Welcome to Linus’ new interview series on Headfonia.com! Every two weeks we will publish an interview with an insider of the audio industry. They will give us a little insight on how they started and what they are up to. We are thrilled to be able to share a little something with all of you.
We’re at number six of this little series and I am happy to welcome Eric Chong, Marketing Manager of Effect Audio to the Q ‘n A!
HFN: Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Effect Audio
EC: Hello there! I’m Eric from Effect Audio. I assume the role of Brand marketing at Effect Audio. I’ve been in the audio industry for the longest time, starting off in the retail segment of the trade. Before long, I found myself a place in a distribution firm dealing in head-fi gears and eventually my calling calls and here I am with branding & marketing management at Effect Audio.
I’m largely involved in the designing phase of products alongside EA Founder and Managing Director, Suyang as well as spearheading the marketing initiatives & representing EA at trade shows with the team at Effect Audio. We try to build and maintain an interlinked closely knitted web of friendship and comraderies between our business partners within the industry as well as our amazing distribution partners, and of course our users within the Head-Fi community. Both Suyang and my favourite part of the business is meeting with our partners and enthusiast during Trade shows/ Events and we greatly value the friendship forged during the course of business. We feel that that’s one of our major takeaways all these years in Effect Audio.
HFN: How did Effect Audio start?
EC: Effect Audio was started by Suyang himself when he was a budding audiophile enthusiast. It all started when his own UE Triple Fi 10 cable broke apart and refused to work. Stock cables are not only difficult to source at that point of time and was ridiculously expensive (at least that’s the case in Singapore). Suyang, who has a strong electrical engineering background with strong inclination for practical DIY works decided to source different wires all over and tried his hands at his very first IEM cable. He was then intrigued at how different wires produces a different sound – “Like EQ-ing”, he used to say. This peaked curiosity eventually led to him showing his earlier works to his closest friends and audiophile mates whom encouraged him to offer his works to the audiophiles at wide. Thus began Effect Audio’s first platform of sales – Ebay. Word spread and distributors came knocking. Before long, we propelled to where we are today.
HFN: Who are the people behind EA and what are their backgrounds?
EC: Effect Audio’s core team members is made up of very innovative people who has very strong hands-on capabilities or are veterans of the industry who can think out of the box when it comes to product designing, applications and operations. Every member of the core team were evaluated to possess a certain level of aptitude and adversity quotient before being brought on board. Suyang gave us enough confidence and empowerment to exercise our free thought and translate ideas into products and market movements. We dare to innovate and experiment with ideas that wouldn’t conform with the generic audiophile’s ideals and we learnt from our many failures and successes. Repeating these processes strengthened the team further and I believe this is a large part to how Effect Audio’s team has grown so strong.
HFN: What is it that got you into audio?
EC: Like many of the people I know, I first fell into the deep pits because of Ultimate Ears (Well done UE!). It was during the “Era of Beats Audio” and I was right in the market for a better performance earpiece and I chanced upon the revered UE SuperFi 5 Pro – I was blown away. I mean, how could you not, with such limited market offerings at the moment of time. Shortly thereafter, I began digging deeper and deeper into the bottomless pit called “Head-Fi Audiophile” and I found myself working for one of the most prominent Head-Fi retailers at the point of time – Jaben, which fostered my interest and passion of audiophile gears. I didn’t know then but that was a start of a very long career in Audio Industry.
HFN: What are your influences?
EC: Our main Influences and inspirations are not of companies or successful examples but of the interaction with consumers & friends within the industry/community. We value feedbacks and the seemingly random chats we often have with the community actually injected quite a lot of zest & brought a lot of inspiration to our work for both the company’s operation and our product line-up. We really do enjoy the chats with the Audiophile community as well as our users around the world on our messenger platforms and garnering feedbacks which kept us updated and helped us respond better & quicker to market needs and demand. So a BIG SHOUTOUT to the community for keeping us competitive and making us where we are today!
HFN: Cables are often declared as Placebo, do you have a simple explanation why they work?
EC: No doubt, I have an absolute belief in Cables and their effect on the audio setup; both within the HiFi & HeadFi industry. This strong belief instilled in me wasn’t due to my position in Effect Audio, a cable solutions company but due to my years of experience within the audio scene where I get to test out a myriad of cables in many different setups. I count myself very lucky to be able to explore and witness the evolution of the cable segment of the industry.
I think a lot of the misconceptions of cable effects being a “Placebo Effect” has a lot to do with how the industry started out. Back during the good old days, when “Head-Fi” / “Porta-Fi” is still green, cables like interconnects already made their presence known. However, due to the lack of research, knowledge and especially zero investment in the technological advancement of the field, most cables churned out are half-efforts at best. Many cables during that time was derived from using antenna cables, telephone cables, low quality electrical wires that is available in the market and doesn’t do much to audio reproduction. And those cables of the past do sell, not due to its quality but largely due to good salesmanship and community’s lack of education/information. As consumers start to gain more knowledge, they began to shun these cables as “Snake Oil” and they are indefinitely right to do so. However, the cables of the past should not be confused with the modern market offerings.
Fast forward today, I am confident both Effect Audio as well as our best competitors’ offerings are of a certain grade with design plans and considerations implemented during the craft of our products and they do offer a certain advantage one way or another. I urge the community to listen and try any cables of today with an open mind; you may not like the sound but I’m more than confident to endorse the fact that any cables from a reputable company will have an effect to the sound characteristics and quality. I continue to change the opinions of skeptics during trade shows and am more than happy to have a chat about cables in all dimensions. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to hit me up to chat!
HFN: What makes a good cable?
EC: Through years of experimenting and designing, We realised that there are a plethora of factors that comes into play when we delve into the makeup of a good sounding cable. “Materials”, “Purity”, “Shielding”, “Conductivity”, “Geometry”, “Plating”; just to name a few. Some of these elements are often in conflict with each other in theory and in ideology; For example, the usage of Gold is in conflict with “Conductivity”. However, this bring about the question “Does having the best ‘Conductivity’ equates to the best sounding Cable?” Often, it would not seem so or the cable industry would be a race for best conductivity much like the initial IEM’s driver game. Looking at it from another angle – “Does ‘Conductivity’ affects sound characteristics?” Our reply is yes; it most certainly does. Therein, Cable Manufacturers can only pick the elements that appeal to them and is important to its core value. For Effect Audio, the element that we build ourselves around is ‘Sound’ – The creation of different categories of sound, premium sound for different user needs.
Why exactly does gold bring to a cable’s sound? Follow the jump to find out!