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Old 23rd October 2011, 04:11 PM   #1
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Default Tokyo show 2011

Hi guys,
Finally found some time (late Sunday evening) to briefly report on this years shows in Tokyo. The Vacuum Tube Audio Fair and the Tokyo Audio shows both held on the same weekend in Akihabara district were both surprisingly well attended considering the disaster that struck the country earlier in the year.

Ritlab and Kaizer sound represented all Markaudio's drivers at the Audio show. Kaizer has developed a vented box system featuring the Alpair 12 (current model) while Ritlab, our second largest dealer featured Markaudio drivers in their booth. Fortunately for me, both companies looked after this show as I found myself rather busy at the Vacuum show.

This year, the Vacuum Tube show was busy displaying allot of new products. My thanks go to Toshio Moriyama san of Mixel Sound (our Osaka dealer) for featuring all the latest Markaudio products by making 15 minute live demonstrations every hour. In particular, the Alpair 10 MAOP drivers were first demo'd, me giving talks on the drivers to the audience and receiving feedback.

I felt a little more easy this year, being my second set of talks, I knew what to expect and with a little introductory Japanese, the events ran well. I'm always nervous when touring Japan as the audiophiles in this country take their hobby very seriously. I was much relived after the first 2 sessions with the MAOP, to receive positive feedback, effectively getting approval from the senior audiophile groups attending, and from Mixel Sound. This was the "make or break" event for the MAOP technology. If it didn't get the "thumbs up" from these guys, it was going no further.

Mixel Sound have some very interesting speaker kit designs, all beautifully CNC'd; As we would expect from Japan, the quality is top draw. Toshio Moriyama speaks and write English. Here's his site and contact details:

Email: 有限会社ミクセル moriyama12@mx-spk.com
Web site: http://mx-spk.shop-pro.jp/?pid=17785043

The pics give you an illustration of the event's popularity and me doing my best to explain (with Norio translating) what MAOP is and what Markaudio does in the way of design and manufacturing.

Will post more soonest possible.

Cheers
Mark.
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Last edited by markaudio; 23rd October 2011 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 04:36 PM   #2
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Mark, you do stand out in a crowd, don't you?

Bob
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Old 23rd October 2011, 10:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Brines View Post
Mark, you do stand out in a crowd, don't you?
Bob
Hi Bob, guys
Sadly yes, my grey (going to silver) hair gives me up, that and the height. Far as I know, I was the only European at the show this year. I think the disaster and the radiation scare put foreign visitors off. Pity as there were so many gems on view. Anyone into tubes (valves), this is a great show to visit.

If you're thinking of a city holiday, visit Tokyo. Its a fantastic city. The culture, food and the politeness is breathtakingly good. Its the cleanest city I know. Everything has its place and a place for everything. One thing to remember; No using your mobile phone on the trains and buses. You can text but not talk. Its considered rude to disturb other traveller's peace and tranquility.

Cheers
Mark.

Last edited by markaudio; 23rd October 2011 at 10:57 PM.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 11:21 PM   #4
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I thought the dead giveaway was that you had your sunglasses hanging from the front of your shirt.
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Old 23rd October 2011, 11:29 PM   #5
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Hi Guys,
Something that was encouraging to see this year, more younger guys in the crowd. In conversation with 2 of them, they are migrating from "IPod" to wanting something more in the way of music reproduction quality; Moving from personal portables to desktop and more (see pic). Talking with Brian Kane (Madiosund) the other day, he told me the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest also saw more younger guys attending this year.

I also want to thank Yama Yama san and Clark san, 2 Markaudio driver users for coming to the show to meet me. Sadly, I only had a short time with these audio guys, wishing my schedule allowed more time. Interestingly, both had a "collection" of Markaudio drivers, from memory 4 pairs of various model types each. I asked which is their favourites, Yama san's was the Alpair 6M, Clark san's the Alpair 6P. I much enjoyed meeting Yama Yama san and Clark san, hope to meet them again next year.

Here's the link to their blogs:

Yama Yama san: Alpair7v3??? - ??????? - Yahoo!???

Clark San: ????????????????????????? - ??????? ??? - Yahoo!???

Cheers
Mark.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg tube-show5.jpg (113.1 KB, 199 views)
File Type: jpg tube-show6.jpg (119.7 KB, 185 views)

Last edited by markaudio; 23rd October 2011 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 24th October 2011, 01:08 AM   #6
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Hi Guys,
Being the "Vacuum Tube" show, there were many nice tube and amp offerings. Japan still has a thriving home grown tube amp manufacturing; Although its shrank in the 1970's and 80's, a return to tubes came about in the 90's. The remaining makers are mostly bespoke small factories employing between 10 and 30 workers, so much of what's available is craftsman hand-assembled (see brochure pic).

In particular, it was nice to listen to some top draw 300B tubes. Takatsuki is an all Japan made tube. I listened to them on Alpair 6M, very very smooooth. These tubes aren't cheap at 98,000 Yen, given the high value of this currency. But if I could afford them, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a pair.

STŒ^^‹Š TA-300BFEMSi”“‘́E“dŽq‹@ŠŽ‘‘jƒ[ƒJ[‚̍‚’“dŠH‹Š”Ž‰Ž

The key aspect of Japan's tube amp industry is its dedication to sourcing much (if not all) of its components from within the country. Quality remains the top priority over un-fetted profit for many of these small makers. I had the privilege to meet one of Japan's best known component makers, Masao Kusanagi san, President of Amtrans Corporation. With its head-office in Tokyo, Amtrans manufactures attenuators, resistors, capacitor, OFC wire and similar products. The quality of their manufacturing is second to none.

Masao san took time out to listen to a pair of Alpair 6M's. We hope to use Amtrans new low mass gold woven coil lead wire product in our future special drivers. The prototype lead wire is expected to be made available in the coming weeks. Potentially, this new lead wire should be very thin, offering Markaudio's drivers additional improvements in the dynamics and operation of driver power-trains. Masao san has an interesting collection of amps. Take a look at the pic of the Sunhayato FA-40. Sadly, not enough time to play this amp with the Alpairs.

Web site: ^‹Š‚ƍ‚‰Ž•”•i‚ƒAƒ€ƒgƒ‰ƒ“ƒX
Atsuya Sano san (sales Div.) email: audio@amtrans.co.jp

There's been allot of chat about the merits of using low cost, or cheap amplification in another thread on the Markaudio section. The concern I had was the lack of differentiation by some members advocating the use of low cost amps, between the "high street" branded equipment and bespoke builders of the sort I've seen here in Japan. From what I've experienced to date, most smaller makers are dedicated to offering top draw performance. They're very picky about the components they source. These makers are much closer connected to end-users. They are usually dedicated audiophiles who've turned their hobby into a business, still valuing their hobby routs. The close connection between the small makers and the end-users was very much in evidence at this show (hence my presence also). Overall, my experience is its worth shopping around for interesting source and amplification, there are good deals out there. There's potentially some descent equipment out there to suit most budgets. Its simply a matter of patience and dedication to do the research prior to parting with you cash.

I don't need great equipment to enjoy great speakers

Cheers
Mark.
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File Type: jpg tube-show13.jpg (132.3 KB, 185 views)

Last edited by markaudio; 24th October 2011 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 24th October 2011, 05:53 AM   #7
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Japan is indeed a wonderful and amazing place. Thank you for these posts.
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Old 25th October 2011, 03:43 PM   #8
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Hello Mark,

You mentioned the "make or break" point for the MAOP Alpair 10 and getting some positive feedback. Do you feel like the approval was enthusiastic enough to move forward with that driver? If so, is it possible at this point to put together a timetable for general release and availability?

Thank you for your continued support,

Bill
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Old 26th October 2011, 03:15 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverhairbp View Post
Hello Mark,
You mentioned the "make or break" point for the MAOP Alpair 10 and getting some positive feedback. Do you feel like the approval was enthusiastic enough to move forward with that driver? If so, is it possible at this point to put together a timetable for general release and availability?
Thank you for your continued support,
Bill
Hi Bill,
Yes, I think we have enough early support. At this early stage, together with Evan and Taniguchi san, we want to explore the possibility of making a special coil, continuing the development of the rectangle wire unit currently employed on the standard Alpair 10 drivers. We think there's a little SPL and high range to be extracted from the MAOP design.

We've got around 1 month's worth of driver production in front of us at this time. Once we clear most of this production. we'll get onto MAOP development. Will post more soonest possibly.

Thks
Mark.
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Old 26th October 2011, 03:22 AM   #10
mp9 is offline mp9  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markaudio View Post
...We think there's a little SPL and high range to be extracted from the MAOP design.
bonus on both counts, i hope it makes it to the A12 too.
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