Welcome to Linus’ interview series on Headfonia.com! Every couple of 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.
This week’s guest of honor is Calvin Lin, the main man behind Music Sanctuary and Project K.
HFN: Please tell us a little bit about yourself
CL: I am a hobbyist and enthusiast, and a huge fan of custom in-ear monitors in general. Got my first audiophile gear, the Sony MDR-E888 when it first released as a kid, and things just snowballed. Back in 2013, I found that there was a very high barrier of entry for someone to purchase a pair of custom in-ear monitors in Singapore, and after working with 2 different audio retailers in Singapore, I decided to start Music Sanctuary in 2015, to make custom in-ear monitors accessible to everyone.
HFN: What is Project K?
CL: Let me first talk about how the name Project K came about. This happened in 2016, when I was on a trip to Japan with a group of customer-friends that I knew from Music Sanctuary.
One of my close friends, Ed, took a different flight from the rest of us, and he was seated at the aisle, next to a cute looking high school Japanese girl. As he tried to steal some peeks at the girl, he noticed the girl’s mother, who was seated at the window seat, wide awake, and staring at him.
And he told us, he thought that girl’s mother was thinking, “Konoyaro……stop trying to peek at my precious daughter!”
And that is what the “K” means; Konoyaro; which translates to “ This Bastard”.
So Project K is a collaboration project management brand. We come up with ideas to create collaboration products amongst manufacturers in the industry, coming up with “bastard” products that is a birth from two different manufacturers in the field.
HFN: What is Project K‘s aim?
CL: Project K’s main goal is to bring different manufacturers together to collaborate, have fun, and make a product that truly represents what happens when the philosophies of the manufacturers come together.
HFN: What is Project K‘s sound philosophy?
CL: To have fun creating bastard products together with partnering manufacturers.
HFN: What is the Soundwriter?
CL: The Soundwriter is a product which we would consider as the “audiophile reference”; a custom in-ear monitor package that is an embodiment of technical performance and musicality in a single product. Our target for the Soundwriter was a pair of custom in-ear monitors that has industry leading technical performance, especially resolution and 3D imaging, but yet, brings to the table a sound signature that allows the user to keep listening and enjoying his/her music collection.
HFN: Will there be more models in cooperation with other manufacturers?
CL: Yes, we are in talks with several manufacturers, and Soundwriter is just a start to the Project K brand.
HFN: What are the big differences from 64‘s A18 to the Soundwriter?
CL: The Soundwriter doesn’t have the apex technology, and it features single crystal silver and single crystal copper litz internal wiring, and our specially selected “K” solder that is produced by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
HFN: What is the value of brand representation to you?
CL: What Project K means to me in value is the unlimited possibilities in the future of the products that we can bring to the market with our partners.
HFN: What‘s your opinion on streaming services?
CL: I think streaming services such as Spotify and Tidal are lifesavers to the everyday audiophile. I am a huge user of Tidal, and I use it to discover new music every week. I think moving forward, streaming services present the future of convenience to enjoy music.
HFN: What is the most innovative product you have come across in the past?
CL: I would say the most innovative product in personal audio I have ever come across is the iRiver H10. It was the music player that changed my perception of quality sound in a pocket friendly package.
HFN: How did you get into audio?
CL: I was given a pair of Sony MDR-E888 and D-EJ955 when I was 13 years old by my uncle, and it just went on from there on.
HFN: Where is portable audio going to be in five years?
CL: In five ears, I think two things will happen. The first thing is that custom fitted products will become more accessible than ever. I expect new players in the industry to offer a new technology to retrieve an accurate 3D image of users’ ears, and with additive manufacturing advancing faster than ever, custom fitted products will become more easily obtained.
The second thing I predict may happen is the dominance of wireless technology. Given how truly wireless in-ear monitors/earphones are performing today, it wouldn’t be surprising that truly wireless products is the direction forward.
HFN: What is your favourite DAP and headphone?
CL: It would be Project K Soundwriter and the K modded Sony WM1Z.
Thank you Calvin for letting us know a little more about Project K.
The Soundwriter will be featured in a review soon! So keep your eyes on Headfonia.