Kubotek USA/Haniwa Audio

The Kubotek/Haniwa room was showing off their Full Digital Control System ($36,000) which consists of the DHSA01 Digital System Amplifier and the HSP2B08 2-Way Horn Speakers. So what makes a system fully digital? I asked this question of Robert W. Bean of Kubotek specifically, "Where does the D/A conversion take place?" and Robert answered, "It doesn't. It's all digital all the way through." Which had me wondering how I was hearing music...

I'll assume then, that we're talking about a true digital speaker but I wouldn't stake my lunch on it. The only clue I could find in the Haniwa marketing literature was this, "Fully calibrated and digitally driven by HDSA01, this tiny speaker system produces incredibly dynamic full orchestra sound. Its output sound wave form is almost identical to the input".

The Full Digital Control System supports playback of up to 24/192 and in the Haniwa room they were feeding it from a laptop playing tracks ripped from vinyl using the Haniwa HCTR01 cartridge ($5,000) and HEQA02 phono stage ($5,000). I asked what vinyl ripping software was used and Robert asked/translated my question to Japanese engineer Tetsuo Kubo, the man behind Haniwa, and he responded, "It doesn't matter".

Each time I visit the Haniwa room at a hi-fi show I feel like I'm missing something, like there's a bigger picture and more to their story. In the marketing literature you'll see reference to "Real 3D Audio" an end-to-end approach that extends to the recording process, "Record with two omni-directional mics, and input that signal to the audio system without changing the wave form" out to sample rates for playback, "...for timing and spatial recognition, the human sensitivity against the time difference is much more delicate, and at least about 200kHz sampling rate is necessary. At this rate, the times resolution is 5 micro seconds, and is equivalent to the spatial resolution of 1.7mm".

Which gets me back to a recurring theme, at least for me, which is our shared hi-fi has room for as many approaches as people with a passion to explore them. That's just one of the reasons I find hi-fi so fascinating. The more important reason is music.