Publisher Profile

Located:
Hong Kong & Canada

Richard Austen

Senior Reviewer

I began my audiophile life at the age of 8 where I would sit in front of the TV with a tape recorder and make mix tapes of various television show theme music. I’m an only child so I needed something to fill my time. After inheriting my parents’ all-Fisher system at the age of 14, I began getting interested in music. Upon hearing my dad’s friend’s laserdisc home theater set-up at 15, I was hooked. He owned around 3,000 laserdiscs and so many pieces of electronic equipment wires that it all reminded me of mission control. So, while my friends were getting their driver’s licenses and buying cars, I was out buying audio gear. I played the oboe in high school but in my teens I gravitated to music like AC/DC, Motley Crue, The Doors, Aerosmith, Jackson Browne, and The Outfield. Although I wasn’t just a rocker in my teen years as I also enjoyed all kinds of jazz music as well as the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Julie London. Music Preferences: I like virtually all musical genres past and present. I tend to listen to music for the purpose it was created. I don’t pit a person’s art against another’s art. I enjoy listening to poetry to song so I tend to gravitate to writers and vocalists over pure instrumental music. I gravitate to the singer in a band for instance more than to the bassist or the drummer. This likely explains why I can listen to rock and pop more than some other music listeners who become annoyed by people who can only play three cords. Nevertheless, I enjoy classical and jazz immensely. Because of my wide range of preferences, I gravitate to a system needs to play all of these genres equally well. If a system can only play acoustic instruments well and ruins rock or trance, then it is my belief that it probably isn’t playing acoustic instruments as well as you might have thought. A system should not care what is being played. The system should be reproducing each source disc with all of the colour, tonality, attack, decay, micro and macro-dynamics as is possible from each source disc. But more importantly, the best systems should have you not think about analyzing the equipment but rather moving you to the experience the artist intended. Current Room and System: Room: I moved to Hong Kong in 2011 and apartments in Hong Kong are quite small by western standards although they have high ceilings. One advantage is that all the buildings are made of solid concrete so there are not vibrating floors or plaster walls that need to be overcome. While the rooms are alive, the audiophile is able to handle these issues with furniture and room treatments. My room is about 11 feet X 25 feet where my system resides on the short wall. I sit about 10 feet back. I have room correction on the side walls which I remove depending on the needs of the speakers I am using. My preference in systems tend to lean towards higher efficiency loudspeakers and minimal to no feedback tube amplifiers as I feel this combination has a superior sense of dynamic ease and a more tactile open presentations. Of course this is a generality as there are always exceptions and part of my job is to find those exceptions. Still, over the last 25+ years I have gravitated to the High Efficiency loudspeakers and Single Ended Tube (SET) amplifiers. I also greatly respect Non Oversampling DA converters (NOS) for CD and digital replay. I also highly prize vinyl systems though it is not for the dabbler. Sonic preferences: Every person gravitates to aspects of sound and when I listen to music I tend to want to be captured and feel the fourth wall strip away so that I am wholly captivated by the event. This is the prime consideration for me above discussions of key-hole aspects of sound like bass or treble or imaging. As a reviewer I have to discuss those individual traits but I feel readers are often served similar audiophile vocabulary whether the product is truly outstanding or merely ordinary. I want to find the equipment that speaks for the recorded artists and reproduces their art as well as it can be portrayed. I want equipment that can reproduce the greats of the past as well as new artists in all their glory. I listen for the overall experience. Thus, you will not read me discuss at length individual sonic feats of prowess such as soundstaging or imaging or bass. For me, the best systems tend to give you the “panoramic,” giving you the forest, rather than individual compartmentalised aspects of individual trees.

System
						Analog Front End
Audio Note TT2 with Arm 1(Version 2) and IQ 1 cartridge
						Digital Front End
Audio Note 0.1x DAC Line Magnetic CD 215 Cambridge Audio CD6 Line Magnetic 502CA DAC
						Amplification
Audio Note M3-MKIII Phono Balanced Audio Note OTO Phono SE integrated amp KingKo KA 101 integrated/headphone/power amp Rotel RB-1050 Power Amplifier Antique Sound Labs MG Head DT Headphone Amplifier
						Cabling
Audio Note modified power bar Audio Note AN-V silver interconnects Audio Note AN-Spe speaker cables
						Speakers
Audio Note AN E/Spx Alnico Hemp (Alnico tweeters and woofers) Audio Note AX Two Wharfedale Vanguard 3 way horn Tannoy CR-650 Standmount speakers KEF LS-50
						Headphones
Audio Technica ATH-M50x Professional Sennheiser HD600 Headphones
						Home Theater
Marantz SR 1504 Surround Sound Receiver
						Accessories
Grant Fidelity RPF-120 MKII Reference Power Conditioner Norstone ESSE Equipment Rack VPI HW-16.5 Record Cleaning Machine Skylan Turntable/Amp base
						Room Treatment
OEM acoustic foam panels Updated: October 26, 2017
Articles & Reviews
Sort By: Title A-Z | Z-A | Date

Show-Report-2015

CAS7 Richard Austen Reports, Final

CAS | Event Reports | 1 Comment »
Show-Report-2015

CAS7 Richard Austen Reports, Part 5

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »
Show-Report-2015

CAS7 Richard Austen Reports, Part 4

CAS | Event Reports | 2 Comments »
Show-Report-2015

CAS7 Richard Austen Reports, Part 3

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »
Show-Report-2015

CAS7 Richard Austen Reports, Part 2

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »
Show-Report-2015

CAS7 Richard Austen Reports, Part 1

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »
Commentary

Interview with King Ip of KingKo Audio (Hong Kong)

Commentaries | The Columns | 1 Comment »
KingKo-KA-101--200x200

KingKo Audio KA-101 integrated amplifier Review

Amplification | Headphone Amplifier | Integrated Amplifiers | 10 Comments »
an-elx-100x100

Audio Note (UK) E/LX Hemp Loudspeaker Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | 3 Comments »
kef-ls-50-tb

KEF LS-50 Bookshelf Speaker Review

Bookshelf Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »
spkr_ax-2_01-tb

Audio Note (UK) AX -Two Loudspeaker Review

Bookshelf Speakers | Speakers | 5 Comments »
215CD-tb

Line Magnetic LM-215CD CD Player Review

Digital Sources | Disc Media Players | 4 Comments »
IZero-front-top-on-tb

Audio Note UK IZero Integrated Amplifier Tube Amplifier Review

Amplification | Tube | 5 Comments »
219ia-tb

Line Magnetic 219IA Integrated Amplifier Review

Amplification | Tube | 29 Comments »
kingrex-u-tb

KingRex UD 384 DAC, U-Power DC Battery Power Supply, and U-Craft USB Cable Review

Cables | DACs | Digital Cables | Digital Sources | Power Conditioners | 1 Comment »
T20U+PSU+JB3-tb

KingRex T20U & PSU MKII System with John Blue JB3 Loudspeakers Review

Amplification | Bookshelf Speakers | Digital | Mini Systems | Speakers | 2 Comments »
audio-space-mini-2-se-tb

Audio Space Mini-2SE Integrated Tube Amplifier Review

Amplification | Integrated Amplifiers | Tube | 2 Comments »
Commentary

Reviewer on the Run, Part IV: Speakers – Completing the Basic System

Commentaries | The Columns | 1 Comment »
audio-space-mini-2-se-tb

Reviewer on the Run, Part III: The Amplifier – Audio Space Mini-2 SE

Commentaries | The Columns | No Comments »
AudioSpaceLS3-5A-SW-1A-tb

Audio Space LS-3/5a Bookshelf Speakers And SW-1a Subwoofer Review

Bookshelf Speakers | Speakers | Subwoofers | 1 Comment »
cas-tb

2012 CAS Coverage, Part X

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »
cas-tb

2012 CAS Coverage, Part IV

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »
cas-tb

2012 Coverage, Part II

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »

Reviewer on the Run: Part II – CD player

Commentaries | The Columns | No Comments »
TrendsBA-10-SA-10R-tb

Trends Audio BA-10 Bi-Amplifiers With SA-10R Speakers Review

Amplification | Preamplifier | Solid State | No Comments »

Reviewer on the Run: Part I – The research stage

Commentaries | The Columns | No Comments »

Roksan K2 System Review – Kandy CD Player & Integrated Amplifier & K2 TR-5 Speakers

Amplification | Bookshelf Speakers | Digital Sources | Disc Media Players | Solid State | Speakers | 1 Comment »

Audio Note UK CD-2.1x MkII CD Player Review

Digital Sources | Disc Media Players | No Comments »

2010 California Audio Show Original Commentaries III

Commentaries | The Columns | No Comments »

Shengya PM 150 Tube Hybrid Monoblocks Amplifier Review

Amplification | Mono Block | Tube | No Comments »

Grant Fidelity Tube DAC-09 Review

DACs | Digital Sources | No Comments »

2010 CES Coverage 20

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

2010 CES Coverage 19

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

2010 CES Coverage 18

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

2010 CES Coverage 17

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

2010 CES Coverage 16

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

2010 CES Coverage 15

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

2010 CES Coverage 14

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

2010 CES Coverage 13

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

2010 CES Coverage 12

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

2010 CES Coverage 8

CES | Event Reports | No Comments »

Trends Audio PA-10 Tube Headphone/Preamplifier & UD-10.1 Lite USB DAC Review

DACs | Digital Sources | Preamplifier | No Comments »

Audio Note OTO SE Integrated Amplifier With Phono Reivew

Amplification | Integrated Amplifiers | Phono | 4 Comments »

Grant Fidelity Reference System Review

Amplification | Audio Accessories | Cables | Digital Sources | Disc Media Players | Integrated Amplifiers | Interconnects | Power Cables | Power Conditioners | Speaker Cables | Tube | No Comments »

Audio Note J/SPe Loudspeaker Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | 1 Comment »
Popups Powered By : XYZScripts.com