Welcome to the fifth installment of our Meet the Audiophile Style Community series. The series that's becoming my favorite here at AS. All installments can be found here, in the series index.
Please send me a message or email if you'd like to participate. The response so far has been wonderful. It ranges from hardcore audiophiles to those who are more interested in numbers and graphs. None of that matters much because this is all about getting to know everyone and sharing a bit about yourself that others will find interesting.
Thanks for participating. I look forward to publishing more of these in the coming weeks.
Thanks to Audiophile Style community member @Currawong for participating in volume five of this series. I love reading this stuff even more than publishing it.
1. General area of the world in which you live?
I live in Fukuoka, Japan. It’s far more easy-going than somewhere like Osaka or Tokyo and I can live in a quiet place that isn’t too far from the city.
2. General description of what you do or did for a living?
I have been teaching English in schools for many years, as well as privately. Now I’m also reviewing products on Youtube. (Currawong was too humble to add a link to his channel, so I will https://audiophile.style/c . - Editor)
3. What are your hobbies?
I have been practicing Aikido since high school. Living in Japan is, not surprisingly, great for doing that, as I can practice not just every day, but 2 or 3 times a day if I want. Inspired by my father, I also enjoy photography, and now videography. Enjoying music was also another inspiration I inherited.
4. When did you start this wonderful journey into music listening?
Back in high school, I went with my father to a familiar high-fi store, as he desired to purchase new speakers, given his old Magnats seemed to be failing (it turned out that the tweeters were fused and the fuses had blown). I insisted that if my father was going to buy new speakers, I should get a pair too, and along with a cheap CD player and a hand-me-down Pioneer amp, I ended up with a pair of Paradigm Atoms.
Later on, since my father couldn’t stand hearing my music, and my bedroom was below his, the next time we went to the hi-fi store, I asked that he buy me a pair of good headphones, so with that, he paid AU$175, discounted from $200, for a new pair of MB Quart QP40s. I ended up using them for about a decade and a half before I investigated new models. I also persuaded my parents to buy me a pair of Paradigm Atoms, which I used with spare components of my father’s.
5. What was your first “album?”
Prior to using a good system, I had various boom boxes, and listened to top-of-the-pops type tapes, but my first “real” album was probably Van Halen’s OU812 in vinyl, which I played on my father’s record player, since he didn’t use it any more.
6. What does your music collection look like, number of physical records, CDs, etc… and number of “favorited” albums streamed?
I’ve abolished my physical collection, which consisted of many CDs. Ironically here, my father, who insisted that CDs were unnecessary and a CD player was a waste of money, ended up owning more CDs than I did! Naxos CDs are cheap! So, back in the 90’s we had two CD players in the house. Since then, I’ve mostly abolished physical media, and I have a modest 3TB of music. TIDAL and Qobuz have negated the need to actually download more.
7. What was your first audio component / stereo?
I think my very first personal audio component (not just something I borrowed from my father) was a $30 cassette player that I’d bought at a local drug store. It used to slowly slow down as you were playing a cassette, so after 30 minutes, you had the feeling that something sounded off. I eventually replaced it with a Sony model, for which I still have the receipt! Funnily enough, when I posted that on Facebook, Nao Tsunoda (a famous ex-Sony headphone engineer) mentioned that I’d bought it the same year he joined Sony!
8. Is there one component that you no longer have that you wish you wouldn’t have sold or that you wish you still had?
I rather regret selling my original pair of Sennheiser HD800s. I was one of the very first people to order them when they came out, from the now defunct HeadRoom.
9. Is there one current component that you wish you had in your system?
If I were to build a system from scratch now, I’d get a Chord Hugo TT2 and MScaler and none of the complex, power-sucking electronics that dominates my rack.
10. How much time do you spend listening to music each week and on which systems does this listening take place (main system, car system, mobile system, office system, etc…)
I probably spend most of the timing listening in my car when driving places. I have a portable player of some type plugged into the car stereo. On that I often listen to Radio Paradise and rate the songs. Later on, I download the rating data and transfer that into TIDAL and Qobuz via Soundiiz. That has been the easiest way for me to discover music. At home, I don’t listen as much as people might imagine. Maybe an hour a day maximum. If I listen too much, I burn out quickly, and I have to spend more time discovering new music, and then decide if I’ll listen to that for enjoyment or to evaluate equipment.
11. What’s the first concert you ever attended, best concert you’ve ever attended, most interesting concert venue you’ve ever attended?
Most of the concerts (and theatre) I attended when I was a child, so I don’t remember most of them. As an adult, I only ever attended a concert of the Japanese singer Utada Hikaru. That was weird, because everybody stood up, but were completely silent throughout the whole performance. I didn’t like it so much as it was too loud. I have much preferred jazz clubs (or pubs with jazz being performed).
12. What components are in your current audio systems and can you provide a photo?
My main system is a Mac Mini Roon Server, Chord Hugo 2 with 2go, or Schiit Yggdrasil Analog 2 with Unison USB feeding either an Audio-gd Master 9 headphone amp, Master 10 speaker amp, or ALO Audio Studio Six headphone amp. Speakers are a pair of second-hand ELAC FS247.
Headphones are primarily Focal Utopia or Meze Empyrean, as well as a pair of Audeze Mobius.
I also have a Soundaware D300REF on loan which helps with DAC comparisons.
13. Anything else you’d like to say?
We talk about equipment and technology a lot, but I find the greatest part of the hobby is the people I meet, both from manufacturers and the other enthusiasts. In the same way that learning about a piece of music or an album and the story behind it makes it more interesting, so to does learning the story behind how equipment was designed and why.