interview with head of egglestonworks – jim thompson

Hi Jim,

1)    I understand that you are not the original founder of EgglestonWorks. Can you give us a bit of information on your own background, and how you ended up as head of EgglestonWorks?

This is true. EgglestonWorks started as a furniture company with its first products in audio being high-­‐end furniture that had speakers inside. It was quite interesting, but there was no demand for speakers that looked like furniture. I was recruited to help on the business side of the company as an accountant in 1996. My father owned a music instrument store, and as I child I spent many hours in the store playing and tinkering with amps, so I was not a stranger to HiFi. I was still in school at the time that I came to EgglestonWorks, and could not believe my luck in finding a company and an industry that fascinated me to such a degree. I devoured everything I could get my hands on as far as reading material on equipment, system set-­‐up and speaker design. During my first year at the company, the founder of the company decided to move to Los Angeles to work in the movie business. At that time, the company was run by myself and our production manager. The investor group in the company, sold me a percentage of the company and over the next 5 years I purchased the entire company.

2)    EgglestonWorks has a reputation as being a manufacturer of expensive high end loudspeakers. However with the introduction of the Diane and now the Isobel Signature, you are now offering some very affordable and attractive-­‐looking speakers. How do you manage to do this and still maintain the quality and “family sound” of Eggleston?

We believe in maintaining a consistent voicing of our products, so that a customer can get familiar with our brand and know what other models in the line will sound like based on any other model. We are able to do this by a consistent philosophy regarding crossover design, box construction and driver complement. WE look for components that are neutral but still musical. We want to recreate a realistic listening experience, but still a non-­‐fatigueing expereince that people can enjoy for many hours at a time.

3)    I notice that you favor using Dynaudio tweeters and Morel midrange/woofers in almost all your speakers. Is there is reason for this preference?

As I mentioned earlier, we prefer components that are nuetral and natural and easy to listen to. This applies to wire, crossover parts, cabinet material, and drivers. The drivers that we use fit our criteria for quality. The reason we use the same types of these in most models goes back to our goal of having a “house sound” that customers can get acquainted with and grow within our line from one model to the other almost seamlessly.

4)    What are the qualities that you aim to achieve when you design and manufacture any loudspeaker, and are there any factors that you feel allow your company to stand out from the mass of speaker manufacturers’ nowadays?

I have touched on most of our design goals already but one that helps us to stand out from other is our speakers’ ability to truthfully represent a piece of music while still being accurate. This is the main reason that our products are used in some of the most important mastering studios in the world. We are the montiors at GateWay Mastering Studios in the USA and at Wisseloord Studios in Holland. Mastering engineers see the value of and apprecaite the balance of accuracy and musicality, which is the ideal balance for any customer looking for the best view into a piece of music.

Also, our cabinets are quite special. Some aspects are a secret, but mainly we lay up two sheets of mdf with a propietary adhesive to all but eliminate cabinet resonance. This is very important for any high performance loudspeaker. There are a lot of cabinet deisgns on the market these days; I would put ours up against any other design without hesitation.

5) Eggleston speakers are generally known to require a certain amount of power and current from amplifiers in order to sound good. Do you agree with this opinion, or are there any models that are more ‘amplifier friendly’ in your current line-­‐up of speakers?

This used to be quite true though not as much as the reputation would have made you think. Our speakers in the past tended to be of average efficiency but very stable impedence. What this meant is that it took a moderate amount of power to drive them adequately but they could also handle huge amounts (almost unlimited) of wattage due to the quality of the circuits and drive units. The most recent models in the Signature series have improved efficiency. The Andra III for example is rated at 89 dB with an impedence that never drops below 5ohms making it very easy to drive. This is an aspect we have tried to employ in many other models.

6) Do you have any plans to introduce any new models or upgrade/update any of the current ones in the near future?

We are always working on something new or working on how to improve the current models. Quite often we will employ an improvement and not mention it. This is done as we try to make the best speaker we know how to make. Some thing that frustrates me as a customer is when a product is constantly coming up with a new release because of some small change. We only change a model when the improvements are on a scale large enough to garner the change. Usually anything new will be debuted at CES in January of each year with an announcement a month or so prior. So, for now, we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

7)    Where do you see your company headed in the future in order to stay relevant in an increasingly competitive market?

I believe there is a strong emphasis these days on design in terms of lifestyle products. We know how to make a speaker that sounds great and we have to maintain that aspect of course. But I see a trend where consumer opinion on outward appearance is becoming quite important. People are getting more critical of the industrial design aspect of audio products – especially speakers. For the most part, speakers are imposing pieces of furniture and finding a balance visually so that they organincally enhance the environment in which they are placed is more and more important.


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