My loaners from July's London CanJam event hadn't even landed yet when August's Hong Kong show already teased Shangri-La Junior with its very own dedicated valve amp. Displayed under glass, sonics still remained a well-guarded secret. The combo's $8'000 tag did not. Suddenly 'our' Shangri-La (had that suddenly been displaced to Senior aka old man status?) looked very long in the tooth. Dentist time?

To drill into this unexpected conjunction with its clashing timing; and down on a lot more about Senior's 300B amp which materially should represent ~80% of its tariff to be the primary decider; I contacted Fang again. He'd translate my questions into Chinese to pose to his team, then translate their answers back to me. Keeping up with these HifiMänner wasn't easy. But I very much enjoy such cross-cultural opportunities. It's one expression of the global village notion. It's also a bit of virtual traveling without visas and layovers. That certain things can get lost in translation is to be expected; especially when it's not so much crossing time zones and language barriers as it is different economic climates, new versus old money and a far more recent very vibrant hifi scene rather than the very mature tired saturated markets as are the case for much of the hifi West. Still, the pricing offset between the two electrostatic models sent mixed messages.

"This circuit is push/pull balanced, with a 45-second turn-on delay. Should one 300B fail, there won't be any noise. Only the output in that channel will be weaker. The choice of direct-heated triodes in general and the Full Music variant in particular was predicated upon superior sound. Just so, other 300B can be rolled. Bandwidth is 20kHz-50kHz ±1dB or 7kHz-120kHz ±10dB. S/N ratio is better than 95dB A-weighted, channel separation better than 80dB. THD is 0.1%/200V. Volume control is by relay-switched resistor matrix." That was the extent of our intel. Anyone looking for mentions of exotic coupling caps, power transformer specifics, gold-plated circuit boards, nude Vishay resistors, negative feedback, bias points and such will have to open one up and measure it. When the promised London CanJam loaner hadn't materialized by late September, I checked in with Fang. He apologized for having sold out their entire first production run. I'd have to wait until the second run would ship. Sold out? Not at all bad for a headphone set whose $50'000 price had generated much hate on the usual fora.
... to be continued ...

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