I’ve been eyeing, earing, and ogling the products from Audio Note UK for decades.
Yet the Audio Note Cobra Integrated Amplifier is the first current-production AN product to visit the barn. I like to think of these kinds of anomalies as little black holes that defy reason.
The Cobra, which sits at the entry level of AN integrated amplifier products, employs a quad of EL34s in a Class A, push-pull configuration for a stated 28 Watts of output power. Prior to reaching those EL34s, pairs of 5670 dual triodes and 6AU6 pentodes act as preamplification and driver respectively. The double C-core output transformers are hand wound in-house, while the oldie but goodie 16-bit Philips TDA1543 D/A converter chip is used for the Cobra’s digital inputs. This imparts a practical limit of 16-bit data so 24-bit files are “truncated” down to the 16-bit limit. The Coax input maxes out at 176.4kHz, Toslink at 96kHz, and USB caps out at 48kHz. Clearly Audio Note is speaking directly to people who are most interested in 16-bit/44.1kHz files, or CD-quality, which represent at least 90% of the music available from “hi-res” streaming services, and an even greater % of the music I listen to.
The Cobra also sports 3 line level inputs, a single pair of speaker binding posts, and an IEC input for the supplied power cord or your own favorite.
The minimal and angled front panel offers two knobs for volume control and input selection, in between which sits active input indicator LEDs. The entire unit is wrapped in a gets-the-job-done textured matte black metal chassis, and I appreciate its symmetrical layout. The included remote allows for volume control, input selection, as well as a number of buttons which I’m assuming will also control CD playback from one the AN CD Transports.
As expected, the Cobra embodies much of the Audio Note vibe and I very much look forward to spending time getting to know its voice.
Audio Note Cobra Integrated Amplifier DAC
Maximum Output: 28 Watts per channel
4 x EL34
2 x 6AU6
2 x 5670
Dimensions: 340(w) x 199(h) x 451(d) mm incl. valves, knobs and connectors
Company Website: Audio Note (UK)