It replaces the audio refinement gear and is better in my opinion.
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YBA Designs replaced the aging Audio Refinement line. Last week I bought my dealer's demo amp and CD player. The tuner should be available in the fall. They're interesting, aesthetically very gallic looking pieces. They're meant to stack up. They're made in the PRC (some dealers assumed that they would be made in France). Sonically, I can't compare them to the all-Audio Refinement setup I have at work: the YBA Designs are used in my living room with ceiling-mounted speakers so they're purely for background music. Cool looking, though ....
S7: I, too, am a fan of the AR equipment. Sure, some people have made the argument that it's been around "too long" (whatever that means) without a stylistic upgrade but I've been very happy with the trio and yes, I think that the CD player is a really capable unit.
Since the AR stuff is that the office and the YBAD pair is at home and functioning under less than ideal setup, maybe this weekend I'll take the YBAD pair to the office and compare it to the AR setup. That would be a more valid approach. One thing, thought: the YBAD stuff sure is pretty....
Spiros, it wasn't enough that you were supporting the French when good American high end companies like Bose were barely making it, now you are supporting the French supporting the Taiwanese. And clearly my good American interconnects are too declasse for this YBA gear or you would have tried them by now. You probably drink Dom while shopping for all those third world Asian goods at Wal-Mart. Why take the long way around, just adopt, it's a much less circuitous route.
Marty, I'm not sure what the focus of your post is. But I can tell you that I am terribly excited about the new tuner that I will soon be receiving from the Iranian Ministry of Audio. I think the combo will work great on the new, high-end depleted uraniam isolation platforms that I received yesterday from the A.Q. Khan Audio. The only thing that's held up at customs right now are the nifty new power chords from Pyongyang Hi-Fi Accessories.
I have both pieces here. They take a long time to break-in... Even after three hundred hours it wasn't at its best. Probably have about 500 hours before everything opened up, and I saw what any excitement was about. Their integrated amplifier has a very natural, free-flowing, larger than life quality. The CD player has the as-advertised lovely SACDesque midrange. Deep bass is not as prominent as I'd like on the CD player, for this msrp. Microdynamics are outstanding, though, and it doesn't fall apart on complex material. The two latter areas best the Jungson Magic Boat CD player that I've also been listening to.
The only major issues I have are that the remote is an option, and that the contrast can't be adjusted. RCA jacks and speaker binding posts could be higher quality, but I think that they put the money to better use on the chassis, both from a cosmetic and vibration proofing standpoint. Also, the overall sound really comes together only when you play it loud. Total package is quite attractive, however, for its price range. Really gives you a taste of the high-end sonically and visually. Last words of advice; add a subwoofer, and better interconnects/speaker cables/power cables are worth the price tag when it comes to getting the most out of the YBA Design System.
Wish I knew. I've heard that a preamplifier and power amplifier will also be offered as part of the YBA Design range. In what succession they'll hit the market; your guess would be as good as mine.
How did the YBA Design gear compare to your Audio Refinement pieces? These Design pieces certainly have a very nice "executive system" look to them, don't they.
Cambio: Thanks for the response. I saw a brochure for the YBA design that listed an extensive product list. The US distributor's response to my inquiry was that the tuner would be available in July/August 06. My local dealer suspects that it will be in October.
Since my earlier posting I've had a chance to compare the YBAD amp to the Audio Refinement amp. I still have the all-Audio Refinement setup in my office and I really enjoy it. I think that the Audio Refinement amp is a great deal for the money, more so now that it's on the used market.
But the YBAD amp was something else! It sounded significantly more controlled than the AR amp, with alot more presence and detail. And the extra power really shows up in headroom. Is there a better $1,800 integrated out there? I'm not sure but the YBAD integrated is a great piece.
I haven't compared the YBAD CD player to the AR one because the two haven't been in the same room but the YBAD amp/CD combo is a real nice setup.
Aesthetics may not be important for some people but they are to me and the pieces are stricking and understated. This is why I'm anxiously awaiting the tuner's release because I listen to alot of FM via my second system.
Drawbacks? Most definitely the rear of the units. The RCA jacks and speaker binding posts are of a disappointingly bad quality. It's obvious that alot of money was spent on the billet construction of the cases but that's no reason to have used lower quality connectors.
Someone may have mentioned as a drawback the fact that the displays can't be dimmed. I would agree since I suspect that it might not be a good idea to have the display to be burning the same message for days and days. But the display is pretty low-visibility and all that one really sees is a dimly lit elongated rectangle.
The new remote is a nice piece and it gives you an indication of YBA Designs is planning for the future (since it's supposed to control up to seven devices, including DVD player, etc). It's weight makes it equally useful as a personal defence weapon.
I don't want to give anyone the impression that I consider these pieces as nice, "lifestyle" audio gear. Rather, I am set with my primary system and wanted a great looking, great sounding, low-maintenance, low visibility second system to power three floors. So far I've been very happy with the duo and my Audio Refinement system is still hummin' along at work.