Interview with Akira Nagai of Bakoon

07.12.2011..

Question: What do you think about the hi-fi market and its future developments?

Akira Nagai: We do not believe that the hi-fi market size will grow considerably larger than now. However, we believe that the number of music lovers will increase constantly, and there will be so much more need of audio products. Among these people, we assume that there are few who understand if a sound is correct or just good. We think there must be more learning opportunities like hi-fi shows or audio events. Besides making better audio equipment and technology, it would be also necessary to develop better recording equipment and technology. Actually, it would be useless having good audio equipment to play recordings that sound mediocre.

 

Q: Are there any hi-fi products or designers that you really appreciate?

Nagai: The SATRI Circuit was developed by thinking outside of (or disregarding) conventional concepts and circuits of electrical engineering. Therefore, there was no other hi-fi product or manufacturer that we look at as a reference or inspiration. However, our past experience of making a precision measuring equipment helped a lot during all R&D processes.

 

 

Q: Speaking of Bakoon products: what is the primary focus during the design process?

Nagai: Our focus and goal can be summed in only one word “Precision”. We truly believe that all the music and recordings can only be achieved through more precise operating circuits. Nowadays, the level of circuitry precision is unmeasurable by the existing measuring equipment, so that we can check our circuitry precision only using computer simulations.

 

 

Q: Were you inspired by designs from the past in the development of SATRI circuitry?

: Were you inspired by designs from the past in the development of the SATRI circuitry?

Nagai: As said above, we have developed the SATRI Circuit without any conventional designs. Instead, our inspiration comes from a Japanese philosophy book called “hearing the time and space”. It had an interesting discussion of "How short of a time can a human sense?" between a musician and a philosopher, from which I realize the importance of time accuracy in music. The musician, Ryuchi Sakamoto, argued that human can sense even one millionth of a second, and I started to challenge myself in developing various circuits to achieve such great level of time accuracy.

 

Q: Speaking about the Bakoon SATRI Phono Preamplifier EQA-11, the object we are going to test, what are the main advantages and disadvantages if any, of the current gain?

Nagai: The output of the MC cartridges is originally in current, and its real sound and nature can only be heard through a phono preamplifier with input in current. Since the output in current of the MC cartridge is already very high due to its low impedance, our method can use directly its output in current to reach the S/N level between 130 dB and 150 dB. This is only due to our SATRI circuit, which, in fact, does not amplify any input, but only controls the current in a very precise way.

 

 

Q: Has Bakoon made any new product?

Nagai: Now that we have introduced our new compact line, we are focusing on the Reference D/A converter, on the phono preamplifier and on the power amplifiers. In addition, we are developing the SATRI series for the professional recording equipment, such as the SATRI Microphone and the SATRI Mixer.

 

Q: In the long term, to which direction is aimed Bakoon’s brand?

Nagai: We plan to strengthen our brand Bakoon on the international markets and, at the same time, to broaden our range of products. This is not limited to hi-fi but also to the equipment for professional recording.

 

Q: Do you think that, in the future, Bakoon will ever make electronics based on the use of vacuum tubes?

Nagai: We have various experience in the past (60s and 70s) with vacuum tubes. Since our focus is to get the highest precision, we believe that there is no benefit in the vacuum tubes. In fact, the precision level of the outputs highly depends on the physical size of the devices, so that the big vacuum tubes cannot match small transistors.

 

Q: One last question: What do you like most of Italy? (no pizza please...)

Nagai: One of my hobbies is making small accessories using beads. I love those Venezian beads, and I think the beads from the Ancient Rome are the most beautiful ones. I am a great fan of Italian culture, as I do love Federico Fellini’s films and the Italian’s canzone and opera. Not to mention the Italian restaurants!

 

by Giuseppe Castelli
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