Tetsuaki Aoyagi of DS Audio dropped by over the weekend and the Analogue Fellowship played host to one of Asia’s youngest and most visionary audio designers. Aki-san, as he is called by his friends, is 32 years young and he and his wife are expecting their first baby soon (December, in fact).
Aki-san was here to visit Centre Circle Audio in Taman Tun Dr Ismail, his first Malaysian distributor of DS Audio products and also to transfer some of his insights to us all. We had a pleasant dim sum brunch on Saturday and soon enough we discovered many interesting and fascinating things about Aki-san and DS Audio…
“Seven years ago, I was happy listening to music on my I-Pod,” said Aki-san. “And then an audiophile friend played me Michael Jackson’s Thriller on his turntable…”
Suffice to say that fateful event led Aki-san down a totally different route in his choice of profession (BTW he was working with DeLoitte).
Intrigued, and mostly impressed, by this piece of black plastic and transcription unit that can produce such wonderfully high quality music, he set out to find out more.
Growing up, Aki-san was basically a computer age/digitally inclined kid who, like any other Japanese kid, got into liking anime, manga, Playstation etc etc. Analog turntables and cartridges were farthest from his mind.
We understand that there had been Moving Iron which then beget Moving Magnet and then Moving Coil. All these innovations are pretty old and would have been pretty much standard stuff for the turntable/analog lover everywhere.
Except that it wasn’t.
To Aki-san the Optical Cartridge was something he discovered was already being used from 1972 by an engineer/designer from Toshiba. Back then there were issues like the light source and materials used. Without going into details, with the latest innovations involving LED, rubber and composite alloys, Aki-san was able to devise a better Optical Cartridge for mass consumption.
Aki-san got hold of an optical cartridge from the 1970s and proceeded to reverse-engineer the unit. What he came out with was, well, game changing to say the least
“There’s a slight confusion amongst analog lovers here…” confessed Aki-san. “By virtue of the company name, DS Audio (Digital Stream Corporation), many were of the opinion that there’s digital parts or components involved.”
After an illuminating session at Centre Circle Audio, many came away impressed by Aki-san’s simple yet brilliant explanation of his components. Dato Danon was there and the following Sunday they moved the session to his listening den in Cheras.
Aki-san was in awe of the huge Kodo speaker system. But the most revealing aspect of that session is a fact that is agreed by all who have listened to the DS Audio Optical Cartridge and DS Master-1:
The background is incredibly quiet; spookily quiet according to Dato Danon and the interval between tracks is very CD-like. There’s no hint of hum and hisses.
“I believe this is going to be the new standard in the market,” said Dato Danon. “The time has come for the DS Audio Optical Cartridge to be fully incorporated into every audiophile’s analog reproduction system.”
Looking ahead, Aki-san mentioned that there will be a variety of new and exciting products being produced in the next five years. It is Aki-san’s dream that DS Audio sits alongside the big names in the audio industry.
“I believe we all have dreams and I think we all have a short time on this earth,” Aki-san said philosophically. “I want to leave a legacy…”
And what a legacy it shall be…
For those who are curious to see how the DS Audio components work, please set up an appointment with our friend Nelson at Centre Circle Audio in Taman Tun Dr Ismail. Here’s the number, in case you’re lazy to google:
Nelson Chia – Centre Circle Audio, TTDI
603 7728 2686