Maybe for the first time in my audio life I came across a brand that would challenge Naim in terms of foot tapping and engagement - the Japanese brand Soulnote founded by ex-Marantz chief designer Norinaga Nakazawa. Design philosophy seems to focus very much on preserving time domain characteristics and dynamic performance (as opposed to static “test bench” performance). Very little found in terms of reviews on the net, however extremely interesting reading on their web site on their design philosophy. Highly recommended. Had the opportunity to listened to their middle line integrated A-2 and DAC D-2 and was deeply impressed. Pricing for the 100W/8ohm integrated is about the same as for the New Classic Line while the DAC is about 25% more expensive.

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A mate in Tokyo has a Soulnote amp. The distributor seems to pair them very often with PMC.

Sadly I’ve not heard the amp myself but they get respectable reviews as a boutique Japanese brand. If Accuphase and Luxman are Linn and Naim then Soulnote are maybe a younger Sugden? Just to paint a picture of their place in the local market.

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