Kora Design 30 Integrated Amplifiers

Kora Design 30 Integrated Amplifiers 


30 Watt Integrated Tube Amp


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[Jul 30, 1999]
an Audio Enthusiast

Ever been to France? Me neither. But I've gotten as close to getting there as I've come before with a recent acquisition of a product produced there. Perhaps I'm one of the few to just hear of this company's wares, but Kora apparently has been producing components for distribution since 1993. A local distributor turned me on to the company's initial product entry which happens to be a fantastic integrated amp. The Design 30 is a 30 watt Class A integrated tube amp produced in Toulouse, France. It uses 4 EL34's in 'push-pull' configuration for the output stages. For those who may have been like me, that is, thinking you had to have entirely separate components to derive a maximum performance level, be informed...The Design 30 puts that myth to rest. Never having much success with integrated's in the past influenced my decision to dismiss the idea of building a system around one. This integrated is capable of delivering first class perfomance levels at a fairly modest cost compared to your average amp/preamp separates cost totals.
I've made a recent purchase of a pair of Kora Mandala Gold 3 way floorstanders which the Design 30 drives effortlessly. Bass and midrange performance are fabulous. There is a certain neutrality delivered by the Design 30 which is on par with separates costing thousands more. The real asset of this amplifier is the transparency reflected throughout the playback of any decent audio disc. Having been a fan of electrostatics for years one becomes addicted to the liquid nature of their delivery. In spite of their lack of natural dynamics, which any decent standard 3 way speaker is capable of producing. The Design 30's ability to project a performance equal to electrostatics but without a loss of dynamics and bass integration is a real accomplishment in my book. This amplifier milks every note for all it's worth. If you appreciate good acoustical jazz, classical, and the like, consider giving this integrated a demo. You too will be charmed, as most people are by this component.

It apparently was honored the Diapason D'Or award in '97. As far as I know this is a European audio award annually bestowed upon exceptional audio products. This particular award was presented after a showdown with 5 other integrated's which included the SF Anthem1 and the Cary SLI 50.

If you enjoy the sparkle and sizzle of a cymbal, the acoustic sound of a bass string being struck, or the breath of a singer between phrases of a tune, give this amp a listen. You too may experience a taste of the wine country of France without even having been there.


Associated Equiptment:

Sony ES 707 CD player
Oracle Delphi Turntable
JPS Superconductor interconnects and power cord
AudioQuest Midnight speaker cable

A definite 5 star component for performance vs. price invested.

[May 28, 2000]
S. Jones


beautiful soundstage, defined bass, right tonality, musicality


lack the lowest bass

The Design 30 is a damn good amp. It has a wonderful 3D soundstage, very rhythmic, and musical. Paired with my Joseph Audio RM22si, these babies make music. One of my fav, Dave Brubeck's "Blue Rondo A la turd", the tonality and decay of the piano is so right. Not only that, the attack and quickness of the piano is there, together with the cybals from the upper left of the soundstage with all that sparkles unsually found in tube amps. Vocals are great.
Patricia Barber's "Cafe Blue" is much more musical than
listening on a good solid state amp. The punch and dynamics and rhythms are so right.

Interestingly, I had a chance to listen to the new Kora powered by EL84s instead of EL34s. To my ears, the EL34s sound more seductive. Warm and not tubey. More lust in midrange and more bass too.

Jean Hiraga said this baby beat many from Audiomat, Cary, Sonic Frontiers... I concur that it betters the Audiomat Preclude, although it a short audition. After all these years, it's still keeping satisfied and no upgrade urge anytime soon.

Kora Design 30
Joseph Audio Rm22si
Parasound 2000 cdplayer
taralabs cables.

Similar Products Used:

Jolida, Audiomat, Conrad Johnson

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