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AE Central Diary



  • edited March 2021
    Marvel bro, it seems like you are no longer a playboy reflected from your writing. Do you comprehend the statue of 8 by Mr Aaron Kwok?  The translation function on Facebook is not so bad.  This super star in Asia seems like a deep person.  Can you share how many statue can you follow, other than number 8?
  • Marvel,

    Thanks for the writeup on describing the unsung heroes on the hardware front. I am equally interested in your achievement based on 郭八條. Can you share more with reference to them? 
  • edited March 2021
    I was lucky to participate in two audition sessions with Aaron Kwok in AE Central.  He and his friends listened intensively for almost 3 hours in each sessions ear-witnessing the ultimate art of tube amplification: the Engstrom Eric Encore driving Goebel Divin Marquis.  I believe this has laid the foundation of the subsequent in depth exchanges with PT in Divin Lab.  Mr Kwok is a glamorous man and yet very humble.  He was open to share his perspective of listening.  He was extremely concentrated in beat and tempo.  If they are not precise, he said he couldn’t engage by the music.  

    PT has diligently summarised the 8 principles 郭八條 based on his exchanges with Aaron for over a month of deep exchange.  As a comrade of PT in the past 25 years, I am quick to grasp thoroughly the meaning of each.  But to what extent I have achieved these in AE Central now?  I must at least satisfy principle Number 8: I am a genuine music lover with a fond interest on classical music!  I always share music with fellow audiophiles! 

    However, due to my limited exposure on other types of music, I may not be able to gauge the precision of tempo.  Jlam in his recent session told us only 1.5% streaming from the internet belongs to the classical music which is lower the African music and 京劇。 We must expand the diversity of the music in order to embrace this paradigm shift led by our next generation.  I am learning everyday. 

    I started reading more about the background of the music whilst listening so as to establish a stronger comprehension of the musical plot.  This has proven to be extremely relevant to gauge on how successful such intention/storyline has been presented by the performers.  Following conventional Hi Fi attributes such as spatial resolution, ambience definitions, transient and speed are important too.  But we must always reference to the original musical intention. Young protégés nowadays exemplify technical skills to perfection. Do they correspond to the original intention of the composer? That is not to say right or wrong. Our system however must provide a transparent window for us to think about the music.  

    The second principle is about understanding the value of a system. Don’t judge performance by price tag.  Exploring the value proposition requires technical knowledge.  Energy balance of the system is tightly coupled with the gain matching from source to preamp and from preamp to the power amp. This is a science which has not been taken seriously by many audiophiles.  Take an example, many audiophiles are of the opinion that CD playback is plug and play without the painstaking set up in a vinyl system. That is not true. For extreme performance, signal phase, output voltage, output impedance, DSD filter types can all impact positively and negatively the performance of a digital recording.  Whether it is relevant or not depends on how persevere one is in pursuing the ultimate performance.   

    In my recent audition sessions, I use the Wadax Reference DAC to demonstrate how the playback of a SACD can be screwed up if the above parameters are not set properly.  In Wadax Reference DAC, one can set 1v, 2v and 4v output.  Likewise, in JMF Audio DXC2.2 DAC has a scale of 1 to 99 for its 7v analog output!

    I am confidently on the right track following most of the 8 principles. AE Central is always opened for your validation. 
  • edited March 2021

    雖然錯過了 Engstrom Eric Encore 用兩對845推動小神曲Marquis的精彩,但今天的中環 Showroom 就像銀河艦隊........瘋狂!

    究竟我應該將焦點放在那裏?新鮮熱辣嘅JMF Audio 三十五週年版 PCD302 ? 講得出最昂貴的地線?一套一百五十萬的Wadax數碼訊源?與藝術品無異的Da Vinci Gabriel MK3 加上 Durand Tosca 和 Thales Statement 兩支臂皇?久別重逢的 Engstorm Monica 前級和Eric 後級?(久別重逢係因為 Marvel 兄在家中已用Zanden宙光前級取替 Monica 好一段日子) ,還是配上 Air Blade 的 Goebel Marquis 喇叭?我決定忘卻所有珍品,將焦點放在音樂上 ! 

    Marquis 在我家中與 Synastec 擴音機的關係,就像咸美頓駕駛著超過一千匹馬力嘅平治F1 戰車  — 澎湃、激情,大收大放,大開大合。中環的演繹,就像是一對熱戀嘅情侶,貼身地跳著探戈,節奏、身體無縫地配合,你進我退,你退我進,每個轉身,每個彎腰,既火辣又優雅。


    Paganini for two 這張 CD 是一張雅俗共賞的唱片 — 簡單、輕快、和活潑,是一張很愉悦的CD。我在大大小小的系統都聽過,結他的風采很常見被 Shaham 的小提琴所蓋,今次真正感受到小提琴手 Shaham 和結他手Sollscher之間的溝通和對話,還是等一次。

    三國的「鳳嗚山」之戰,是黎允文為三國之見龍卸甲而寫的電影配樂,昨天交代氣勢有餘,但氣氛還欠一點張力。電影情節講到曹操孫女為爺爺報一戰之仇,誓要在鳳嗚山收下趙子龍(以我所知,故事與歷史是不符的),氣份理應充滿殺氣、迫力,這一點中環還可以交代得再好一點,我想可能房間的 acoustic 還有進步的空間。

    最後播Stereo Sound vol.10 當中的一段女高音,這張 CD 亦都是家中必備,我在PT 家中聽過好幾次,近距離聆聽,能感受到女歌手面部嘅動作,用氣。昨天,空間和形態清晰可見,透明而具穿透力的能量,穿過我身體,徹徹底底地將我溶化了。

  • edited March 2021
    Made in HongKong

    In the past few decades I seldom come across anything “Made in Hong Kong” in high end audio meeting my expectation.  Our globally renowned universities produce thousands of graduates from engineering faculties, aren’t there any brilliant audio minds worthy the excellence of  “Made in Hong Kong?”

    I did come across a few local audio products mimicking others well but lacking authenticity.  Until recently after the installation of a few LPS and optical fibre boxes brought me to understand deeper about Ediscreation , a 100% local company solely owned and managed by a 100% local born engineer - Edison.  Every component is designed and hand-built by him during after hours.  From the circuitry design to the choice of parts, from the construction to the final testing, everything is done meticulously by Edison alone!

    I have been using the Bach Server for CAS at AE Central since many months ago. It always compares favourably to other big boys.  Its 20kg chassis is milled from solid aluminium housing an oversized 500W LPS with an Intel Xeon CPU upsampling to DSD512 running a Windows 10 Server OS with an OCXO clock.  Last Sat, I was stunned by the tremendous improvement in energy and quietness, after the switch was installed. It has received overwhelming reviews by many network audio reviewers in Japan.  The brand is now carried by many across Asia genuinely representing a new force of HK audio industry.

    Behind the scene, what really earns my respect, is his excellent service support round the clock regardless of his full time job workload.  This is the relentless spirit that we desperately need for HK future.  Ediscreation is the pride of HK Audio industry. 

    Keep it up Edison!

  • 多謝KK 兄的讚賞和支持!
  • Edison, thank you very much to bring us Silent Switch OCXO for gearing up CAS system other than Analogmagik for Vinyl system.   

  • edited March 2021
    I was doing a CAS demo to a friend yesterday.  Even I sat off-axis from the ‘king seat’, I was engaged by the music more easily than last week. There are much more spatial details than before.  It is an accumulative impact from the Silent Switch and the Ikigai Kangai Ethernet cable.  The value of this upgrade is far more than the price of it. 

  • edited April 2021
    I had the fantastic opportunity to visit both the Sheung Wan showroom and both studios in the Central showroom with the wonderful KK as my host who was nothing but generous with his time and knowledge and who's passion I have already come to admire a lot.

    He kindly asked me if I could share some of my impressions on this forum so for the first time in my life I will try my best to convey my impressions/observations/feelings on a public forum as these were very impactful experiences to me.

    By way of short introduction I'm very new to the audio world (in a Hi-Fi sense), I got into headphones during the last lockdown end of last year and then from February of this year onwards I've been looking at and working on upgrading my own humble 2-channel system. So recently I've been on a quest to demo and learn about different components and more importantly figure out my own preferences in the process.

    To make it easier I will share my impressions using stream of consciousness as literary technique (the Austrian school of writing) since I'm rather lazy...

    Sheung Wan (17 Apr):
    • We started with Pink Floyd: Money : WOW...the guitar has so much bite...that's how it should sound imo and how I like it...but it never gets harsh or fatiguing...there is so much new information I've never heard before as well...the speed and dynamics are crazy
    • Diana Krall: Again the treble draws my attention...I feel like I'm sitting really close to the action...I can walk around the room and it's incredibly forgiving where I stand...the soundstage stays intact until i reach the very edges of the room and the treble fills out space in a way I haven't heard before
    • Aida: I've never heard classical like this...the dynamics are pretty much lifelike (compared to the HK philharmonic I was at 2 weeks ago...I never really get massive dynamics in that hall unfortunately)...trumpets and wind instruments are right there...just amazing
    • Michael Jackson: Human Nature: So much fun to listen to...but maybe I'm missing a tiny bit of bass response?
    => Overall just an incredible experience...very first time listening to serious vinyl and it doesn't sound at all like how I imagined vinyl to's not soft or rolled off at all...just like sitting front row in a concert really

    => My only 2 points that I could possibly nitpick on:
    1. I feel like I'm towards the very front and very close to the action but the soundstage width is apparently not quite what my brain expects so I keep getting slightly confused because some of the instruments to me sound too closely spaced left to right given how close I feel I'm sitting
    2. The bass is very fast and detailed but I'm missing a little bit this feeling of pressurization of the room and physical when the pedal hit of a bass drum leads to this feeling of pressure right before the actual soundwave comes...not sure how to exactly describe this
    Central (19 Apr):
    Let's start with the big system (Goebel)

    • Again this sense of air and no roll-off of the treble...but I noticed over the session that here the treble is slightly less intense over all...again tons of new detail but this time I'm also very cognizant of lots of new information in the bass spectrum
    • I am in love with the warmth/organic and natural quality of the presentation...this totally suits my personal preferences I have to say and now I cannot really listen to the setup but I just get lost in the music with every new track...truly my greatest Hi-Fi experience to date!
    • There is this incredible bass foundation to everything I hear...somehow this just engages me totally...we listen to acoustic vocals, classical recordings, rock and pop and towards the end I even put on some electronic and heavy metal and it just shines throughout...I have a hard time stopping...just want to explore more music with this setup
    • The only (and I mean really the only thing I can think of) to maybe improve upon: with extremely fast double bass drum lines in the metal track there is a hint of blurring but personally it doesn't bother me...arguably the double bass response could be a hint drier but personally I'm not sure I would really prefer it that way, would have to compare
    => To summarize this is the sound signature and sort of physical quality that I'm looking for...the best setup I've heard and the one that I found the most engaging emotionally most importantly...just a big smile throughout

    The smaller system (Audionec Evo2):
    • We start with the guitar trio McLaughlin/de Lucia/di Meola: Sundance Trio: The guitars sound very fast and dynamic...great sense of space between the performers...but somehow the instruments themselves don't quite sound like guitars to me...almost like percussion instruments or harps...machine gun like if I want to be extreme
    • A track with only female vocals and double bass: Again the speed and impact of the bass is great but somehow to me it doesn't quite sound decays too quickly
    • Daft Punk: Within: Wow great dynamics...Piano sounds fantastic...but somehow I'm missing a part of the bass line..only the lower bass seems to be really coming through the way I would expect
    => So until now we've been listening with the Riviera Levante amp on Class AB...we switch it to Class A and almost everything changes...the instruments have more body and texture...the guitar sounds "right" to me again and I'm just finding everything much more engaging...I'm learning that I seem to have a preference for a bit more warmth and mid-bass? 

    Some random thoughts on the equipment I had the pleasure of listening to, most of the manufacturers I've never heard of and tbh a lot of the components are out of my price range but I'll share what I think in my limited experience
    • The AirBlade looks like a no-brainer to me if you're already spending a certain amount on your setup...needs no extra space or amp and the difference is not subtle at all...I will have to look more into this myself
    • KK mentioned it was primarily the Engstrom power amps giving this organic sort of living/breathing quality...highly recommended to check out imo
    • Getting the basic infrastructure right matters the most...the differences between the showrooms were still smaller than the similarities...there was just always a huge amount of information...I strongly believe that starting with proper grounding, power supply, mechanical insulation...this is the way to go so you can actually evaluate the other gear and get the most out of's like the plumbing/wiring in a house
    All I can say is a huge thank you again to KK and Chris of Audio Exotics...what an amazing experience!

    You have been extremely generous with your time and knowledge, I am more than impressed and really happy I had the pleasure of meeting you.

    Many thanks and I would be grateful for some feedback on my comments as well
  • edited April 2021

    I think you are more experienced than many audiophiles, from the perspective of music.  Don’t underestimate yourself. 

    The high pass filter of the subwoofer at 20hz was switched ON before your visit.  That means the subwoofer cuts off everything under 20hz.  But the wave length of 20hz is 17 meters.  The length of my room is far shorter than 17 meters. 

    If I switched off the high pass filter, there will be more sub bass energy in the form of standing waves. Everything will be warmer a tad.  You mentioned correctly that double bass should sound drier but you are equally happy with some blurring ambiguity.  That means you know what is correct and incorrect. The rest is your own choice. Not many people can do that. 

    When Stirling Trayle set up AE SW, I told him to opt for front row perspective. 

  • Piano Tuner, many thanks for your explanation. This gives me a much better understanding of how what I am hearing can be translated into the setup as well as the importance of the room interaction.

    As a follow up to my last visit on the 19 Apr to the Central showroom KK very kindly proposed to demonstrate the impact of the Tripoint grounding system as I have no prior experience with any type of grounding in my own personal setup. I feel strongly as pointed out in my initial post that quality infrastructure is the key building block to having a very scaleable setup that allows me to have a better understanding of what my components are contributing and what their full potential might be. 

    Again I would like to share my impressions in an informal way.

    Central (21 Apr):
    • We start with the entire Tripoint grounding system disconnected: Compared to my previous visit I do feel like some of the magic is missing but it's hard to pinpoint what exactly the differences are...I'm just not feeling as engaged overall and noticeably the overall transparency or "feeling of air" (that's somehow how I tend to hear the space around performers I think) is reduced...this I feel confident to say even before KK re-grounds the system
    • Now with grounding connected: Incredible how big the transformation is...I was thinking of how to best put this subjective experience into perspective but here is how I experienced it: let's use a normalized scale from 0 to 10 (with 0 being no change and 10 being the largest subjective impact I expected before actually hearing it) I would rate the change as a 10.5 so slightly higher than my most "optimistic" prior expectation
    • Needless to say an extremely impressive change that I would characterize as follows: Very noticeable increase in dynamics, much blacker background (now I finally know what that term means!), way more information overall, an increase in soundstage size in all dimensions but for me personally the biggest impact is this feeling of air/space that I was missing before
    • With this most importantly comes a completely different level of engagement/immersion into the music (really I think the more opportunities I have to listen to great setups and analyse my own reactions I do think that this is the most important quality to me overall) - the difference between being lost in the music with a big smile on my face or just my conclusion is that grounding is a must and a key infrastructure component 
    At the end KK had another treat for me in store and disconnected the pre-amp only from the JMF power conditioner...a more subtle impact with no change in dynamics to my ears but what stood out to me was a change in attack or the perceived edge in the notes...with the preamp disconnected this definitely sounded "rounder" to me. 
    I am lucky to be able to experience this in my own setup in the future hopefully and should have a better understanding of the impact then.

    Many thanks again to KK and the Audio Exotics team for the great experience and most importantly the passion and knowledge you have and so generously share!

  • edited April 2021

    Thanks for your trust in our experiences and knowledge. It is delightful to learn our passion inspires you.  It is extremely rare that people understand the importance of infrastructure to fend off ground nosies, AC noises, mechanical noises and room noises etc.

    The JMF PCD102 (302) shall bring endless joy to you ahead. I don’t have enough to satisfy demand given prevailing supply shock at the manufacturer level.  I have one very experienced customer eventually bought 2 x 102 and 1 x 302 after acquiring the first 102.  You will be pleased. I am sure. 
  • Jeremy,

    Thanks for your thoughtful feedback.  Not until all the abovementioned noises have been properly managed/mitigated, we are still very far  from the true form of the music in the recordings.  Let's work together on this journey, time and resource are so scarce to be wasted!

    edited May 2021

    A great ear opening experience in AE Central showroom ........

    I was invited by Marvel to visit AE Central.

    During this journey, my friend and I learned a lot from him.  We had a wonderful listening experience which is not easy to be experienced from other showrooms in Hong Kong.

    During this afternoon, my friend and I enjoyed many songs wholeheartedly.  

    1). the LP system;

    2). the CD/SACD system; and

    3). the CAS system.

    Each system has its own strength/character. My friend and I like the LP system most, followed by the CD system.....

    Before entering into the showroom, Marvel turned on the mini Cessaro Wagner speaker which we didn’t know before.

    Both my friend and I were quite shocked given its miniature size. It sounded so powerful and direct in spite its small size………which is able to challenge many other speakers .

    If this manufacturer can make a relative larger version, it will suit the need of many Hong Kong apartments. After his detailed explanation, we know more about the history of this horn speaker brand.

    By then, Marvel introduced to us his approach in setting up the showroom, spanning from room acoustics treatment, the gears and the cables that they selected are of very high quality.  If they are capable of performing in a large system for demonstration (i.e. under the most demanding environment), it will certainly perform in less demanding environment (effortless)……. I was so impressed by his relentless effort to improve the sound of this showroom.

    It is really both an eye and ear opening approach, just like what he said : "They would like to provide an opportunity to put a racing car in a real racing track to demonstrate its greatest capabilities and strengths."

    During this visit, we listened to many high quality songs reproduced from the great effort spared on the positioning of the Goebel Marquis to strike the best linearity and energy balance, followed by the use of the Synaestec gears, the Esprit Gaia cables, the Wellfloat Delta and the platform on various components to minimise mechanical vibrations. 

    The demonstration of the most advance digital system in the world: Wadax Atlantis Reference transport/DAC (I hope I won't make no big mistakes in recalling these names) was really very wonderful.  Some studio and live recordings Marvel introduced to were so realistic never experienced before. It was really great.  

    Just wish going forward the AE team can bring more smaller size gears with great capability to benefit more HiFi lovers living in smaller rooms in Hong Kong.

    Thanks for your time to read my little sharing of AE Central.


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