A brief but incomplete history of myself…
I have always been fascinated by both mechanical and electronic components from an early age. My interest in audio began in 1979 when my mother bought a complete Sansui audio system. The following year the very first CD player was introduced, and that was when I started reading audio magazines and began dreaming of being an audio designer. Most people told me that my dream was an impossible one. Oops… I guess “most people” were wrong.
In 1988 I opened Blue Circle Audio. It began as an audio repair business. I also took a part time job to in a local audio store to learn more about the retail side of the business. In 1989 I built the first amplifier that I had completely designed myself. In 1992 I built the BC1 – my first tube preamplifier, and the only one ever made. The BC1 cost too much money and took too much time to build to be commercially viable, but Blue Circle preamps were born.
In 1994, the BC3 preamplifier came into existence. The BC3 was the first official Blue Circle production model. A year later came the BC2 power amplifier, with its unique look and unique electrical design. At the time, the BC2 was the only power amplifier that featured a solid-state single ended output, and a 6SN7 tube input stage. The BC2 gave me the reputation of being unconventional or eccentric… possibly an iconoclast. The word “iconoclast” can be described a number of ways, but the one I like best is “A person who for whatever reason, simply sees things differently than other people do”. Guilty.
From 1994 to 2010, many production models – and quite a few custom pieces - of Blue Circle equipment were built. These were offered in traditional chassis. The most unconventional cosmetic feature was the use of hand rubbed solid wood front panels. It was my method of implementing artistic expression that would stay inside the accepted norms of the audio community. I started find ways to include more unique design features into the Blue Circle product, including the use of ABS pipe as a housing for components. That was too “out of the box” – literally - for some of the audiophile community, but the ABS-housed products were very popular because they were cost-effective and produced excellent musical results.
I had been building up a backlog of design ideas so in 2010 I decided to indulge myself and put a little more emphasis on their development. This began with the NSL power amplifier, a design that used 228 small signal op-amps and outputted 28 watts per channel into 8 ohms. 2012 brought to life the BC307, a parallel tube/solid-state line stage preamplifier. The BC307 had separate adjustable gain controls for the solid-state, 6SN7, and 6922 input stages allowing the user to mix the three for their personal needs. It was – and remains to be - a difficult concept for people to understand.
Many things have changed since 1988. I still spend much time every day trying to create better audio equipment. For me it is a pursuit that will never end. Starting in 2012, I began creating wearable art. Each piece is a one of a kind original work. I am also spending a lot more time learning to understand myself – that is a much newer occupation. Some might see my journey of self-awareness and active interest in visual art as distractions, but in fact the real effect has been to spark an even stronger desire to improve my audio designs.
As I have become more interested in art as a form of expression, some of my electronic equipment has also become a medium for my art. The Funky integrated amplifier is an example; you’ll see that on another page of this website. My most ambitious audio art project to this point is the AG2022, a test bed from which I have developed many of the production products available for purchase, and also a venue on which I can experiment with paint and silicone. Some of the artwork is decoration, some is structural, and some is functional. All of the elements are working together to create an audible result, and a visual statement. It took more than 6 months to reach this point of development with the AG2022, and most recently this amplifier/test bed has been used to explore the limits of power supply capacitance. To this point, a total of 37.75 Farads (or 37.75 million micro Farads) of capacitance has been reached. Since it doesn’t seem the ceiling has been reached yet, the next target will be 50 Farads (50 million micro Farads).
Society and culture have also evolved, and it is time to introduce Angela to the world. Angela has always been part of me, but only allowed to peek out on certain occasions. It is in fact Angela that has been the driving force behind the design of first Blue Circle, and now Angela Yeung– Gilbert Yeung audio equipment. You’ll know us when you see us – Angela wears uniquely customized clothing, Gilbert dresses in holey t-shirts and is the “mechanic” type. For now, the mix is about 85% Angela, 15% Gilbert. Since this transition has taken about 50 years to occur, Angela is owed her fair share of time.
In 2019 I closed Blue Circle Audio. There were a number of reasons behind the closure, but the biggest one was that I didn’t enjoy dealing with the public on a daily basis and needed to develop a new way of doing business. Frankly, I also needed a break and some time to work on my developing identity. But even though I closed Blue Circle Audio, I did not stop working to develop new ideas. As a result, the new Angela–Gilbert Yeung product line implements a number of design improvements.
As 2021 arrived, I once again became comfortable being in the public eye. Mike Woodcock of Absolute Sound in Chatham Ontario, and George Taylor of Entracte Audio in Markham Ontario will handle product-oriented communication. They are my buffer from the public, and can handle any enquiries that you may have. This allows me to spend my time doing what I love – either testing and designing components, or building products one piece at a time… the way I have always done it, and the way I always will.