Interviews

Gustavo Pires - Vicoustic

If we asked audiophiles which element of the stereo system is the most important in their opinion, most of them would definitely bet on speakers, an amplifier or a source, or - in some cases- on something like cables, power accessories, or anti-vibration pads. A large group will answer, however, that the room in which all this equipment works has the greatest impact on the final sound result. In a room with poor acoustics, even the most expensive and the most refined equipment will not be able to show even some of its capabilities, while in interiors adapted to listening to music, even inexpensive equipment should do well and give us a lot of pleasure. What to do to find ourselves in the latter group? There are, of course, many simple home methods to improve acoustics, but more and more people are choosing a "real" solution - the assembly of professional acoustic panels. There are many companies on the market offering specialized products for the adaptation of room acoustics - not only listening rooms, but also recording studios, concert and conference halls, offices, hotels, restaurants, and public facilities. One of them is Vicoustic. The Portuguese have long been providing audiophiles,…

Mads Klifoth - Audiovector

Audiovector is one of the companies whose career has clearly accelerated over the past few years. I first encountered Audiovector loudspeakers when I reviewed... the first generation of the Arcam Solo system back in 2005. In the box, I found tiny monitors named Alto, built by the Danes for Arcam. If someone told me then that Audiovector's loudspeakers would be part of my reference system, I would probably have told them to knock on their head. And not with a finger, but with something much harder and heavier. And yet, here we are! For some time, everything that has to do with this company seems to be operating at an accelerated pace Some say that it is thanks to the passion and commitment of Mads Klifoth.

David Nauber - Classé

The most recognizable brands in the world of audio equipment are usually the ones that can set trends and focus the attention of the audiophile community and sometimes shock with original ideas or products better and more expensive than anything we've seen before. However, there is a group of companies that do the same, often outperforming the achievements of famous brands, and directing their offer to dedicated music lovers. Classé is just such a manufacturer. The Canadian company has had to deal with many turbulences recently. It was acquired by a big corporation, and it showed the world three hi-end devices made in a completely different factory. It all sounds pretty weird, but when you look at the Delta series, it's hard not to smile. They are wonderful - beautiful, powerful, modern, and made in such a way that it is hard to improve anything in their design. That is why I decided to find out what is going on at Classé.

James Tanner - Bryston

Hi-end audio equipment is not only bought but also built by enthusiasts. Often those who used to be in a similar situation and developed their hobbies to such an extent that at some point they decided to build something of their own - better than what's offered in stores. The history of many companies involves a very important input from other people as well. Sometimes it is a friend who decided to help his colleague in developing a small, garage manufacture, sometimes an old lady who bequeathed a nice guy running a music store a huge sum of money, and sometimes a good accountant who can get one of the largest loudspeaker manufacturers out of debt. James Tanner is one of those characters. Perhaps a blind fate that brought James to the right place at the right time. It is known, however, that his contribution to the development of one of the most respected companies making both amateur and professional audio electronics was considerable, to say the least. Today he is Bryston's vice president, but who was he then? A friend of the family? An old lady? Accountant? Well, no. He was a firefighter.

Alex Munro - Q Acoustics

Q Acoustics has been a success right from the start. Its first products, the 1000 Series, shook up the UK loudspeaker industry, received unprecedented praise from reviewers worldwide and scooped prestigious awards. More awards followed with the release of the upgraded 1000i Series, and even more for the 2000 Series. However, not satisfied with merely designing conventional loudspeakers, Q Acoustics' design team introduced Q-AV - the world's first speakers to feature BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator) drive units, enabling for the first time, the whole family to hear perfect home cinema sound, wherever they sat within the room. The Sunday Times predicted that "some day all speaker systems will be like this".

Ken Ishiwata - Marantz

Ken Ishiwata is probably one of the most influential personalities in our industry. His engineering talent allowed him to design many great devices and modify Marantz's standard equipment. Amplifiers and CD players signed with his initials are very sought after, and regular models only go into production after gaining his approval. Born in Japan in 1947, Ken Ishiwata is also one of passionate music lovers who had a chance to experience almost every major technology and music format, from tube amps to streamers, from mono recordings to hi-res music files. Privately, he's a very original person who likes to share his passion with other music lovers.

Siegfried Amft - T+A

In a complex world of audio equipment it's now all about not just products and brands, but most importantly - the people who stand behind them. This applies to manufacturers as well as distributors or retailers. It seems that in the era of ubiquitous fakes, the authenticity driven by a true personality begins to matter more and more, becoming something unique and very desirable. Many new companies on the audio market have been established as a result of the agreement of several people who, in most extreme cases, know nothing about the hardware and music. It is easy to note, however, that the most respected and iconic brands have always been associated with real people whose philosophy works for years.

Manfred Diestertich & Dieter Kratochwil - Audio Physic

Audio Physic is one of those companies driven by consequence, consistency and obstinacy. It's not the world's biggest loudspeaker manufacturer, but every audiophile must have heard of it at some point. German speakers are often treated as a reference in terms of resolution, dynamics and soundstage, and not without reason. No loss of fine detail - the company's slogan - can be found not only on the front of every Audio Physic speaker, but also in its sound. Not long ago almost every model in the catalog was upgraded to "25" version to celebrate company's 25th anniversary. Another five years flew by and to honor these three decades of chasing perfection, the designers gave us something really special - Cardeas 30 Limited Jubilee Edition - which might actually be as perfect as it looks. Majestic floorstanders are limited to just 30 sets, and the first one just arrived at our listening studio. But first, we got a chance to meet its makers - Manfred Diestertich and Dieter Kratochwil.

Ray Kimber - Kimber Kable

Audiophile cable market may seem very complicated at first glance - hundreds of brands and products, and the only thing that seems to be connecting them all is the general purpose. However, among new companies and those whose products are now fashionable for some reason, there is a number of manufacturers who have their permanent place at the table. Audioquest, Nordost, Monster Cable, Cardas Audio, Van den Hul or Kimber Kable have largely created this market and continue to shape it to the greatest extent. In most cases, the whole philosophy of the company is linked with their founder, and therefore we were extremely happy to meet one of the legends of the cable world - Ray Kimber.

John Franks - Chord Electronics

Just as we were finishing the review of two DACs by Chord Electronics, we had an opportunity to meet the founder of the company and ask him some questions about the technology used in the latest devices and his idea of a perfect sound reproduction so to speak. John Franks is not a musician or self-taught electronical engineer as it often happens, but an avionics engineer who knows his trade very well. This job and everything that goes with it, has been translated into the world of high-end audio equipment. The company was founded in 1989 and since then it has been associated with technical innovation and brilliant design. Chord's sources and amplifiers are not only intriguing to look at, but also full of stuff you won't find anywhere else.