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Q&A with Udo Bessser of AVM

What ignited your interest in high-end audio?
My father exposed me to music by taking me to lots of classical concerts. Since he was also into hi-fi, we always had good systems at home. It was only a matter of time before I too got enthused about high-end audio, and later on made the hobby into my profession.

Did your interest come from the music side or the electronics side?
Music is the passion, electronics the education.

What was your first high-end system?
Hmm, I think I’d consider the Quad ESL-63 and amps my first high-end system. Darned expensive for me, and lots of room for improvement, too.

What year was this?
About 1981 or 1982.

What kind of education did you receive?
I studied electronics in Munich, and graduated with an MBA afterwards.

How would you explain the difference between hi-fi and high end?
I can only give my personal view of this. For me it is important to conserve the emotionality of the music. The few systems capable of doing this are the ones I would consider high end.

What interesting fact or aspect about AVM might surprise audiophiles?
Just what I described above. Preserving the emotions of music with our amps and front-end units is the art that makes AVM a high-end-system manufacturer. Translating and combining this into our all-in-one units is clearly a surprise for audiophiles.

Are you surprised at the strength of LP analog two-channel playback?

Will it continue?
I hope so.

Do you have a personal preference—analog or digital?

Personal listening, headphones, etc. are increasingly popular. What does this mean for the high end? 
High end in my eyes has never limited itself to one technology. Solid-state or tubes, analog or digital, active or passive speakers have never been contradictions for me. Thank God we have these choices, and let everyone choose what he likes best.

What are the greatest challenges facing the high-end industry?
Well, the biggest challenge I see is this industry’s suicidal tendencies—trying to kill itself with new formats hammered out at an ever faster pace that confuses customers and leaves no time for any format to mature. As for manufacturers, high-end companies are rather small, making them difficult to finance.

How do you envision the high-end system of the future?
Music and picture will be more and more available 24/7 and will play a greater part in our lives. Also, the quality of the reproduction will become more important. As the distribution of music and pictures is being dematerialized, high-end audio systems will have to deal with integration into modern homes, and this will give the industry a new perspective!

Outside of audio, what do you do for fun?
Well I do have a personal life, enjoying family and friends, concerts, and lots of sports.

What continues to inspire you about your work?
To strive to make things more perfect. The ambition to make our music reproduction instruments come closer and closer to the original is a never-ending challenge. Ultimately I just want to make the best system for myself, though, as a side effect, these systems are also for sale.

By Neil Gader


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