One week before Christmas 2016 i took the chance to visit the AVID HIFI factory in Huntington, UK. Four guys went by car from Germany - Martin Klaassen and Uwe Kuphal from IDC Klaassen Germany, Theo Wubbolts from the Netherlands and myself. I liked the idea of traveling to England in the winter with his car ferry - right now after the Brexit vote. So we started at 7 in the morning before sunrise with the car to reach the ferry on time. The crossing from Calais in France to Dover was quiet, and England received us enveloped in typical fog.
And still about two hours on English highway to Huntingdon which is a market town in Cambridgeshire - known as the birthplace of Oliver Cromwell and our goal of the trip - AVID HIFI headquarters manufacturing well known analogue turntables since 1995 and today already started producing electronics and loudspeakers too - already on the successful way to the complete supplier.
So what about the trip - yes of course there was a factory guide, we could enter everything, listen in the specific demo room the all AVID HIFI setup - very convincing, watch the various CAD machines in factory hall, learned that almost every part is manufactured in house. And founder and ceo Conrad Mas is a great networker - using many top contacts in Cambridge area, a big pool of hifi knowledge enriched with mainstream high-tech. Famous University of Cambridge is only half an hour away.
The most interesting part of the visit was also an exhausting part. Conrad Mas talked about a few hours about practically every part, every detail of an AVID HIFI record player. There is a technical reason for everything - benefits and disadvantages of different solutions. In short Conrad's statement: "You can ask me everything - I've tried everything". He takes care for every detail and always keeps an eye on the whole - the right balance.
A brief summary of the technical background can be found here on the AVID HIFI website.
To complete the trip the obligatory group photo - seconds before our departure to catch the ferry to Europe again on time. We had luck - The wintry afternoon sun cast a warm light on the AVID HIFI factory.
Starting from left:
Theo Wubbolts, Quad-raad Netherlands
Martin Klaassen and Uwe Kuphal - IDC Klaassen Germany
Gary Cooper, Conrad Mas (CEO and founder), Stuart Stowe, Ian Godfrey, Simon Rae - all AVID HIFI team
Walter Kircher (myself)