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Thread: Who are the most talented individuals working in the high end audio industry today?

  1. #1

    Who are the most talented individuals working in the high end audio industry today?

    My take:

    Designer: Jurgen Ries from MBL.

    Rationale: I am biased for multi-talented people, and this guy can design great speakers and amplification and digital.

    Writing: Valin from TAS.

    Rationale: Whereas the vast majority of writers are limited by a poverty of words to describe the experience that High End Audio really is - and fail miserably, Valin is able to cast a spell on his readers that makes them feel the realism and presence of real musicians conjured up by the gear he is writing about. It is really too bad for audio fans that his tastes are analytical/ "transparency to source", which greatly limits his productivity for many fans due to his gear selections. Yet I'm not sure if there is anyone even close in their ability to create this believability and shape the brand story that really helps sell the gear

    Business/ Sales/ Marketing: Tie between Alon Wolf and Paul McGowan.

    Rationale: Wolf because he has been able to capture the "best engineered speakers" segment of the hobby and McGowan because he is a great salesman/ marketer that has delivered excellent digital, amps, and preamp that is nearly world class at a fraction of the price of what others consider "best there is"

    Who do you guys choose? And Why?

  2. #2
    Excluding David Wilson since he has retired. But pretty much anything Wilson has released is a safe "speaker of the year" choice for the magazines. Sabrina just won that award in the latest stereophile.

  3. #3
    Member Addicted to Best! NorthStar's Avatar
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    This is an excellent subject. I don't know who are the best in this audio business and passion; that is only one of the reasons I subscribed here.
    Since I was a kid like all the other kids with a lightening bolt in their guts and brain for the passion towards music listening...roughly 95% of the entire world population, by my estimated guess, I've been pursuing my own musical path/journey. It is a very humble one, without prejudice and without boundaries.

    I think there are many dedicated audio/speaker designers who are absolutely involved @ 110% in their passion; these designers are the ones constantly improving with newer and better sounding designs; they are non-stop achievers, sound explorers.

    You mentioned Jonathin Valin as an audio writer; I too like his writing style. There are several good audio reviewers/writers.

    For audio business/sales/marketing department; several groups of people excel @ their jobs, even almost too much @ times.
    The best ones to me are the ones with the best pictures in&out, the best foundations based on scientific studies of acoustics, with supported measurements, details of all the ingredients; measuring microphones, exact room dimensions where the studies and listening tests took place, with furniture included, exact positioning, pictures to support, ...everything...all the audio components in the chain and their interconnections. The more real life info provided the more appreciation I have for their true passionate skills in marketing. This ain't just fancy words, this is real 'sparta', the tools we can best use for ourselves and provided by true audio business people @ the service of their customers first.

    The people who love listening to music have to eat too and provide for their families; a good audio salesman understand that and obliges to accommodate equally for all his customer's families and his own. Good audio business relationships no matter what financial classes we're in is important for the future of audiophile's generations. ...An equal respect to everyone.

    Audio music lovers, audio dealers, audio writers, audio mag publishers, audio salesmen, audio promoters, audio business people, audio showmen, audio distributors, artist musicians, performers, singers, audio addicts, audiophiles, audio eaters, gurus, audio classes, ultra extra high end, audio superiority in dedicated and specially acoustically treated rooms, audio values, audio decencies, audio extreme, audio deficiencies, audio efficiencies, audio normality, audio from this planet, audio from above in the sky and without limits, audio stuff and tweaks and beliefs and all that jazz; some of it, some of them are here and share their passions and tribulations.
    To me it's the totality of all these groups that makes us move the way we do.

    From 'Lucy' (2014 film); Morgan Freeman as the prof:

    Professor Norman

    • "One neuron, you're alive. Two neurons you're moving. And with movement, interesting things begin to happen.
    • The dolphin did not invent the sonar — it developed it, naturally. And this is the crucial part of our philosophical reflection we have today:
    can we therefore conclude that humans are more concerned with "having" than "being"?
    • If its habitat is not sufficiently favorable, or nurturing, the cell will choose immortality, in other words, self-sufficiency and self management. On the other hand, if the habitat is favorable, they will choose to reproduce — that way, when they die, they hand essential information and knowledge to the next cell, which hands it down to the next cell, and so on. Thus knowledge and learning are handed down, through time.
    • Its up to us to push the rules and laws, and go from evolution, to revolution."



    I choose life's balance, the totality of all people's groups; for the music that matters first.
    And because music matters I like to start with the music recordings performed by the artists and recorded by the recordist group of talented individuals, first.
    Last edited by NorthStar; 11-18-2016 at 11:47 AM. Reason: typos (couple) ... slight
    All the Very Best, - Bob --------- "And it stoned me to my soul" - Van Morrison --------- AudiophileAudition

  4. #4
    Addicted to Best! Rodney Gold's Avatar
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    Laurence dickie.. B&W matrix , nautilus , Vivid audio ...
    Roon/Tidal ..Squeezebox touch . Trinnov ST2 room correction...Twin Devialet D Premier amps , Vivid Audio Giya G1 Spirits .. fully treated room

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    Addicted to Best! DaveyF's Avatar
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    Laurence Dickie, Ken Stevens, Jeff Rowland, Alan Shaw, Yoav Geva, Vladamir Lamm...so many others.

  6. #6
    Nelson Pass...& I am an Aussie...

  7. #7
    Albert Von Schweikert.....he is constantly innovating and improving his line of speakers. He is not afraid of thinking outside the box. Anyone who has spent 5 minutes with him will realize what a true talent (and a nice man) he is.

  8. #8
    [WBF Founding Member] Addicted to Best! JackD201's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holli82 View Post
    Albert Von Schweikert.....he is constantly innovating and improving his line of speakers. He is not afraid of thinking outside the box. Anyone who has spent 5 minutes with him will realize what a true talent (and a nice man) he is.
    Agree. After the 44 and the 55, his successors ain't too shabby either.

    Obviously I think the designers I carry are all top notch or else I wouldn't be invested in them. Sushurin, Gencev, Nishikawa, Ho, Cossey, Thieb, Cornils, De Luca, Lavrencik all great to me in their respective fields. Here are some favorites with whom I have no affiliations. In no particular order...

    Kevin Hayes
    Nick Doshi
    Gary Koh
    Andrew Jones
    Herve Deletraz
    Paul Jayson
    Disclosure of Industry Participation

    Co-Founder and Managing Director PureSound PH - Exclusive Distributor (Philippines only) of Lamm, Von Schweikert Audio, CH Precision, Light Harmonic, Valvet, Townshend, Critical Mass Systems, EERA, KR Audio, Ambience SS, TechDAS, Master Built, Stromtank

  9. #9
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
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    Yoav Geva is definitely at or near the top
    Nelson Pass is obvious (and legendary in diy land) and considering he also has First Watt, is even more interesting/creative

    I would include Ken Shindo, but he passed a year ago.

  10. #10
    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member] FrantzM's Avatar
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    They are numerous..
    Some however have the notoriety and some actually are doing the hard works that advance the SOTA.. Too often unheralded and often unknown... A few of those unheralded but people who have had an incredible impact on the Industry... Will try to name a few of them, this list is far from exhaustive:

    David Berning... Never a me-too circuit. Most of the current darling circuits of current High-End Gears can be found in old text books... that includes very famous and successful brands of the Tube Variety. Not David Berning.
    Ralph Karsten of AtmaSphere Audio. Another innovative Designer who has espoused OTL in his amp designs. These are among the few OTL that don't go burst the second you trun them on and works with real-world speakers. He and I don't agree on many things but I can't fault him for the quality of his works.
    Jud Barber of Joule Electra. I am an SS person but these would be the only tubes amplifier I wouldn't care to won and they are OTL on top of that. GLorious sound, Little recognition. Can drive most speakers to unhealthy SPL levels... Again OTL amps
    Nelson Pass... Another great and innovative designer ... Being Human he made sure he erred violently with the Intelligent chip fiasco but got back to his roots of designing incredibly well made electronics at ... relatively sane prices. Still active in the DIY community.
    Thomas Colangelo who designed the original ML-3 amplifer. His designs were re-imagined by many other high power SS designers who became quite famous

    There many others but these people are among the Elite, IMHO... They came to mind first...

    For Speakers...
    Lawrence Dickie of course. His works are legendary.
    Andrew Jones can design anything from the $125 Pioneer Speakers and now Elac B series at less than $500 to the TAD Reference ... Knows his stuff inside out ...
    The late John Dunleavy and Peter Walker ... I know those passed away so not let me get back to the living great...
    Greg Timbers, responsible for so many great JBL Speakers Designs including the K2 and M9500...
    Earl Geddes one completely unknown Speaker and Acoustics Genius used to post here .. no longer
    An incredibly gifted and innovative speaker designer, Tom Danley, His designs are not unique for the sake of uniqueness but to address otherwise intractable problems.. Could one of these days produce a true high End speaker but for now too happy designing incredibly great sounding ... Sound Reinforcement speakers ... . Heard a Synergy based 2-CH and was astounded...
    Richard Vandersteen
    Jacques Mahul he of Focal JM Lab Fame. Designed many great speakers and Drivers ...
    Siegfried Linkwitz .. Great speaker designer and one of the Designer of the very famous Crossover designs found in most High End speakers

    The researchers

    Of course Floyd Toole ..
    The Harman Posse ( Devantier, Welti et al) 'nough said
    The aforementioned Earl Geddes and Siegfried Linkwitz
    James Johnston (JJ) ... who used to post here again not much

    There are many I have probably missed.

    To me greatness resides not in the commercial success but in the impact of a design or work in a given field ...

    "For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
    —Carl Sagan
    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction."
    — E. F. Schumacher
    (mis-attributed to A. Einstein)

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