MICHELL TURNTABLES FINDS A NEW HOME
Brands have always changed hands in the Australian distribution chain. A while back Focal jumped from Sydney based Audio Marketing, to New Zealand based N.A. Distributors, a move that was widely seen as a palace coup rather than a benign handover.
More recently Ortofon Denmark anointed Interdyn as its preferred distributor despite decades of representation by SpeakerBits.
And more lately, legacy speaker brand B&W announced it would take over Australian distribution from Convoy.
Friendly Fire? Not at all. Despite the rumour mongers the transition from Convoy to B&W is a highly professional arrangement leaving Convoy as the logictics and service provider for B&W in this country.
Nothing new about audio recycling in Australia except, this time around the brand that’s just moved house is Michell Engineering.
Which just in case you haven’t noticed is unarguably one of the planet’s most iconic turntable brands.
It was good enough for Steve Jobs shown here in 1982 with a Michell Gyrodeck.
The original Michell Transcriptor Turntable is still the stuff of many an audiophile’s wet dreams. So beautiful, it’s on permanent display in New York’s Museum of Fine Arts and other boutique museums in Paris and Germany.
And yes, the Michell Transcriptor had a cameo role in the Kubrick classic movie called A Clockwork Orange.
Michell Engineering has been building its turntables for about 40-years in its plant at scenic Borenhamwood in the Queen’s own country, England.
The range’s core currently comprises three turntables, the Gyrodec, Orbe and Technodec. But these are available in a number of configurations that makes the range much, much larger. Michell also makes the Technoarm, an external power supply for the turntables, a phono stage and a range of accessories.
Each model is an object of audio desire. Not only that, anyone that’s personally experienced a direct dealing with Michell for spare parts will tell you tahnt the overiding impression is one of old-school friendliness that’s deeply charming in these dog days of business.
Amber Technology handled Michell’s distribution in Australia for decades…and decades. So long, you would have thought it was a rusted on part of the inventory despite this company’s challenges. Not so apparently…
Radiance Audio Visual is the new national distributor, an outfit that has a heady portfolio of lust worthy audio brands including Chord Electronics, Acoustic Signature, Analysis Plus, Vicoustic, and Kharma speakers.
From all accounts and against the grain of how brand swaps usually go down in this country and elsewhere, the changeover has been bloodless.
Amber’s announcent of the changing arrangement is succinct. Particularly as it came from Steve Small, an Amber and industry veteran who has a deep affection for Michell:
I have just been advised that as of 1st July we will no longer be the distributor in Australia for Michell turntables.
The brand doesn’t really fit into our current product mix and we think that it is better to concentrate more on our “custom” brand portfolio going forward.
Radiance AV’s Chris Strom was also full of praise for Amber:
I would like to compliment Amber on their service to the brand for so very long. As for us. We're of course very pleased to carry on Steve's legacy.
The handover of Michell to Radiance AV will be consummated officially on July 1. A handover that marks another phase in the history of the Australian audio industry.
One of the veterans of the Australian HiFi industry, if there's a speaker he's likely heard it or owned it at some point in his career. Peter was formerly the audio-video editor of the Herald Sun for over two decades.
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