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ECT: Hong Kong High-End 2016’s one-stop head-fi shop

  • At the larger high-end audio shows, the Astell&Kern booth lands spaceship-like into the middle of the main exhibition hall. To Hong Kong High-End 2016 this Korean craft carries overseas visitors known – Andy Regan of JH Audio, Ken Ball of ALO / Campfire Audio, Sankar Thiagasamudram of Audeze.

    Regan could be seen promoting a revised Rosie IEM, Ball his top-flight Andromeda IEM and Thiagasamudram his Cipher-cabled Sine on-ear; each of which represent some of the finest offerings in their respective categories.

    Andy Regan (left) and Ken Ball (right)

    Across the walkway I am introduced to a face unknown. Andrew Chan is Senior Product Officer at ECT Audio who distribute many of the world’s biggest names in head-fi in Hong Kong and (for some brands) in China. Think: Fostex, Final Audio, Chord Electronics, Dita, Campfire Audio, JH Audio, Audeze and, of course, Astell&Kern.

    Chan is young, softly spoken and rumoured to be an accomplished opera singer. In this video, he walks us ’round a large ECT stand before taking us back across to the Astell&Kern booth. We learn that Hong Kong’s headphone hardware choices centre around portability – which explains the nearby DMA / Cafe’s reliance on DAPs and mobile-agreeable earpieces – and that the Chinese are more inclined to buy the bigger, stay-at-home headphone rigs.

    Lastly, Chan introduces us to the Conductor Air from Melbourne’s Burson Audio – a transportable desktop DAC with remote control that failed to reach its US$10K Indiegogo funding target by a not inconsiderable 50%. That doesn’t mean the Conductor Air isn’t a fine sounding DAC/headphone/pre-amplifier but it tells us that crowdfunding isn’t a panacea for funding the development of #futurefi. Or perhaps desktop rigs are slowly being superseded by portables proper?

    Further information: ECT Audio | Burson Audio


    DAR 750 x 290


    Written by John Darko

    John currently lives in Berlin where he creates videos and podcasts and pens written pieces for Darko.Audio. He has previously contributed to 6moons, TONEAudio, AudioStream and Stereophile.

    Darko.Audio is a member of EISA.

    Follow John on YouTube or Instagram

    DMA / Cafe: quenching thirst for portable audio in Hong Kong

    Hong Kong High-End 2016: a beginner’s guide to dCS