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Audio Note (UK) Tomei 211 SET Integrated Amplifier and M3 RIAA Phono Preamplifier: The Third Realm!

06-03-2024 | By Jeff Day | Issue 133

Summary and Conclusions

Rarely do I come across audio components that are so good at what they do that they literally defy a complete description with normal audio reviewing terminology, but such is the case with the Audio Note (UK) Tomei 211 integrated amplifier and M3 RIAA phono stage. 

The Audio Note (UK) Tomei 211 integrated amplifier and M3 RIAA phono stage are the highest performing amplification components of their kind that I've ever had the pleasure to hear in my home audio system, by a considerable margin, and yet I've struggled with how to convey a complete description of their performance in writing. 

They perform at an extremely high level in all of the usual high-performance audio attributes, and even break new ground in important ways that literally defy my ability to articulate. Words failed me. 

Their performance goes well beyond just hearing what they are doing in terms of high-fidelity visuospatial sound quality and musicality (both superb, by the way), as well as going deep into the realm of conveying the emotional impact on feelings according to what the artists are trying to convey in their music, and then going well beyond that into a third realm of performance where I can't completely grasp what is happening to me as I listen other than to experience a profound sense of awe from the music. 

That third realm opened a portal in my listening sessions into an abstract dimension of experience beyond the external world of my hearing, the inner world of my consciousness, and into a dimension that I believe can only be experienced first hand by listening.

While I've labored to give you my best take on them, if you really want to understand the level of performance the Tomei 211 amp and M3 RIAA phono stage are capable of, you'll need to spend time listening to them yourself. 

Audio Note (UK) states that these components are "… specifically engineered for sonic performance rather than technical specification …", but there is clearly more going on with their performance than that would imply. 

Does the Audio Note (UK) comparison by contrast method of tuning components and audio systems by ear result in an ability to play any genre of music of varied fidelity from any recording era to yield a remarkably satisfying high-fidelity listening experience? 

Yes, indeed it does. I could listen to any album I wanted to from any era of recording of any fidelity and was always blown away by the transformative listening experience. 

Is there a synergy effect that elevates performance when using a nearly complete set of Audio Note (UK) components from sources to amplification to feed my Tannoy Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers?

Yes, very much so. 

After writing about various Audio Note (UK) components over the last four years it is my observation that they work together as a team to provide a higher level of performance in an audio system.

While each component is excellent in its own right, it was when I put them all together in my own system that I really began to understand what they were truly capable of. 

As an aside, owners already know that Audio Note (UK)  loudspeakers in room boundary positions excel with Audio Note (UK) electronics providing the juice, but I've also discovered that Audio Note (UK) electronics feeding my Tannoy Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers in an audiophile rule of thirds/fifths sort of positioning works brilliantly as well.

In fact, I've never heard my West's perform so well. Tannoy loudspeaker owners take note. 

Is there a big jump in playback performance when going from Level 3 to Level 4 amplification in terms of accuracy, authenticity, and authority, and a greater ability to contrast dynamics, timbre and recording quality?

Oh yeah, there is that, in abundance.  

Every listening session became a new exciting adventure with the Tomei 211 amp and M3 RIAA phono stage, as I heard what was truly possible in a listening experience from albums from any of the recording eras.

I could hear exactly what fidelity traits each album from the different eras of recording had, but I felt like I was always hearing the best possible listening experience that album had to offer, and to a remarkable degree. 

Lower fidelity acoustic and electric era albums provided as much listening satisfaction and thrills—and maybe more (fans of 78s will understand)—as the best recorded albums from the magnetic and digital eras of recording.

For me, this remarkable ability to turn any album into a riveting listening adventure was one of the most important performance attributes these Audio Note (UK) components offer, as it opened the whole of Planet Earth's recorded music canon to me for vibrant listening adventures, instead of just focusing audio performance on the most well recorded albums from the stereo magnetic era.

As an aside, I get quite a lot of reader inquiries asking me to recommend which Audio Note (UK) component will give them the most performance for their money, and based on my experience with the "performance level system," my answer is always the same: Buy the most expensive component that fits within your audio budget, and you will be rewarded with a level in performance will be commensurate with your investment. 

Does the performance of the Tomei 211 integrated amplifier ($59,587 USD) and M3 RIAA ($11,314 USD) justify their prices? Yes they do, and then some.

These are relatively expensive components, of course, but the reality is that I don't believe you can achieve this lofty level of performance by spending less. 

I also believe that for my tastes, this particular combination of components outperforms anything out there that I've heard even at many times their price. 

While we audio writers have audio systems that are always in a state of change due to reviewing responsibilities, if I were going to settle down with a single audio system for the rest of my days, this one would be it. Simply outstanding! 

I would like to thank Peter Qvortrup for sending the Tomei 211 SET integrated amplifier and M3 RIAA phono equalizer so that I could write about them for you here at Positive Feedback, it has been a truly remarkable listening adventure! 

As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!

Tomei 211 SET integrated amplifier

Retail: $59,587 USD

M3 RIAA phono preamplifier

Retail: $11,314 USD 

Audio Note (UK)


Contacts for sales inquiries: Daniel Qvortrup and Peter Qvortrup.