how to spot a rich audiophile

i am going to open a can or worms, so arguments/opinions are welcome.

you know, one thing you can't deny about audiophiles in malaysia, and this is not a generalization but a fact admitted by many local hifi dealers - that those who buy expensive high-end stuff are mainly chinese-educated. the biggest wilson, the biggest marten, the biggest audio research... most big things are owned by chinese-educated audiophiles.

why is that the chinese-educated ones (heck, some not even educated) are more willing to spend on hifi? do their money come easier than those english-educated ones? or, are most of them their own bosses hence they earn easy money? do they live life with a different philosophy? or are they simply more serious audiophiles?

are the english-educated ones more prudent on their spending? or because they are normally the middle-class and hence have less disposable income?

i want to do a mini research on this, and you input is appreciated.

come, voice out! (the good ones will get his opinion published in av xpress!)

disclaimer: i don't mean to comparmentalize audiophiles or insinuate chinese-educated audiophiles as i myself am chinese-educated.


km ng said...

My blunt opinions and no offense to anyone reading this.

I think chinese-educated audiophiles are generally:

1. More easily influenced (the less educated, the more) by their circle of friends or dealers.

2. Buy more equipment than music.

3. Captivated by sound more than performance.

4. Want to be the "taiko" or "sifu" by owning the biggest, most powerful and most expensive piece of gear.

5. Give lots of "hot air" advices best known to themselves and "house of flying daggers" comments if sound not to their liking.

zack said...

obviously your dealers got their statistic wrong,

I know a lot of of my friends and myself that own what would be considered as truly high end-but most of us do not get our stuff locally.

I find that truly high-end products {Kharma,rockport,metronome,k-s]do not have a presence in malaysia.

since most of us travel abroad quite consistently,and bargain abound on the internet,a lot of the local dealers are not aware of our existence and lose a lot of potential clients elsewhere..

Hi-Fi 4 Sale said...

You'd be surprised to know that Kharma, Metronome & Rockport are generally available here. I've been to a few homes in Malaysia with them installed, all bought from local dealers.
However, one other surprising fact is that these new equipment have generally been sold at very competitive prices as well, often cheaper than in the US.
I won't generalise here, but a few of the dealers have very good setup skills, often better than those you find overseas.

zack said...

Metronome and Kharma in Malaysia bought in Malaysia?

Now that is a first to me.

zam said...

You want to know why they could spend so much on hi-fi?
That 's easy!!!

They don't pay income tax!!
Folks like you and me has to folk out quite a bit for the income tax.
Do this survey Maggie,Ask the guy in Kanmpar that you talk about recently abt how much income tax he paid,I can bet you he would just smile at you

TA ong said...

Hello Km,

Are your observations based on your own experience or just speculations,,?

rozario said...

I am neither chinese educated nor a chinese.

But in my years in this hobby I find that those so callked noneducated chinese audiophile are the most knowladgeable ones.

I certainly think that Knowladge and wisdom are mutually exclusive.

Just because you have a Phd from Princeton doesn't necessarily give you wisdom

hafiz said...

Maggie hello,

A lot of our choices in life are based on our early experience,

When I first went to Uk I was A fresh faced 16 years old and knew next to nothing about Hi-Fi.

I started getting into the hobby while doing part time job while waiting to get into Uni.

For the next 20 years I have gone through many upgrades,most of them British ones.

It was only recently I made a brave decision to make my first japanese made purchase; WAVAC monoblocs,

It was so good that I wish I 've look beyound my Sentimantilism.Even today when I hear people critisize NAIM I still get hurt,all those wonderful Hi-Fi memories..

My point is we have our biases and as human we tend to have tunnel-visions,but occasionally when we dare tro be like a birs and have a bird's I view of things ,more often than not,we are in for a pleasant surprise.

kk kong said...

Maggie and KM

I fully agree with the observations made by KM ng

This are the same peple that would only buy Merc and would not even test drive an AUDI no matter what you say.

will said...

Hi-fi ,like everything else is a matter of personal taste and peer pressure.

I can't help but think that there is a lot of peer pressure involved in buying hi-fi amongst these group

yazid said...

It has been my observation that these Chinese educated folks are indeed more serious audiophiles as a group.

To the so called middle class western educated folks hi-end is Bose and B&O,and they WASTE their money on these.

So Who is smarter?

aboon said...

IN my humble opinion BEcause of so many Sifusa bound,they tend to get better role model.

I think they treasure their money like everyone else,but we spent our money better,we love our music more.

km,if the gear can improve the sound of the music,what is wrong with that?

I would spent 100k on hi-fi ,but i will not spend 100k on a watch.I get more pleasure fr my music than trying to show off my expensive watch

kh yap said...

I agree with Aboon,

The way that sifu-student relationship evolve is a such that the chance of making an expensive mistakes are much less.

Also there are always a healty exchange of ideas especially when it comes to tweaking.

the same with listening skill,if you have a sifu that is there to give you a hands-on pointer you tend to acquire a better and critical listening skill and as a result you tolarate poor equipment less and are more willing to spend on gears that give you better performance.

in conclusion you know how to play hi fi better

cikgu said...

Dear KM,

I think you are grossly mistaken..

Even though I am non chinese I got some of my best advise from the audiophile tawkeys.

Maybe because we live in a small town{I live in Alor Setar]but I find that these people really have a deep understanding of good sound.After all what is aperformance but series of 'sound.and what is music without the transparency of the equipments provided.

atos said...

i think it all come down to personal test.
Fine this so called audiophile will not blink tu spend 5 k on an iC{I won't either],but they [and I ]would not spend 1k on a pair of bally shoes.We are happy enough in our sandals..

I think you all town folks are too interested in impressing others with your shoes ,shirt,ridiculously exp watches,while we in Small town are busy tapping our toes...

liew said...

I find the educated people to be quite uneducated when it come to high end sound.

Km,surely you can"t hear the skin of the drum,the sound of different piono brands,the bow of the string hitting the violin with a 1k speaker?Is it important?Well to me it is an integral part of what you call performance,knowing a steinway from a bosseldorf.

I spend abt 100k on my system,and listen to music for about 4-5 hours a day,real music.yet I only own a $300.00 Casio watch.I could buy a Rolex with the money i spend on cables alone,but then I wont be able to hear the front row audience coughing in Cantus live CD.

km ng said...

I think whatever generalizations about Chinese-educated audiophiles, positive or negative, in small or big towns, I think their money and time spent on equipment and music is well spent. Gives them a yearning to go home and enjoy the music by themselves or with friends. A good creative hobby or passion. Unlike China dolls, gambling and drinking.

Anonymous said...

I just wanna say I like the picture used very much! I am a guy just as well sized.

However, it's been a while I held the hand of a fair maiden!

My hi-fi? nah..... I wouldn't even go in to it!

jazz said...

KM Ng,
Very well said!!!

Anonymous said...

hahhaha.. u inglisk educated people are plain jealus lar... china educated (still educated mar - wat wrong arh ? ) chinamen can afford mar...what is your issue leh ?

not everyone like you kiamsiap (or frugal/educated/informed?) has to go 13 shops before buying one cable nia.

u suka, u buy - i suka, i buy. not issue mar.... 你吹meh ?

Hi-Fi 4 Sale said...

It's not only Metronome & Kharma. Actually, since while we are at it, Kharmas can also be found in places like Kampar & Kuantan as well. Pretty interesting, huh?
Sometimes we think that we aspire to 'catch up' with our counterparts in more developed countries, but the fact is, Malaysia houses a few setups which are truly impressive. eg:
1 of only 52 pairs of Wilson WAMMs in the world.
At least 2 Clearaudio Statement turntable installations.
Many more stats but I think this is not an exercise of 'power', just an affirmation that sometimes our universe of knowledge can be very different, just as we don't know audiophiles like you who look for quality gear overseas. Sometimes, a chance meeting between ourselves can bridge this gap.

zack said...


Thanks for the info.

Wow How little I know of my fellow Malaysians.It must be all those years of being abroad..

It is nice to know that hi-end is alive and kicking here and even from the discussions here I could see that we are quite a passionate lot.

I think it's time My friends and I get around the scene.Maybe we'll go to this year's KLAV show...

Thanks again

alloy said...

Dear Maggielurva,

I am your 50,250th visitor!!!

Any lucky price?

Impressive stat....

ken said...

Dear All,

The level or type of education will not affect or dictate whether you are an audiophile or not.

The main reason for this is a good audiopphile have to be a music lover in the first place.

I am english educated and love music, be it hip-hop, metal rock, jazz, classical, acapella etc. I became an audiophile because I want to listen to music at a much "enjoyable" level.

In my initial journey into audiophilia, I thought I had a good sound system until I heard better systems. But my audiophile knowledge started to improve by leaps and bound when I learned about soundstage, depth, timbre etc from a chinese educated audiophile who also happen to love music.
In terms of education, we could not have been more different. I hold a master's degree while my mentor barely scrap through lower secondary school. It is the bond of loving music and appreciating it at a higher level that brought us together.
My mentor does not intend to be taiko in terms of owning top-notch gear. But to me, he is a mentor or sifu because of his knowledge in distinguishing what is a good sound and how to obtain it.


jonathan said...

Dear Ken,
What you say really touches a deep chord in my heart.

A lot of the time we have forgotten that it is our love of musics that got us in the hobby in the first place.

The Fact you and Maggielurve remains friends despite your really different way in reproducing musics,and the fact that you respect the old master for his audiophile wisdom,testify to your sincerity and maturity....
As you eloquently put,what is needed ina mentor is true guidence.The fact that you had such a person in life is a true blessing


OOi said...

A bit out of topic,

Is it possible to subscribe to the AV express.

I live in Penang and can't eem to get it even at Starbucks.

Anonymous said...

Refer back to the first post:-

1) Does education make an audiophile?
- May be because of limited ability to get/understand information from the media helps in reducing the complexity of decision making, thus it is easier to make the final decision during purchases. Posible, because I believe knowledge without discernment leads to confusion and confusion leads to hesitation.

2) Non-educated people enjoy equipment more than music?
- Posible, but it is nothing wrong even if they do behave that way. Some enjoy cooking, some enjoy the food. Which is better? I say we need both

3) Want to be recognised as 'taiko'?
- Who doesn't want?!!! Every body want to be 'somebody'! No one want to be 'nobody' or loser. It just that sometime we just over do it, that caused negative reaction from people. Secretly we all wanted to be recognised by our peers. Although I won't like those self-claim-taiko, but I won't blame them either. Because sometime I am guilty of that too :-)

May be I take the liberty to re-phrase the question:-

Does higher academic achievement translate to a more committed audiophile? I don't know

Does higher 'hifi wisdom' translate to a more committed audiophile? I will say normally yes.

But one thing I know, if a dealers wants to sell more, he/she better learn to respect people regardless whether they are educated or not. My little business tips.


maggielurva 愛美姬 said...

thahks, guys, for your interesting input.

high-end research in mont' kiara is the distributor for kharma, goldmund and rockport but they are rather low-profile.

the stats is not on unique visitors, it is just page views (i.e. number of pages that have been viewed to date) and this include repeat visitors so it is really no big deal ;-)

starting this issue, av xpress is available at happy photo. contact mr. gooi for free copies. please help to spread the good news to other penang audiophiles as well.

Anonymous said...

WELL,you are truly free to live with purpose,joy and fulfillment.let your life be define not by reaction to what other's do ,say or think but rather your own unique vision.chinese-educated audiophiles?inglisk educated people ?

Anonymous said...

Seeing people here talking about the issues of chinese ed or english ed is really heart sick. What is the differance?both yellow skin or all human beings.Whether who will buy or who will not buy is mainly the affordability and whether the purchase is what he likes or his peception of value for money or not? issue.
for people that can afford buy the hi-end and contribute on your findings. for people that cannot afford, shut up and read the blog. no offend but its the real world. dont care whether the equipments were bought overseas or local, its fine becos the ultimte objective is to make you happy as a buyer and not to make the dealer happy. Dealer come and go, today they carry the brand that you wanted, tomorrow may not..
They are plenty of people who can buy a million dollars hifi,also hundred thousands $ of watches and not just buying the mercs but few other german marque at plaese stop discreminating and for maggie,please stop bringing up this kind of topic again as you should contribute as everyone here should do and not splitting the hifi circle to such level.
my 2 cents