Music for Eternity
by Dick Tan
On a recent visit to Kuala Lumpur during their Pacific Rim regional tour, Audio Research Corporation’s international sales team led by Managing Director of Sales, David E. Gordon and Export Sales Manager Jean Philippe Fontain met and spoke to a selected group of AV journalist of the legendary company’s design and product philosophy and the general direction high end audio is heading in today’s world of personal/portable audio, where convenience is more desirable than quality.
Gordon revealed that Audio Research which was founded in 1970 by William Z Johnson in the golden era of hi-fi remains one of the oldest continually operating manufacturer of high performance audio in America. And yes, all Audio Research products are still being made, by hand, in their Plymouth, Minnesota plant in the U.S.
According to Gordon, Johnson is considered by industry observers as one of the true originators of the concept of high-end audio as we know it today.
It was Johnson, said Gordon, who practically single handedly revived the vacuum tube amplifier design at a time when vacuum tube technology was considered outdated and fast giving way to the new emerging solid state device. Johnson considered vacuum tube design to be still markedly superior to solid state ones. Looking back and with the benefit of hindsight Johnson’s conviction, lonely as it must have been at that time, is thoroughly vindicated today as the superiority of vacuum tube is a widely acknowledged fact.
Gordon adds that it was Johnson’s firm believe in the vacuum tube that has provided Audio Research with enough technologies and sales fortitude to clock in almost 50 years of steady growth with a large network of top audio specialist retailers in North America, Europe, Asia and South America.
Today, Audio Research fields a wide range of high end audio electronics that include at least six pre-amps, 2 integrated amps, 2 power amps and 3 DAC.
Asked about the prospect of Audio Research prospering another 40 years Gordon explained that Audio Research’s policy have always been one that firmly put product design excellence ahead of profit.
“Audio Research vacuum tube amplifiers are designed not only for maximum performance but also maximum durability.
We still provide up-to-date services and parts for amplifiers that first rolled out our plant some 50 years ago.”
That in short is perhaps the best prognosis of the Audio Research Corporation. They are here to stay.
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