Q&A with Nick Doshi of Doshi Audio

Tubed power amplifiers,
Tubed preamplifiers,
Q&A with Nick Doshi of Doshi Audio

What ignited your interest in the high end? Did it come from the music side or the electronics side?
Both, actually: I was fortunate to have music-loving parents who played instruments and immersed me in Eastern as well as Western Classical music. Growing up in a musical household sparked my interest in sound reproduction and inspired me to study audio electronics.

When did audio develop from a hobby to a career?
Audio has always been my profession, as well as my passion. In college, I prepared for a career in broadcast radio and television. I spent twenty years running a number of stations and developed my first two generations of high-end products while working in professional audio. In 2015, I devoted all of my energies to Doshi Audio.

What education did you receive?
My undergraduate degree is in Physics with post-graduate work in EE as well as RF transmitters and antenna systems. I also earned a degree in audio recording from the Institute of Audio Research.

How do you define the difference between hi-fi and high-end audio?
High-end audio is the experience of being intellectually and emotionally connected to a piece of music through the conduit of an audio system. If your system inspires you to listen for more than an hour at a time, it transcends hi-fi and becomes high end.

Analog or digital—do you have a preference and why?
No preference. I’ve heard amazing recordings in both formats. A competently designed piece of gear, installed in a thoughtfully designed system, should be able to present the best qualities of any format.

How would you describe your company philosophy?
Doshi Audio designs and manufactures components that provide the greatest possible connection to the original musical event. No single technology can deliver the best performance in every circumstance; rather, the Doshi design philosophy compels us to utilize whatever topology works best in a given application. For example, our line preamplifier employs a transformer-coupled volume control, our new stereo amplifier uses a JFET input and vacuum-tube output, while our soon-to-be-released headphone amplifier is pure solid-state.

What is the greatest misunderstanding people have about your components?
Our name sounds Japanese (laughs). Seriously, consumers tend to think of us as a tube electronics company: a reasonable assumption given that most of our products employ vacuum-tube circuitry. Actually, we use whatever device provides the best performance, tubes or otherwise. By the way, Doshi is an Indian name, and I’m from Bombay!

What fact or aspect about Doshi Audio might surprise audiophiles?
That our home state of Virginia is one of the best places on earth to build audio gear. Our “Beltway” location provides access to a wealth of high-tech defense contractors. Various parts of our products are built in the same factories, to the same uncompromising standards, as state-of-the-art military hardware. When your subassemblies are responsible for the life and death of our soldiers, high-end audio is easy!

What’s the “trick” to being successful in the high-end audio business?
For Doshi, success comes from dedication, tenacity, and hard work. I think you need great empathy for your customers, which means you not only make the best-sounding products; you also ensure than those products fulfill every customer expectation: reliability, build-quality, user-friendliness, and aesthetics, as well as sonics. It’s also essential to find collaborators who share your philosophy. At Doshi, we work with craftsmen, sales and marketing professionals, and dealers who understand and share our mission.

What are the greatest challenges confronting the high end?
It is not enough to make great-sounding products. Today’s customer also demands a high level of control and connectivity. The sooner we develop open platforms that allow diverse manufacturers to work with each other with respect to control and user-interface offerings, the easier it will be for customers to embrace high-end audio.

What do you do for fun?
Running Doshi Audio consumes almost every waking moment; however, I love entertaining, cooking with friends, reading, and playing tennis…badly. Fortunately, my love affair with music is stronger than ever, so, except for family and friends, my career is also my greatest source of pleasure.