I started Audio Exotics in 2009 with a single studio in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. In 2013, I pioneered the idea of a private solo exhibition at the HK Convention and Exhibition Centre at risk of inadequate audiences. In the end, the first AE Super Hi End Audio Show was staged exquisitely in partnership with Audiotechnique. The result was a full house!
In 2014, AE commissioned and presented the ground-breaking mono amplifier housing 212 tubes – Chouku (長空) – by Yamada Kazutoshi of Zanden. That became an instant legend. In 2015, we extended from one exhibition room to two, showcasing the Goebel Epoque Reference Speaker with the Ba Force subwoofer tower. In 2016, the show was further expanded to 3 rooms with another commissioned project: Qian Long field coil speakers by Cessaro, driven by the Engstrom flagship mono amplifier – Eric. In 2017 AE commissioned and launched the peerless Goebel Divin Majestic. In 2018, the show was extended to 4 rooms due to ever increasing number of participants from Hong Kong and the rest of Asia. Immense credit must also be given to all the ground filtration instruments (Troy Signature, Empress, Troy Elite, Troy Elite NG) by Tripoint Audio and mechanical vibration management by SRA’s racks and amp stands. Excellent cables by Argento, Skogrand, Vertere, and Dalby have also contributed immensely to the AE experience.
We have grown from strength to strength over the years since 2013. I opened up AE Central integrating with a vinyl record store in 2017. Subsequently, the flagship cost-no-object showroom – Divin Lab began operation in 2019. We now have 3 studios in Hong Kong showcasing the unity of bespoke electronics to the service of music. Our latest project is the studio in Singapore, where everything from the location, to the shape and size of the rooms, the acoustics, the aesthetics, the experience and most importantly, the equipment has been painstakingly thought through by our team. We don’t stop right here as there are more projects in the pipeline. We are truly Asia’s audio platform.
The unique approach of AE has always been thinking “out of the box”. We move away from conventional commercialization of products that satisfies general demand, to an artisanal approach of curating talented designers to craft unique instruments for the service of music. We don’t want to follow market trends. Rather, the market follows us. This approach requires patience, a long-term vision, a taste of risk and tremendous trust between AE and our partners. Capital is not the biggest constraint. The obstacle has always been the mindset of the customers. Our painstaking efforts of exemplifying the utopia playback standard in our showrooms have successfully built up an exclusive and loyal customer base with conviction to keep pushing the envelope to achieve uncharted excellence.
This adventurous spirit has driven the virgin launch of the following fine products that would not see the daylight without AE: Zanden Chouku (長空) single ended mono amplifier, Zanden Chukoh (宙光) Preamp, Zanden Jinpu (仁風) Phono stage, Zanden KAUN (火雲) double push pull mono block amplifier, Eric mono amplifier by Engstrom, Goebel Divin Majestic, Cessaro Carmen Horn Speakers, Cessaro Qian Long (乾隆) Field Coil speakers, Tripoint Troy Elite, Wadax Atlantis Reference DAC, SRA Virginia-AE amp stands, Thales Statement Arm, and the latest Exquisite Extreme Exotic (EE) Gold coil cartridge.
The soulful playback experience of our showrooms always captures the heart of many. The playback standards are consistently endorsed by leading critics such as Alan Sircom of Hi Fi Plus in the UK, Julies Mullins of the Absolute Sound, Roy Gregory of the Audio Beat in the US, and Lincoln Cheng of Audiotechnique. In fact, we have an overseas visitor thread on the AE forum sharing their unforgettable listening experiences. I humbly believe our business model is on the right track to become a regional franchise. AE is simply a phenomenal experience.