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Winston Ma

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  • Winston Ma

    Many of you here know and are dear friends of Winston. More people have known and have worked with Winston longer than I have.

    Fortunately for me, I live 10 min. away from Winston's house and had been seeing Winston almost monthly to talk about his passion and life - music - for the last several years.

    We had done a project together and had talked about doing more projects in releasing his originally recorded music on LPs and especially on tapes as recently as few months ago.

    Most of you are also aware he had been sick for the past five years. His dreaded disease was somewhat under control though. Winston had released the three LP set of Jazz At the Pawnshop and the marvelous DECCA project he had done with Michael Bishop of Five/Four Production for music and our own Larry Toy for the story after his initial surgery.

    Unfortunately, thing had turned for the worse recently. He was taken to an ER in March then had been moved to a local Hospice Care Facility in Redmond WA.

    Mariana, his wife, is a private person and didn't allow visitors. But I finally was able to visit Winston today. Sadly he is frail and not responsive being under medication. However, Mariana thought he could hear me and was responding to my voice. I talked to him - he needs to get well so that we can finish the Proprius Sings CD and the tapes.

    I know we will all go through the similar phase in our limited time on this earth someday, but it was still sad. I had heavy heart as I had to leave his bed side.
    Last edited by Ki Choi; 02-02-2023, 01:04 PM.

  • #2
    Oh my, so sad to hear. Wishing all the best for Winston.
    Kronos Sparta -> Trinity Phono -> Trinity Pre -> CH Precision A1 -> Magico S7s


    • #3
      Thanks for the update. Very, very sad. I have not seen Winston in a few years but had been getting sparse updates from David R.
      Best Regards,

      Jonathan Tinn
      Blue Light Audio
      darTZeel - Importer
      Evolution Acoustics - Co-Owner / Founder
      Playback Designs - Co-Founder
      Wave Kinetics - Co-Owner / Co-Founder
      Wave Kinetics Records - Co-Owner / Co-Founder


      • #4
        Ki-Thanks for the update and I'm truly sorry and hope he can recover.
        Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, Parasound JC5 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.


        • #5
          Very saddened to hear this, though i knew he had been struggling with ill-health for some time. I recognize how difficult this is for winston's family but also for friends like you Ki. Best wishes to you and Winston.


          • #6
            I am absolutely heart broken to hear the news. Winston touched the high-end audio community in just so many, many ways, both directly and indirectly. Quite a few people here know Winston very well and I am sure everyone is praying for a miracle!

            All I can say is that there's no one nicer in the high-end industry than Winston. Or more of a perfectionist than Winston. Winston's listening room was legendary. When you buy one of Winston's First Impression Music (FIM) LPs or CDs, you know you are getting the best product he could put out. No piece of software was ever released until Winston was happy with the sound and approved it.

            I've had dealing with Winston many times over the years, the first being the distributor of Ultimate Audio in Hong Kong almost 20 years ago.

            Then Winston also helped me out a while back when reviewing the Cable Research Labs. Originally starting out as Cable Research and later FIM cables, Winston steered me through the whole history of the cables as well as hooking me up with Brian Weitzel to get more information.

            It was Winston who got me into tape too. Many years ago at CES, I met Winston in the smoke filled exhibit halls of Las Vegas and he dragged me into his room saying you have to hear this Myles! What was it that I had to hear? It was The Tape Project's Arnold Overtures reel-to-reel tape! One listen was all it took to convince me to contact the guys at The Tape Project, get a machine and write my first article on reel-to-reel tape over eight years ago now. (It's been really fulfilling to see the tape renaissance grow from one company to eight years later 24 companies!) I only wish Winston could be around to see the fulfillment of the tape renaissance!
            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
            Senior Editor,

            -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
            -Goldmund Telos 440 and 1000 Nextgen mono amps
            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
            -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
            -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
            -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
            -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, vdh Colibri Master Signature, Mutech Hayabusa,
            -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
            -Assorted cables including Skogrand, Kubala-Sosna, Audience FrontRow; Audience FrontRow, Genesis Advanced Technologies , Goldmund and Ensemble Power Cords
            -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.3+ platforms.


            • #7
              I have worked with Winston for many years on his projects. We did about 25 albums together. He is the consummate professional and a perfectionist. It used to drive me up the wall, but I learned a lot from this man.
              On a trip we took to Japan, it was like he was my father, guiding me through unfamiliar territory.

              I was last with him in Nov/Dec of last year. We had a great afternoon together that I will cherish and hold in my heart for the rest of my life. I owe a lot to him, not only as a Professional, but as a mentor that treated others with great dignity and respect.

              We wish him well........


              • #8
                That's very sad news, Ki.
                Best to Mr. Ma.



                • #9
                  Very sad news.
                  System Gear


                  • #10
                    Ki, thank you for your message about Winston.

                    I first met Winston several years ago through our mutual friend Tim Marutani, who invited us to lunch together, although for me his reputation had preceded him. Winston, at that time told me about a potential project that Decca Records had wanted him to pursue - a book on the history of Decca classical with accompanying CD's, but for which he didn't have the time. He found out at that time about my interest in Decca. Several years later, in early 2103 Winston called me. He told me about his serious health issues and asked me whether I wanted to write the Decca book - it was now or never. I flew up to Seattle and spent two full days with him, not only discussing what became our shared vision of the book, but also the music that would be included, and many, many hours about his earlier life in Hong Kong and then how he started FIM and the evolution of the company into what I believe has become the producer of the finest quality redbook CD's made today. We also spent much time listening to his wonderful audio system.

                    WInston maintained his enthusiasm during the project, although his ability to communicate continued to deteriorate, as well as his normal quick thinking and recall, for which he would continually apologize. His various regular treatments would sap his strength. But his keen ears and goals of perfection continued in full force, as he handled the sound issues for the four CD's of the book, working with multi-Grammy winners Michael Bishop and Robert Friedrich of Five/Four productions - trusting his own ears above all. It was quite an experience for me, being a fly on the wall to the many back and forths, and even getting to hear the music in various stages of completion - being able to compare many of the selections to my own original vinyl versions.

                    Since the completion of the book in mid 2014, we have communicated by phone on a regular basis. He maintained a constant optimism, even talking about doing another book - Decca/Universal had suggested doing a similar book on Philips, after their positive response to the Decca book. However, it was not to be. Winston's health deteriorated these past few months and he no longer had the energy to communicate by phone.

                    Winston fits the term "sui generis" better than anyone I know.

                    Analog- VPIClassic3-3DArm,Lyra Skala+MiyajimaZeroMono, 2xAmpex ATR-102,Otari MX5050B2,Merrill Trident Master Tape Pre,Herron VTPH-2A
                    Dig Rip-Pyramix,IzotopeRX3Adv,Mykerinos,PacMicroModel2
                    Dig Play-mchNADAC, LampiHorizon, Roon, HQP, Oppo105
                    Electronics-Doshi Pre,CJ MET1mchPre, Cary2A3monoamps
                    Other-2x512Engineer/Marutani Symmetrical Power, AudioDiskVinylCleaner, Scott Rust Interconnects,


                    • #11
                      I never had the pleasure to meet the man. keep the anecdotes coming its uplifting and hopefully he can read them.


                      • #12
                        I'm sorry to hear of this, Ki. I've offered up a few prayers for Winston and his family.

                        Every day is a good day to play analog.
                        - 12" 33-1/3 RPM and/or 45 RPM vinyl
                        - 15ips and/or 30ips reel-to-reel tape
                        Every day is a good day for live music.
                        Every day is a good day to listen to music.
                        Industry Affiliation:
                        Senior Writer, The Absolute Sound