Music. Audio, I just wanted to get really good sound out of my albums.
There wasn’t one. We started with the Xerxes and the only option at the time was the Sondek and it was a nightmare because every time I wanted to use it I had to spend about two hours to set it up. In the end it just wasn’t worthwhile and it was much easier to make your own record player. This is what I did with the Oxygene, there just wasn’t any good looking Hi–Fi. You want it, you’ve got to do it yourself.
A passion for music, a passion for style and there’s a vision that I have for the future. This is the only thing that keeps people going I think. There’s still some creativity left in me, maybe another couple of years of innovation and when that runs out it runs out, but at the moment I see a lot that needs to be happening in the future. Both in terms of the innovation of new technology like the bluetooth module, I was the first one in the whole industry three years ago when we started working on Bluetooth for the Oxygene, we were the first one that brought aptX Bluethooth into the market. No one had it, including other non–audio devices, Samsung was the only smartphone that came out with aptX a couple of months after I put it in the Oxygene. Now I’ve got the K2 BT with aptX and these are products that make using Hi–Fi a pleasure, it gives you easy access to your music on your computer or your phone and it gives you great sound quality. We saw the future and I promise you, in the next two or three years everybody will have Bluetooth. This is what excites me, to think what’s required in the future and then just go for it.
The oxygene for example, some people had tried to do it before and they couldn’t pull it off, it just wasn’t good enough. You’ve got to pay attention to audio quality in these things, you can’t just have a good looking product. You’ve got to pay a lot of attention to build quality, you can come up with a fancy design that looks good, if it packs up after six month it doesn’t give results. We’re servicing products from 25, 30 years ago at the moment. I don’t want to support my products for one year and then say OK throw it away, so I’ve got to pay a lot of attention to how we build them and how we make them sound. Hence the Oxygene, which is a success but it was a big risk at the time.
What a question, it’s like having children. Which child are you most proud of? Every design is very individual, I have a lot of designers who work for me and I’ve got to get across to them what I see in the design and they’ve got to implement it. By the time a design comes out it becomes a cherished thing and everyone’s in love with it, when we are all 100% happy with the design it’s time for it to be put onto the market. All the designs we do are things that I’m very proud of.
The greatest satisfaction is when I see that other people also like what I like. I loved the Oxygene idea it took me hundreds of thousands of pounds and hundreds and hundreds of hours of work to get it to where it was. Then I put it on the market and if everybody turns their noses up it really is heartbreaking, but if everybody loves it and they put their money where there mouth is and they buy the thing it gives me great satisfaction. I know there are other people who look for the same things as me, I can relate to them. It’s like reading a book, one of the pleasures of reading a book is to know that another million people have read the same book and they’ve probably enjoyed it.
I enjoy most creating these designs, getting new ideas from simple ideas to concept and then make that concept into a manufacturable product and bring a product out that sounds really good. That’s one thing. The other thing that excites me is to meet my customers, retailers and distributors. Listening to a record is a passion that started me off in Roksan so it is something that I love to do. When you are striving for something that is probably bigger than you, I’m not saying that I’m trying to change the world or anything, but something that I want to see happen, you become very impatient. I don’t feel that I have the time to sit down for an hour or two, which gives me an absolute amount of pleasure, and listen to a record. After about ten minutes I feel that I’m dropping out, taking time off. Roksan started as a hobby, I am a complete geek in that sense, I’m an audiophile, to play with these gadgets is a pleasure.
In every decade you have a few iconic products. The Xerxes was an iconic product when it came out, I want to be remembered as a company that encompasses new ideas, new people and strives to reach excellence. I’ve had so many iconic products, do you remember the Hotcake speaker? They were 10 – 15 years ahead of their time, then I came up with the DP1 which is a complete classic and people are selling it for more than they ever paid for it. I came up with the Oxygene which is a very difficult product to make and it’s become a really really desired product. I’m proud of all these things but not for any single one of them. I’m proud of the bigger picture.
I have just come back from a very long tour of the far east and on the plane I listened to hours of Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder and the way they’ve crafted their music is so different, yet you see so much passion in both the words and music that they’ve created.
I have almost all of my systems, I’ve got one in each room. The main system is a Platinum preamp, four Caspian power amps, the Darius S1 speakers and the Xerxes 20 record player, and a Caspian CD player.
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