A Fond Farewell To Our Friends
The opening page to any magazine should start on a positive note, but this month has been hard on the UK audio world, with the loss of three members of the audio business.
Many readers might not have heard of Eric Tuncliffe or Cecil 'Ces' Tibbetts, because they worked as reps for Audio Technica and Alphason, and Marantz respectively. Except at audio shows, they probably weren't the people you associate with the brands, but their work was pivotal in making these brands as important as they are in the UK. While my memories of Eric are more distant, I have distinct yet surprisingly vague memories of propping up a bar with Ces and others into the wee small hours, righting wrongs and waking guests!
The passing of Billy Woodman, however, will be more noticed by all. Founder and owner of ATC Loudspeaker Technology, Billy died at the end of July aged 76. He built the company over five decades to represent the pinnacle of performance in home and studio technology. Music in all its guises was his passion, and when not making high-performance loudspeakers (and more recently, electronics), he was a keen jazz pianist... and also enjoyed restoring vintage cars.
Billy leaves the company in the capable hands of his son Will Woodman and his friend Bob Polley in director roles.
While it's easy to look at the passing of this generation of audio enthusiasts and makers as the closing of the book of audio, that's a wrong way of looking at it. While many of us in the UK industry are saddened by the loss of people like Billy Woodman, Max Townshend and Stewart Tyler of ProAc, there is a distinct sense of batons being passed in all of these case. Audio will not die with the passing of these industry legends, and nor would any of them want to see that.
In most companies – not simply in audio – there are lines of succession in place. We all like to think of ourselves as both immortal and irreplaceable, but that's simply not the case. Unfortunately, the chattering classes view each change as the beginning of the end. As a sign of just how nonsensical this is, I remember sitting around a pub table as the death of Steve Jobs of Apple was announced. "That's it..." said one pundit, "Apple is toast!" I casually looked at the six of us sitting around that table, each one with an iPhone in our hands, and several with iPads to hand and said. "Yeah, riiiight!" Eleven years after Jobs' death, Apple is still steadfastly not toast!
Errata: Gremlins got into our computers last issue and messed with the prices of the EAT review. The 12" F-Note tonearm is £4,298 and £3,200 in satin black, and not £6,998 as listed in the review. In addition, the standard F-Note is £2,298, not £2,998. Our apologies for any confusion caused.