"We have only one goal: real emotion. Cembalo pursue excellence with no cost constraint and without rigidly adhering to the measured index. Listening comes first. We seek the real nature of the music and the expression of its true feeling—guided by the auditory sense and impressions of those artists with whom we cooperate—and thus we deeply involve ourselves in the choice of the basic structure of the circuit which is not limited by traditional structures.
Design comes next. A precise mathematical model is constructed for the whole system and is repeatedly optimized so the whole circuit system is at the optimum theoretical point. The product's entire design and technology have the sole objective of making music vivid, lifelike, rich and vibrant. Now we listen again and fine-tune. With repeated listening, we fine-tune again and again to most fully express the truly rich emotion of the music and the unprecedented real-life quality. This process is just like the manufacture of jewels handed down for generations. First of all, an area containing minerals must be found in the boundless land; the gemstone of the best quality will then be selected among those extracted; then finally, through the craftsman’s exquisite carving, a precious jewel emerges which lasts through the ages."

I liked the idea of 'listen, design, listen again'. For me that’s at the core of the creative audio industry. But it has its own risks. Like Karajan’s thoughts on Mahler, the greatest danger is that if it is not well performed, the music can seem banal. Here we had risk takers! I couldn’t wait. Cembalolab of course are a new actor on the audio industry stage. I wanted to learn more about them whilst awaiting my first audition of their first-production Spring 1, a headphone amp.

"Cembalo Audio Laboratories are a new high-end audio design lab located in Vancouver, Canada. We design the best hi-end devices in the world with our philosophy 'Real Emotion'. We cooperate with several artists and follow the 'listen, design, listen again' design process." But who exactly was behind all of this process? I asked Caroline. "Cembalo Audio Laboratories was founded by Mr. Philip Mitchell, who has been working as a designer in the professional audio industry for more than 10 years. He used to be in design teams of professional D/A converter and amplifiers mainly for the BBC and Hollywood. What is worth mentioning is that Philip is an enthusiastic audiophile with much passion for pursuing the best sound reproduction, our philosophy 'Real Emotion', the love of music and a heart fully devoted to the art of playback. Philip founded our company and designed our first product Spring 1.  Later this year or early next year we will add our Spring System including the Spring DAC and the Spring stream player.”

Micrograph of circuit trace on an amplifier PCB | polycrystalline copper surface at 50'000 x zoom

Their 'Real Emotion' philosophy doesn’t rely on just the 'Listen & Design' process. It gets its power also from 'Signal Express Technology'. "Cembalo Audio Laboratory have meticulously designed and optimized all processes that can influence sound quality such as the complex circuit layout, parts quality, timbre differences, the anti-vibration performance, RF interference etc. As explorative researchers in the art of playback, we constantly ponder in what way we might make the music sound closer to our ideal of real emotion? Cembalo's response is Signal-Express technology to reduce signal loss during the transmission process and to enable the music-bearing signal to be transmitted perfectly by the equipment."