Kondo AudioNote JapanKSL-M77 w/phono currentKondo AudioNote Japan KSL-M77 w/phono current Mint Demo Ref Pre Amp!Kondo AudioNote Japan, Current KSL-M77 Tube Pre with Phono:As New, factory Wooden Crated regularly $46,183 & Current model, TRUE Cost No Object Hand Crafted, Virtually all Silver Design...29995.00

Kondo AudioNote Japan KSL-M77 w/phono current Mint Demo Ref Pre Amp! [Expired]

no longer for sale

Kondo AudioNote Japan, Current KSL-M77 Tube Pre with Phono:

As New, factory Wooden Crated regularly $46,183 & Current model, TRUE Cost No Object Hand Crafted, Virtually all Silver Design with Matching All Silver Factory Power Audio Note Cord regularly $2,500 new demo's everything together with warranty regularly $46,183 Summer Sale & offered final reduction now ONLY:  $29,995.

    ((( FINAL REDUCTION for Fast Sale / no low offers )))

This is for someone wanting the best pre and step up transformer and able to afford this cost no object design.


Kondo AudioNote Japan, KSL-M77 Pre with Phono $46,183 with factory Silver Power cord $38,688.

A True Cost No Object design made to challenge what is possible in a Tube Pre Amplifier with full phono section.

As new (not even broken in) Store demo with full warranty.

Serial # M280202133 double factory boxed with outer wooden box (see pictures).

Strong power supply with low impedance is constructed with 2 power transformers, choke and audio grade capacitors. CR type phono equalizer and zero feedback line amplifier reproduce acoustic field with natural and liveliness sound.
Special chassis design with 2 internal boxes each for left and right circuit. By arranging power supply parts independently for each channel, influences such as magnetic flux leakage are highly eliminated.


  • Strong, low impedance power supply is constructed by 2 power transformers, choke and audio grade capacitors.
  • CR type phono equalizer and zero feedback line amplifier reproduce natural sound with good extensions.
  • Best component placement, wiring and ground paths made by high quality handcrafting.
  • Resistors switch type attenuator is adopted for high sound quality.

Comes with factory special Power Cable:



Product Stereo preamplifier RIAA Declination ±0.5dB (30Hz ~ 20kHz) Frequency response 16Hz ~ 120kHz (+0dB, +3dB, with 100kΩ load) Input / Impedance PHONO(unbalance)
 RCA 1pair / 50kΩ
 RCA 4pairs(CD, LINE1, LINE2, LINE3) / 100kΩ Output RCA 2pairs Noise PHONO   less than 10mV
LINE   less than 0.2mV Tubes 6072 x8, 6X4 x1 Power consumption 38W Dimension 406mm(W) 160mm(H) 287mm(D)
(Excluding protrusions) Weight 17kg

                     ================ from 6 Moons: ==================

                                      Point to point silver wiring done right:


The Innards:
Not a lot of information here although in these days of instant Internet access and cheap Chinese clones, it's no surprise that KSL Kondo (and Living Voice for that matter) are reticent about the magic in their craft. However, the issues involved go much deeper than that. The basic ingredients of valve amplification are familiar to every audio designer: circuit topologies, component materials and construction techniques of capacitors, resistors, transformer windings and so on. These are just the ingredients, the building blocks. But even if you bought an M77 and took it apart, it would not yield up its secrets any more than a Samurai sword would. Give me prawns and some batter and I will not come up with the divine poem that the Nobu restaurant gets out of the shell fish.

How does Masaki Ashizawa, chief designer at Kondo and now company president of KSL Kondo, achieve these amazing heights? I want to suggest that it has a lot to do with the way Japanese culture produces these artist-artisans who have an extraordinary ability to focus on the intricate properties and very essence of physical objects; on matter itself; and then find a way of connecting it to what is transcendent in the human experience.

There's a Zen focus and concentration which takes something simple and transforms it into something both humble and ecstatic. In the West we can be 'ends oriented' and use tools and matter to get the results we want. For the Japanese artist, the process is sacred, the methods are sacred and the act of creating something simple is considered the noblest achievement man is capable of. This intense and spiritual relationship with physical matter and its counterpoint in our souls can seem bizarre to us. Have a quick look at the late Mr. Kondo talking about silver. You'd think he had taken leave of his senses.

"Silver is a living thing, as if it has a gene which seems to contain DNA as expressed a natural sound." Or what about his thoughts on sound:

"I believe that motion is sound. I am all the more convinced of my belief when I listen to the swelling mass of sound in the middle of Wagner's Tannhäuser Overture. Especially so when listening to the same music performed by the great maestro, Arturo Toscanini at his last concert of April 4, 1954. Which sounds as if the particles of the sound were colliding with one another and whirling in a thunderous march." Or -

"I want to produce a sound in which its individual particles may radiate energy into the ambient space just like the sun and fuse into one."

Hiroyashu Kondo may have been semi mystical in his relationship with physical matter but as befits a professor of electrical engineering and molecular mechanics, the engineering on KSL Kondo electronics is of the very highest order. Kondo is not about peppering fairy sprays on components in the hope something will happen. It is about rigorously looking for many years at how best to achieve a certain sound and adopting the technical solutions for getting there; investing in the equipment, in highly trained staff and research time to achieve it. But above all, it is about approaching the task with a dedication that borders on the obsessive; a love of music that acts as spur; and great humility which has been a characteristic of the Kondo aesthetic from the beginning.

With research you can find out that the M77 mains transformer and chokes are produced by Tango. But what you won't find out is what winding technique they specify, what core material, how thick the leaves are and so on. This is the kind of thing that Kondo-San focussed on so closely. Or rather, he had an extraordinary ability to be able to find the melody in a metal. I've been fairly disappointed in silver as a cable material. To my ears it usually sounds brittle, metallic, grainy and opaque. But in Kondo's hands, the same material becomes fluid and kind and supple and generous and incredibly transparent. Of course the techniques are important, surface treatment and dielectrics are issues.
But I suspect that if you're serious about wanting to get near the territory of Kondo, the only way is to follow Jonathan Carr of Lyra's example, move to Tokyo and try to convince the masters to let you sit and study at their feet for twenty years. I suppose what I'm saying is that it simply isn't possible to copy a great master who has a profound relationship with a 2000 year-old culture of approaching work. Think of what it takes to become a Zen Buddhist monk. Think what it takes to make a great wine or a great musical instrument. It's that kind of commitment and dedication that is required if we are to achieve similar results.

Switch on, take off
Anyway, reader, I switched on. And over the next few days, I listened to a lot of music. And music that previously hadn't quite made sense -- hadn't worked -- suddenly made me feel emotionally alive, a better listener, really in the zone. With other material, it was like those scenes where the drug addict straps up in an alley, injects and his eyes suddenly blur with the deepest, most intense physical bliss ever experienced by a human body. He hasn't got a clue, that guy, how deep music can go.

I was focussing in on what was blurred and confused before but not just from an audio point of view - from the point of music. Songs that I didn't get suddenly became heart tugging and mind expanding. Transparent is the wrong word - that implies a hi-fi quality but this was a musical and artistic transparency as if layers of invisible grunge and gunk have been scraped away. Each vibrant note is suddenly here. Its like love; deep, rich and dense - you don't rationalize it, you just fall into it.

The colors, textures, timbres, intimacies and associations are richer, fuller and more meaningful. It's a 'more body' thing, a 'more spirit' thing, a more 'mind' thing. This is the kind of sensation money can't buy. It's Barry's love song. It's Frankie's timing. It's Brahms' bravado, Beethoven's beliefs, Vivaldi's credo and Messiaen's morning muse. Can I stop here? Right away I know I can't. Is it worth it? Forget about it. I've got to push on for Gakuoh land.

There are so many aspects that are incredibly special about the sound of this preamplifier. There's a lightness of touch to the bow stroke on the Bach that has me shaking my head in wonder. How to describe it? In some ways it's very simple. With the M77 in situ, that amazing quality I first encountered at Definitive Audio is there. There is a level of presence, tone richness and a particular three-dimensionality to it.

Substitute the M77 with another preamp and the sound suddenly goes flat. We're back in hifi land. Using my previous benchmark preamp on Vivaldi's Gloria [L'Oiseau Lyre 455 727-2 on original instruments], Carolyn Watkinson's contralto now goes from loud to soft in judders. It sort of leaps back and forth. It's fairly pure when it's sustaining but as it lifts, there's distortion in the vocalizations and almost a shuddering. The violins are glassy and strident and bland in a way I'd never noticed before. See how fast one comes to assume a certain quality of sound and how rude the bump is when it's suddenly taken away? Above all though, the indescribable gestalt of the piece is gone. The musical meaning. The emotional quality that turns this into great art. Frankly, I can listen to this Gloria on a radio and just walk right by it. Not interested. But put it through the M77 and alchemy occurs. It becomes the kind of music that you'd be proud to put in a rocket to send off for our alien cousins to listen to. "Hey, guys, check this out". Hell, it becomes a good candidate for the piece you want to use for the final credits of the Universe. We get transported into a world of spiritual longings, ecstasies and despairs that takes the inner emotional self on what I can only describe as some kind of minor mystical transport. It can often reveal, in the superficially banal, something simply earth-shattering. The Kondo M77 is the only piece of audio equipment I've heard do this - which is why it exists at the very pinnacle of Parnassus.

Voices soar, dive and swoop like swallows on a summer evening. The texturing is superb, dense, rich, vibrant and effortlessly communicative of the inner flow of the notes themselves. It's incredible.

It has previously seemed to me that there are two distinct high end paradigms. The first is purely audiophile hifi, which involves throwing a convincingly deep and wide soundstage, with instruments appearing in the room; fast dynamics and coherence across the audible spectrum; and room-filling scale to boot. It's a reasonably tall order but it is realisable without too much difficulty and if well-chosen second hand components are used, it doesn't have to be expensive. This could almost be called the listening to hifi school. Not without enjoyment.

The second high end paradigm instead focuses on the quality of the musical experience aiming to capture the artistic content of the recorded musical performance. It may have to do this by losing some bandwidth or some clarity or some dynamics - as long as the musical intelligibility is preserved.

Now however, with my KSL Kondo/Living Voice system, I have stumbled into a completely different world from the two examples described above. One that I believe is entirely distinct and otherworldly. Yes, it ticks all of the hifi boxes; it goes high, it goes low, it's stable during complex passages, the sound is big, it has depth, there is dynamic range and scale and so the list goes on. It's got the lot. On any of these counts, the KSL/LV system is simply better but what makes it transcendent is that when all of these performance parameters are blessed to this same exalted standard, then the hifi truly removes itself and you cross the Rubicon into a world of naked musical performance. I had no idea it was quite so beautiful.

How has this third way been achieved? It seems that this is the result of being maniacally focussed, of having a soul and brilliant ear, great discernment and confidence. A good number of people like this become designers. While there are lots of good products at the lower end of the market, ironically it seems to me that systems which deliver the real musical goods are rare indeed when the prices shoot up into the stratosphere. Audio jewelry rules here partly because there are a lot of people who want the best but have no idea what it is. They are inevitably attracted like moths to a flame to fancy casework. However, this approach is of little interest to those who really care about music.

With the M77 a few things are obvious right away. Firstly, it doesn't have a sonic signature as the term is usually understood. It doesn't interpret, shape, sweeten or round the signal. It does however have two telling characteristics that in some way flow from the same source. The first is an incredible inner energy. Most audio systems sound like the reproduction of an event; as if light was being bounced off something and what we see is the reflection. With the M77, the energy of the sound seems to materialize as if the light was emerging from the centre of the note itself. We aren't seeing a reflection but the creation of a sound. It takes a signal and it brings it forth into reality. This is a fundamentally different way of making music and it is telling right away. It's one of the things that stops me short every time I turn it on. And I suspect that its somewhere in this domain that the M77s emotional magic takes place. The second thing that's immediately striking is the way the M77 deals with tone. It is simply more subtle and realistic than I have ever heard before. The live sound has a vibrancy and texture that I have only ever heard when playing the M77 into Living Voice OBX-RWs.

Many audio systems excel at simple music but fall flat the moment things get complicated. How many systems almost wean the listener to a diet of basic audiophile-approved nonsense music because that's the only time they sound impressive? I know I've had periods of that. It happens almost unconsciously. Not so with the M77. It's incredibly liberating, a tour de force really. The harder the music, the better it does.

Massed strings are magnificent, it seems to thrive on complex counterpoint and huge orchestral swells. The inner energy means that it simply doesn't get things wrong. Every instrument is placed in an accurate point in space or rather, in a musically meaningful time and place within the rest of the orchestra.

More prosaically from a strictly reviewing point of view, the M77 has an uncanny way of telling you precisely what every other piece in the chain is doing. This is bliss for those like myself who have to describe sounds in words. "How is this power cord affecting things?" Now I can hear without doubts about psychoacoustics - differences become obvious, easily audible and describable. This valve or that cartridge or different microphone techniques - it all gets spectacularly easy. One thing it won't do (thank god) is make bad components sound good. No, it will tell you right away and having heard it in various contexts in my system as well as others, I'm more than comfortable with saying that if you hear an M77 sounding bad or indifferent, better look elsewhere in the chain. As Srajan heard in Hong Kong, the 6x4 rectifier wants to be changed on a regular basis as in this topology, it is worked quite hard. Obviously and with all valve amplifiers, if the valves get tired the component will sound listless and lacking in energy. For an M77 in regular use, consider changing this rectifier twice a year. The 6072a valves will last a very long time, however.

The Music:
But what is of much greater significance to me than all of this is that the KSL Kondo M77 is a superlative maker of music. Music is not just a combination of sounds, it is an expression of an artistic vision, something to participate in and be moved by. We can talk about the special aspects of 'the sound' for days on end but we will have missed the point completely. I'm more and more uneasy about discussing such specifics as it risks focusing down the wrong end of the telescope: width, depth, bandwidth - what's happening? Yes these things do matter but the questions we should be asking are, how is this music affecting me, why am I being moved? Or, why am I not being moved? We can be profoundly moved or overwhelmed by a new piece of music we've heard while stuck in a jam on the car radio and then we hear the same piece on a super rig and we can be left scratching our heads. Why is that? How much of it has to do with expectation, or with a demand for a musical rush rather than meeting the performance where it needs to be met and on its own terms?

I'm not suggesting for a second that the M77 will turn banal melodies into masterpieces or that every piece of music I put on it has a Götterdämmerung-like significance. But there is no question about it, I have been changed by this box. My relationship to music is shifting and the experiences I feel I've been through because of it are considerably more profound and meaningful. And they happen much more often. Why that is I'm still not sure but I do know it's not due to non-musical factors such as pride of ownership, rarity or anything like that. It is to do with the way it gives music.

Taking a break from writing, I sit back and listen to the Gloria. I'm not synaesthetic but I do now experience tone in terms of color and I'm more than conscious that this is not an effect I get live at concerts. Which started me thinking. At a concert I'm going for an experience and part of that is physically being there. More senses than hearing are involved when sitting or standing next to others, picking up their vibes, watching the spectacle, inhaling the smells and the ambience. When I am at home in my listening room, I'm usually completely involved in the direct aural/internal thing, just soaking up the music. So it's not surprising I can be more of a pure music receptor at home and pick up aspects of musical experiences even more profoundly than at live events. Sure - Vivaldi's Gloria in Santa Cecilia in Rome was entirely unforgettable. Sacred music in its actual context is quite something. But at the moment I'm close to preferring my home sound to a concert at the Barbican, say. And for the first time I'm finding that the home experience can be even more rewarding and profound than a live concert can be. It's something to do with being completely relaxed and 'disembodied', being able to become just a being reacting to music and nothing else. The experience is extraordinary. But substitute the M77 for what I had previously thought of as a stunning preamp and I lose that aspect of things. Gone is the emotional and spiritual intensity of the experience. We are back to a pale copy.

What about Nina Simone's After Hours? It's late now, it's been dark a long time and the sound is barely above a whisper but when on "Wild is the Wind" she sings "but when you kiss me my life begins' - whoa, the hairs go up on the back of my neck. Her sense of utter longing, of unobtainable devotion and loss and some unnameable tragedy is somehow so shocking and profound and incredibly moving. It's like she's living some ultimate love beyond what is imaginable. It really is poetry.

As a reviewer, I really want to avoid pissing on other people's parades. Respecting different needs and budgets and sonic priorities is a good place to start. But at the same time, this sometimes clashes with the important requirement for a reviewer/music lover to be as clear as possible about what they like, which also means sometimes explaining what personally doesn't work for them. For example, there's a kind of sound that doesn't work well with me. It's big, it's bold and above all, it's painted in a few bright primary colors like those in a children's playground. So at first it might sound really attractive and clear as opposed to transparent. It's like the way fashion models are made up to be photographed. When the picture comes out, the contrasts are emphasized so the model has no nose, high cheek bones and arabesque eyebrows. Looks great. Except that's in the photo. If you're standing by the camera. it looks like a Noh mask. And the point is, all the subtlety of the human face has been lost. The character. They all look much alike. The subtle chiaroscuros of musculature and expression are lost under a cake of makeup. It's the same with this kind of sound. Everything comes over as simple, over-contrasted and 'clear' although lacking in significant harmonics. This kind of sound is actually really well suited for the sound you want at a nightclub. It's physical, it whacks you around and it thrives on processed compression. But soon I suspect most music lovers would find it tiring, obvious and banal. It's from the school of fast food and instant gratification.

The only reason for mentioning this is that the M77 is the polar opposite of this kind of sound. It's not that it can't whack you around but that it will only do so with that type of processed music. It will also sound simple and clear and bold. But if the face isn't wearing a ton of makeup, you'll find a far more beautiful person before you. You'll find a sound where all the intimate delicacies come forward and give you a much greater understanding of the person. You will find simply superb gradations of chiaroscuro; the infinite varieties of sun and natural light as opposed to the artificial high key tones of the studio.

Lets go back to emotions. Take Neil Young's "Ohio". On a car radio, it will usually come across as a nice song for the MOR stations but give it to the M77 and an altogether different experience emerges. From the urgent and insistent introductory guitar notes, the pent-up anger, the sorrow, the denunciation and the need to do something are way out in the open. "Four dead in O-hi-o". It's that emphasis and insistence on the name of the State with each vowel given a beat that makes the purity of anger and outrage so potent. The point here is that through the M77, you cannot ignore this part of the song. Hell, that song had a huge impact and was played mostly on people's Dancettes. But there's a big difference now, like looking at a Caravaggio or the Sistine Chapel in a picture book or looking at the actual thing. The scale and emotional impact of the real experience is incomparable. With the M77, it's like you are suddenly sitting in a Chicago park with flares and flowers in your hair watching the police charge. I remember it clearly even though I was eleven and on another continent. And by the way, this is at low volume. Put it up and you walk away shattered. It will change your day for sure.

If you want to choose any particular audiophile criteria, you can tick all the boxes and anything else (with the exception of the M1000) will struggle to keep up. But as I write these words, I'm conscious that in doing so I'm completely missing the point. I can almost hear that box saying "please, that is not important. If you want to describe me, try again." The last time I was up at Definitive Audio, I was saying something and Kevin Scott suddenly said, "You've changed, Edward". Of course I sort of coughed and denied it in the way one does when caught off guard but inside something was saying "abso-bloodly-lutely I have". And so it is. In non-trivial ways. Music is an important part of my life and the way I experience it. By extension, the way I experience other aspects of life has changed too. What I've found with the M77 is that it quietly allows for, and encourages, a focussing of my inner energy much more deeply into the core of what the artist is trying to communicate. Each musical experience is far more profound and satisfying.

The only analogy I can think of right now goes back again to that essence of Japanese culture, the tea ceremony. In England we drink tons and tons of tea and usually just slurp it in our favorite cup and off we go. It's a perfectly sacred thing in its slash/bang secular way but think of the Japanese experience.

Their tea ceremony involves a complex ritual and a spiritual process of unfolding. Each item is placed in a particular place that is proportionate to the others and both that relationship and the way in which its placed creates an energy field, a way of calming and focusing what is inside us. The off-center centrality of the bowl, the material and the way the bowl is made, its texture and touch all take on significance and trigger associations and memories. A deep sensual perception and Zen-like focus. It's no surprise that this ritual takes years to learn and is part of Zen Buddhism. The tea ceremony is an intentionally transformative practice. It has its own aesthetic which is characterized by "humility, restraint, simplicity, naturalism, profundity, imperfection, and emphasizes simple, unadorned objects and architectural space. In doing so it celebrates the mellow beauty that time and care impart to materials". It culminates in

ideas like "...when tea is made with water drawn from the depths of the mind whose bottom is beyond measure, then that is what is called the tea ceremony..." as Toyotomi Hideyoshi put it.

I can think of no better analogy for the way the M77 operates. It seems to allow some of those same spaces and inner energies to connect with the music and at the same time organizes the emotional flow of the musical experience so they seem to reach more deeply. How does it affect me? I've found I relax more deeply and bits of me I didn't even know existed are now coming out into the open and are ready to become an almost active participant in the musical experience as it is unfolding. It's something about being focused and at the same time relaxed into each note or phrase, almost as I imagine meditation could be. I hunger less and am paradoxically far more satisfied. The only reason I can imagine this is happening must be because the M77 is focusing the various energies in the musical piece in ways that somehow make more emotional sense and reach deeper inside me.


Truth be told, the KSL M77 hasn't just changed me, it seems to have altered the way I approach the study/listening room. I used to resent the slight hum of traffic and other city noises that can occasionally come through the window but now as I enter, I hear the room's silence in a different way. The noises seem to set off how the room itself has more peace than before. Its difficult to describe exactly but the room is certainly a more pleasant and intelligent place to be than it was previously. It's almost as though it's filled with the residue of a great sound.

At the time of my first visit to Living Voice, it was obvious that the conventional language reviewers use was going to be inadequate to communicate what I was hearing. I was worried about how to approach it. Soundstage, timbre and dynamics are still involved but they fail to get to the essence. Over time, however, what actually happened was that the M77 taught me to listen in a different way.

It doesn't make sense to listen to a Kondo piece using the techniques we have all developed so far. Relax, listen to the musical performance and you begin to notice the way the energy fields in the music are the essence of each performer's art. You can almost see an abstract version of this as the energy of each instrument swells and falls in pulses flowing past us. To me, these energy fields are the essence of music itself. It's the difference between a musical performance full of expression and profound emotions as opposed to one copied or done by rote.

Think about it - you won't capture the essence of what makes a great musical performance if you break it down into its audiophile components. But if one relaxes and brings to the center of spirit those energy fields, then we are able to become participants in the essence of the musical experience. Of course, if what you want is just to sit back and be absolutely blown away by the quality of sound, that is going to happen, too. Sonically the M77 is so good that you can appreciate is superlative qualities even if you're riding on an open bus in a force ten gale. But if you want more, if you want to get into the deepest part of what makes music so powerful and moving, then ultimately, that is what the M77 is all about.

By the way, my skipper friend and his mate? They were fine. Shoes and trousers torn off and just a few bruises....

If you have questions, I can be reached in my Los Angeles Audio & Video showroom weekdays (11-4) @ 310-472-8880 or after hours and weekends (10AM -10PM) on my cell or call or better text @ 310-927-2260 / e-mail me @ David@weinhartdesign.com

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   Making better Sound

 One system at at a time,


  David Weinhart
Weinhart Design, Inc.
  President & CEO

The Audio and Video Expert
e: david@weinhartdesign.com

2337 Roscomare Road, Studio #1
Los Angeles, California 90077
Showroom) 310-472-8880
Cell) 310-927-2260

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