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Interview: Mike Sanders of Quicksilver Audio

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Mike Sanders, founder/chief engineer of Quicksilver Audio, has been in the audio industry since the 1981. Quicksilver Audio participated in the recent California Audio Show, partnering with the Sierra Nevada Audio Society, Bernhagen-Porter speakers, Syncopation (dealer, Stockton) and Genesis Advanced Technologies.

Known for his reclusiveness, Mike’s public appearance was anticipated by many of his loyal customers and I took the opportunity to interview him.

 

Q1: What do you think is the reason people like most about your amplifiers?

A: I think it is our reputation. People buy our products with the confidence that any problems that arise will be taken care of and that the product they buy will last a lifetime.

 

Q2: Do you have a competition that you admire the most, and why?

A: I have always liked Airtight because they seem to have a commitment to quality just like we do. Their products look very nice and are well made.

 

Q3: Suppose you were to begin donning your creations with extravagant exteriors, which will include the hiring of an industrial designer and outsourcing metal work, to what extent will that affect the costs of your products?

A: It would increase the prices quite a bit and I am sure we would sell more products, but I think our customers would rather buy a great sounding product at a very reasonable price.

 

Q4: How do you decide which tube to use for your most affordable design?

A: The tube has to be reliable, affordable and sound good. The EL84 is such a tube.

 

Q5: What do you think are the factors that drive people towards using tube amplification?

A: Most people want the best sound they can get and tubes bring you closer to the music, so even though there is a higher cost and more maintenance the end result is worth it to them.

 

Q6: What is the biggest misconception about tube amplification held by the naysayers?

A: I think the biggest misconception is that tubes can’t drive low impedances but transistor amps can. Actually, the reverse is true since tubes are transformer coupled and can drive any impedance the transformer is designed for. Transistors are coupled directly to the speaker and one pair of output devices can’t drive a low impedance so many devices must be paralleled which doesn’t sound good.

 

Q7: How have your designs changed throughout the decades?

A: No, my designs really haven’t changed much as there really isn’t anything new in tube technology. In the 50s tube technology was pretty well perfected and a lot can be learned by looking at the designs from the 50s.

Quicksilver Audio

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