From our archives: The amplifier designer hall of fame (part #4) – Antony Michaelson (again), Mark Levinson (again)

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Editor McCauley in conversation with Howard Popeck:

From that standpoint then, is Antony Michaelson a UK version of Mark Levinson?

Yes, possibly. Antony is a very unusual man and again is the sole occupant of a rare and special ‘box’. He’s very gifted in many ways and yes he’s an audio designer as well as being a powerhouse sales and marketing man. And he knows what live music should sound like when reproduced in the home.

I only know Mr. Levinson a bit and Antony a lot better.

Antony has his feet very firmly planted in commercial reality and Mark, err Mark … well somewhat less so it seems to me (HP gazes off into the distance). ML and Antony both know what live music should sound like. They're both musicians. Both of them understand both vintage analogue and modern digital recording techniques.

Any other similarities?

Oh probably yes, but that’s not really the point of this interview I guess. (HP yawns)

What I will say though is that neither of these two industry giants suffer fools gladly and nether of them feel they are in a popularity contest.

Does that contribute to their success?

Not sure. (Pause) Possibly. Probably does . . . yes.

How so?

Hmm. Well … this industry, in common with many others I guess has charlatans, the unrealistic, the weak-willed and more. Survival here, especially for new entrants is questionable. The point being that as a maker .....  in addition to being a visionary, being optimistic but not recklessly so, technical competent – as a minimum – and have the ability and wherewithal to fund the operation you have to keep your senses alert to, for example, those people who over-promise and under-deliver. Such people, be they intentionally slippery or are merely unrealistic are a menace.

I guess Mark has encountered all this and more, and he’s still around under the brand name Daniel Hertz. As for Antony, well I've seen him confront many obstacles that would defeat a lesser person. In fact obstacles that have defeated lesser mortals.

Do you like either of them?

Not really a relevant question. Apart from anything else, how well can I get to really know a person’s entire personality when I predominantly engaged with them commercially? Rhetorical of course because … I can’t.

So you respect them though?

Tricky word respect. Hard to define. I respect what they have achieved. I don’t know them well enough as people to properly apply the ambiguous word ‘respect’. That said ... anyone in this merciless industry who survives as long as these two and others deserves respect.

Continued on Monday

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