At the end of 2020, the UK high end distributor, Absolute Sounds, launched a new distribution concept called Ten, a hand-selected collection of “extraordinary sonic creations” curated by Ricardo Franassovici, Absolute Sounds’ founder and MD.

The first maker to join Ten was DeVore Fidelity, creator of specialised high-sensitivity loudspeakers fashioned in Brooklyn, New York. Now, the second maker is revealed, Robert Koda of Tokyo, Japan.

Robert Koda Takumi K-15 EX Preamplfier

Robert Koda Takumi K-15 EX Preamplfier


Founded in 2008, Robert Koda was born from the passion and experience of Robert Koch, a music lover and audiophile who worked for Audio Note Japan (Kondo) for many years. After the death of Mr. Hiroyasu Kondo in 2006, Robert decided to work independently and called his new company Robert Koda a combination of his first name and his wife’s maiden name.


Mr Franassovici has selected a particular piece from the small Robert Koda range to join the Ten collection, the Robert Koda Takumi K-15 EX preamplifier.

At the preamplifier’s heart is Robert Koda’s ITC (Inverted Transconductance Coupling) design a unique arrangement of semi-conductors pioneered in the preceding K-10 preamp and taken to the next level in the K-15 EX The ITC circuit provides an excellent interface between source component and power amplifier, delivering massive power gain with remarkably low distortion whilst remaining immune from the negative influences of power supply noise. The circuit is effective over a dynamic range in excess of 145dB.

Robert Koda Takumi K-15 EX Preamplfier

Robert Koda Takumi K-15 EX Preamplfier rear panel


Another unique design element is the volume control – a critical part of any preamplifier that can have a dramatic impact on sound quality. The K-15 EX sports a balanced-mode volume control, at its core is a massive, custom-built eight-channel switch incorporating 256 nude, made-for-purpose resistors of the finest audio grade. However, only two resistors are used per channel phase at any one time in this ‘L-pad’ configuration. The switch itself maintains perfect contact pressure, the contacts are solid silver and generously proportioned.

Robert Koda Takumi K-15 EX Preamplfier

The Robert Koda Takumi K-15 EX volume control construction


Robert Koda has considered every detail to ensure a complete absence of compromise. For example, all inputs are hand-wired and mechanically switched – a costly and time-consuming endeavour – in order to eliminate the use of circuit boards, relays and solid-state switches. The materials and construction have been carefully considered in order to gain maximum performance; delicate signals are carried in bundles of four-nines silver wire, while a solder of 99.99% pure copper and lead-free alloy is used. The selector switch is specifically made for the delicate task of handling sub-microcurrent signals without corruption, while the RCA sockets are milled from high-purity copper and rhodium-plated to ensure optimal signal transmission.

To deliver an exterior to match the interior, a graded aluminium finish is applied to the copper chassis, with gold-plated inserts and a ruby lens.

Robert Koda Takumi K-15 EX Preamplfier

Close up of the Robert Koda Takumi K-15 EX Preamplfier


Hand crafted and packed in a sturdy flight case, the Robert KodaTakumi K-15 EX is available in the UK this spring, priced at £60,000.

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