Sunday, 15 March 2015

KOGA Audio d'Bomb Power Amp - Solidly Soulful





The KOGA Audio d'Bomb is not really new to me. The first time I had the pleasure to listen to its 'nakedness' was sometime in 2014 during the audiophile gathering of a few members of our FB group What Are You Listening To Right Now? Group. Refer to the pictures above, the d'Bomb was fully tested my with ProAc D18. All the attendees was well pleased with the power amp. Don't be fooled by its look. Mounted on a wooden box and looks like it was built overnight. The sound was so big and airy that it was hard for us to go back to my main set up.

Nevertheless, this was the unit that triggered the designer to kick off KOGA Audio & Electronics. After much support and recommendation of the group members of KOGAM, the Aimez hybrid power amp and Pentha pre-amp came out to be the first and second line up of its products. This d'Bomb was then costume-ized with proper casing and mounting.

THE SETUP

After the session with KOGA Aimez Hybrid Power Amp, I have decided to go for a similar set up of my own system:
  • Musical Fidelity M1 CDT - CD Player
  • Dell laptop - CAS
  • Musical Fidelity M6 DAC
  • KOGA Pentha pre amp
  • KOGA d'Bomb Power Amp
  • Speaker Cable - Siltech Classic Anniversary 330L
  • Interconnects - Siltech AES/EBU digital cable, Siltech RCA 


FIRST IMPRESSION

It started off to sound quite thin in the first few minutes of the unit being hooked up to my system. However, the underwhelming feeling changed when I put on a track from the KOGA sampler CD. Sound was forceful and solid in many ways.  A burst of enery was injected in comparison to the Aimez model.



SPECIFICATION

The unit came in a similar sized black matte casing of the Aimez although it is slightly heavier than the Aimez. The front fascia just comes with a sexy blue lit power button which matches well with the rest of my set up. The rear is equipped with input a pair of gold plated RCA input for connecting to a pre amp (recommended to be with Pentha) and a 2 pairs of speaker binding post that can take standard banana plugs. It also comes with a standard 3 pin plug power cable. The basic specs:
  • Freq response 10-30kHz
  • Input impedance 50kOhm
  • Output impedance 4-8 ohm
  • Built-in speaker protection
  • Full discrete Class AB amplifier.
  • High current output.
  • 40 watts RMS per channel
TEST TRACKS
  • Angin Kencang (Live Piano Version) - Noh Salleh (MP3 - 256 kbps)
  • Widuri - Broery Marantika (CD)
  • You Were Always On My Mind - Willie Nelson (CD)
  • The Last Goodbye - Billy Boyd (MP3 - 256 kbps)
  • Gabriele's Oboe - Ennio Morricone (MP3 - 256 kbps)
  • All Outta Angst - NOFX (CD)
THE SESSION

Angin Kencang is my new obsession ever since the release of the LP version a few weeks back. The live piano version became my first choice as it sounded superb on LP. Big and spacious but when played the iTunes version, it lost all the excitement and big airy sound. But with the addition of the d'Bomb, the big and spacious sound was back. Each note of piano was fully extended, providing a deep and detail presentation and the huskiness of Noh's vocal was extremely emotional. The d'Bomb injected such a lively atmosphere to this song that it felt that I was indeed in a live concert. The high strung sound of the piano was really high pitched but it was far from sounding irritating. Perfectly delivered.



Playing an oldie song by Broery entitled Widuri, reminded me what music was all about - Emotion. This was my late mum's favourite song. Listening to this reminded me how she was cuddling me while listening to this song with my late father on his turntable. Broery's vocal was vibrating illustriously giving such a deep and bold presentation. Sound staging was big and elevated more compared to Aimez. The  saxophone sounded extended .. filling up the hall with such poise and authority but in a very ballad way. The musical body sounded very bold and solid.

Willie's rendition of You Were Always On My Mind is where this d'Bomb shined. I thought the Aimez already deliver all the gem from this track. Boy I was wrong. d'Bomb provided even a more detailed and expressive nature of this track. Layer after layer of emotion was presented  where there was a clear cohesiveness between Willie's vocal and all other musical instrument to make up that overall tonal balance. 

The Last Goodbye was another track that can show what d'Bomb can do to your system and justify the speakers you have.  Very open sound but details of the music was not lost nor dispersed at all. The overall presentation of this track mellowed towards subtle yet forceful.As the music builds up towards the last stage, d'Bomb continues to control the the honesty of any tracks fed through it. 

  

The track of Gabriele's Oboe, was sooooo soul touching. It is just flowing through air as it wraps your emotion and mind towards this masterpiece. Each wind instrument was telling a story via this d'Bomb. I cant help but to question my understanding about wattage. This is a 40 watter that does not show any sign of stress to drive my D18s. And it does not need me to crank up the volume beyond 10 am  to get a decent presentation. Most of this review was done in a moderate level of volume but the details that this d'Bomb can give is simply astonishing..

Now something for the bass. NOFX's All Outta Angst provides a mixture of solid bass drum, trumpet and back stroke guitar The trumpet intro was really smack in your face authoritativeness. Once the drums came in, every single kick pedal sound was delivered with a solid and full sound. Fat Mike's vocal was with great intonation as oppose his usual flat and lazy singing method. d'Bomb can handle some serious bass works with ease.

THE VERDICT

KOGA d'Bomb is indeed much more than its smaller brother Aimez in many ways. But it should not be compared between them as each unit caters for specific listeners preference. KOGA d'Bomb deserves to be partnered with medium to high sensitivity speakers. Spacious and big sound staging, authoritativeness, solid bass with no dispersion or sound loss, tonally balanced are just some of its strength.  If you can go for that extra dough, I fully recommend this model. It is priced at about RM800 ~USD 250. Listeners who would their system to sound big and yet full of detail, you owe it to yourself to audition this unit.

KOGA Audio can be contacted via email koga.audio@gmail.com 

And.... they are proud to announce that they will be participating in this year's KLIAV show between 3rd to 5th of July.

Post a Comment