Andy Duffield(left), with my KLIAV show buddy Lin, the Terenganu PMC Club President(right). Lin has a pair of the original PMC LB1 and hopes to grab the pair of LB1 Signature out of AV Designs showroom soon! Readers eyeing the LB1 Signature better hurry before Lin grabs em! I guarantee the LB1 Siganture is a special breed indeed.
Andy Duffield is Sales Manager for PMC speakers. He came to the KLIAV accompanying the latest PMC PB1i and Fact 8 speakers on demo/display.
I had the opportunity to sip a cuppa with Andy during the show and learn more about the man, the company and the products.
Panzer: Hi! you've been to Malaysia before?
Andy: No, actually this is my first visit to Asia, after KLIAV, I'll be doing the Hong Kong and Taiwan shows next month. Any other Asian hifi events that I should be aware of?
Panzer: You should really check out the Guangzhou AV show in China, which is probably held during the later part of the year. It's possibly the largest event catering to the AV markets in the region.
Andy: O.K. I'll check with our partners in Hong Kong about that.
Panzer: So how did you get in the business of selling hifi speakers?
Andy: I've been working on the professional side of PMC for a long time, probably 8 years or so, very recently Peter(Peter Thomas, PMC founder and chief designer) had ask me to help out on the consumer side of things and so, here I am!
Panzer: Care to explain the latest rational behind the i series speakers? By the way i stands for "improved"?
Andy: Yes, i is for "improved" indeed! The i series upgrades happened mainly because as we gear up to comply with the newly regulated RoHS program(for those whom do not know, RoHS is a set of strict environmentally friendly guidelines, which all electronics sold within EC must comply to) , effectively enforced within the EC this year. With that objective, Peter set out the re-evaluate every component in the speaker manufacturing line to ensure compliance. Whilst at it our previous driver supplier, Vifa had moved their manufacturing operation out of Europe, which makes it less convenient for them to supply us the drivers that are custom ed to meet PMC specs, which are subjected to very tight tolerances in specifications. So we looked around and found SEAS, which is a reputable speaker driver manufacturer of the highest quality in Europe. The i series tweeter are built by SEAS to meet our very exact specifications.
Panzer: Ahh......SEAS!, I know their drivers sonic character very well. They tend to sound very clean, articulate but at the same time so..... analytical too!, which is not what I'd like in my hifi sound reproduction. However, my brief experience with the PMC GB1i speakers in my own system revealed the sonic character of a different kind. The high frequencies were still articulate, detailed, clean, and if I may add somewhat a little sweet too, which is good.
Andy: Exactly!, we do not take just any standard, off the shelf SEAS driver and plonk them in to a PMC box, whilst the drivers cosmetically and physically look similar, some of the materials used, like the voice coil windings, and the dome fabric process is somewhat different from the standard SEAS drivers. Which explains the difference you've heard between the standard SEAS tweeter and a PMC spec SEAS manufactured tweeter. They are made differently and therefore will sound different!
Panzer: What sort of a L/R tolerance in decibel spec does PMC applies to it consumer speaker lines?
Andy: Our in coming QC procedure makes sure each and every component that goes in to our speakers are checked to ensure they meet very tight tolerances in the 1st place, like for example, all our capacitors are 10% and our resistors are 1% spec, for use in the speaker's crossovers. The drivers are matched to very close tolerances before final speaker assembly. Peter personally listens to every pair of speakers manufactured, compared to the final R&D approved test pair, before they are boxed and shipped out of the factory.
Panzer: I heard that Peter has a huge collection of all the British speakers ever made worthy of vintage status?
Andy: Not only that, Peter has a museum in the PMC factory that is a collection of every speaker model that PMC was ever manufactured! It's usually the last pair of the production line.
Panzer: So, what hifi system do you have at home?
Andy: I've been privileged to work at PMC, where we are allowed to take speakers and amps from the R&D for home trials and report our findings. I personally do have a pair of the original PMC GB1s at home. They are powered by an old integrated amplifier and sourced by a Linn turntable.
Panzer: No Bryston amps for your own system?(PMC distributes Bryston electronics in the UK, just in case our readers didn't know)
Andy: Ohh... that too, I get to bring back various Bryston gears back home to evaluate. So there's really no hurry for me to purchase one right away, but if I really wanna upgrade my home audio system, when my kids are a little more grown up, I'd certainly be going with Bryston amps.
Panzer: PMC uses Bryston amps in their powered monitors and speakers too right?
Andy: Well, yes, we do get amplifier modules from Bryston for our powered monitors and speakers. Peter then strips away all the un-necessary bits off the modules, like the protection and non-audio related circuits, and in the process, he usually beefs up the power supply section too! The end result really does sound very different from a standard Bryston amp. That's why we call them "Bryston by PMC" amplifiers.
Panzer: Why launch PMC LB1 Signature re-issued in Tiger Eye wood finish, so soon after the original LB1 model just ended it's run about a year or two ago?
Andy: I am not really sure about the details of LB1 model, it was discontinued as I took on my present position. However, I do know that the PMC LB1 has had a very long production history and in some markets like Hong Kong and Japan, we keep getting request for them still. In response, Peter has incorporated our latest improvements in to the LB1 and uses parts ultra tight tolerances, plus that special Tiger Eye wood finish which is unique, finally each pair is especially match for L/R chanels. Peter performs all the QC and signs off on every "Signature" speaker himself, hence the designation.
Panzer: Well, thanks for spending tea time with me.
Andy: It's very nice to have met you too.
With that I concluded my quick chat with Andy Duffield of PMC speakers UK. Thanks to James of AV designs, for making the arrangements possible.