TWO YEARS LATER...
Since December 2018, there was not a single fresh word written for the Audiofreaks web site. Fact. Inexcusable, unacceptable and, above all, highly unprofessional. Multiple facts. Hence no 'explanations', 'excuses', or 'justification'. There are none. Instead, Audiofreaks is back. And back to stay. In a completely different and, hopefully, more interesting and useful manner. For all of you, who kept this small establishment going for well over 30 years and allowed it to remain at the very pinnacle of UK high-end audio distribution since 1987.
Last 2 years, most recent 10 months in particular, brought many changes upon human life on Planet Earth. In many ways, quite a few of, not terribly pleasant and welcome. Economy, markets, trends, generational inevitabilities, and lots more.
And then, as if it was not enough to have witnessed for years the virtual maintenance of, objectively. vanishing global economy and growth, Covid-19 landed on our doorsteps. It has already left a permanent mark on the mankind with its ghastly and, still flaring, capability of mass destruction.
Covid-19 will, sooner or later, be beaten, no question about it. Historically, global catastrophes of one kind or another, took quite a few years to reach their natural epilogue. One must believe and hope that the 21st century does offer creativity of the mind and associated infrastructures to bring this state of life to an end sooner than that. An ending which will, as a logical and known consequence, open the gates of (at least) several decades of prosperity.
A perfect sinewave is not an ideal waveform just in audio, you know.
What other news are on offer after such a long time? Well, first and foremost, this web site and its editorial pages will no longer be written along the "Royal We" principle as has become habitual over the years, even if the business entity in question had fewer members on board than one has fingers on a single hand. Audiofreaks does not need any such mystification of its 'grandeur' at all. Most of the international audio community already knows it has always been a very small family business. And, most of all, it has always been one single person acting as a frontman to be blamed or praised for any said or done act of anything.
Consequently, it will be I (me?) who will be communicating with all of you who may be kind enough to read what will be written. And it will be just me giving you good and bad news related to Audiofreaks' activities in the months and years to come. And it will be me who will try to make pages of this web site far more interesting than being just a product newsletter or a compendium of reviews Audiofreaks products that have had all over the media world.
I intend to write about anything and everything related to audio and music. It is my wish to make it not just a sufficiently interesting read, but to make all of you think about your own sets of audio and musical circumstances and all else related to our shared love of music and audio hardware. From now on, you are welcome to think of this web site as a "one way blog". I choose to make it "one way" not to avoid polemics, or difference of opinions. On the contrary, everyone is welcome to email their sentiments, views or opinions for serious consideration and further sharing. Nothing will be written to autocratically impose on anyone's experience, knowledge or stance. No, it will be offered simply as food for thought and be my modest attempt to contribute to our common area of enlightenment. Everyone is fully capable of truly loving music. And, equally so, we have all been born with a pair of ears. So, we ARE all able and have the preconditions to feel and hear. The rest is a matter of effort, perseverance and open mind. If I have failed to learn something after all my life in first hand contact with music, adding 45 years around audio into the pot, I most certainly never will.
I would like this web site to become as useful as possible and offer long lasting read of interest, rather than be just a simple PR and marketing platform. Time will, as always, tell.
I am told no one likes reading long internet pages. As this one has already been too long, a little bit more won't hurt much more, will it? In as few words as possible, here is what has happened in the life of Audiofreaks since 2 years ago. As an inevitable fact of life, nothing is forever (perhaps not even diamonds). Brand portfolio has shrunk somewhat for two main reasons: a) my age and, in minds of some manufacturers, a looming prospect of me riding off into the sunset, and b) lack of sales within a market that has been consistently shrinking for years. So, Kuzma turntables, tonearms and other LP playback associated apparel have jumped ship in September 2019, followed by the departure of Vienna Acoustics loudspeakers in September this year and Magnum Dynalab analogue and less analogue tuners just a few weeks ago. While the wonderfully made and sounding Austrian loudspeakers joined the portfolio relatively recently (days after the Brexit referendum in 2016, perhaps invisibly ominous ever since?), Kuzma was the very first brand Audiofreaks came into life with back in 1987, and MD was a member of the family for as long as 20 years. It is a known fact I have always been driven by emotions rather than reason, so it would be a lie to say that seeing such a rich history of wonderful moments, events and other achievements come to an end, did not make me sad. But, this is all part and parcel of Life and so it shall remain. Rather than reaching for the usual shallow words and idiomatic nonsense called "Best Wishes For The Future", I sincerely do hope they all stick around for years to come.
On the 'acquisition' side of things, I chose to enter the flimsy and, still very much misunderstood, world of music streaming by adding truly impressive Rockna Audio and Audiobyte brands from Romania into the flock this February. Both brands are children of Nicolae Jitariu, whose CV and credentials go much further back in time than the existence of his own brands' presence suggests. This year did not offer many opportunities towards a more serious market impact, but I think 2021 could be different for the better. In any case, my learning process about streaming and all that comes with it has become far more revealing and easier to absorb thanks to Rockna and Audiobyte being as accomplished as they are.
The very strong core of Audiofreaks brands (Cardas Audio, Zanden Audio Systems, Karan Acoustics, conrad-johnson and finite elemente - in no particular order) continued to secure the well-being of the company over the past 2 years. A number of new products from all brought not just lots of positive reflections within the UK and global audio press, but made a number of our long standing and new followers smiling, once engaged within their audio systems.
In order to close this act of reappearance in one and only way it should be done, allow me to mention three retail consultancy "brand names" that deserve highest praise and my total gratitude for their monumental efforts throughout my web site sabbatical. John Roberts of Midland Audio X-change has been one of the main pillars of Audiofreaks' retail activity for over 20 years. As ever, JR has been instrumental in these very difficult times and his effort brought many mutual rewards and good moments on a regular basis. Gary Penska of Analogue Seduction has been a long standing and, probably, due to his main nature of activity, somewhat "less visible", but no less crucial with his consistent support of selected brands and products. No less so, and the most recent addition to the family, I am delighted and very thankful to Vsevolod (Seva) Mikhailov, the alpha and omega of KJ West One (yes, the oldest and most renowned Central London quality audio store) for adopting Zanden Audio Systems and finite elemente products (so far) as their first adventure into the world of Audiofreaks audio-musical instruments. The full complement of Zanden components and a selection finite elemente audio furniture and accessories are with KJ on permanent display and demonstration since August. All we need is for the restrictions and lockdowns to be lifted...a most pleasing prospect for 2021 and beyond...
Audiofreaks is now also active on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter), the web shop has been alive and well throughout my hiatus off the web site, press and media coverage of all new products continued as ever, and many products were awarded accolades both in the UK and internationally.
Wishing you all the very best for Season's Holidays into 2021, please mind your health more than anything and do let me (or our retail consultants) know if there is anything we could jointly do to assist your thoughts, considerations or aspirations. The email address is the same, the office telephone number is the same. Only the person behind those means of communication is (at least) two years older than two years ago...perhaps for the better, who knows...
Happy New Year and God bless!!!!