- These were my eleven questions to Coin Audio.
- 1/ What may we learn about Steven Huang’s background and former career? I understand that much will be protected by non-disclosure agreements where prior OEM work is concerned. Still, even some more generic information would help to paint the picture. Is his engineering expertise specific to loudspeakers and drive units or includes also electronics?
- 2/ How did the collaboration with the Danish industrial design firm come about?
- 3/ Does Coin Audio today subcontract work for its own product or uses in-house facilities?
- 4/ The tweeter is referred to as an AMT yet the associated descriptions more suggest a ribbon. So is it a pleated diaphragm or flat?
- 5/ The mid/woofer is described as ceramic-coated, presumably over paper. Could we learn more about its special qualities?
- 6/ The crossover point is specified as 3kHz. What are the hi/lo-pass slopes?
- 7/ The -3dB point of 60Hz seems slightly high for the size of the box. Is this by design to instead raise the efficiency?
- 8/ The cutaway shows a thrice-folded short line. Does it operate like a conventional port of unusual length? If so, what is the tuning frequency?
- 9/ Do you have phase/impedance/amplitude plots?
- 10/ Can you provide photos of your facilities, reference system, production/assembly and so forth?
- 11/ Devialet-styled electronics are already shown on the Danish website. What can you tell us about future products?
“Steven has contributed across almost all of his career on the design and development of drivers/loudspeakers. Starting in his early twenties, his strong curiosity and endless passion to loudspeakers led him into this field to soon decide to make it his life’s work. He began what he himself calls ‘a very enjoyable journey’ into acoustic engineering. To exercise his enthusiasm, he established an operation providing loudspeaker OEM/ODM services. For the following 25 years, his knowledge and experience became well recognized and won him good business. Now in his early sixties and no longer running his own operation, Steven still thrives on sharing his knowledge and experience as an independent acoustic engineer. The projects with Coin Audio are just one of these accomplishments. Steven will remain our acoustics engineer for all of Coin Audio’s ongoing speaker development. He has already made us proud.”
“Just as he is our acoustic guy who plays the sound of Coin Audio, the DN Group virtually are our design team who created the look of Coin Audio. They have handled the design of our Mansion loudspeakers, our website and also theirs. The electronics renderings we showed in Munich were theirs, too. The DN Group shares our view on this being a family-audio brand and we will continue to work together for all future products under the Coin Audio umbrella. At Coin we run a tight small operation. Our role is to study the market, develop product concepts, leverage the best resources we can identify, then integrate and orchestrate all required efforts into product delivery. So yes, we subcontract all production just like Apple does. This business model allows us to adopt the best elements we can find with relatively small investments over the long run and it also provides us with high flexibility and many product options.”
“The AMT we use is just like others with its folded/pleated diaphragm. We simply hide its aluminium cover plate with a silver-metalized fabric called Saatifil Acoustex because the driver’s look otherwise didn’t suit the elegant form factor of our speakers. The ceramic coating over paper of the cone driver increases the stiffness and density of its surface to enrich the low-to-mid frequency bands and reduce distortion. The low-pass filter leg uses a 2nd-order slope, the high-pass leg a 3rd-order slope. The -3dB point is designed to be 48Hz and we were told by many that these speakers exceed our stated 60Hz. However, due to lack of a standardized test environment, we are more comfortable using the actual figures we measured. This may not be fair to Steven but we think people won’t complain if the speakers better their published specs. The Mansion Compact enclosure simulates a transmission line to enjoy the benefits of extended bass response and reduced resonance. Steven applied the concept to a shorter line whose tuning frequency is 38Hz. We do have performance graphs but don’t intend to emphasize and focus on tech specs and curves. The other thing is, we can’t find any standard test chamber in Taiwan so the curves are from our own near-field measurements which we don’t consider formal. We could still provide them if you think they are important for your review.”
“Because we operate in an unconventional fashion and subcontract production, we keep our in-house facilities as simple as possible. I am afraid that we thus do not have exciting or attractive photos to share. We do not intend to develop an independent line of electronics but do want to offer electronics that match our loudspeakers. The concept is to create a total package which includes the functions of music server, DAC, amplifier and loudspeakers for a complete family system that saves the hassles of matching gear on performance and design. Many of our customers are normal family folks. They are not audiophiles or hifi experts. All they expect is an easy-to-use system with good performance to enjoy their music on. Right now they suffer great confusion from too many options of brands, models and possible combinations. What we plan on doing is to have a simple quality solution for these customers. This is a new idea and we just started studying it in earnest before the Munich show, hence we do not have a time frame for this system yet. Our current focus remains on loudspeakers.”
Or as reader/dealer Fred Crane put it, “one of the few rooms I had time to ‘take in’ at the Newport show besides my own was Coin. They were showing with SOTM. It was really a tight room. There was nothing that pointed to Coin being a new company. I also thought the price/performance ratio was quite good. I suppose I bring it up because I haven’t had time to read The Moons of late. (13’000 miles in a car over 4 weeks, about halfway done.) It was like a warm blanket to pull up your pages and see you again, ahead of the curve. Good sound is alive and well and doesn’t require a mortgage.”