Those of you who read my review of Naoto Kurosawa’s Technical Brain electronics in Issue 213 already know that I think these Japanese solid-state products are high among the most neutral, transparent, and detailed in the world. My opinion about the exceptional quality of their sound has not changed. Unfortunately something else has that is going to force me to retract my recommendation of the Technical Brain line (at least, for now).
A few hours ago as of this writing, I received some very strange and bad news about Technical Brain and its U.S. importer, Silent Source Audio, that alters the situation for high-end consumers in the U.S. For reasons beyond my ken, the principals of these two companies have apparently had a falling out. I know this sounds like a bad joke--it certainly did to me a few hours ago when I was given the news--but I'm afraid I'm not joking.
The result is that as good as its components sound--and as reliable as the previously trouble-prone amps now appear to be--Technical Brain is, once again as of this writing, without a U.S. importer! I've heard plenty of stories about distributors and manufacturers falling out, but after a rave review in The Absolute Sound? It seems ludicrous, but there it is.
Had we at TAS an inkling that this "divorce" was in the works we wouldn't have printed my review of the TB gear until and unless Kurosawa secured new U.S. distribution. But we didn’t have an inkling. As far as I and everyone else in the audio world knew things seemed to be going more or less swimmingly between the two outfits. Indeed, Silent Source took an ad out for Technical Brain in the very issue in which I reviewed the TB amp and preamp about a month ago, not to mention the fact that Frank Dickens of Silent Source showed TB gear under his banner in two rooms at RMAF 2010 seven months ago, and two rooms at CES 2011 just three months ago. Hell, I attended a dinner at RMAF with Dickens and Kurosawa at which everything was champagne and roses.
So...while my opinion of the sound of the Technical Brain products has not changed (and the reliability problem with the amps vis-à-vis U.S. current certainly seems to be a thing of the past), I'm going to have to withdraw my recommendation of all Technical Brain products until the company finds a new U.S. distributor capable of warranty/repair work. Happily, there are other worthy contenders from Soulution and BAlabo in solid-state and from ARC and conrad-johnson in tubes that are on much firmer footing when it comes to sales and distribution.<o p=""></o>
I've been in this business a fairly long while, and this is certainly one of the odder twists of fate I've witnessed. But strange things happen. All i can do is hope that a company that is as eminently worthy as Technical Brain will soon find another distributor and that I can once again officially and confidently recommend its superb electronics to our readers.