Kog Audio, one of the UK’s most dynamic ‘new wave’ distributors, has been acquiring brands at a steady rate. One of its most recent is the German audio brand T+A, which has been gaining attention for its HV (High Voltage) line of electronics. Couple a media player and integrated amp from this range, with a Melco digital front end, a pair of Estelon floorstanding loudspeakers, cables from Tellurium Q’s flagship range, and a top-class Stillpoints rack and you have a true leading edge high-end audio system that is both distinctive and unlike any other.
Some of this is going over old ground. Melco is a well-known quantity around these parts, the N1Z having picked up an award last year. To recap, Melco builds an audiophile grade network connection and music server that no off-the-shelf computer components can hope to match. That a seemingly small player can produce something as sophisticated as the N1Z is more understandable when you discover that Melco is actually the parent company of computer technology specialist Buffalo. Combining Buffalo’s net-smarts with the audio intent of parent Melco (the company started out building turntables) makes for a product as good as it is clever.
Similarly, regular readers will know just how popular the Stillpoints ESS rack is round these parts. The aircraft-grade low mass aluminium stand that is designed to combine low energy storage with high load capacity is ideal for holding large T+A electronics boxes, but also features Stillpoints own isolating technologies basically everywhere. The rack itself and each component shelf bristles with Stillpoints proprietary mechanically isolating components, so whatever else is going on in the world around your system, none of it gets into or out of the components on each shelf. The result is quieter backgrounds and more musical insight, no matter what the product put in place.
T+A is a very well known, well-respected German audio brand based in Herford, near Hanover. The brand has achieved ‘well-respected’ status thanks to building a range of products that last and last. Recently though, the HV models from T+A have been gaining attention from audiophiles because of their high-voltage status. In essence, the high-voltage system runs the player and amplifier circuits at – perhaps predictably given the ‘HV’ suffix – higher voltage than usual. This improves the linearity of the circuit, but requires both very high-grade components in the circuit itself and a company capable of building products to a very uncompromising level. That reputation for building long-lasting products suddenly becomes all the more important.
The source component in this system, then, becomes the T+A PDP3000HV, fed both from its own central CD/SACD transport mechanism, and from the aforementioned Melco. You could almost think of the PDP3000HV as a seven input DAC with built-in disc handling capabilities. It’s got a large aluminium case for a reason too; ‘aluminium’ for its non-ferrous properties, ‘large’ because the case itself is chambered. In fact it’s five aluminium cases in one, with individual systems – disc player and input stage, decoder and analogue output stage, analogue PSU, digital PSU, logic and control surfaces – all housed in their own aluminium boxes, isolated from one another and the outside world. Just how isolated? It has separate IEC sockets for the digital and analogue power supplies!