This year, the US high-end hi-fi manufacturer Audio Research Corporation celebrates its 50th anniversary. However, it will no longer do so as part of the McIntosh Group, but as an independent company under the leadership of the newly formed TWS Enterprises LLC.
The Audio Research Corporation is one of the traditional hi-fi forges from the USA. This year the company from Maple Grove, founded in 1970 by Willian Z. Johnson, is celebrating its anniversary and has always been considered a proven specialist in hi-fi electronics, especially based on tube technology. Over the years, Audio Research Corporation has proven to be a very traditional company, driven solely by its own ideas rather than by the fast-moving trends in the market.
This was not much different when Audio Research Corporation became part of the McIntosh Group six years ago and found itself under the same roof as another US manufacturer and direct competitor, McIntosh Laboratory Inc. and the traditional Italian loudspeaker manufacturer Sonus Faber SPA.
Of course, this merger led to a number of changes, most notably the fact that, despite all claims to the contrary, many decisions were no longer made in Maple Grove near Minneapolis, but centrally by the group management. For example, the McIntosh Group’s newly formed Design Lab for Audio Research Corporation, located at Sonus Faber SPA in Italy, developed a new modern design language for Audio Research Corporation that, while incorporating tried and tested concepts, introduced entirely new elements. This also caused discussions within the group, as the introduction of such innovative approaches in Audio Research Corporation solutions rather than those from McIntosh Laboratory Inc. did not meet with great enthusiasm everywhere. Some also saw the tradition of Audio Research Corporation endangered.
But now everything is different anyway, because as it has now become known, Audio Research Corporation is no longer part of the McIntosh Group, the company was sold to TWS Enterpise LLC.
TWS Enterpise LLC. is a completely new company that is not part of a larger group, nor is there a financial investor behind it, as has been the case in recent years. TWS Enterprise LLC. is rather a company founded by Trent Suggs, solely in the course of the acquisition of Audio Research Corporation.
“It has been an honour and privilege to lead Audio Research for the past 3 years. It is with mixed emotions that we are selling Audio Research. It has been rewarding to work with the passionate team of audiophile enthusiasts and craftspeople that make Audio Research the most respected high-end valve electronics company in the world. Yet, I couldn’t be happier knowing that the brand will be under great leadership with Trent Suggs at the helm.”Jeff Poggi, Co-CEO McIntosh Group
Trent Suggs is no stranger to Audio Research Corporation, but is the former Sales Director North America. Suggs will take on two roles at Audio Research Corporation, one as President and the other as Sales Director North America. Brandon Lauer, a former employee of Audio Research Corporation, will also return to Audio Research Corporation as Director of International Sales and Director of Marketing. Dave Gordon will be responsible for the duties of Managing Director.
“I am extremely excited for this opportunity to be back as a part of Audio Research. As former North American Sales Director, I was able to build upon the excellence associated with this corporation. Jeff and the McIntosh Group have been instrumental during this process and to them many thanks. We look forward to our continued relationships with our valued partners for another 50 years. Being part of such an amazing organisation is truly an honour. Audio Research will continue our never-ending pursuit for excellence.”Trent Suggs, President Audio Research Corporation
Beyond that, however, the sale of Audio Research Corporation from McIntosh Group to TWS Enterprises LLC. is not expected to result in any further changes in personnel.
In future, production is also to take place at the traditional site in Maple Grove in the US state of Minnesota.
Getting to the point
McIntosh Group sells Audio Research Corporation to TWS Enterprises LLC, a headline that may come as a surprise, even though large acquisitions in recent years were not uncommon in the high-end hi-fi segment. But this sale is a bit different, because behind TWS Enterprises LLC. is not a big investor or any other big company, but a former employee of Audio Research Corporation, namely Trent Suggs.