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Introducing Mr Stirling Trayle, the world renowned audio system optimiser

edited July 2019
AE is honoured to work with Mr. Stirling Trayle, the world renowned “high fidelity audio system optimiser”.  He is the only qualified professional to set up Wilson Audio WAMM Chronosonic Master Speaker system worldwide outside of the United States.  He will spend the next 8 days in Hong Kong optimising Divin Lab for AE and my other showrooms.  He will optimise a few systems of my key clients as well.  
What exactly is an audio system optimiser?  I will find out soon enough.   But he will dismantle everything in Divin Lab first!  Yes, he will even dissemble the gigantic Gobel Divin Majestic speakers!  The laborious exercises are meant to locate overlooked errors during the setup processes.  He will check everything precisely by instruments.  He will disassemble the rack as well.  He will clean all the accessible contact points of the system including fuses and AC lines.  He will measure each ground leg to ensure the right amount of voltage on them.  The lists of work are extremely detailed spanning four A4 pages of full text.  Speaker adjustments alone will take at least 6 hours.  He takes six planes of adjustment to position the speakers: front to back, side to side, up and down, toe in and toe out, forward and rearward tilt (rake angle), and side to side tilt (azimuth).  The measurements are taken 1/32” accuracy for distances and 0.1 degree for angle.
BEFORE the arrival of Mr. Stirling this evening, Andy Lam of Fung Hang Records was at Divin Lab this morning. He was completely shocked by extreme realism and transparency of the system listening to many of his own productions.  He recognised the tremendous efforts behind Divin Lab quickly.  Lyrical emotions were translated spontaneously into vocal energy touching him when Jacky Cheung was singing.   Andy told me he had goosebumps all over.   We spent 3 hours listening records after records of all sort spanning from Anne Bisson’s latest recording alongside a few orchestral pieces.  Speakers are completely disappeared.  All the walls are vanished.  Imaging palpability is tremendous.  Image size is spot on without oversizing usually associated with gigantic speakers. 
Then, why do I want to disassemble everything at Divin Lab?  Because I have reached the limitation of my available knowledge to make it better.  The presence of almighty Tripoint Elite NG, Wadax Atlantis Reference are with 4 sets of ReVopod underneath, Zanden super electronics, SRA Craze 3/Virginia etc are merely capital inputs.  I reckon only knowledge would take AE to the next level.  
Antoni Gaudi, the genius architect who spent his life building the St. Sagrada Familia in Barcelona once said, “To do things right.  First, you need love. Then execution.”  
Stirling Trayle is my execution.  



  • Mr Stirling studied history and philosophy.  His original goal was to become a lawyer.  

  • Congratulations on bringing Stirling to Hong Kong. I’m confident your system will be significantly improved by his tested methodology. Hopefully one day he can have a go at my own humble system.
  • Stirling just started working. 

  • He began by dismantling everything!  Then he will clean all electrical contact points! Big big job!

  • What is he cleaning the electrical contacts with?
  • edited July 2019

    After observing how meticulously Stirling set up the Cessaro Firebird speakers at AE Sheung Wan yesterday, I have to say I don’t know anything at all about speaker positioning at all. I am absolutely floored by the result of his systematic approach to reach the utopia of musicality.  To Stirling, good sound is not the final objective.  

    He began working with one single channel only.  In his view, working with one channel is a lot easier as the brain will not be distracted by an extra channel in the initial stage of setup.  In my case, it was the left channel that he had spent 3-4 hours alone to get it locked on to the room.  He takes six planes of adjustment to position the speakers: front to back, side to side, up and down, toe in and toe out, forward and rearward tilt (rake angle), and side to side tilt (azimuth).  The measurements are taken 1/32” accuracy for distances and 0.1 degree for angle.  He recorded measurements of all such after the first channel was done.  

    When I returned to AE after a business meeting, Stirling was lying the floor adjusting the height of the speaker feet.  Adjusting them changes the relationship between woofers and floor/ceiling.  In the case of Firebird, we began with 6.00cm, which is the distance between the floor and the bottom of the speakers.  He tested by listening to his reference music of different genre.  He turned the feet up by 1mm each turn.  And then listened again.  This exercise was repeated until the right spot was located at 6.55cm, which is the lowest height that yields the best sound to his ears.  Then he moved on to set up the sub.  The final parameters on the subwoofers are: -0.5db gain, low pass at 52hz, Butterworth filter 12db slope.  He switched off high pass.  The first channel was done.

    The right channel is a lot easier because it is a MIRROR image of the left.  Stirling basically applied all the ideal measurements he attained on the left channel to the right. For instance, 6.55mm is the ideal distance between the floor and the bottom of the left channel.  Replicate it exactly on the right channel without listening.   He started working at 9am yesterday, two channels were up and running at 2:30pm.  He didn’t had lunch, and ate just a chocolate bar.  

    When both channels started playing, he took out his very cool self-levelling  laser by Leica to project a visual horizontal line and a perpendicular line into the room.  This tool allows him to observe whether the height of the speakers are exactly the same because floor surface is often uneven.  In my case, the right channel was lower than the left channel.  Then he adjusted the right channel by gradually elevating the feet at the back of the speaker up by a few millimetres.  Up to this point, the sound was exceptional.  I have never had such solid presence of a HALL in this room before. What I had was a bunch of ambience information without shape.  But I got a shape of the recording venue now.  This is amazing.  I was in constant awe.

    And both channels pressurised the room evenly.  (The left channel had always been generating more energy than the right channel since 2008 regardless of speakers type.  And I always attribute the issue to room acoustics imbalance.). Stirling proved my judgment wrong.   Stirling said he was very happy with the progress.  But he said, “Chris we are not there yet.  My body could not feel the musicality yet”.

    To be continued….

  • Type your 
  • Stirling started working at Divin Lab today.  As usual, he took out all the cables and clean them up!

  • Stirling opened up the Gobel Divin Majestic and cleaned all the internal contact points. 

  • Roman couldn’t resist meeting Stirling earlier. He will service Roman’s system on Friday. 

  • He lowered the height of the ReVopods to the lowest level underneath the Wadax Atlantis Reference DAC.

  • edited August 2019
    The job was very smooth even though typhoon number 8 was hoisted in HK today.  He had a very big smile at 6pm when the system started playing his reference recordings.   It was so much quieter than what we experienced this morning. Cleansing all electrical contacts matter very much.  This is a tedious job. He really opened up the Wadax server, linear power supply of the router and many more alongside all AC receptacles.  Then he sprayed anti-static liquid to wherever is needed. He repeated two times he had so much fun working at Divin Lab yesterday after he listened again to the same recording before working.   He is eager to visualise the symphony in this room tomorrow.
  • With the Troy Elite NG relocated to another position for connection with the electronics, I could really tell the tremendous contribution of Elite NG brought to Divin Lab. I can better comprehend the physical shape of the venue.  

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