KINGREX: Howard Popeck speaks at length to people with interesting things to say: Audiophile maker and design-house KingRex makers of the T20, DDC, UC 384 USB DDC and the JB3

Regarding the inventor. How did their interest in music reproduction start?

During my high school days, pop music industry was rapidly booming and I was, like other teenagers, very obsessed with it. Yes, it was eighties. The first thing I did when I returned from school was to turn on the radio and listen to whatever music it played on air. From Michael Jackson to WHAM and the Police, they all were my favorite.

Just like many other teenagers, I was financially dependent to parents and pocket money they gave was never enough to purchase any music product. Nevertheless, I found a way to reach out to pop music by recording down “Billboard top 10” aired on radio in weekly basis into cassette. After that, I could spend the following week in listening to the music recorded with Sony walkman. Sony Walkman was the hottest portable music player back then. As time passed, people were not longer being satisfied by walkman and they started to look forward to having more sophisticated gadget in order to further enhance sound quality. This trend of development of music industry gradually attracted me to music reproduction.

It has been suggested that a reasonable rule of thumb would be for the power supply to have a bandwidth an order of magnitude greater than that of the actual amplification circuitry. What is your view?

Power is absolutely the most important factor in hi-fi audio system; for me, power is not only fountainhead but also the key of sound system. I usually use “capacity” instead of “bandwidth” for illustration. In my opinion; the capacity of power should be 3 to 5 times higher than amplification circuitry. The performance will be better in both high frequencies’ response and low frequencies’ punch.

Although the power capacity seems too abundant on the average situation, this power capacity is just enough for the big dynamic power output. However, isn’t this perfection what we are looking for? So, the greater power supply capacity is undoubtedly necessary. This concept yields all KingRex power supply unit.

Do you have any particular priorities, other than the obvious one of sound quality, when you approach the design of an amplifier?

The sound quality is the most important component for amplification, what else? I would say the appearance of machine. I personally prefer to make the products identical in size and shape. Also, I prefer classical look. In terms of market positioning, we don’t look KingRex products as fashion but go beyond fashion and being beautiful one of its kind. My products are definitely sustainable.

I'm curious about the gestation process you go through designing an amplifier. How do you normally operate from, say, a clean sheet of paper? Though this is probably never the case because you're always building on your previous efforts

All designs come from a blank sheet. We like to write down and draw the ideas by hand. In the beginning stage of design, conversation and communication between sales team and RD team are crucial. We are encouraged to keep talking about ideas, then focus, modify them; to extract the first stage of functions and appearance.

During the invention process, Sound Quality prevails over all, followed by the market and technology. By building circuit diagram, the feature and look of products will be defined accordingly. RD will search suitable parts based on the diagram too. We usually spend a lot of time in choosing suitable parts. There are too many kinds of parts which have the same function. If you don’t try them one by one, you will never know which one is better for the performance. This experimentation process is really exciting and yet tough.

What are your feelings about the whole digital/analog controversy?

The controversy of digital/analog has been existed when CD started to become popular. In the last few years, this issue became less controversial since the methods of processing digital signal had a huge advancement. That’s no doubt that analogue signal has a higher fidelity, but the convenience of digital signal is irreplaceable either. KingRex therefore focuses on digital stream in order to provide a better sound quality to public with a reasonable price. We believe that people can definitely enjoy a good sound quality in digital stream. However, going back to the controversy of digital/analog, we think it is not a absolute dual selection. In fact, digital and analog can co-exist. You may choose between them based on the venue and your preference from time to time.

Thank you KingRex

©2014 Howard Popeck