Audioplan was founded in 1980 as an alternative high-end studio by my parents Volker and Renate Kühn. True to their chosen motto "It's the sound that counts", all products in the range are selected comparatively in numerous listening sessions that often last for many hours. A good school of listening, concentration and endurance for me, son Thomas Kühn, who does accompany the company with interest and energy from the very beginning. A training that unfolds with the start of in-house developments and basic work on cable connections and audio power supply and which helps me today to overcome difficult hurdles in new developments.
At first arise, in 1981, the conception and experimental set-up of the first loudspeaker of my own, the Kontrast I. The motivation for this arose from the desire to transfer the superior sound quality of our reference loudspeaker of the time to a more affordable product. In 1982, a compact 2-way loudspeaker with high-quality drivers, a carefully tuned crossover with foil capacitors and air core inductors and an elaborate sandwich cabinet was launched. The loudspeaker, which is supplemented with specially developed stands for free placement, corresponds neither technically nor optically with a slender front and extended depth to the design common at the time. Typical in Germany at that time were flat and relatively wide three-way loudspeakers that could be integrated into the shelf or the wall unit in the living room.
The loudspeaker was successful, however, and became an early example of the design with narrow and rather deep cabinets that is still common today.
My father continues to experiment with various electronics and finally with different cables on the in-house reference system. Since none of the available cables borrowed from high-frequency and power-engeneering technology were satisfactory, they finally led to our own joint developments, which were patented in 1983.
At the same time, in our loudspeaker research, we encountered strange sound fluctuations which we were finally able to identify as power-line influences. Thus, the first mains filters for audio-use, the PowerPlants are created as early as 1982. At the same time we discover the recommended sequence of components in a power distribution strip and the influence of the electrical phase on sound. In this way, we are amongst the first companies to focus on audio-cables , but in the field of power supply we were a pioneer. Another important factor was added in the middle of the 80’s. The Sicomin platform brought acknowledgement of the major audio effects of mechanical vibrations on electronic components.
During this time, my father Volker`s visits to trade fairs gave rise to our import activities. Always striving to further improve the performance of our systems, we supplement our own products with amplifiers, turntables and CD players selected from the world market. In the course of expanding our activities, the first jobs are created at Audioplan in production and administration.
After completing my studies in telecommunication engineering, I increasingly concentrate on servicing the imported products and advanced development of the various in-house products. The different fields of technology complement each other: Knowledge from mechanical engeneering flows into the cables and ultimately leads to CRC technology. Knowledge from the mains sector flows into the crossover designs and vice versa, experience from the loudspeaker sector helps to advance the power products. My father, who takes care of production, sales, public relations and advertising, is always there as the most demanding critic, motivator and source of ideas. In the background is my mother, who takes care of the administrative duties.
Another event of the early phase has an important meaning for me, namely the first contact with a Jadis amplifier at a regional fair in southern Germany at the beginning of the 80s. Although I could only hear the JA80 for about 30 seconds (the salesman interrupted the demonstration) it was immediately clear to me that I wanted to own such an amplifier someday, that I wanted to represent this brand in Germany. In 1986, the distributorship became available and we obtained the distribution rights. Since then, a very close cooperation has developed, resulting in special models for the German, Austrian and Swiss markets.
Now that the origin of the basic areas of activity at Audioplan have been described the rest of the story is quickly told.
The following years are characterised by the further continuing development and consolidation of knowledge in the various fields of activity. Much is developed in long series of experiments, because measured values and auditory impressions correlate only with difficulty or not at all. Our own theories and working hypotheses are confirmed or disproved in these tests and the so important experience in all fields (mechanics, turntables, players, cables, electricity, tube technology) develops, which ultimately leads to new insights, materials and products until today.
The death of my mother Renate in 1993, after a long illness, was decisive and led to my taking on entrepreneurial responsibility, as I took over 49% of Audioplan in 1994. Exactly 10 years later, at the beginning of 2004, I agree with my father to take over the Audioplan company. Since then, I have personally led the company with the active support of my long-standing and experienced employees.
In addition to the claim to offer outstanding products in every price range, it is important for me to offer an overall concept in which the whole is more than the sum of the parts. The motivation for this is to express the beauty, truth and emotional content of the music.