Aego

Aego logo
  • Acoustic Energy
  • 8709 Castle Park Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana 46256, USA
  • Official website
  • aslinfo@aslgroup.com
  • +1 317.849.7103
  • +1 317.841.4107

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General information [contribute]

Aego web site (December, 2003): The Aego Story - This is the story behind the most amazing miniature speaker system in the world... and how we, in our infinite wisdom, didn't want to have anything to do with it. It's also the story of our quest to introduce a new generation to the joys of "high-end" audio and how that task was interrupted by a mad Japanese engineer, an eccentric British speaker manufacturer, and a massive Malaysian conglomerate. Read on in the History section...

History[contribute]

Aego web site (December, 2003): The story behind the Aego, as told by Gary Warzin, president of Audiophile Systems.We have to admit, those of us here at Audiophile Systems never imagined that we'd be involved in a project like this. What started out as a simple quest to introduce a new generation to the thrills of high-performance audio has turned into a multi-national endeavor involving a Japanese engineer in Boston, a rather famous speaker manufacturer in Britain, and an 18-acre factory in Malaysia.

It all started in the fall of 1999. Audiophile Systems is an importer and distributor of high-performance audio components. Over the past 28 years we'd been reasonably successful in our own little niche, marketing high-end (read "expensive") audio components. Over the past several years we had begun to attack the market from a slightly different angle finding products that still offered true high-end performance, but did so at significantly more affordable prices.

The first of these new lines was Arcam, a line of British amplifiers and CD players. When our first US review appeared in Fi Magazine, they declared that Arcam offered "musically superior components at down to earth prices". This was followed by our acquisition of the US distribution for Acoustic Energy speakers, again a British company. The first AE product we introduced in the US was the Aegis One speaker. This time Stereophile magazine said, "If I hadn't known if costs just $299/pair when I first heard it, I would have estimated its price as at least twice that"

Buoyed by our success with these two lines, we quickly came to the conclusion that these products were just too good to keep hidden from "normal people." Through magazines like Stereophile we'd been successfully reaching dyed-in-the-wool middle-aged hi-fi nuts. But we noted that, when it came to exciting a younger generation, we were falling short.

Lots of reasons for that! When we were in college a good hi-fi system was always near the top of any students wish list. (That was in the late '60s.) Today, with computers, CD-Walkmen, portable mini-disc, MP3 players, etc. students have so many ways to play back music that a stand-alone hi-fi system isn't even showing up on their radar. And that's a real shame. A good hi-fi system can literally bring the music to life

So, we set about looking for some kind of angle. Some way to introduce this new audience to the joys of high-performance audio.

Unbeknownst to us, at the same time we were grappling with this issue, a slightly eccentric Japanese engineer named Shuji Yamamoto was slaving away on the solution to our problem in his basement workshop just outside Boston. Stop. Time to back up a little. You need to know this bit to appreciate how nicely all this falls into place in the end.

While Acoustic Energy is a British company, a number of years ago controlling interest was purchased by FPI (Formosa Prosonic Industries, a Malaysian company). Most of the original AE management team remains at the reigns, keeping the unique British character of the company alive and well. However, the merger provided AE with some interesting possibilities. FPI has an 18-acre factory in Malaysia and just this year opened a new factory in Mexico. They manufacture speakers for others under dozens of well known brand names, including Sony, JVC, Denon, Toshiba, Pioneer, Philips, Kenwood, Magnavox, RCA, Radio Shack, KLH, etc. In terms of the number of units produced, they are quite possibly the largest speaker manufacturer in the world

It was this economy of scale that enabled AE to produce a high-quality limited-production speaker like the Aegis One and sell it at prices competitive with mass-market products. It is also this size advantage that makes the Aego possible.

So, back to our story. The owner of FPI is a bit of an audiophile (which is why he bought AE in the first place!) Always looking for new opportunities, he came across Mr. Yamamoto and his miniature speaker project. Stunned by the performance, he immediately realized that this new technology, coupled with AE's existing expertise in designing ultra-high-performance mini-monitors for recording studio use, had enormous potential.

He rang-up (British for "phoned") the AE management team and suggested they might want to fly to Boston and investigate. The reaction at AE was less than enthusiastic. With a number of other projects underway, the last thing they needed was a "little toy speaker system". But, when the owner of the company suggests, you find yourself on a plane headed for Boston.

Much to their surprise, the speaker, even in its rather primitive condition, was capable of jaw-dropping performance. Upon their return to the UK, they phoned (American for rung-up) Audiophile Systems, ran through a quick description of the product, and suggested I make a trip to Boston.

Now, the last thing I was interested in was a "little toy speaker system". Fortunately AE didn't have any ownership interest in Audiophile Systems, so their suggestion remained just that a suggestion. Being quite quick on my feet, I immediately came up with a half-dozen reasons why it was impossible for me to visit Boston at the present time. So, they offered to fly Mr. Yamamoto out to meet up with us at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics show, which was only a month down the road. Not being quite as quick on my feet as I thought, I found myself locked into a meeting.

To make an already too-long story shorter we met, we heard the speaker, and we were amazed. This was the product that would allow us to reach that new audience.

That was nearly a year ago. Since then significant progress has been made in refining the design and pushing the performance even further. The end result the Aego 2 is an amazing speaker made possible by the dedication of Shuji Yamamoto, the design and engineering expertise of the team at AE, and the sheer production muscle of FPI.

The moral of this story: Even though you might have absolutely no interest in a "little toy loudspeaker", you might want to give this one a listen.

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