The Audio Note U.K. OTO Integrated Amplifier

We had the Audio Note OTO SE here for a few days before it went out on audition. The OTO is a 10 watt Class A single-ended EL84-based integrated amplifier. The one we had here had a phono stage and retails for $3100.00.

So, we thought, what the hey and put it on one of our hardest to drive speakers (second only to the big Sound Lab U1 electrostatic speakers), the Acapella Violon High Sub.

Here it is on the Rix Rax driven by the Audio Aero Capitole MK II (it is not actually hooked up in this picture as we had a Violin audition and needed to show just what it was capable of and used the $20K Lamm ML1.1 mono-block amps for this purpose).

A close up of the OTO on the equipment rack.

The front of the OTO. You can kind of see the inside of the OTO here. There is a lot of stuff in this chasis, this thing is heavy! 30 lbs if it is an ounce – but that is just a guess since I had to carry it down the 45 steps.

The Rear of the OTO

A close-up of the rear of the OTO.

A close-up of the controls of the OTO.

The OTO actually sounded pretty darn good on the Violons. We heard the OTO, driven at that time by the Audio Note U.K. CD2.1x CD player (discontinued. Only $1000 but was about $1750 new, also out on audition, so no pics, sorry), right after CES and at low volumes (it IS only 10 watts) that system was better than most, well 99.9%, of all systems we heard at CES.

Yeah, this at $52K (not including rack) , is an expensive system including $48K speakers and the rest on the OTO, CD2.1x and Audio Note cables … oops and add a couple of $K for Shunyata power cords – but is was just so pleasant and musical after the sonic hysterics of CES.

The little CD player had less bass than the Audio Aero, which kind of worked well on the Violon High Sub (with built-in isobaric subwoofer) in that small room.

There were a few tonality problems, and it ran out of steam when we got it to around 90dB or so. But if *I* had only $53K or so, and a small room, and I knew I would be able to upgrade the upstream components later and get a larger room… This somewhat lobsided system would be near the top of my list.

Maybe we should do a piece on lobsided systems – usually I think the key to the best sound is Balance Balance Balance (you Brinkmann Balance turntable fans can stop smirking now :-)).

But it seems there are always special cases.