Abbingdon Music Research (AMR) was invited by its Hong Kong/China distributor, Avantgarde HK to exhibit for the very first time at the Guangzhou Audio Visual Fair (24th – 26th November 2009) in one of the gargantuan listening rooms, a main ballroom on the ground floor of the White Swan Hotel, Guangzhou.
Guangzhou is the key city for the Southern Guangdong Province. The city itself is steeped in tradition and is rich in culture with many of its streets for example, modelled on European city centres, a reflection of a past heavy concentration of foreign attaches being based in this city.
The Guangzhou Audio Visual Fair is the premier audio visual show for China and is considered on par with the Hong Kong HiFi Show which runs one month earlier. The former caters more to the HK/China market whereas the latter is more international in nature as it receives many overseas visitors from the Asia Pacific region. With a reported over 25,000 visitors in three days, the Guangzhou Audio Visual Fair simply dwarfs many of the events held in Europe and the States and compares favourably with even the largest audio and AV events in the western world.
In the Avantgarde HK room, AMR was provided with a fairly large "room within a room" to exhibit its "Zeta System", previously only seen at the 2008 CES in Las Vegas. This system packed over a kilowatt of amplifier power. Being capable of 116dB maximum sound pressure output at 3m distance scaled well to the large and partially open space, the system managed to handle even the most packed room (a room full of 40-50 people absorbs much sound) with aplomb.
AMR’s complete setup comprised of:
CD-77 Reference Class Compact Disk Processor
Nottingham Analogue Turntable/Tonearm with Ortofon MC7500 cartridge
PH-77 Reference Class Phono Equaliser (set to 72dB gain for the 0.12mV output Ortofon Cartridge)
AM-77 Reference Class Pre-Main Amplifiers: 3 pieces in bi-amplification mode, one
AM-77 drove the high frequency units while the other two AM-77s in monoblock mode,
each drove the low frequency units of the left and right channels.
LS-77: two pairs configured for the Zeta OptiArray configuration
All cabling was also by AMR
The total cost of the AMR System was £54,000 or EUR60,000.
AMR Equipment was also used in the two Ologe Speaker rooms, in one system the
CD-777 was paired with a Convergent Audio Pre/Power Combo and Ologe's smallest
standmounting speaker to throw a big sound that belied the small size of the
The other Ologe room showcased the AM-777 and yet another CD-777 was off as source in another room. Sorry, but we forgot the details as we were bogged down by the hustle and bustle of attendees to the AMR/Avantgarde HK room.
Next time around, we promise to bring more loan machines as AMR equipment seemed quite in demand which took us by surprise as we prior to the show, we had yet to make our official launch and had wrongly assumed that we were relative newcomers to the HK/China market. We were most pleased to find more than a few in the industry in the Asia Pacific had heard of us.
For the Guangzhou Fair in 2010, we will ensure that we bring enough spare machines to cater to all those that wish to use AMR components in their room.
The main observation of audio shows in Hong Kong and China (the Guangzhou AV Fair is no exception) that differs from its overseas counterparts is that customers expect a presentation to be made of the music and system in the room. AMR was informed by Avantgarde HK ahead of time and we flew in one of the most personable speakers in the industry and good AMR friend – Mr. Simon Man.
Over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the show ran from 9.30am through to 5.30pm. AMR originally planned to hold only two formal presentations each day, yet in the end, due to popular demand, AMR ended up making 6-8 presentations per day and there was still not enough space to accommodate all the visitors! The music that was played on the AMR System came from the AMR System Test Disk, compiled specially for the show to include music appealing to the largely Asian audience.
Each track was hand-picked to showcase a certain musical facet such as the cohesiveness, scale, intoxicating mid-range and clean but canyon deep bass of the AMR System. What took all of us by surprise was the virtual instant synergy of Mr. Simon Man and the AMR System which worked as one to charm the attendees all
The ultimate compliment came from music lovers that attended the AMR room many of whom applauded Mr. Man at the end of each of his presentations (not seen in any other room nor at any previous show by all accounts). Some visitors even asked Mr. Man to sign their copy of the AMR Audiophile Test Disk. Fortunately, we have retained Mr Man for next year and he is going to be exclusively making presentations for AMR/Avantgarde HK only!
Another, a lady, (yes, there were more than the customary token other halves) was brazen enough to leave her phone number for Mr. Man (fear not Mrs. Man, we did not pass the number on!)
With a full room time after time, some that were unable to enter the AMR room enquired with the Avantgarde HK staff whether or not there was a live band in the AMR room which to our mind, is the ultimate compliment.
In another instance, with the AMR System Test Disk being played, customers asked AMR staff which vinyl disk was being played as they did not recognise it and whether or not they could purchase this record at the fair! Analogue, Musicality and Realism indeed! We happily presented them with an AMR Audiophile Test CD, though we could not assure that it would sound as analogue on their system at home!
One fanatical listener commented to us that he came by the AMR room three times previously and was unable to secure an optimal seat so he decided to camp out one full hour before the next presentation – we were certainly not just impressed but were quite literally taken aback by the exceedingly favourable comments.
The AMR Audiophile Test Disk was exceptionally well received and on more than one occasion, there was such a clamour for the disk that there was almost a risk that someone would be hurt – the eager crowd was thus warned that if they didn’t curtail their excessive enthusiasm, AMR would not hand out any more disks; order was soon restored.
Thousands of Test Disks were handed to those who attended the formal demonstrations (many more visited the room in-between the demonstrations) and given the exceptional response to the AMR System in the AMR room, we could not have possibly hoped for more. AMR certainly hit the ground running in Asia in no small part assisted by the significant presence of Mr. Simon Man and by Avantgarde HK who are one of, if not the top distributor in the Asia Pacific market.
AMR’s good friend Dr. Christian Feickert also made the very long trip out to Guangzhou and we were more than pleased to see him once again to talk about music over one or two beers.
Dr. Feickert kindly offered his technical skills to help precisely setup the AMR analogue source using his exceptional “Adjust+” software system via his latest Dual Core Atom powered net book. Dr. Feickert also took the opportunity to confirm to AMR that the PH-77 could feed a laptop direct without the need for a soundcard which means the PH-77 and Adjust+ are a match made in analogue heaven.
Many of the other industry personalities and reviewers were new faces to us, forgive us this year for not getting to know you better. We will be back next year and look forward to seeing you all again.
Last but not least, we would like to extend our most sincere thanks to the Avantgarde HK team who provided the plush surroundings and excellent logistical support for AMR without whom, we would not have been able to make such a grand debut in China with the AMR Zeta system.
For 2010, the White Swan Hotel may be rocked (literally) by the AMR Omega System, AMR’s Ultimo Ratio on music reproduction, which among over four kilowatt of amplification and other things, consists of 16 pairs of LS-77 Professional Monitors and can reproduce 134dB at 3m (yes, this matches many live sound systems and may upset the local seismologists) and needs a REALLY large room to strut its stuff, such as the main ballroom in the White Swan… watch this space.