Zeng Dejun, founder of the MUZEN brand, is also known as China’s “Father of Radio Amplifier”. As a forerunner of Hi Fi audio equipment and vacuum tube amplification researches, Zeng is also one of China’s leading designers of high-end stationary radio sets. Having pioneered in the field of audio engineering for nearly 40 years, he is a five-time receiver of the CES rewards in audio equipment designs in the US. Over the last 11 years, his MUZEN series of radios, an embodiment of both fine craftsmanship and unconventional creativity, has become a darling in the market.
Zeng Dejun firmly believes that radio culture is an immortal way of life and the MUZEN is the best vehicle for it. He wants to recreate an exemplary way through which to connect human and sound, which he finds in the revival of the unique sound and esthetics of the radio culture.
A determined radio fanatic
Van Gogh once declared: There is no madness that does not see beauty. In his brief life, Van Gogh painted the colors of loneliness and was madly in love with his surreal imaginations, blossoming ideas and distorted reality. He said, he saw the most beautiful and purist objects in the world.
In a way, Zeng Dejun is also a bold and stubborn mad artist. Since the first time he heard sounds coming from a radio at age seven, when he was connected to the outside world, radio has become an inseparable part of his life. He vowed to create his dream radio set with his own hands.
While still little, he built his own crystal radio receiver. The first radio set was bought with his part-time job savings when he was a student and is still part of his household collection nowadays. When serving in the military, he worked tirelessly to repair the regiment commander’s radio in order to be promoted from a private soldier to a military engineer, which embark him on a career with wireless technologies. In the early 90s, he moved south to start his business in Hi Fi and earned the title of “Father of China’s Amplifiers”. All this just sounds like a perfect story.
However, he made an astonishing decision: leaving the audio equipment’s and beginning to follow his radio dream. Since designing his first radio, the R601 in 2004, he has been developing a brand new model each year as a gift for himself, among them, the prototype of the MUZEN.
The birth of the MUZEN has been a long and arduous process. Zeng never gave up over more than a decade of repetitive modifications and tests, after countless failures and obstacles, facing tremendous loneliness and misunderstanding from others.
That’s because, Zeng sees pure love in radio sets and radio culture. He wants others to also see this unblemished sentiment and that sound of souls colliding.
In this sense, it is not at all exaggerating to call Zeng “stubborn and audacious”. After all, being unconventional and innovative is the core value of the MUZEN.
Just so that the sounds and sights of radio culture can be revived
In that isolated age, Zeng found a new world through radio. Call it love at first sight or fate, his love of radio is no less fierce than that of rock music fans for the pirate radio. They are all addicted to a world created by radio, a free, unfettered world full of imaginations.
Today with the impact of the Internet, radio no longer enjoys its place in the past. Zeng still believes, radio is an immortal way of life. It should not be forgotten by the masses. And the MUZEN radio is the best vehicle for this way of life.
His judgment is right. In 2015, when he launched the MUZEN crowd funding platform, it started a cult following, and became a star crowd funding project. New technologies may render old ones outmoded, but never that century-long culture associated with the radio.
“Through the MUZEN radio, we hope to recreate this classic way that connects human and sound, so as to revive the sounds and sights unique to radio culture.” This is Zeng Dejun’s dream, and also the dream of radio revivalism, and of opening up another great age of navigation in radio history.
This dream has only begun. At the end of the movie The Boat That Rocked (2009), the story has it that, by the summer of 1967, the golden age of pirate radio was gone, but great dreams will never end.