"We went to ten places and sold six amplifiers. (Laughs.) The Brazilian currency at present is actually overvalued. That means it’s about twice what it was a few years ago. One US dollar is 1.6 reals today. 7 years ago it used to be 3.5. That’s a huge difference. Back then it would have been really difficult to sell these amplifiers over so short a period. They would have cost more than 100'000 reals. Things in Brazil have gotten very expensive since. The Big Mac index of how expensive it is to live in a given society makes Brazil #2 in the world (the most expensive Big Mac in the world sells in Switzerland). So it’s no longer shocking for me to be in Switzerland. Seven years ago it would have been unthinkable. Now on average Switzerland is perhaps 20% more expensive but some things in Brazil cost more. It's no longer such a big jump. The US where I used to spend much of my time is far cheaper to live in right now than Brazil.


"But I’m no expert in macro economics. I’ll happily leave that to my son. He will graduate in economics next year. I think he’ll end up in academics. He loves the macro overview on complex global interactions. He doesn’t need to handle things by hand to make them happen in the physical realm as I do. He is more conceptual. I like to think of myself as basically someone who loves to make things. In order to build, you have to go up to the conceptual realm. But I must always bring it back down to something tangible and concrete. All the conceptual ideas I have relate directly to something I want to do. It’s not just to, you know, (laughs), dream or theorize for its own sake. I love to go very deep trying to get at the very roots of a problem but it must be related to something I want to do.

"In this case what I wanted to do required selling six pairs of amplifiers to finance the Swiss production. So that's what our team at Audiopax did. It was very practical. Two clients agreed not to take immediate delivery so I would have an extra pair on hand to work with. All of the pre-sold amps will get swapped for the final versions by the end of the year. Four customers get to use the Brazilian amps in the interim. Of course we sold them based on their sound but I must add that the story itself was part of the attraction. These customers were keenly aware that they weren’t merely acquiring an object for personal pleasure. They were actively sponsoring the creation of an exciting new Brazilian project. Rather than just invest upfront cash for a future return, they got something concrete and tangible right away. So we had four customers to deliver to; and two who agreed to wait. That’s how we financed the Swiss process. We also had commitments from various smaller parties who had promised and produced financial assistance which was very helpful along the way but in the end we were short some very serious six figures and had to make them up over a very short period of time. Munich now became a definite go where we would show something radically new and different. I returned to Switzerland to oversee progress there. While we hoped to be ready, we didn’t really expect it. We thus presented a Brazilian pair for the HighEnd 2011. Though we weren’t listed in the show guide because we had joined Audiostone well after the registration deadline, we still had a very good show. Next year we’ll be formally listed of course. Then we can do proper upfront marketing and send out invites to insure that important industry personnel is aware of what we’ll be demonstrating and where.


"Even so we collected some very favourable feedback. Stereotimes called us ‘Best of Show’, 6moons singled us out. Actually Stereotimes' Clement Perry had been very excited about our CES exhibit already. He wanted to visit us in Rio for a feature article. He also knew we’d be in Munich so he actively sought us out. To his dismay he now learnt that he'd have to visit Switzerland to cover the real news. He'd just been there to see Serge Schmidlin of Audio Consulting. He wasn't as keen to return as he was on discovering Brazil. (Chuckles.) He and his two collaborators were actually shocked by the sound. But they also paid attention and had previously heard us at the CES to have a useful yard stick for how we had advanced. Next year we'll need more people to pay such attention. Munich is too massive. Under such conditions attention spans are far too limited. If people don't already have you on their itinerary as a planned destination; and if the hallways are crowded to block your entrance just passing by; it’s all a hit and miss. Throngs of people move through the exhibits in a state of sensory overload. Nothing really clicks. To stand out and make an impression takes more than just excellent sound.


"But still we got quite a few mentions of ‘Best Sound of Show’ on forums and blogs in Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Holland and elsewhere in Europe. As to the major print magazines, if they noticed us, I think they adopted a wait-and-see attitude this year to perhaps play it safe. I’m not sure. As always, it takes time. After Munich, our team returned to Brazil while further progress was being made in Switzerland. Then a decision came due. If we were to build the entire amplifier with Swiss contract labour, it'd get outrageously expensive. I’m not talking very expensive. I'm talking obscenely so. Our fabricator pointed this out very quickly. So we opened up an Audiopax affiliate in Switzerland as a GmBH or Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung [limited liability company - Ed].


"We hired a person suggested by our contractor to provide all the necessary domestic support and to oversee the activities of our Swiss operation. The three big toroidal power transformers per channel will be sourced in Europe. They can duplicate my Brazilian originals to perfection. The output transformers and first circuit boards will come from Brazil while the potting of the transformers will happen in Switzerland. There will be a natural transition until bigger quantities will shift even mounted PCB manufacture to Europe. The vital output transformer will always remain under my control in Brazil however. They're the secret sauce to the whole recipe. Presently our Swiss outpost is scaled up to build production runs of 10 Maggiore pairs. That's 20 units, a very significant investment for us. The first six pair are pre-sold of course. Once the four Brazilian pre-production pairs are swapped out, they’ll become collector’s items. We'll reserve them for friends of Audiopax who really want a pair but can’t afford the final Swiss versions. Once those five originals have found homes, they’ll never be available again."