Post CanJam. "Both the Heidelberg and NYC shows were really good and the first time ever that I had only positive impressions about sound and looks. Sorry about the delay in my reply. I was awaiting word from the machine shop. On Monday I'll finally have some of the small parts delivered in full quantity (see next photo). Until now I've had just enough of these from the prototyping phase to assemble six units which Danny and I shared between us to appear at Heidelberg and NYC. From now on it's a rush to finish more show demos for the Shanghai shows, one in two weeks, one in 4 weeks from now, then Singapore CanJam. Ideally we'll have six units there.

"If we get the rest of the small parts in time, I'll finish more than we need for the shows and send you a set of each before I fly off to Singapore. If not, then as soon as I return April 8th, we'll clean up show sets thoroughly, change all leather parts to new and send you those. That will leave me enough time to finish more for Munich. So the list of priorities goes like this:

" 1. Shanghai shows and CanJam SG
2. You and Headfonia
3. The Absolute Sound
4. Axpona (Danny needs one more set)
5. To supply eight sets to distributors/dealers to put out fires
6. Stereophile
7. Munich shows
8. continue supply

"And that's pretty much it. No more fuss past Munich, just normal steady work with a pile of parts in inventory. Afterwards we'll introduce a variety of different veneers, even mother of pearl and abalone for custom orders then get ready for the fall show season."

On mushroom matters: "After Heidelberg it was fairly tough to clean up the stand tops so my leather tailor is right when he says that we shouldn't cause people frustration about keeping their mushroom clean. I no longer like the suede cover because it picks up hairs and specks and never looks clean. I wanted suede for grip but our new pebbled leather has a lot of grip too and now I'm happy with both the looks and performance."

For those with mushroom allergies, "the stem unscrews easily and we include a nice cap nut to seal off the threaded insert. That leaves just the transformer barrel for a more compact appearance." So those not loving the stem because they own a headphone stand they prefer can thus easily lose it and still roll with the interface.

At €699 for +7wpc into 32Ω of discrete class A bias, might Aune's S17 Pro be a legit ribbon driver 'on the cheap'?

During the Shanghai show, Serbia's Trafomatic Primavera had acquitted itself well on Immanis…

…. whilst its maker was already eyeing a round with SAEQ's new end-of-life $9K Armageddon amp whose gold-on-black look actually predates Immanis. The combo so happens to colour match. Synchronicity lives. 4 watts into 32Ω, 30wpc into 4Ω, 1V/2.5V input sensitivity, 2 x RCA in, 1 x XLR 1.

At €1'390, FiiO by then had their new K19 DAC/headphone amp with up to 8 watts into 32Ω to make for another über-powered entrant in the more affordable realm. At the April Singapore show in SLT Technologies' exhibit, the new multi ribbons could be heard on amps by Aune, Centrance, SAEQ and Solaja for transistors, tubes and adaptable hybrid mode.

Also in attendance was new domestic brand Laiv Audio with their maiden product, the Harmony DAC.

Asking Alex whether he had any meaningful sonic feedback on the various show-amp combos, "not really because I was way too tired after first setting up then explaining my products to visitors over and over again." Just so I managed to wrest one interesting tidbit from Alex's memory box. Early feedback on the Aune S17 Pro amp had suggested that its thermal management is insufficient to sustain prolonged use in its 100mA high-bias class A setting to reset automatically to 50mA. "We ran 100mA high bias throughout the show with no issues whatsoever."

If you've followed my endless but hopefully info-packed intro this far, it's finally time for personal comments.