Publisher Profile

Located:
Hong Kong & Canada

Richard Austen

Senior Reviewer

I suppose 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 had 3,000 laserdiscs and piles of boxes and wires that reminded one of mission control. So, while my 17-year-old friends were getting their driver’s licenses and buying cars, I was out buying audio gear. My first purchase was one of those 6-pack Pioneer CD changers. And so it went for the next few years as I attempted to build a home theater system around a top-of-the-line Pioneer Elite amplifier. None of this really impressed me though for the amount of dollars I was spending, until the day I took home a Bryston 3b. The Bryston completely changed what I thought I knew about audio. Out went the home theater and in came a progression of better integrated amps, CD players, and speakers. Music Preferences: I like all musical genres. I am quite happy to spend hours listening to a Beethoven sonata and then turning to Sarah McLachlan, Jackson Browne, Loreena McKennitt, Enya, Dave Brubeck, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, etc. I can flip over to Johnny Cash, Lee Hazelwood, the Dixie Chicks, Lucinda Williams and Allison Krauss and Union Station. When the mood strikes, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, Motley Crue, or Aerosmith will find their way onto the table or in the CD player. When the mood changes again, I’ll listen to Acoustic Alchemy, Madonna, Neil Young and even Tupac, Kraftwerk, or Delerium. I believe that 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 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. How to know what is Good? That certainly is a loaded question. I often compare film critics to audio equipment critics. No matter how well written or how well argued, you will not always agree with the film critic. You have a gut reaction of liking something or not. You will probably find yourself choosing a film critic with whom you often agree. This also applies to music taste. Two people can listen to the same stereo of rap music, one person will love the sound and will be dancing around the room grooving to the beat, while the second person will run screaming from the room as if his or her ear was punctured by a dentist’s drill. If I am the second person in this example it would make little sense for me to be reviewing rap music because it would come from a very jaded perspective. The rap lover would be able to better point out the strengths and weaknesses of the differing rap artists. Likewise, a panel speaker lover would be better able to tell you which panel loudspeakers are the best choices than the reviewer who loves horns and dynamic driver speakers and doesn’t truly care for panels. Certainly, the manufacturers deserve to know where a critic stands as the company is responsible for the livelihoods of many of their employees. Thus, reviewers typically review products they already like or products that fit within their established preferences. Current Room and System: Room: 15' by 13' by 9' (LxWxH) The room is fully furnished with carpeting. I was using several room treatment systems but they created too dead of a sound. The Audio Note speakers, from what I gather, do not need room treatments and may in fact hinder the results.

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, 2017
Articles & Reviews
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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 | 28 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 | 2 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 »
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