When I was a high school student, my grandfather bought me a "modular stereo".
It was a set of three parts, a plastic housing with a record player, tuner, and amplifier, and two full-range speakers.
This was my first encounter with audio. However, I wasn't immediately attracted to the audio. I listened to rock records which were popular among my friends at the time. I felt the music soaked into my body in proportion to the grooves were worn out.
For me at the time, this modular stereo was a " Transparent being" so I was directly tied to the music it played.
One day, one of my friend brought a record and we listened to it. Suddenly, the friend muttered, "This vocal is strange. It's not such a high-pitched voice." "Is that so?" I replied vaguely. However, this tweet of my friend did not get out of my head.
When I think about it now, my friend's tweet at that time gave me an awakening to go deep into audio. Later I learned that my record player was "turning faster" than the record players in the world. I still remember the great disappointment at that time, "What was the music I've been listening to ...".
At that moment my modular stereo was no longer a " Transparent being".
There are many things in the world that can be troublesome to awaken. Interest in the opposite sex, the meaning of life, and the reproduced sound may be one of them.
That's why I was awaked to the reproduced sound and I was absorbed in it, read audio magazines, and purchased an audio system recommended by critics.
However, alas, I have been awaked to the playback sound, I could no longer connect directly to music. "Is the player's rotation speed correct? Is the stylus pressure appropriate? What is the balance between treble, midrange, and bass? What is the speaker spacing? ...". Those many "?" proliferated in my head and I couldn't concentrate on music.
In other words, "objectivity", which is someone other than myself, has been embedded in my head. This other person interrupted between the sound and myself. So I was breaked the direct connection between music and myself.
My awakening to the reproduced sound created a conflict between this "objectivity" and myself. This conflict was the starting point for a long struggle journey that I needed to gain a direct connection to music again.
There is a myth that a god called "original sound" has lived in the world of audio for a long time and this god has been a measure of evaluation of audio products.
The god "original sound" is a very grateful god who feeds the people of the audio industry (makers, critics, media).
So where is that god? One critic said the god is "The master tape is the original sound (the absolute measuring rod)."
To those who believe in the discourse of these critics, I would like to ask ... "Can you listen to music directly by putting your ear on the recording object?"
No one can do such a trick. A playback device is required to listen to the recording. Therefore, this critic is listening to only the reproduced sounds, not the "original sound".
The god "original sound" is in the recorded object as something no one can hear. Therefore, like other gods, "there is a god, but no one has seen it."
God does not descend into the world of audio. Scientific data cannot be a measure of reality of the reproduced music. The only measure that can measure reality of the reproduced music is "the life that lives me". I have come to think this way in recent years.
Do we assume that "sensitivity is in my ego"? Yes, Probably. However, the subject what feels "beautiful" to nature and music may not be the ego but actually "the life that lives me".
Our lives that live us are constantly suppressed by the ego. However, I think that this life "eats the bad things to the ego and eats only the good things". As soon as life encounters something delicious, it seems to push the ego away and become entangled with the subject.
It may resemble a love affair. We cannot put into words the encounter with beautiful things, and strange things. That is because it is life, not the ego, that first encounters the object.
We do not make audio products that our customer's ego likes.
We make products that please our customers and our lives. This is our position as an audio designer.
Of course, we cannot make a product just by standing. We need concepts and methods to embody our intentions.
The concept is "maximizing the rate of energy metabolism".
In other words, it maximizes the metabolic rate (the rate at which the input energy decays) of the vibrational energy and electrical energy generated by the component itself, or the vibrational energy received by the component through the floor and air.
Why is "energy metabolism rate" important? It is my experience that the energy metabolism rate of the audio system must be high enough for myself to awaken "the life that lives me".
When the rate of energy metabolism is low, my life is drowsy. And it leaves the processing of the sound coming out of the speaker to the ego. In short, it's a "boring and unpleasant" sound for the life that lives me.
"Always an empty stomach", this is my ideal audio system. If such an audio system that always hungry, empty the stomach and wait for food (music signals) is realized, the reproduced music will surely change drastically.
The method for that is light weight and suppleness.
The lighter it is, the less energy it holds and the faster it metabolizes.
Being "flexible" means consuming energy by moving one's body, thereby increasing the metabolic rate.
However, it is necessary to suppress resonance. Resonance gives the reproduced sound its own resonance and impairs the visibility of the sound field we see.
The trouble is that the mass and structure for suppressing resonance also have a negative effect on sound quality. However, if the mass of the cable conductor (core wire) is small and the elasticity is small, the mass for suppressing resonance is also small and the structure can be simplified.
In short, that's all we do. However, the way to push this concept to the limit needs to be handmade. We do the old-fashioned tedious manual work. There is no alternative.
Some people may think, "It's just a cable. you are making a mountain of a mole-hill"
The best cable you have ever used will become your measuring rod. But your measuring rod and our measuring rod are not the same. If our cable is no value in use, we will quit making audio products altogether.
You shouldn't have a cable, but you need one. Some designers may think of the necessary evil and as an equalizer.
The cable we make is almost useless as an equalizer. Therefore, adopting our cable for your audio system does not always give good results. But if you agree with our concept, it's worth a try.
We don't want to talk about the "sound" of our products. It's just self-praise. However, for those who are reading this, the "point exactly there" will be of concern.
For your reference, we would like to introduce an beautifull impression by Mr. Michael Hannig, the owner of a German audio distributor,IBEX AUDIO.
"following an about two weeks auditioning with my EPHEMERA cable set I wish to share with you that I am extremely enthusiastic about these amazing cables.
First of all I am highly impressed by the extremely low mass of the cables and how they are designed: it is a completely different approach compared to everything I have seen and auditioned so far.
Very often cables are thick so people should believe they must be expensive … following a pure marketing approach.
Sternklang however follows an approach that reminds me of Japanese ZEN and minimalism … understanding how the elements live in the cable and travel from A to B and allow them to travel in maximum freedom and comfort. So they will arrive relaxed and in happiness at their destination.
The music reproduced using Sternklang cables touches my soul … the naturalism is unbelievable and such organic texture I never have had before … not even with cables that are much more expensive.
I really can say that my Sternklang cables are my most preferred cables I do have now.
Dear Koji: thank you very much for enriching my life!"....Michael Hannig
"Music is a vehicle of the spirit," said my beloved composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. Freedom of movement is the joy of the spirit.
Audio designers must not cover the infinite space so that this "spiritual spaceship" can start from one's body to rise infinite heights.