August 2018 marked the month where yours truly went for a solo trip to fulfill 3 different missions. One of the mission is actually to explore and experience a couple of British brands in their own designer's den. The first stop on 29th August 2018 was in Brighton which coincides with my visit to my alma mater. Brighton is where one audiophile can pay a visit and experience Audio Note. Although I didn't manage to visit the manufacturing or the headquarter itself, I managed to get a couple of hours to visit the Audio Note Lounge, located at No. 25, Montefiore Road, Brighton, East Sussex, BN3 1 RD. Dale Linzey (owner/distributor) carries mainly Audio Note and my favourite brand for a long time, Musical Fidelity. He also carries the Roon Nucleus if you are into streaming.
My jaw literally dropped when I first stepped into the shop as this is actually the first time I see with my own eyes, a huuuuuugggeee record collection. All these whiles it was just on the internet. That alone gave me goosebumps. I am sure Dale was skeptical of the purpose of my visit all the way from Malaysia but after explaining that I am not on any official duty as a reviewer but its more of a social visit, things got relaxed a lot. And I did mention to him that my listening experience to Audio Note during the KLIAV show in the past few years, left me a big question mark on why people are so hyped up about Audio Note. I was far from impressed with the performance so I decided to really listen to them where it all started.
Since I only had only a couple of hours, we decided to use Roon as our source for the day. Various tracks were played, mostly based on my preferred tracks like Dave Brubeck's Take Five, Jennifer Wearnes etc. What I experience on that day was completely the opposite to what I heard in KLIAV show. Audio Note set up was lively, accurate and fast. Bass was well delivered and had a certain level slam that I am amazed of. The vocals through this set up was sweet and luscious with no sign of sounding too high of a pitch. I could do with a little bit more of mids to have an overall balance experience but that was negligible.
We also chatted about our experiences with various Musical Fidelity equipment. Truth be told, I was feeling rather dissapointed that the legendary MF brand was sold to Project recently, loosing its British grounds for the future products. 20 years I have been with this brand ranging from A1, XA1, XA50, XDAC, XACT, XRay, XCAN, V1 to V3 of X Series, KW550 Superchargers, M1 DAC, ViNL, PWR, CDT, M6 DAC and M6i amp. I must say I am currently quite lost with regards to the future of MF quality. But after talking to Dale whom is an MF enthusiast as well, I am well convinced now that I shall stick Musical Fidelity at the moment.
Back to Audio Note, I came out of the venue with a totally 180 degree turn on my perspective of Audio Note. Given the right room and was set up properly, It can sound B-E-A- utiful.
Thanks Dale for accommodating my request. Your CDs are on the way.