Hotaru Suzuki's
Date of "Visit":
17 December 2005

Avantgarde speakers and Basshorns

Macintosh MI-200 amp

Wadia CD transport and Marantz preamp



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Hotaru Suzuki

(Please keep in touch with your system information.)

Music has played an important role in my life from when I was young. From my high schools days I listened to jazz, especially the great Blue Note LPs of the 50s and 60s, as well as classical music and opera. I was always curious about the sound quality of these records, and over time, I've become a confirmed audiophile, especially prizing classic vinyl pressings and searching them out whenever I travel, mostly in Germany and Netherlands.

What I expect from recorded music over live is an effect much like that of looking at good paintings, especially of those like the impressionists; the painting is always better than the reality, so I expect something like this with recorded music and good equipment. When I go to a jazz performance or an opera, we can only have the experience of the music once, and once only; but at home, with a good system and superior vinyl, thanks to an engineer who really knows what he's doing, we can re-experience the music again, anytime, at our leisure.

When it comes to my preferences of equipment, I'll take tube sound over transistor sound, and analog over digital anytime. As far as we have the technical ability to still play vinyl records, we can still see that CD technology has much room for improvement.

I'm from Japan and there are two trends among audiophiles here: one always calls on a person to look for the latest equipment, another says that a person should go for vintage models from the Western Electric era. In other words, they have a Ferrari owner's mentality - they either look back, or look ahead, spending money just because something's old or being seduced by the newness. My way is to follow the best of both paths.

My favorite and listening contents:

  • Italian Opera: 20%
  • Chamber Music: 10%
  • Blue Note Jazz: 20%
  • French Chanson: 10%
  • Others: 40%

Hotaru's System's Components


IKEDA 9-R cartridge, IKEDA IT-407 tone arm, MICRO-SEIKI BL-91 motor, IKEDA ST-100 MC step-up transformer


Wadia WT2000 CD transport with Digital 2000 DAC


Marantz #7 (original, not revised)

Power amps:

Pair of Macintosh MI-200s


Pair of Avantgarde Triohorns and three (3) Basshorns

Speaker Cables:

Acrolink 6N-P4060F (Acrolink is a Japanese make, this cable is made as power cable).


Various, but mostly AET(Japanese make) at the moment

Hotaru's comments about his system:

AA: "So, Hotaru, how would you describe your system's sound?"

HS: "I think of what I aim for as the sound for God! The more I get closer to vacuum tubes and the analog source, the more that music itself, and not sound, comes through for me. At that point, I really get the spirit of music. What I want out of audio equipment is not high fidelity, but music which goes straight to the heart."

AA: "Do you think there is room for improvement?"

HS: "It's still difficult for me to find really good line amps that would meet what this system is capable of in music fidelity. After 40 years or so of experience with high-end, I've gotten to know the sensitivity of the ear. It's been my strong sense that humans in general need greater luxury for the ear, in order to appreciate what the full range of music is; the standard of taste for the ear is even more strongly nuanced, and has a broader base of detection of quality, than even that of the sense of taste, because it's even harder to satisfy the ear than the tongue, and the ear is hardly ever satisfied. It's hard to put in words what this really means, but that's the best I know how. A true audiophile knows what I'm talking about."  

AA: "Have you got plans for upgrading?"

HS: "My next plan for upgrading is changing cables and setting up better insulation around every piece of equipment. I also have several more systems in different places, which require greater overall improvement, and which I'll show in the near future. If you want me to name any specific piece of equipment, my recent interest has just shifted to older Western Electric systems using 555 and/or 594 drivers."