ACOUSTIC REALITY APS: WHAT HAPPENED?

Fred Deighton reoplies ...

Company based in the town of Holstebro in the Midtjylland region of Denmark. Originally founded in 1996 when Peter Thomsen started to make tetrahedron shaped loudspeakers under the AV-Reality brand as a side business while he ran an electronics design business called MultiTec, but the AV-Reality name is simply taken from the driver units he used in his designs, the Scan-Speak Reality series. The company was incorporated in 1999 as AV-Reality ApS, started using the Acoustic Reality brand in 2000, in 2002 added digital amplifiers to the product line that are called “eAR” that are based on Bang & Olufsen Icepower modules and alongside that updated the loudspeakers into a new line called Acoustic Reality Tetra Series that optionally could be had in active versions (prior to this the speakers were simply called the “Tetrahedron speakers”).

It should be noted that the company had a slightly unusual business model, while it did have some distribution and also performed as an OEM, it primarily sold its products directly to end users via the Internet, which is a model more usually seen in bigger countries by companies that traditionally sold through mail order catalogues and usually offered high-value proposition to the punter by cutting out the middleman or at the least pretending to do so. Companies making high-end loudspeakers and selling direct however usually traded mostly locally and relied primarily on word of mouth and offering people the chance to test out the speakers in their homes, makes perfect sense in fairly well populated areas but not really in a provincial town a in a small but sparsely populated country like Denmark.

Selling expensive kit like this directly where people have to rely on written description and the evaluations and opinions of others rather than actual experience of the product themselves, requires the seller to get his products reviewed regularly either by established publications or by internet punters on forums and so on, and that really never happened outside of AR’s home land with the exception of the power amplifiers that got a couple of on-line reviews in 2003/4 and some forum reviews in Asia with some sales were generated by that, particularly in the latter area. The AR’s were after all expensive speakers, Tetra Series models were offered at 5000 to 60k USD in 2001

AV-Reality changed its name to Acoustic Reality ApS in around 2003, started to offer modifications to the Philips DVD963SA and announced a pre-amplifier design but it was not delivered until 2004, then simply called the “eAR Pre One” it was also available in a variant called “eAR Pre One Ultra” and with optional active crossovers and EQ. The company added high end speaker cables, interconnects and power cables to their line-up in 2004, that included silver wire interconnects, later that same year it added more amplifiers to the “eAR” line and introduced a multichannel DAC/amplifier combination called the “eAR USB Master” but it seems that this model was only sold for a limited time or not at all. The company announced a product called the “eAR Firewire Master” the same year that combined an 8 channel Firewire and S/PDIF capable DAC with room correction software for Windows PC’s and a line source pre-amplifier, it was delivered the year after under the “eAR Master One” name.

In 2005 they started shipping the “Diamond Line Source Speaker System”, a combination of a digital amplifier, point source speakers encapsulated in a panel of diamond glass and a pair of dynamic speakers to handle the bass frequencies. Acoustic Reality also entered the audio server market with a MS Windows based media centre and a CD/Hard drive music server. The company suffered some financial losses in early 2006 when they had a break-in and their main computer, a bunch of un-cashed checks and some high end audio equipment were stolen. Updated their cable line-up in early 2006 with some braded silver interconnects, added 2 firewire DAC/amplifier combos in the form of the “eAR Ciaccona” and “eAR Eroica”, and in addition changed the name of the Tera Series speakers to “Triangulo” and offered one model in a bundle with amplifiers as the “Reality 4D”.

Updated their logo in late 2006 and at the same time discontinued the media server offering although they continued to make the music server which was renamed simply “eAR Music” and opened up their first proper webshop around the same time. Updated the “eAR 1001-REF” amplifier and Master One DAC in 2007 and started shipping a new 2x 500w power amplifiers called “eAR 502-REF”, at the same time the company announced a new line of Linux based music servers and media centres called “eAR Music 3D” and “eYe Movie 3D” but it appears that these never shipped apart from a demonstration live-cd of the “eAR OS” which can be downloaded from here.

The company appeared to slow down after early 2008, most of their websites disappeared in the next couple of years and their shop went offline from time to time and the next thing we hear is that the company went bankrupt in February 2012, however Hr. Thomsen still has a homepage up and is as we understand it trying to revive the company but when this was written in the late spring of 2012 it was not clear if he was offering any support for older products.

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