The 4th AE Super Hi End Show 2016

“The configuration for the show is new for this year. After receiving numerous feedbacks, we have decided to extend one more day (7/10) for any visitors who wish to play their own recordings.  Special sessions will also be assigned for designers to present their new products via real time demos.  Visitors will have much more quality time to ask questions.

We will host 3 rooms this year as well.  Previous show experiences suggested crowding 100 people in a single room do not achieve the desired sonic results for people sitting at the back.  The extension of 2 rooms to 3 rooms thus allows us to better divide the quantity of visitors into Room A and Room B “simultaneously” on July 9th, where the show is managed by the crew of Audio Technique.  Visitors pick either Room A or Room B when they arrive.  Subsequently, both groups will go into Room C (large enough to house more than 100 people) after presentations on Room A and Room B are finished.   On the first day, visitors will either listen in Room A/Room C or Room B/Room C.  Should they want to listen to all rooms, they can come again on Sunday. 

The vision of AE is to make this show an annual statement Hi End audio event in the Asia Pacific region. Beginning with the 3rd AE Super Hi End Show in 2015, there was a notable increase in  international visitors coming from Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, the United States and various cities from mainland China. Designer of various brands will fly over to meet their fans face to face. Some of our partners prefer demonstrating their latest cutting edge offerings at the AE Super Hi End show to anywhere else in the world.  There will be many world premiers from our key partners this year. And the objective of our crew is to make sure all these groundbreaking new products to sing in unison in musical terms for all visitors over that particular weekend.  Obviously we are indebted to Rebecca Chin and Lincoln Cheng of Audiotechnique who persistently put heartfelt effort on the making of AE Super Show an ever improving showcase with each passing year.  

To stay at the forefront of cutting edge, AE has to invest. This is not a conventional business model at all.   But capital is not the most binding constraint in this model.   It requires conviction from all parties because projected quantity of sales does not justify the time and resources in the first place.  We have to rationalize such projects via other non-monetary means such as raising brand awareness and improving the goodwill of the firm.  I asked Yamada san a few times whether he would still make the Chouku 長空 again if he could travel back in time.  His answer is always a resounding “YES” in spite of the physical weight he had lost and mental stress suffered to make it a reality.  

Two years ago, I commissioned Lars Engstrom and Timo Engstrom of Sweden to design a super high power tube amplifier.  To my elation, it is almost done.  This amplifier features 80 watt of Class A power.  According to Lars Engstrom, it is not a simple redesign of Lars Type 2, but a completely new circuit design taking every single technical parameter to the extreme.  In order to raise the bar, I also commissioned Subbase Audio of Germany to engineer a truly crazy set of feet in the name of “Emperor” to coronate the birth of “ERIC”.    The mechanical design of the feet have taken into the account of the exact building material of ERIC to ensure perfect mechanical coupling for mechanical induced vibrations to be drained away as fast as possible.  The Emperor will completely isolate all floor induced vibrations to the main amplifier.  The collaboration idea is the very first one of mine because the feet are usually overlooked by the electronic engineer.  

Likewise, Yamada san will showcase his super preamp – Choukoh 宙光 – to be paired with Chouku 長空.  And the first two owners of Choukoh could not express in words their soulful joy alongside a sense of pride.  In fact, one owner of Choukoh just paid full to buy another two Choukoh as gift for his best friends.  As of now, AE showroom has no display of Choukoh because every single one produced so far was either presold or instantly sold upon arrival.  If we are lucky, Yamada may bring us further surprise – his super phono stage 仁風. (The name of the super phono is made in recognition of his deepening friendship with 貴仁黃.)   In 2 months time, we shall have grand tube electronic master from the West co-exhibiting with grand master from the East, featuring their lifetime achievement. Both of them, Lars Engstrom and Yamada Kazutoshi are above 60 years old. 

In the realm of solid state, our audio hero Dietmar Braumer of Trinity will again be showing up a complete line of his super electronics wired completely by his own cables, AC conditioner, amp stands and even a rack all engineered by him based on stringent measurements.  As of today, his fans in Hong Kong are still increasing steadily after 3 years.  Who in the Hi End Audio world would invest heavily in measurement equipment with a sole aim to raise the bar again and again? Very few people are able to understand these measurements. Even if they do, the next question is “So what?” Why not spend on marketing and advertisement?  The result of such difficult route however is reflected in the ongoing phenomenon of “TRINITIZATION” – customer completely changed their respective prevailing system to a complete suite of trinity.  In fact, you can count how many had been “trinitized” on the AE forum.  As of now, Dietmar is working around the clock to finish the Trinity speakers.  We sincerely hope he will make them on time.  

AE/Tripoint practically created the market for grounding products almost 7 years ago when nobody cared about ground noises.   In the past 2 years or so, the proliferation of ground filters at various price points emerges to satisfy different consumer needs. This is a classical example of “win win” situation.  This year, AE/Tripoint will launch a “GAME CHANGER” new product category.  We want to be the market leader again.  Miguel is a workaholic.  He won’t have enough sleep from now on till he gets on the plane to HK.  That was our last conversation 10 days ago. 

Last but not least is great news to all fans of Wadax – a standalone statement DAC will be presented.  According to Javier, it represents everything he knows about digital technology with reference to his own MusiChip (which is also his own design).  There are simply too many technical features to be unveiled gradually as the show approaches.  Stay tuned.  The statement DAC also substantially improves the phono session of existing TRIO user by the connection of a USB cable - the AD is done inside the TRIO and the DA will be performed over the super DAC.

And Ralph Krebs of Cessaro will feature his first ever conventional speakers.  I commissioned him to build it in response to rising demand for conventional speakers with superb transient response and dynamic capability akin to horn.  Increasingly, more and more people find conventional speakers are too slow in transient response but don’t have the physical space for a horn solution.  The issue of aesthetic always makes horn speakers a controversial topic.  It makes no sense for AE to battle against the weight of mentality and personal preference.  Thus, I have chosen to take action.  This is an ambitious speaker project because AE never satisfies with the norm, however the uncertainty over market acceptance.  The speakers feature field coil mid range and an 18-inch field coil bass driver.  The name of the speakers is ambitious – Qian Long 乾隆.

On the analog front end, we will feature Thales Simplicity 2 arm on two super league turntables from Artisan Fidelity in the US, and a secret super turntable from Sweden.  Touraj of Vetere will be there to present his ultra reference analog front end in full integration with the cutting edge rack system.    As far as cable is concerned, the ARGENTO FMR EE series will likely steal all the spotlights given the number of fans have been hungry for a new flagship for almost 7 years. Of course, other superb cables will be there as well including Skogrand’s Beethoven series and Goebel Statement power cables to feed the super amps of Zanden and Engstrom. 

The world is not looking good now.  Conventional logic suggests it is a time to retreat.  But AE has chosen to invest.  Thanks to the loyalty of our customers, the firm has continued to grow steadily.  We don’t have sales quota to fulfill but passion to share and drive to innovate. This is the most effective way to maintain customer loyalty but also the most costly and time consuming.  I rather proceed gradually and firm up a foundation before making the next big decision.  

We shall strive to improve again in the 4th installment of the Super Hi End show. That is a very challenging exercise due to inadequate time to understand synergy amongst electronics and room acoustics.  If some of the goodies I mentioned here do not show up on time, please forgive AE and my partners as they are really working around the clock to make it happen.

See you all on July 9th to July 10th

Jlam and Chris