Alpha in 2017
So in 2016 we moved from the Oudeweg in Haarlem to the Nijverheidsweg in Haarlem. From a gigantic temp-office to Record Industry. At Record Industry we started with three rooms: a workspace, a listening room (then half of the room where now our listening room / cinema is located) and a storage room (now server room).
We did go back in space. From 150m2 to arount 100m2. But the spaces are more practical. The first period is mainly setting up, get the network running, getting the acoustics right and getting the stories and news online.
Now, we had all the stuff from the previous office. So in many cases it is a matter of ‘recycling’. However, the acoustics are substantially different in the new room. It’s taken a lot of measuring, trying, adjusting to get the acoustics in that room controlled / workable. In 2019 we have done some more interventions and in 2020 again. Each time the acoustics get a little bit better.
What was a particularly sad moment was the death of the Cimbali espresso machine. It has always been leaking. Your editor has tried everything, but it hasn’t changed. Well, not quite. It was leakproof at one point. However, the level gauge in the boiler didn’t work properly. Not even after replacing numerous sensors. Well: Italian temperament.
Measuring headphones is one of those things we keep trying and refining. Now measuring actually consists of a few things: the hardware – the test head, the microphone, microphone amplifier and source – and the software. The software we used before needed a rather complex loop, so several things could go wrong. Think about levelling the volume. We started working with Illusonic in 2017. We used the IAP-8 as a processor before, but a lot more can be done with that device. Think about measuring speakers… and headphones.
Now the Illusonic works flawlessly, as we know by now. But the test head could (could) be better. So we decide to take the next step. A custom-made head with a ‘real’ ear and a nice DPA microphone in it. Harriëtte is born. Soon it turns out that this test head works much better, although on-ear headphones are (and remain) a problem. Measuring over-ear models is fine.
We now have a professional set-up that can measure everything: over-ear, on-ear (not very reliable) and in-ear.
Investments and expansion
In 2018 we invested quite heavily in video, acoustics and other equipment. Including expansion of storage, a separate room for video (now again completely rebuild, but okay…), a measuring device for filters, a new camera for photos and video (Panasonic GH5 with Metabones and now an arsenal of lenses) …
Incidentally, these investments can only be made by another branch that has been built up over the years: B2B training in network architecture. At the time, that company was called Smart Living Academy. Now it has been renamed network.training. It has nothing to do with Alpha Audio, so let’s not go into it any further.
During this time we also did tests with the fiber network. That turned out to be a great success. If we are correct, a lot of readers are now working with this fiber-converter tweak. That is exactly what Alpha is about: help readers get better sound in a practical way!
It is not healthy to mix sales and editorial functions. In addition, sales takes far too much time and energy to ‘do it next to the job’. Fortunately, we run into Twan Huisman at IFA 2017. It clicks immediately. Thank goodness! Because it is extremely important that someone fits into a team and also finds the industry interesting. In short: he stayed on at Alpha.
Growth: more than 1,000,000 unique visitors
In 2017 Alpha Audio breaks through the barrier of 1,000,000 unique visitors. We measured 1.2 million unique visitors, which equates to 100,000 unique visitors per month. A magical limit.