Q&A with Daniela Manger of Manger Audio

Q&A with Daniela Manger of Manger Audio

How did your interest in high-end audio begin?
I grew up with it, really. My father began developing the Manger sound transducer in the late Sixties.

What was your first high-end system? What year was this?
My first one was our Manger Sound System S05 (Discus), Denon pre- and power amp POA-3000 and a Technics deck with an SME pick-up and Denon pick-up system. If I remember correctly, the year was 1978.

What kind of education did you receive?
I studied electrical engineering, and joined the firm straight after graduating. For the first two years, I worked in production.

Was it always your plan to join the family business?
No. For a long time, I wasn’t too sure about the idea. It was only when a Swiss company offered me a job that I knew that I wanted to go into the family firm.

Your father recently passed on. What was some of his best advice?
I learned so much from him. He taught me to do things the unconventional way. He always said, “Nothing is impossible.”

How would you explain the difference between hi-fi and high end?
High fidelity is a general term for music reproduced as closely as possible to the original. High end raises the bar even further in the technology that goes into the equipment.

What interesting fact or aspect about Manger Audio might surprise audiophiles?
I think it would be the completely unspectacular, natural way the music is reproduced, without any technical artifice. As a customer once wrote: “I’m just reading what you write; it’s only advertising—but then when I listen to your speakers, it becomes reality.”

Are you surprised at the strength of analog two-channel playback?
No. Nowadays, with smartphones and computers so prominent in our daily lives, people are rediscovering the quiet pleasures of listening to music. To listen to a record, you have to consciously take the time. Also, masterings for vinyl are often much better than for digital formats.

Do you have a personal listening preference—analog or digital?
No; both are fantastic, if the recording and mastering quality is right.

Personal listening, headphones, etc., is increasingly popular. What does this mean for the high end?
I think it’s something we have to accept. Lifestyles have changed, especially for younger people. We need to get them excited about good music-listening. Since headphones came in, I’ve been seeing more and more young people at high-end trade shows. This is a great opportunity for us.

Women in audio, on both the consumer side and the professional/career side have been rare. Have you any thoughts on how to increase their involvement?
This is correct, even though nowadays more girls study physics and math. If you look at concertgoers, the percentage of female and male is approximately the same, but listening to music at home I think the ratio is about 10 to 1. So I began wondering why there are only a few female customers. Just a few weeks ago I had this discussion with a pro sound engineer, who is also involved in the high-end business. I asked him his opinion, why there are mainly men who sit down and listen to music at home. His frank answer was quite astonishing to me, but I think it is right: Listening to music is for most men a haven, where they can vent their feelings. This in combination with the interest in technology created the hi-fi business. I think if one produces smart demos, with good-looking products you could also reach women, but not at hi-fi shows.

Going forward, what are the greatest challenges facing the high-end industry?
Adapting to changing markets and responding to our customers’ needs. It’s about listening to music—that’s the essence.

Outside of audio, what do you do for fun?
Besides my work for the firm and bringing up a son, I enjoy a good meal with friends and quiet country walks.

What still inspires you about your work?
Knowing that I’m making a unique product that gives pleasure to music-lovers all over the world—and hearing from them that they have found what they were looking for. I am proud and happy to be carrying on my father’s life’s work.