Audio and the UK… it goes hand in hand. And we experienced that again at QuadraSpire in England. With 0.0 expectation we enter the office in Hallatrow. An office on a site where there is also a bookshop is located… yeah. Why not. Once inside we see that founder and owner Eduard Spruit (Yes, a Dutchman) has set up quite a serious company in 25 years! Surprise!
QuadraSpire does everything in-house. From processing wood for the ‘levels’ to making its own screws. We’re serious. QuadraSpire makes its own screws. Because yes: if you’re going to work with bronze, the screws have to be bronze too. Otherwise that just doesn’t sound good. And here we come to the second point: everything for the sound.
Our eyes get bigger and bigger when Eduard Spruit and Alester Kells (Marketing & Design) talk about their product. They test the designs for sound and producibility even for the smallest details. One example is the grooves in the bamboo of the Qplus Advanced and Reference. These grooves aren’t the same. One’s smooth the other’s rough. This because… sound. Really… at that level…
But back to the design and production of their products. QuadraSpire produces hi-fi racks, pucks for under equipment, speaker stands, wall rackets and furniture for vinyl or CDs. They also do custom work for customers.
For the racks the British use a lot of bamboo. “The material sounds just great, is very strong and durable,” Kells says. “It’s not the easiest material to process, but we’re getting better at it.” In addition, Kells says that MDF sounds less good and is very unhealthy. The dust is terrible and the glue is not good for you. “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s phased out worldwide.” So Kells.
We also see that there is an upgrade from aluminium to bronze. “We’ve done a lot of tests with new materials for the Reference, for example. We tried titanium, aluminium, stainless steel and bronze. Bronze sounds by far the most natural,” says Kells. Aluminium comes close, he reports, but bronze gives just that little something extra that can be heard in vocal work and acoustic instruments. They now offer an upgrade for owners of QuadraSpire furniture. The Reference already has it by default.
QuadraSpire does the entire process from design to manufacture in-house. That’s possible because they have all the machines. There are two machines for woodworking and no less than five CNC machines for metalworking. One of the machines can even mill in two directions. This has advantages with complex designs. Although you have to be careful with programming, because one mistake and ‘boom’ everything goes wrong. Fortunately, they have a seasoned employee in house who both maintains the machines, as well as programming and even thinking along in the design. Those people are worth a lot.
Once the design has been approved in the prototype phase, production can begin. Basically there are three processes: wood processing and finishing, metal processing and finishing and packing and shipping.
The wood department therefore has two CNC machines that make the platforms to measure. Then a specialist must sand the whole thing to spec. That’s quite a delicate job with bamboo. If you are not carefull, you will go right through the wood. After smoothing, the platforms go to the paint department where it is sprayed neatly. In some cases, someone still has to polish it.
With metal, it’s an equivalent process. A tube – depending on the product, the diamater differs – enters the machine which turns it into a product: cone, puck, … And depending on the product, someone still has to finish it. Aluminium comes out of the machine pretty tight. Bronze must be finished by hand. Some products are still powder coated. That is done in the house, as well.
15.000 per year
We are of course curious to see how many products the British put away worldwide. “About 15,000,” Kells says. Japan is an important market, he says. America’s doing well, too. As if that’s relatively little when we look at Japan. “Japan is unprecedentedly critical. The advantage is that with this feedback we have taken our production quality to a higher level. And everyone benefits again. “So you see!
Photos Factory visit QuadraSpire