“Our audiorevolution” 18 The production floor at the company’s site in Kent.

Flying the flag for British manufacturing, award-winning Chord Electronics is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. To find out what’s new and how the team is celebrating, Jack Cheeseman paid them a visit.

C hord Electronics is a hi-fi company

that is proud of its British heritage; its products are produced at its site in a small village in Kent and shipped across the world. John Franks, Owner, Managing Director and

Chief Designer, started the business from his garage in 1989 after a successful career in the aviation industry. At the time, he advertised for local electronic assemblers to help with production and, at the age of 16, Matthew Bartlett turned up at the door looking for work; 30 years later and Mr Bartlett is now the company’s Manufacturing Director. Many years ago, Mr Franks moved the business to an old Victorian pump house building on the

side of the River Medway. “I didn’t want to go into some industrial shed,” he explains. “It’s got character here and I feel that really reflects the business; it’s a creative industry so having a space like this definitely helps. “And the Victorians were pretty good at what

they did in terms of industrial revolution, so we’ve kind of followed that sort of ethos – it’s our audio revolution!” Chord Electronics made its name creating

proprietary-technology amplifiers before adding proprietary DACs (digital-to-analogue converter), such as the multi-award-winning, portable Mojo and Hugo DAC/headphone amps and the DAVE DAC/pre/headphone amp. DACs now account for 60 per cent of the company’s business. But there have been some recent developments

and there are also a few new things in the pipeline, too…

Q: Firstly, let’s talk about what’s new. John Franks: About 18 months to two years ago we launched Poly, which is something that you can plug into one of our DAC/headphone amplifiers, which added streaming capability, and an SD card reader, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Everything is in there and when you plug it in it throws all the information up to your phone, so you don’t need a display on it, it can go in your pocket with a pair of headphones. Matthew Bartlett: But we continue to listen to the market and to our customers, so most recently we developed the Hugo 2, which is the next one on from the original Hugo device. Music streaming is such a big thing now and

the quality is getting better all the time, so to have products that can integrate streaming into Chord Electronics’ products consistently is really important.

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