We Ask 10 Questions For High-End
During Enjoy the Music.com's very special 25th Anniversary we're asking various high-end audio manufacturers to answer the same ten questions. Their answers may surprise you! This month we're featuring Edwin Rynveld, Founder and Technical Director of Siltech and Crystal Cable. Unrestricted by conventions and norms, Siltech and Crystal Cable have been a pioneer in championing the importance of cables and connectors within overall sound quality. Over the last three decades, they have has redefined expectations for the highest quality cable technology and the audio performance they can deliver. Their mission is the same today as it was almost four decades ago: absolute musical accuracy.
Their goal is to create unique, high-end audio products that perfectly reproduce music to deliver an unparalleled listening experience to discerning audiophiles. It is this quest that keeps our pioneering spirit burning as brightly as it did the day they started. In the ultimate pursuit of perfect sound, Siltech and Crystal Cable takes a creative, innovative, and technological approach to design, development, and production. All of the company's products are meticulously researched,
skillfully engineered, and carefully crafted within their factory in the Netherlands.
Q. What is your first memory of falling in love with music?
A. My father playing classical guitar at home and playing his classical and jazz records.
Q. How did you first get introduced to high-fidelity audio gear?
A. Both my father (musician and engineer) and grandfather (navy radio officer) built amplifiers, loudspeakers, and televisions (from army surplus radar tubes) as a hobby. I still own their original collection of handpicked records. It includes the first stereo records from Shure, CBS and more. All are in pristine condition.
Q. What is your favorite piece of vintage hi-fi, and why?
A. The Philips Pagode loudspeaker from 1928. It was advertised as sounding indistinguishable from a real concert! Even in those days (92 years ago!), marketing was not any different compared to the bold statements made today! Lifelike sound is still our ultimate goal.
Q. When did you decide to start a high-end audio company?
A. At the age of 12, I started building a primitive three transistor amplifier to get some sound out of my father's old turntable. Without an oscilloscope, it was trial and error. After getting the hang of it, I increased the power of the amplifiers up to about 60 Watts. This power into a highly efficient, 12" Philips Dualcone led to spontaneous and frequent protests from the neighborhood!
I started building audio equipment of my own design during my high school and university years. After a 10-year career at larger corporations (Philips, Exxon), I started with a high-end audio manufacturing company, Transvalve, in 1981. In February 1983, I set up Audio Service together with a friend. Our specialty was designing electronics and modifying and repairing high-end hi-fi equipment. In those years, many designs were also made for other high-end companies, mainly preamps and amplifiers, both tube and solid-state.
Siltech was a customer for which Audio Service designed many Sphinx Projects, starting with the unique PJ16 hybrid tube MOSFET power amp, with the matching loudspeaker impedance ensuring a constant Class A performance from 2 to 8 Ohms. In 1985, Instrument Service started developing and modifying medical instruments and specialty electronics for Nalco, Siemens, and other companies. In 1992, I acquired the existing brands Siltech and Sphinx (1983) and gradually evolved them into the modern design and production company Siltech is known to be today. Sphinx was sold in 1995.
Q. What, and when, was your company's first product?
A. In 1981 for Transvalve, an ultra-low noise, tube only moving coil amp (two Philips SQ E288CC). Siltech's first cable (1983 to 1984) was the famous TIL (The Inevitable Link). A few years later came the FT-12 loudspeaker cable. The all-silver, flat ribbons with expanded Teflon received rave reviews worldwide and inspired many other audio companies to follow suit. In 1993, Siltech introduced the FTM-4 Gold, a unique Teflon insulated interconnect with flat, pure silver conductors and a solid 24k gold core. After this, many more unique constructions and developments followed.
Q. What challenges did you face during those early years?
A. Little sleep. More ideas than time.
Q. How have your products evolved over the years?
A. From the beginning, we strived for ultimate performance; quality first has been our aim for over 35 years now. By using the most advanced materials and techniques available, we've created a long history of highly valuable and durable products. This can be seen by the high status and resale value of even our oldest products. With technology advancing further and further, so does the quality of our products. This has helped us create our long-term and loyal customer base.
In 2004, a groundbreaking discovery enabled us to make very high-quality audio cables from an ultra-thin wire. This was the start of our second brand, Crystal Cable.
Over the years, the product portfolio has extended from cables to amplifiers and loudspeakers, which are all award-winning and highly recognized inside and outside of our industry. Examples are Siltech's iconic amplifier: the 1998 SEPA, an 80 Watt mono triode, Monoblock amp with silver-gold wiring, including the audio transformers. Its current value is higher than the original retail price. Or the Crystal Cable Arabesque Glass Master loudspeaker, the only COMSOL optimized, resonance-free, high-end loudspeaker with a cabinet made entirely out of glass.
Q. What is your company's most popular product(s)?
A. Siltech is most famous for its proprietary and ever-improving, high-purity silver and gold wires. The Classic Anniversary and Royal Signature series are extremely successful. We are also very proud of our Triple Crown flagship model, which is hailed by many audiophiles and reviewers alike as the best audio cable in the world.
Crystal Cable is famous for its 'small diameter, big sound' concept. The great sound of the ultra-thin Piccolo and Micro cables intrigued audiophiles from the beginning and made headlines in the audio loving society. The current Dream series are the world's first all-monocrystal silver cables. Crystal Cable's best-selling loudspeaker is the small, powerful, and beautiful sounding, low-distortion Minissimo.
Q. What is your next planned product offering and its' features?
A. This year, new cable models are expected to be added for both Siltech and Crystal Cable. New constructions and improved metallurgy will lead, yet again, to improved musical performance. Next in line will be an extension of our head-fi portfolio. Our brand-new Symphony loudspeaker will be accompanied by new electronic equipment as well, creating a full Siltech audio system.
Q. What advancements do you speculate high-end audio will offer ten years from now?
A. A more natural musical sound in actual living rooms.