We Ask 10 Questions For High-End
During Enjoy the Music.com's very special 25th Anniversary we're asking various high-end audio manufacturers to answer the same ten questions. Their answers may surprise you! This month we're featuring Scott Bierfeldt, Founder of Verdant Audio. As part of their mission, Verdant products are all assembled in the USA and as many parts are manufactured or sourced from USA-based companies wherever possible. If that's not possible, then they look for Canadian or Western European suppliers. If that fails, then they look to the Far East. All Verdant composite cabinets are manufactured within Pennsylvania, with all bamboo cabinets and stands are manufactured in New Jersey. The cabinets are then assembled in Connecticut, with crossovers being assembled within Wisconsin.
Q. What is your first memory of falling in love with music?
A. My first memory was at maybe three or four years old. My
brother was playing different songs for me and I remembered hearing
"Working Man" from Rush. I am not sure that was the first moment I
loved music but that was the first moment I remember. I don't have memories
before liking Rush, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and AC/DC.
Q. How did you first get introduced to high-fidelity audio
A. I remember the first time I saw a higher end system. I was 10 and was in The Stereo Advantage in Buffalo while my mom was buying a VCR for my dad. I saw Carver separates driving infinity speakers. I though the meters and rack mounts were the coolest thing I had ever seen.
Q. What is your favorite piece of vintage hi-fi, and why?
A. Phase Linear 400 amplifier as it was a game changing amplifier that launched Bob Carver's career. I have always been fascinated by Bob Carver's innovations and have owned multiple pieces of his equipment through time.
Q. When did you decide to start a high-end audio company?
A. February 2018. I was on vacation in Nantucket with my wife.
It was our first trip away since our honeymoon and while we were there my wife
encouraged me to find something in audio. While we were there I had an idea to
do a 3D printed speaker. That concept failed but led me to the composite panels
I use to make my Blackthorn and Nightshade speakers (pictured).
Q. What, and when, was your company's first product?
A. The Nightshade 1 (pictured above) and Blackthorn 1 launched
at AXPONA last year. Technically speaking I completed the Blackthorn 1 first but
both products became consumer facing.
Q. What challenges did you face during those early years?
A. These are still my early years. I am not Sandy Gross or Laurence Dickie so starting a company from scratch with no history has been a challenge. Additionally, although I represent Art Audio who makes amazing gear, none of my products are inexpensive so it takes a leap of faith. The good news is, this is not my only source of income so I can be patient and am in this for the long haul and I figure I have about 25 years to turn this into a business I can retire on.
Q. How have your products evolved over the years?
A. We have added products that are a bit less expensive and are in Bamboo rather than composite cabinets. Bamboo is pricey but it is a fraction of the cost of the composites and since it is a natural wood, finishing is much less expensive. I can produce a pair of finished bamboo cabinets for less than it costs for an unfinished fiberglass cabinet.
Q. What is your company's most popular product(s)?
A. The Nightshade 1. It pairs well with solid-state amplification and the sound stage it produces is simply stunning and short of the Blackthorn, it delivers a clear step change in terms of detail.
Q. What is your next planned product offering and its'
A. Our plan is to introduce a Nightshade and Blackthorn floorstander. They will both be three way designs will each feature two eight inch drivers. These will launch at 2020 Capital Audiofest or 2021 AXPONA.
Q. What advancements do you speculate high-end audio will
offer ten years from now?
A. In terms of amplification, we will see far greater
sounding, energy efficient gear like we see from Bob Carver, Linear Tube Audio
and the myriad of Class Ds that are on the market. These are the sorts of
products that will engage a younger generation of consumers.
In terms of speakers, composites and other advanced materials will begin entering the mainstream as prices come down. I produce small quantities and have been able to produce the first carbon fiber cabinet speakers on the market under $10,000 and the first composite speaker of any sort under $5000. These advanced materials are so advantageous compared to MDF that the incremental cost will be quite justified when more products are available at higher but attainable prices.