A good audio product is not just about good sound quality. During the 2-day CanJam Singapore 2019 held at Pan Pacific Singapore, we spoke to Andy Regan, President of MrSpeakers, and listened to some of his insights on the company and its products.
Good afternoon, Andy! You have been in the audio industry for decades. You were with JH Audio for 8 years, then as a consultant to HiFiMan, and now you are managing MrSpeakers. How is MrSpeakers different from the previous companies?
I have known Dan Clark (MrSpeakers founder) for many years and I have always appreciated his work and liked his headphones very much. We have talked about when he decided to grow the company that I would possibly come aboard and aid him. So this is how working in MrSpeakers feels different.
Is MrSpeakers planning to work on any new exciting products in the coming months?
Well, we have just introduced Ether 2 Planar Dynamic headphones and Voce Electrostatic Headphones that have just hit the market in October last year and have pretty much won every award that we could win for headphones (we were really fortunate!), and right now we are concentrating on promoting those models. We do have some exciting plans, like entering the in-ear market.
Does MrSpeakers come up with product strategies for the global market or do they look at different market segments?
While we are looking at globally, we love the vibrancy of the Asian market for headphones, so we are definitely looking to distributors for advice on what the market is looking for. Dan likes to design organically, and when he gets on to something, that’s the direction we go. We do pay attention to the marketplace, but we also hope the marketplace pays attention to what we are doing.
There are so many headphones and brands in the market. How does MrSpeakers products differentiate from the competition?
When Dan started the company, he was just a DIY guy, a Head-Fi forum user himself. So when he grew out of the forum into a major force in the headphones industry, he never wanted to lose the community feeling that he had with the Head-Fi.org folks. So we put a lot of time into making sure the products we offer to people can be upgraded. We think it’s important when someone makes an investment into headphones – MrSpeakers products range from US$3,000 to US$7,999, and that’s a lot of money for somebody to spend – so we want to make sure they get great value for that, and that they remain attached to the community.
One of the hardest things about growing the company is taking what’s attractive about it – in our case, the organic development plus community feel to it – and continue to have that as we grow larger. And so that’s where I come in. Being a startup, Dan was doing everything from shipping to packing to advertising, but what he needs to concentrate on is designing products. So now I take care of distribution, managing the factory, travel around, to free him up to be creative with new headphone products.
What kind of sound signature is MrSpeakers trying to achieve compared to the other brands?
I’m glad you asked it in that way. We don’t look at what everybody else is doing. Dan has a vision, and we both agree on sonically what the signature we like is. Basically, we don’t look at other great headphones, say Sennheiser HD800, and see if we can make a better HD800. We look at music and how we can reproduce the artist intention the best that we can possibly do. So when a lot of forum guys purchase new headphones, their basis of comparison is other headphones. We really want people to focus on music and what they are hearing in the music. So we are trying to get better sound staging, better frequency response, better emotional impact to the music. Everybody in the company is completely driven by music.
There are two kinds of audiophiles in the industry: the kind that is turned on by the technology and the gear, and the kind that are really driven by the music. We are music-driven people.
It’s interesting the way you put it because I owned a pair of MrSpeakers Aeon Flow, and I really love the sound. Just as you have mentioned, it is not the technicality of the headphones, but the musicality. It appears that MrSpeakers have delivered the promise, at least for me.
Thank you! We are going to continue to do it. The Ether 2 and Voce are two of the most musical headphones that we have ever heard. Let me tell you a funny story: Dan had always wanted me to try out the Voce, but I am generally not a fan of electrostatic headphones, because most of the “electrostats” don’t have a lot of bottom end and sound stage. They do have a lot of details, but I don’t want to hear part of the music. I want to hear all of the music. It was only last year at CanJam Singapore 2018 that he “entrapped” me to try the Voce, and after listening to it, I was amazed. The Voce has all the great detail and resolving capabilities of an electrostatic headphone, but it also has bottom end, it has impact, it has warmth. And I just fell in love with it. Then it was at that point that Dan said, “Well, we’ve been talking about this for years, so let’s get serious about you coming to MrSpeakers.” And so I have a fondness in my heart for Singapore because of this episode.