Two Wellington men well known for their skill and experience in creating audio equipment have designed the ultimate home amplifier system from the finest materials.
Ross Stevens and technical director Gary Morrison have a combined track record of experience in audio design of 55 years.
Morrison was head designer at Plinius, responsible for creating the internationally admired sound quality the company's amplifiers produce. Stevens, a senior lecturer in industrial design at Victoria University's School of Design, has worked with other audio brands Perreaux and B&W as well as top designers such as Philippe Starck.
After more than two years' development time, they launched their company Pure Audio in July last year and began retailing products at companies such as Soundline on Thorndon Quay in January. With minimal buttons and lights and bells and whistles, the products are tailored to the passionate music buff.
At $16,000 a set, the amplifiers are for serious audiophiles: those who can tell you the difference between the version of Velvet Underground's I'm Waiting For My Man recorded in a Manhattan loft in July of 1965 or the take recorded at Specter Studios in April of 1966 within the first two seconds of the song.
Eighty per cent of the time it is a man who buys their products, Morrison says.
The quality of Pure Audio's sound is so refined that customers will get lost in it. When the Control Preamplifier is switched on, its lights come on but once music starts the lights go out, so that people focus on the sound.
"Like watching a movie, you get completely absorbed in a film and this is an aural thing but the same sort of experience – you get drawn right into it," Morrison said.
The products are designed and manufactured in Wellington. Each one has "handbuilt in Wellington, New Zealand" laser-engraved on the back.
The components used in the products are of the highest quality, with 5mm thick powder coated aluminium, stainless steel mesh and solid jeweller's grade silver wiring.
The early prototypes made at Victoria University were experiments in trying to profile cut a piece of sheet metal to form the amplifier's chassis and use all the pieces cut out elsewhere in the product to avoid waste.
"We're trying to achieve that classic less is more idea – but then you have to do everything really perfectly," Stevens said.
While it has sold a handful of the products to Wellington customers, much of Pure Audio's market is offshore.
Its products are stocked at specialist audio stores in France, Germany, Austria and Finland and the company is trying to break into the United States market. Morrison said he expected it to become profitable within this financial year.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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