Place: Modular Audio (Singapore) showroom
Date: 1st September 2012
Event: AER Launch in Singapore
Mr Vian Li, CEO and founder, Chief Designer of AER (Audio Engineering Research) was at Modular Audio to conduct a workshop and to launch the line of high-end audio accessories. AER is a fully owned subsidiary of IPC (Innoworks Product Creations Ltd), a Hong Kong company whose HQ, a 7-storey building, is situated in Fanlang (New Territory, Hong Kong). IPC’s business is dedicated to product development/invention ranging from health science, motor engineering, energy saving, agriculture, organic food etc. and of course, high-end audio.
First An Audiophile
Vian has been an audio nut since he was a young kid. He was building his own amplifiers and constantly upgrading to a bigger and better model by selling his previous one to his classmates. The fever didn’t stop and in his college days when he was doing his Electronics Degree (he was studying Medicine for a few years before switching to Electronics Engineering) in Australia, he was deep into speaker design and began collaborating in commercial projects with his college professors after he graduated. Shortly after, Vian setup his own audio showroom in 1996 and began marketing his very own creation – AER loudspeakers, among other audio and video products. If you are a Hong Kong audiophile or an active audiophile in Hong Kong during that time, chances are that you would have heard of the original AER Testament speaker who is still fondly remembered by many.
When the Dot-Com bubble burst in 2000 – 2001, Vian was not spared by the repercussions of the great fallout, and he has to find new and better ways to return to business. He started to re-engineer his business model. He stayed away from high-end audio due to the unfavourable business condition; went to the basics and become a speaker-driver ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) instead of building his own brand. His business took off in a major way after he secured an Apple licensee producing many successful accessories and add-ons.
AER Once More
With the success of IPC (founded in 2007), Vian was able to finance his audiophile passion once again and return to his first-love, high-end audio. So round about 2008, applying his academic background, he and his team developed a string of interesting products. First off was the Disc Energizer. It became a hit and received accolade from a Japanese audio publication (Audio Excellence Award 2009). Driven by this win and numerous requests from his analogue customers to have a similar tweaking device to improve LP performance, the LP Energizer was born shortly after.
Applying the same Quantum Physics principals, in the following 2 years, AER rolled out Acoustic EQ, an active, acoustic treatment panels suitable for hi-fi rooms to concert hall usage; Acoustic Energizer, a downsized version of Acoustic EQ but is portable and battery-powered and lastly Sound Power, a 4-way power conditioner that is unique in its power approach quite unlike anything else in the market.
On With the Show
Before getting into the hard science of Quantum Physics, how and why it works for audio, Vian conducted a string of A/B tests, firstly using CDP and then, LP as source. With a pair of Acoustic EQ flanking the 2 corners of Modular Audio’s showroom and a pair of Acoustic Energizer placed just behind the 2 floorstanding speakers (all turned on), several hard punching, head crunching, drum rolling discs were played at concert volume level (Totem by Gabrielle Roth (Raven); Dafos by Mikey Hart (Rykodisc). Having enjoyed the real sound, the AER products were removed and the same tracks were played.
The sound was not the same. The presence, energy of the music, micro-dynamics was sliced off in an obvious way. Playing music with AER products, the music was livelier, there was more detail, more vibrancy and engaging. Vian then performed another interesting negative test to demonstrate that the AER devices were actually working and what the audience heard was not due to placebo effect or power of suggestion. He turned off the AER devices positioned in one channel while keeping the opposite channel turned on. A previous track was replayed. With audience nodding their heads, some shaking in disbelief, the previously centre image became off-centred. What happened?
Vian explained the left-right channel imbalance test showed that the side with AER turned on has more presence, detail, vigour, therefore, we hear more on that “treated” side. What has happened, explaining in hard science, the protons (in the air molecules) in the surrounding radius of the speakers to the listening positioned is aligned (by the AER devices). As a result of this alignment, music travels from the diaphragm of the speakers to the listeners has lesser loss in signal transmission. The AER devices added nothing to the sound but the sound became enhanced because we heard less-loss of the sound that came from the speakers. Vian also added that besides aligning the protons of the air molecules, having the AER Energizer sitting below the speaker cables would also align the protons in the signals path to the speakers. This is also the design principle behind Sound Power and why it is unlike any other power conditioner in the market which does mainly a filtering job and supresses EM/RF interferences. The Sound Power more importantly aligned the protons in the incoming electric flow, thereby, producing purer, stable current capable of feeding up to 4,000v of current demand.
The Origins of Proton Vibration Alignment (PVA)
Many years ago, Vian was first intrigued when he heard better bass response from a 6” woofer over a 12” woofer played under the same environment. How could this be? He measured the response curve of the two woofers and confirmed the 12” woofer did go deeper and he even tested his ears just to make sure they were normal. With an inquisitive mind, he conducted his research and discovered that the energy loss in the 12” woofer was greater so even though it measured better, more signals vanished before it could reach his ears.
According to Vian, the origin usage of PVA technology is applied in the fields of Space communication i.e. to achieve real-time communication (without lag) between the space station and earth’s control station. While full realisation of this application in space is still much a work in progress, audiophiles on mother earth are enjoying the benefits of this technology today.
The Real Thing
In closing, Vian explained that the main objective of high-end playback music is to get as close to the actual performance as possible. While the best reproduction playback is still a long shot to the real thing e.g. live concert performance, without audiophiles knowing, our precious hi-fi systems are “leaking” signals, losing energy and we are not hearing all that our system has produced. The AER devices add nothing to the audio signals and there is no boosting of whatsoever frequencies. The improved sound after treatment is actually what one should be hearing when the energy loss is minimised or in a scientific way, when micro phase misalignment is minimised.