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[irony] Trust us: we are part of the audio industry! [/irony]

Some readers may be aware of the humble beginnings of ABCaudio, and for that matter our continuing very humble existence. For those who are unaware, we initially set up ABCaudio for one primary reason: to support Colin J. Wonfor after he was ousted in a really crappy way from Tellurium Q. The injustice of losing his work, his pension, his security, and of being whitewashed from his own company history after developing an award-winning range that the company success was founded upon - we found to be powerful motivation. This all occurred with the apparent blessing and even assistance off the HiFi press, something which they continue to enable to this day.

Colin J Wonfor designed Tellurium Q
Colin J. Wonfor with Geoff Merrigan and Simon Lomax @ Tellurium Q

Did Colin J. Wonfor co-found Tellurium Q? Was he really so integral to the company success, the brains behind the breakthrough product range? It is easy for us to say that he is, but in a blog post about trust, the irony would be just too much. Ok then, how about producing the patents behind the TQ cable system? We could even consider publishing original design drawings and specifications for TQ cables, although that feels like an unnecessary step when we just want to establish the facts. Take note of the dates, and the inventor, as stated on the patents:

Patents for Tellurium Q, invented by Colin J. Wonfor.

Colin J. Wonfor was an integral part of Tellurium Q but lost out. We present this as a fact.

The kind of unsavoury 'land-grab' we are describing is sadly far from isolated in the audio industry, or even uncommon. Colin had experienced such things before, and the British audio industry is evidently littered with engineers who have been chewed up and spat out by unscrupulous partners and investors. But hey! It is nothing personal, it is ‘just business’ we are told.

So that's alright then. (?) This is why ABCaudio are and will remain self-funding without loans, liabilities, shareholders, outside directors, and with no loss of control to anyone. We are about legacy for Colin, a remarkable engineer and a decent man who deserves better. This angle certainly strangles our opportunities for growth as simply funding the manufacture of EWA cables is enormously expensive. It is miraculous we are still here quite honestly, but it is nothing compared to how we started out. One day we will afford some advertising, and see if we can't get some reviews too (it is remarkable how difficult it is to get reviews without being a paid advertiser).

A slider gallery (above) containing a few awards and reviews of Colin J. Wonfor's work @ Tellurium Q.

Images from About Us / About EWA, found at ABCaudio.

Small beginnings: EWA & ABCaudio

In October 2018, with no way to find the thousands of pounds needed to finance a modest production run of popular EWA loudspeaker cables (and all the original EWA stock used up) it looked like the end of the road for the EWA cable system. A hairbrained idea was hatched, without real hope of success or any idea of how to follow through, and we tentatively asked the public at large if they might pre-order the LS-25 they were asking for and pay in advance to finance the production costs.

That idea proved a most surprising success, as many came forward and committed to pay in advance for EWA LS-25 to be manufactured, in exchange for a favourable discount. So, arrangements were made starting in October 2018, and the cables arrived from the final-stage manufacturer in late January 2019. I well remember managing the spreadsheet of pre-orders fastidiously and backing it up to multiple locations each day! I also recall the weight of the trust which our listeners honoured us with as ABCaudio staggered off the floor and started building a legacy for Colin, through ABCaudio.

Every person who paid for LS-25 and ABCaudio did receive their cable that February, a cable that was at that point completely unique in audio (Colin has developed his approach considerably since his early days at Tellurium Q). That initial production run was profitable even after funding our production costs, although once again the curse of the British audio industry struck: an early partner involved with ABCaudio and EWA made off with what later proved to be the lion’s share of the profits. With no expenses comparable to ABCaudio, many thousands of pounds were lost to us. When I think of what we might have done with that… or could do even now!

Moving out of the orbit of ABCaudio and EWA for a moment, there are many other instances where sad stories and ‘just business’ practices have resulted in misery. We might discuss the well-known and ultimately tragic account of late engineer and founder of Ariston Audio ‘Hamish’ Robertson, and his dispute with a famous audio company over the patent and use of a turntable bearing design. There are many other stories, even from Colin’s life. It is a common theme however, that the engineer seems to consistently come off worse. Does that seem fair to you?

Trust: What is it worth?

Anyway, what is point of this ramble other than a stressful stagger past the treacherous potholes on memory lane? Well, it is this, I guess: Some things are still built on trust. ABCaudio and EWA are built on a friendship that spans years and would be just as strong without business interests. In actual fact this friendship comes before business interests, because to re-appropriate ‘their’ phrase: “it is just business”. Well, most businessmen probably mean something different to us when they say that, but for us it means business should be kept firmly in its place.

At ABCaudio we also like to make friends with our listeners, our manufacturing partners, and those who simply get in touch with us out of curiosity. In an increasingly cynical world, the somewhat fetid audio industry is a murky place and jaded listeners like you are being promised all sorts of things in the promotion of nonsense and snake oil. Unfortunately, ABCaudio are sometimes seen as part of all that, and we want to suggest that this is not the case.

Every client has the option to listen to Colin’s work in their own system for a month following their purchase of an EWA cable, and has the option of a full refund if the cable does not work as well as hoped. And that does happen sometimes, because cables are part an interface between two components and those components can perform and interface unpredictably. A perfectly decent, even an outright perfect cable will not find a home in every system.

Samples of the current EWA range.

It is our hope that EWA and ABCaudio can be considered as worthy of some wary trust. The EWA cable system is truly an interesting exercise in engineering and invention, arguably over-engineering, but that is precisely the point: we are not free to speak too clearly about what we do because we cannot properly defend ourselves from imitation (or even the marketing) of much larger predatory companies. So while we may hint at what we do, we never say too much. We want to shout loudly about these designs, but what could we say without giving it all away?

So while we may not clearly explain all the benefits of the EWA cable system in the clearest terms, we do use flowery prose in an attempt to describe what you might hear. What we do ask of listeners is for people give us a chance, listen to an EWA cable for yourself. If you hear no difference, you will have saved a good deal of money and lost nothing. If you do hear a good result, your trust has been rewarded.

Trust is still a valuable commodity. We will always strive to look after yours.


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