacle. I listened to this album with real pleasure even though I was initially upset by the less than perfect vocals. I soon forgot about those mastering shenanigans though.


I heard the same effects even more clearly with Madeleine Peyroux’s Bare Bones delivered as a slightly warmer less resolved sound and in absolute clarity with the Japanese magazine sampler Stereo Sound Reference Record. Jazz&Vocal which I'd received just the day prior from Yoshi Hontai, an outside contractor representing companies like Acrolink, Oyaide, Leben, Musica, Acoustic Revive and others. This sampler is so fantastic that I already ordered two of the original CDs those samples were derived from.


The Emillé showed clear differences between each piece whilst retaining its own sonic character. With this sampler I heard more clearly what I’d already noticed with the Hayden & Forcione effort. There is a slight emphasis in the lower midrange which renders strings more distinct than real life. It enlarged the guitar and in fact all instruments to slightly bigger than real.


This returns us to where we began – how we perceive reproduced sound inside our room. I had no problem accepting Emillé’s spectacular presentation even though I did wish for a tad more lower mid/upper bass resolution and perhaps some additional bass control which, as it turned out, could be achieved with a small tweak. But even without it the Emillé KI-40L was already extraordinary.


Create Audio 3A fuse: I realize that some might recommend I attend therapy after seeing me recommend listening to different fuses. Yet it’s a very simple and quite inexpensive test to duplicate. The improvement won’t be drastic but worthwhile. Tube & fuse manufacturer Synergy Hifi had under the Create Audio brand sent me some fuses a while ago so I couldn’t help but roll the KI-40L’s 3.15A unit. Synergy had 3A and 5A equivalents. I settled on the former and the difference was audible immediately. Before you cry wolf, try it. Then I’d be happy to cross swords.


The slight midrange coloration disappeared and overall resolution improved. Objectively these weren’t significant changes but after you’ve familiarized yourself with the sound of this extraordinary amp, even a small improvement will seem highly relevant. The biggest difference for me was in bass resolution. This manifested as energetic efficiency. With the Synergy/Create fuses installed, the bass range seemed better organized while the venue acoustic’s interactions with Haden’s bass on Heartplay were truly stupendous.


Summary: I said little about treble and bass as it would have been irrelevant. How the Emillé performed didn’t really stimulate me to analyse particular frequency bands. The complete and completely coherent presentation triggered an emotional response instead. Does anything else really matter? The frequency extremes were simply very good, highly resolved and well integrated. The upper bass was slightly emphasized but this only served to increase overall palpability. Initially you might not find the overall resolution too impressive but it is in fact more than good. It simply manifests less directly not by an incredible surfeit of detail but by extremely good integration between all elements.


The most important part of course is the midrange not because there's anything wrong with the treble or bass but because it’s in the midrange where human hearing is most acute. Naturally this amplifier is limited in power but in my room (around 29m² with the listening chair quite close to the speakers) its output was more than sufficient. In a larger space you’d need speakers above 89dB sensitivity and with a benign 8Ω impedance. I wouldn’t call this amp extremely user friendly because it lacks a remote and uses discrete attenuators per channel but the sound is simply outstanding.