Having reviewed high-end audio equipment for four years and counting, with two of them as Dagogo’s publisher, I have come to appreciate the incredibly transitory nature of the high-end audio marketplace, and that the key to a manufacturer’s success lies much in the competency of its U.S. distributor. The amount of work a distributor has to undertake to promote a new and worthy make can be mentally and physically intensive, and the distance Brian Ackerman of Aaudio Imports has gone to promote companies and their products was among the most well-conceived and thorough.
At first glance, his Aaudio Imports website (www.aaudioimports.com) would convince everyone easily that he only carries a few lines of very expensive products, with price points ranging from $60 to $325,000 within the Acapella company of products , or from $650 to $18,000 within Accustic Arts, or from $495 to $25,250 within Einstein, and from $25 to $2,700 within Isoclean.
But there is more than meets the eye where Brian’s methods are concerned.
Although he already has the Accustic Arts company providing system solutions from CD player to amplifiers, and from power strip to racks and cables, Brian anticipated diversifying demands from audiophiles. Hence, he also imports the Einstein range of tube/solid-state hybrid and OTL amplifications. And although Accustic Arts also makes their own reference loudspeakers, Brian decided that by enlisting products of a loudspeaker specialty company, he would greatly expand his capacity in addressing super-scrutinizing clienteles’ needs.
Hence the Acapella line of high-end loudspeakers.
Adding to the 3 heavyweight German companies, Brian further complimented his product offering with Audiotop, a Swiss accessory provider, and Isoclean, a Hong Kong power management specialist. On the latter, being a company from one of the most densely populated cities in the world, Isoclean’s solution to power insufficiencies could be interesting. Look for a Dagogo comprehensive review in the near future.
The mind-boggling extent to which Brian’s careful planning has been impacting his business is only surpassed by his seemingly superhuman energy. In reviewing the Accustic Arts CD player I, and then the Drive I & DAC I Mk3, and the Acapella La Campanella horn loudspeaker, I had met with Brian, these fine companies’ common U.S. Importer, on four occasions. The first 3 meetings took place at my home during his usual delivery excursions with his trusted 2005 Land Rover, and the most recent one was at his own residence in Southern California, about 440 miles away.
His quarterly northward excursions in his Land Rover to meet with prospective dealers are beyond what most distributors could/would do. Having driven over 2,200 miles in 5 days in his November 2005 trip, Brian signed up 5 dealers, made 3 presentations and spent two days demonstrating his equipment in my system. If you allow him, Brian will arrange your system happily and clean up the mess you’ve created in your own listening room.
But what he does for his prospective dealers are even more staggering. I witnessed his presentation at Blue Moon Audio of Oakland, CA, and he moved every crate and half a dozen full-size, Sterilite-like storage boxes from his Land Rover by himself from the parking lot into the elevator, then up to Kurt Heartsong’s showroom.
Each and every one of Brian’s equipment were in custom crates that provided stellar protection for his traveling needs, while adding substantial, unfortunate weight. In addition to unpacking and assembling all his equipment, Brian then reversed the steps at the end of the day from z to a. I have never felt so tired watching a man doing everything by himself in such orderly fashion, but I’m not surprised that his passion and professionalism has, in fact, secured allegiance and businesses from all dealers he visited.
At Blue Moon Audio (from Left to Right):
Isoclean PT-3030G II power transformers, Isoclean 803A filter
Einstein “The Final Cut Mk60” balanced OTL monoblocks
Einstein “The Tube” balanced tube preamp,
Accustic Arts Drive I CD transport, DAC I Mk3
Acapella and Isoclean cabling, Acapella isolation platforms
If you have read my review of the Acapella La Campanella horn speaker system, then you will know of the speaker’s sweeping supremacy in colossal tonal recreation of instruments. Brian knows that, at the same time acutely aware of the impossibility of conveying yet the superiority of the company’s upper models to me. So, he flew me to his Southern California home a few weeks’ ago just to experience the sound of the new, $48k High Violin Mk III; and I’ve recently been told by a visiting Fred Nadel of PureAudio.net, one of his dealers, that I’m not the only one.
My dear readers, rather than spoiling what I shall be telling you in a pending review, allow me in directing your attention to Brian’s interior décor. TAKE A LOOK AT THOSE SPEAKERS!
I had listened to the Violins last CES, and awarded the room my Editor’s Choice. But unless you have a direct experience with them, you won’t have an idea what a world’s difference the Acapella ion tweeter is from other tweeters, as well as the High Violin Mk III’s level of music reproduction over that of the La Campanella. The Ion tweeter draws power from AC outlets and charges itself fully for 20 seconds after turn-on by signal detection. A streak of purplish ray beams from within the ion tweeter. Our hobby doesn’t get much more exotic than this.
One would think with all the top-model cables and platforms being used in his system, Brian would be left with nothing to do and much ado about nothing.
On the contrary, during my visit to his Laguna Niguel residence, Brian spent substantial amount of time applying contact treatments with products from the aforementioned Audiotop, a Swiss purpose-specific liquid accessories provider which he also imports. The thoroughness to which Brian tackles his business is unmistakably present in his operating the playback system. Contact cleaning solutions, contact additives, cartridge cleaners, disk cleaners, stylus cleaners, record cleaners: all were applied religiously in front of my eyes. He wanted to be sure that his system has the most optimal environment in which to perform.
Undoubtedly, the remarkable commitment and drive that Brian Ackerman demonstrates is necessary to attaining specific goals he has set for his business. Inspiration and perspiration can truly achieve great results together.
Aaudio Imports listening room
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