Audio Feast’s Kenji Furukawa

Art Dudley’s already mentioned the many delights in the Audio Feast room, so I’ll just add that I was particularly delighted to chat with Audio Feast’s Kenji Furukawa, pictured here with his Feastrex NF9ex F90 field-coil loudspeaker ($19,118/pair).

Originally from Japan, but now living in Nashville, TN, Furukawa used the prototype Finemet TVC volume control, mentioned in Art’s piece, along with a Maekawa TA-300B SET power amplifier ($30,000) to drive the interesting Feastrex loudspeakers.

It would have been fun to hang out with Furukawa for an entire listening session. His enthusiasm for hi-fi was obvious and infectious.


And visit for a very cool look at how Feastrex diaphragm paper is made!

Share | |
JohnnyR's picture

MOAR! I say......MOAR high priced components......we are addicted to over priced things precious.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Johnny, I share your desire for more affordable products. And judging from your comments to our stories, your idea of "affordable" happens to be a lot more expensive than my own. Earlier, you called a $20,000+ system "affordable." For my column, The Entry Level, I focus on products that are well under $1000, entire systems that cost below $2000.

However, here we are discussing a hi-fi show and, like any hi-fi show, and, in fact, any trade/consumer show, there are good reasons why the exhibitors present such high-priced product. The first thing that comes to mind is the high price of exhibiting: These rooms cost a lot of money. Another ovbious point is that exhibitors want to impress their audience. And that audience doesn't only include casual hobbyists and potential customers, but also includes potential dealers. There's money to be made here and relationships to be nurtured.

While I also deeply wish that there were more affordable gear at these shows—my favorite exhibitors are the ones like Music Hall, the Sound Organisation, and Peachtree, who make an effort to show both sides of the coin—I can't blame exhibitors for wanting to display their finest gear.   

mrplankton2u's picture

Thanks for your honesty and candor. It does cast a sad light on the real situation though. There is more concern in the "high end" for making huge money on fewer products and purchases than bringing good sound to the masses in an honest and forthright way. The Behringer Truth Monitors are a good case in point. They provide excellent sound with speaker drivers that rival some of the best at RMAF in terms of real, measured sound quality at a very, very affordable price (around $200). RMAF has become a boutique show living in a bubble of hyped speaker cables, power conditioners, turbtables, cartridges, and battery powered DACs. It is not representative of what's real in the real world anymore  Why should a cheesy hotel room with poor acoustics cost an exhibitor several thousand dollars for a weekend? Are these kinds of shows really helping or hurting the industry's reputation?

Stephen Mejias's picture
I absolutely disagree with you.

Don't get me wrong, mrplankton. I absolutely disagree with you. Were you at RMAF? The show is wonderful for this industry, bringing together people from all over the world to enjoy great music and high-quality gear, in an environment that breeds fun and goodwill. 

I understand you have your own priorities and ideas about what defines "good" sound, and that's fine, but I also think you happen to have a decidedly negative and close-minded view of what this industry is all about.

mrplankton2u's picture
I didn't attend this year. I

I didn't attend this year. I was disappointed in the turnout I saw and the kind of people that attended the last time I went. To give you an example, I recall sitting in to a listening session in Vandersteen's room - hearing the new model 7's. A person in the small group of listeners was bringing his lp's around from room to room. And the Vandersteen folks were exclusively playing lps. To me, the pops and clicks in the recording were very disconcerting. And my suggestion that it wasn't desireable was looked upon with utter contempt and scorn by most of the attendees. I call them attendees now but at the time they seemed more like Analog Jihadis! I can appreciate a good analog recording just as much as anyone. But I also appreciate the advantages of digital. I felt like I was in an audio freak twilight zone wondering - is this what the high end audio hobby is coming to - believers clashing with non believers? Whatever happened to science, objectivity and progress? 

Ultimately, it is the agenda of the reviewers and advertising/marketing industry that will set the tone and direction of the marketplace. Sadly, it appears that a major shift from science and truth to belief and marketing hype has occurred and continues to occur - all in the name of profits Nothing else seems to matter. This also explains the conspicuous absence of high quality affordable products. Even PSB, a company known for quality and value, only had its top of the line $5,000 a pair speaker on hand - as if the cheaper models offering almost the same performance were intentionally hidden away to help sustain the venue's purpose and agenda. 

Stephen Mejias's picture

Even PSB, a company known for quality and value, only had its top of the line $5,000 a pair speaker on hand - as if the cheaper models offering almost the same performance were intentionally hidden away to help sustain the venue's purpose and agenda.

What? That's not true. Again, I think your persepctive is skewed. One of the most exciting products in the PSB room and the one that, to my mind, Paul Barton was most thrilled about, was the new $300 Alpha PS1 desktop speaker. We haven't mentioned it yet, but we will. This show report will continue on through Saturday.

mrplankton2u's picture
No, Correct. Try reading and listening a little more carefully.

The last time I attended (couple years ago), the top of the line Synchrony was the only product I could find in the PSB room being demoed. I'm glad to hear the Bartons are bringing their  more affordable products to exhibits. If anyone is likely to do that. They will. 

Stop being so defensive and start listening more to what people have to say. Sometimes constructive criticism is a good thing. Think about it.

Stephen Mejias's picture
Take your own advice.

When you started a new paragraph and criticized PSB for only demming expensive gear, I thought you were talking about this year's RMAF, which, I admit, made no sense. I apologize for my confusion.

Stop being so defensive and start listening more to what people have to say. Sometimes constructive criticism is a good thing. Think about it.

Still, I think you should take your own advice.

GeorgeHolland's picture
Why are you always so

Why are you always so defensive Stephen? Mrplankton2u said what me and other think about the high end and why it's failing but you just shrug and pretend all is good.This just makes me wonder why anyone bothers at all trying to get some real information from these reports or Stereophile.

jackan's picture

I would agree that some prices seem very subjective. And like with food, it is hard to say that a $25 plate gives you exactly twice as much quality as a $12 plate of food. But you have completely invalidated any argument you have by introducing Behringer into the equation. Uli's company exemplifies everything that is wrong with not just this industry, but any industry. From IP theft, reverse engineering, moving production of what were once good products to places where more than double digit percentages of units are bad out of the box. Zero customer service, disposable products. The list goes on and on. A complete race to the bottom.While there is some of what you describe, with products that seem out to make a fast dollar, it seems these companies will not be back next year, as they are failing to offer some sort of equitable return for the outlay. But if you go booth to booth, and find the passion that is there, then you start having a respect for the design, craftsmanship, ideals, and knowledge that goes into building most of the product that is displayed.

It is also heartening to see people who want to continue with the practice of good recordings, musicianship, and songwriting, in a world where we are being overloaded with mp3s, finalizing, and "radio ready" music.

mrplankton2u's picture
Sounds like I struck a chord

Sounds like I struck a chord with you mentioning the dreaded Behringer company...ghasp!!

I didn't bring up the cheap Behringer monitors as a shining example of corporate virtuosity. I brought them up because they are one of the highest value products in the affordable market segment  Practically every major speaker company today is making products in China, including PSB. Chinese companies are notorious for unauthorized borrowing of intellectual property.  Does that mean we should boycott all speaker companies? Is Behringer any different because they pass the savings along to the end consumer instead of pocketing the difference that "made in China" makes to their bottom line? I'm very much against corporate collusion and monopolistic practices. But I just don't see Behringer behaving like a big box store trying to manipulate and intimidate OEM suppliers Your criticism of Behringer is hollow. In the sub $500 speaker market, they have established that they are a force to be reckoned with - IN THE REAL WORLD - NOT SOME FICTITIOUS BUBBLE.

jackan's picture
Again, if you have a point to

Again, if you have a point to make, you have picked the worst example to make it with. There are hundreds if not thousands of speakers in the sub $1K market. You have picked the single worst example, and it invalidates your point. You could place a CIARE CH250 on a piece of OSB, and have a speakers with better distortion specs, phase, etc. There is no science or truth (your words) in the Behringer. When you plug it in, noise comes out. If if sounds pleaseing to you, you are in the wrong forum. Then, when sound does not come out any more, it goes in the trash. There is no customer service. None. It is a disposable product. I am not against Chinese manufacturing. I am against blatently stealing everyone elses IP as a business model. And then putting prouducts inferiour to those stolen on the mass market.

Your support of Behringer is a sign that you support a race to the bottom. And have no interest in individual craftsmanship, research, and innovation. Enjoy yourself down there.

GeorgeHolland's picture

I've heard the Behringer and found that it produced a very pleasing accurate sound. Also if you are wanting someone to consider your arguement , then may I suggest you leave off the insuting tones  and air of superiority. It makes you look like a typical  snob.

mrplankton2u's picture
For your information, I build

For your information, I build some of the highest performing home theater speakers available using the highest quality products from Scan Speak, SEAS, Beyma, 18Sound, Vifa, and Peerless - to name a few. These are the same products used in most of the "high end" speakers you speak about. I've listened to AND measured the Behringer Truth monitors. They exhibit very flat frequency response, low distortion, and excellent directivity control - especially for their low cost. This didnt happen by accident They use quality drivers and crossover components in a contemporary layout There's no magic or mystery here. No grand theft of intellectual property. The design aspects of these speakers are common knowledge in the speaker engineering field. If you had any experience in that field, you'd know that. As another poster suggested, you might be wise to tone it down a bit You don't know me and you clearly don't know anything about these Behringer products other than loose talk on the street which applies more to their pro electronics line than anything else. Your unfounded diatribe is more evidence of how important it is for "reviewers" to be able to back up their talk with measurements. Without measurements correlated with what is heard, it's just talk And that's all your posts are here - useless, heated, talk.

JohnnyR's picture
Wow Looks Like........

Mr Cool Cool Cool! is keeping tabs on my posts afterall. Just a shame you don't really reply to the serious parts though.

About that $20,000 has quality components in it unlike most of the other ones shown on here. Salk is a very good honest speak company and can back up their products with performance and MEASURED proof

As far as making an imprssion  at the show, how about they only show the product they are selling NOT the other components? THAT would make a VERY big impression on me, not trying to be all flashy and BS.

JohnnyR's picture

Stephen, your column being called The Entry Level implies that what you reccomend is "okay" BUT the reader needs to keep "improving" his system be spending even more and more. I find that condenscending. You imply that they should get to the "top" someday using that title.

Stephen Mejias's picture
The Entry Level

I'm not surprised you see it that way.

The truth of the matter is that I'm interested in how and why people get into this hobby. I enjoy exploring those beginnings, and I am most happy to present a place that beginners can see as their own and where experienced audiophiles can be reminded of the very elements of their enthusiasm.

That's what The Entry Level is about. It's not about aspiring to be someone or someplace else. It's about enjoying where we are and sharing the joy of listening with friends and family.

Sultan's picture

Stereophile - Thanks for getting rid of JohnnyR  

soulful.terrain's picture


Ditto on that! The guy is an anus.

GeorgeHolland's picture
And you are better?

It's people like you on the forums and here that keep me and others from joining. Very childish and rude behavior.

JohnnyR's picture
Why If It Isn't........

......the Tennessee hillbilly showing his usual good natured side for the world to see. I've REALLY missed you SO much!  Say hello to your mom for me *kiss kiss*

mrplankton2u's picture
So when is Stereophile going to review a Feastrex based product?

I've seen a number of blurbs over the years with tremendous accolades heaped upon some Feastrex based speakers. I haven't had a chance to hear any of them for myself but am very curious how these products actually measure up. Is there some reason why they haven't been featured yet? Is it the 5 retailer rule? I'm sincere here. Don't think that because I've shown a significant level of skepticism elsewhere that I don't truly want to understand what some of the fuss is about with these full range drivers. They do appear to be well made. I would like to know how that translates into measured performance - not just reviewer "impressions". Lord knows there's never a shortage of reviewer impressions. I'd like to see listening impressions that are linked to real world data - in the typical John Atkinson tradition. So what gives?

John Atkinson's picture

mrplankton2u wrote:
I haven't had a chance to hear any of them for myself but am very curious how these products actually measure up. Is there some reason why they haven't been featured yet?

Very expensive drive-units, sold either raw or in cabinets from very small manufacturers who don't have enough retailers to qualify for a full review. We might spill some ink on a Feastrex-drivered speaker in Art's column, however.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile

POW_WOW's picture

Was the guy selling toothpaste?

GeorgeHolland's picture
I liked JohnnyR

He brought up some very valid points even if he was a bit brash.What I don't understand is why he never got any good answers.Anyhting relevant was brushed off and the subject changed or personal attackes. Not very professional.

John Atkinson's picture

GeorgeHolland wrote:
What I don't understand is why he never got any good answers.Anyhting relevant was brushed off and the subject changed or personal attacke.

Both Stephen Mejias and I took time to answer JohnnyR, without attacking him personally. He didn't like our responses and his posts became more insulting, suggesting, for example, that I was an alcoholic. I note that while you share his opinons, you refrained from condemning his abusive comments.

John Atkinson

Editor, Stereophile


GeorgeHolland's picture
Now now.I can read for myself

Now now.I can read for myself and so can others here. I don't need you telling me what you and Johnny R said. He brought up some very valid points and questions which were not answered by you or anyone. As far as claiming you were an alcoholic, perhaps he got that impression from your avater showing you drinking what? My theory is that he was banned because  a few sensitive types or just plain grouchy types didn't like his point of view. I am getting flack for discussing in a normal manner my point of view without insulting anyone , yet I get insults right off the bat. Strange way of making someone welcome. Is it "my way or the highway" around here?

JohnnyR's picture
That's How Atkinson Works............

........makes himself to be the victim after yadda yadda yadda of endless BS as to "why" he can't do cable and magic bowl tests, then still has an avatar showing him at a bar drinking. *shakes head* You would think his avatar would express his favorite thing to do............maybe it does?

Site Map / Direct Links