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ANALYSIS: AUDIO DESIGN Home Entertainment


U got the look 24 Melco’s N100 and D100. Below the N10 45th-anniversary Champagne Gold.


Today’s turntables, hi-fi systems, speakers and even headphones certainly have their own unique style – many taking design inspiration from previous generations. Consumers are making bolder statements in their homes now, as Jack Cheeseman explores what this means in the world of home audio.


T


he technology behind our favourite home entertainment gadgets may point towards the future, but in some areas the look of them does anything but.


Some designs hit the sweet spot, so why


change them? From the Coca Cola bottle, to the Anglepoise desk lamp, and Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert’s road and motorway signage system for Britain’s roads… as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke… Retro styles certainly appeal to a buyer’s sense


of nostalgia – the first vinyl LP was introduced back in 1948, so by its nature vinyl and turntables are retro; if a look has worked for the last 75 years, it’s a fair bet that it’ll continue to do so for a good while yet. From its humble beginnings in 1946 in Paul W.


Klipsch’s tiny tin shed, Klipsch has offered authentic real-wood finishes and its founder’s original approach continues throughout the Klipsch lines, from the top-of-the-range Klipschorn AK6 flagship stereo loudspeakers, to The Fives powered stereo speakers, which come armed with Bluetooth and HDMI-Arc.


As Simon Powell, Operations Director at


Henley Audio, the UK distributor for Klipsch Audio, explains: “Many Klipsch buyers are returning customers, or even the (grand!)children of returning customers. Like diners at their favourite restaurant, they know what to expect – the menu may change, but the quality on offer remains class-leading and, crucially, perfectly to their taste.” It seems everything that is linked to the golden


age of hi-fi is popular nowadays. Knobs, texturised surfaces and genuine materials are highly demanded. For Sonus faber, natural materials, solid wood, leather and the peculiar ‘strings holders’ are all elements linked to the Italian lutherie tradition. According to Chief Design Officer, Livio Cucuzza, the brand’s style incorporates more material


diversity and, where possible, new technologies. “Even the design inspiration nowadays comes


from different areas like Italian speed boats, architecture and automotive,” he says. “Sonus faber means almost literally ‘Artisan of Sound’, so high-end craftsmanship is our credo, our inspiration, our skill. However, Mr Cucuzza is clear that while


consumers are more recently looking for timeless, genuine – “or call them classic”, he says – pieces, the company’s mission is not to be nostalgic. “Our Heritage models, for example, are not


replicas of the originals, but an evolution of them.” From speed boats to cars, Alan O’Rourke,


Managing Director of Ruark Audio, tells ERT about his lifelong passion for cars and how he takes design inspiration from dashboards and interior materials as well as exterior styling.


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