March 2021

The Chord Electronics collection. “We don’t stand still,” he confides, “we’re

always looking at the next generation products and at the moment we are really concentrating on the face, the grille. To us it’s the personality of the product and we want to move away from just a cloth covered front. It’s an easy option. “We’ve always said we wanted products that

people would look at and know straight away what they were,” adds Mr O’Rourke.

Beloved icons Picking up the point about architecture, someone who notes the ‘shock’ of certain buildings in terms of historical design, including The Sydney Opera House, the Guggenheim and even Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house, is John Franks, Founder, Owner and Chief Designer at Chord Electronics. “All were considered a little too bold or

shocking before they became beloved icons,” he says. “A design must be good enough to be class-leading for many years to come. Its form must follow its function, doing its job exceedingly well. Then, even if its styling is slightly unusual to some people at first, they will eventually recognise its innate intrinsic value and its sense of good design so that it becomes iconic. “Design styling is close to my

heart. People are looking for that certain something that says, ‘yes’, that looks classically elegant or looks stylish and exciting, that feels comfortable in my hand or in my home.” Mr Franks believes that

when buying audio equipment, some people will want a system giving them plain Bauhaus simplicity or they may prefer the warming glow of an early vacuum tube (valve) style or a modern rework of this type of amplifier for the modern day. He adds: “Whatever they choose, people are

looking to make a firm statement about how they see themselves and how they show themselves to others.”

The world of turntables, especially to those

brought up on music streaming, can seem somewhat peculiar. The language used – bearings, belt-drives, cartridges, and resonance – reads more like a service report from your local car garage. Launching a turntable company in 1991,

slap bang in the middle of the CDs sales boom [global sales of the sliver discs surpassed one billion in 1992] may have seemed a bold move, but CEO of Pro-Ject Audio, Heinz Lichtenegger, stuck to his belief that turntables were the best way to enjoy music. “Pro-Ject Audio brings a dogged and

determined approach to not just relay a recording’s true sound, but to the company’s actual beginnings,” explains Mr Powell from distributor, Henley Audio. “Pro-Ject makes vinyl accessible, from Bluetooth-equipped decks to a plug and play spinner, everyone is welcomed. And from the company’s original Debut line to the latest version, the Debut Carbon EVO typifies Pro-Ject’s DNA.

Build quality is exemplary, looks are clean, operation is simple, and the EVO features its maker’s famous one-piece carbon fibre tonearm.”

Signature statements When it comes to statement designs, Meters Music definitely has a trademark feature – the moving

VU meters positioned on both sides of its range of headphones (see left). This hints towards the brand’s musical heritage with Ashdown Engineering, which manufactures guitar and bass amplifiers. And if ever there was a more famous mark of approval from happy customers, the company has supplied music stars such as Sir Paul McCartney, U2, the Foo Fighters, Biffy Clyro and System of a Down for over 25 years. “The signature design of the VU meters has

become instantly recognisable and gives the product a unique point of difference for Meters Music,” says the company’s Founder and MD, Mark Gooday. “With our new range, we have taken it a step further where you can now style the meters with your preferred backlight colour – from a full RGB sweep!” The design of these headphones certainly

showcases the brand’s musical legacy, and Mr Gooday says he wants the design to provide something special… “so that customers would feel they own something exclusive that could be customised to their preferred style.”

Less is more It could be argued that modernism, although a century old design movement, has only in the last couple of decades been embraced on a mass scale in home environments. Bright open- plan spaces adorned with understated, high quality materials and clean surfaces are becoming the theme by which many consumers live.


Left and middle: ProJect Audio’s Debut Carbon EVO. Right: The Lumina III from Sonus faber.

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