"This whole development enhanced awareness of Audiopax in Brazil. Our domestic press is proudly covering this growth. Editor Fernando Andrette just wrote up our Arpeggione for Audio Video Magazine. We made the front cover and centrefold review where two subscribers are invited to the audition and then contribute their own impressions alongside the pro reviewer. I now have a brilliant partner in Rio de Janeiro who oversees day-to-day operational management and also travels to Switzerland when needed. Silvio Pereira is very smart and has brilliant organizational skills. He is an engineer by training and for 30 years worked (and still does) at Globo Television where he is head of the R&D department. Globo TV is the 4th-largest television network in the world. All their programming content is stored on computers and servers based on Silvio’s concepts. Usually video servers distinguish between what’s current program—say a given week's content data base—and what’s archived. Globo developed a system where their entire archive streams content directly and in real time. Everything is accessible, anytime and from anywhere. This makes daily programming more flexible. The older two-stage circuit if you will became a single gain cell. That’s very new and Silvio is at the head of it all. About 5 or 6 years ago I sold Silvio an Audiopax system. This ended up being his first ever high-end gear. He’d played classical guitar for 20 years. He was very attuned to the sound of this instrument. We became friends who occasionally met. He remained intrigued by my circuits. Over various episodes I’d explain to him how they worked.

"Because his audiophile journey had begun with Audiopax, he eventually became curious to upgrade. He’s wealthy enough to afford the best our market has to offer. He looked everywhere but couldn’t find anything better. Each time we talked, he’d tell me about his latest failed experiment. Then I’d explain some more about my concepts and why perhaps he was stuck with me. One day he called to say that he finally understood what I really meant about distortion and vinyl. Now it made total sense. 'You should be rich' he insisted. [Here Eduardo really cracked up.] Of course he knows I'm not. So Silvio suggested that he might help me in business. Over two or three months, this idea evolved. I finally decided to make him a partner. I always had a hard time with this whole concept because Audiopax all along has been very personal. Except for my US liaison Gordon Burkhardt-Schultz who really is more like a brother than partner, I’ve never had anyone involved too closely. One of Silvio’s characteristics is that he's a workaholic. His idea of partnership wasn’t being passive. He didn't mean to just invest money. He meant to work. Since we’d been friends for some time, this now allowed us to reshape the new versions of the Model 88 and Model 5 and ramp up domestic sales in Brazil. While this market typically moves up and down like a roller coaster, Silvio’s persistence really began to pay off. We now have much better and more consistent production, we improved our fit and finish, we hired more people and his taking on daily responsibilities freed up a lot of my time for engineering.

"A pair of Model 88 A3 monos now sells in Brazil for 26'000 reals. That's about $16'000. The amps come in three flavours—tube, transistor, hybrid—but due to our current Swiss project, we’ve temporarily suspended the latter two. We have to focus on the pricier all-tube units and maintain the necessary cash flow to support the Maggiore development. For at least 6 months if not longer, those cheaper models and the lower-priced preamp versions won't be available. We only have limited resources. This year we must focus on our global future. That requires a high-power flagship product of uncompromised everything.

"When our former American distributor and I agreed to vacate the US market, other international sectors followed suit. But we consistently sold in Brazil. We simply reverted to direct sales for the occasional international client. I would have a few sales each year abroad, to people who had Avantgarde speakers for example and had heard of the proven synergy with our amps. For the past four or five years, such inquiries amounted to perhaps six sales per year outside Brazil. I didn’t actively pursue this at all and only responded to such orders as they came. It’s very expensive to maintain a proper international infrastructure. Meanwhile Brazil’s high-end market grew quite a bit over these years, enough to keep us alive and even grow by a modest margin. With Silvio’s specialized skills and preparations, we’re now refocusing on the international markets. It’s why we attended CES in January to reintroduce ourselves. That’s where this whole Maggiore 100 adventure kicked off very unexpectedly. Audiopax Brazil employs 8 full-time people today and there is our new part-time salaried European associate at Audiopax Switzerland. Working in Brazil proper is very complicated and a nightmare. Just to conform with regulations, wade through all the red tape and baby-sit certain mundane transactions can keep one or two people busy on a bad day. We’ve grown quite a lot since our beginnings but are still a very small company. All our present earnings are reinvested directly into this latest breakthrough project.

Audiopax Brazil in 2011.

"In 2006 when our US operations stopped, I decided to remain in Brazil. Before then I’d leave Rio de Janeiro six or seven times a year for the US, the UK, Norway and Europe. Now I stopped all that to settle more firmly in Rio and concentrate on developing our domestic business. In 2007, I got remarried. This gave me further roots but also put a limit on travels. Now of course I have to spend considerable time in Switzerland. I’ve taken out a flat outfitted with a small laboratory so I can work as I would in Brazil. That’s actually more cost-effective than a hotel. I’m naturally close to the manufacturing plant. Managing international operations from Brazil with all our bureaucracy and customs would be impossible. The new Swiss operation is thus not only a move to uncompromised upscale manufacturing. It's also the beginning of our new global efforts. We now have the right personnel in place and a very ambitious new product to position us properly. By the first or second week of August, I should have the first two Swiss-built golden sample pairs to sign off on final production or adjust minor final items. We already changed a very small cosmetic detail where a certain panel will terminate in a rounded instead of square edge. Such things can kill you if you commit prematurely to a large first run. The final amp will have 12mm aluminium panels perfectly finished, with no fasteners showing. It will really be in line with what a customer should expect for €60'000. As I did with the original Model 88, the prototype assembly once again consists of two U braces, one rotated 90° over the other though the final chassis will have sliding sides. At the bottom sit three big toroidal power transformers. Above those is a bridge with the six output transformers. Those are similar in size to the Model 88 transformers but different. Above those sit the two long valve PCBs (three tubes per board) which connect to the output transformers. The Swiss drawings account for all the necessary wire routing, weight supports, resonance isolation and mechanical integrity of this multi-layer structure."