Publisher Profile

Located:
Hong Kong & Canada

Richard Austen

Senior Reviewer

I became attracted to high-end audio through home theatre surround sound. I was around 15 years old when my dad’s friend had us over to hear his impressive surround sound system via a laserdisc player. He owned around 3,000 laserdiscs and of course, most were in the letterbox format. I was an avid Siskel and Ebert viewer and had intentions of becoming a film critic. However, given the ratio of quality movies versus how many bad ones I would have to sit through, I decided it wasn’t for me. Even Bose isn’t “I Spit on Your Grave” bad. While my friends were out buying their first car at 16, I purchased my first stereo equipment: A Pioneer surround sound receiver, laserdisc player, 6 pack CD changer, and a 3-head tape deck. At 18 I purchased my first main speaker in the Wharfedale E-70 (Vanguard Edition) and I still own these wonderful speakers today. I didn’t know it then but they have managed to last in my system due to my growing interest in low-powered tube amps and them being 95dB sensitive and sitting mostly in the 10ohm range. Music Preferences: I like virtually all musical genres to one degree or another. I tend to listen to music for the purpose it was created. I suppose my view is similar to my love for all genres of film and so I do not judge one art form over another or pit them against each other. A horror film has an objective that is very different from a comedy or drama. I enjoy classical music, rock, folk, jazz, and pop music in nearly even numbers. Current Room and System: I moved to Hong Kong in 2011 and apartments in Hong Kong are quite small by western standards although they have 9-foot ceilings. One advantage is that all the buildings are made of solid concrete so there are no vibrating floors or plaster walls that sing along with the music. Living spaces are typically long and narrow similar to an RV or motor home in shape. They living room, including the dining room, will be around 11-13 feet wide by 18 to 25 feet long depending on the layouts. My system is listed below. As but as a general guide, I prefer high efficiency and high sensitivity speakers such as horn, single driver, open baffle, and other easy-to-drive speakers which allow me to utilize lower-powered Single Ended Triode (SET) amplifiers. Sonic preferences: Due to my wide range of music preferences, I prefer systems able to reproduce each source disc with all of the colour, cohesiveness, tonality, attack, decay, micro, and macro-dynamics as is possible. Most audiophiles strive for these things but the harsh reality is that all systems no matter how expensive will favour certain aspects over others. A large multi-drive system may play very loud with a huge macrodynamic scale but on vocals loses some of the cohesiveness and texture. Because I listen to a wide array of music I tend to prefer systems that are more balanced than those that are State of the Art in certain areas but possess glaring weaknesses in other areas. An example would be the Quad 57 which is superb in the vocal band but atrocious with heavy metal. Ultimately, I prefer systems that don’t remind me that I am listening to a hi-fi system. This is supposed to be about enjoying music. The system should help you to relax and not create added stress in your life.

System
						Analog Front End
Audio Note TT3 with Arm Three/II and IQ 3 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 Empress Silver monoblocks 2a3 (8 watts per channel) KingKo KA 101 integrated/headphone/power amp (12 watts per channel EL84) 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 AN K/SPe Audio Note AX Two Wharfedale Vanguard 3 way horn Tannoy CR-650 Standmount speakers
						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: June 15, 2021.
Articles & Reviews
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Rogers LS 5/9 Classic speakers Review

Bookshelf Speakers | Speakers | 2 Comments »

Audio Note UK K/SPe speaker Review

Bookshelf Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »

Hong Kong: A License to Thrill, Part 1 – From Hong Kong with Love.

Commentaries | The Columns | No Comments »

Audio Note UK TT3 turntable system Review

Analog Sources | Cartridges | Tone Arms | Turn Tables | 2 Comments »

Pure Audio One solid-state integrated amplifier Review

Amplification | Integrated Amplifiers | Solid State | 6 Comments »

Audio Note UK AN-E/SPx AlNiCo Loudspeakers Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | 10 Comments »

2019 CAS Report by Richard Austen, Part 2

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »

2019 CAS Report by Richard Austen, Part 1

CAS | Event Reports | 1 Comment »

Cambridge Audio CXC Transport Review

Digital Sources | Transports | 16 Comments »

Audio Note UK DAC 0.1x Review

DACs | Digital Sources | 3 Comments »

CAS7 Richard Austen Reports, Final

CAS | Event Reports | 3 Comments »

CAS7 Richard Austen Reports, Part 5

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »

CAS7 Richard Austen Reports, Part 4

CAS | Event Reports | 2 Comments »

CAS7 Richard Austen Reports, Part 3

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »

CAS7 Richard Austen Reports, Part 2

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »

CAS7 Richard Austen Reports, Part 1

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »

Interview with King Ip of KingKo Audio (Hong Kong)

Commentaries | The Columns | 1 Comment »

KingKo Audio KA-101 integrated amplifier Review

Amplification | Headphone Amplifier | Integrated Amplifiers | 18 Comments »

Audio Note (UK) E/LX Hemp Loudspeaker Review

Floorstanding Speakers | Speakers | 3 Comments »

KEF LS-50 Bookshelf Speaker Review

Bookshelf Speakers | Speakers | No Comments »

Audio Note (UK) AX -Two Loudspeaker Review

Bookshelf Speakers | Speakers | 5 Comments »

Line Magnetic LM-215CD CD Player Review

Digital Sources | Disc Media Players | 4 Comments »

Audio Note UK IZero Integrated Amplifier Tube Amplifier Review

Amplification | Tube | 6 Comments »

Line Magnetic 219IA Integrated Amplifier Review

Amplification | Tube | 31 Comments »

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 »

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

Amplification | Bookshelf Speakers | Digital | Mini Systems | Speakers | 2 Comments »

Audio Space Mini-2SE Integrated Tube Amplifier Review

Amplification | Integrated Amplifiers | Tube | 2 Comments »

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

Commentaries | The Columns | 1 Comment »

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

Commentaries | The Columns | No Comments »

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

Bookshelf Speakers | Speakers | Subwoofers | 1 Comment »

2012 CAS Coverage, Part X

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »

2012 CAS Coverage, Part IV

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »

2012 Coverage, Part II

CAS | Event Reports | No Comments »

Reviewer on the Run: Part II – CD player

Commentaries | The Columns | No Comments »

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 | 1 Comment »

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 | 1 Comment »

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 | 6 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 | 2 Comments »
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