A legend is
back in the
|The Magnetic Amplifier by Lars Lundahl|
Frankfurt, in the year 1995
“...he is about to build a magnetic amplifier for music.“ It
was during a meeting in our home with Ken Shindo and our
Swedish friend and sales colleague of Shindo Laboratory in Scandinavia,
Teruo Harada, when Teruo made this remark quite casually while speaking
about Lars Lundahl. Ken worked closely with Lars for many years, ever
since he’d been using the excellent Lundahl transformers in his
A magnetic amplifier –
who wouldn‘t get excited by such an exotic idea? We asked Teruo
for his help in contacting Lars and we soon had one of three existing
prototypes in hand. To us, this amplifier’s tonal features
harmonized so well with our speaker concepts and fit so perfectly into
our product line that we contacted Lars personally to discuss how we
could make this extraordinary amplifier a serial product and we also
offered to be the distributor if/when a production model came to be.
serial production many things have to be taken into account: an
attractively designed cabinet was required, additional manpower was
needed to manage the assembly in Sweden and last but not least the
costly CE-Certification needed to be obtained.
decision was made to make the MagAmp project a reality, Auditorium 23
was given the task of designing the cabinet which we accomplished with
the assistance of a friend who ran a design studio. One year later this
design was awarded the 1997 Josef-Binder-Design-Award. We had been using
the name MagAmp during the prototyping and design phase and when an
official name for the product had to be selected, we decided to stay
with the descriptive and simple MagAmp. In Sweden the first small
series was launched. (Brochure).
German journalists had an opportunity to audition prototypes and were
as enthusiastic as we were about its performance. Cai Brockmann at the
German audio magazine Image-Hifi wrote the very first review of the
MagAmp in issue 4/1996 “Lars Lundahl | MagAmp“.
July 1996 we had a meeting at Auditorium 23 to discuss the future of
the MagAmp among other things. In attendance were Lars and Per Lundahl,
Harumi and Ken Shindo, Teruo Harada, Roland Kraft (Image-Hifi) and Dr.
Jürgen Scriba (DER SPIEGEL), the latter two attended in order to
interview Lars and Ken for reviews in their respective magazines.
meeting was continued in a deeper manner in late '96 with a trip to
Sweden and together with Roland Kraft, Dr. Jürgen Scriba and
Markus Sauer (at that time the German correspondent for the US magazine
Stereophile.) We visited Lars and Per Lundahl in their factory in
Norrtälje. It was very impressive to see the production facility
with the amazing possibilities of this company and to grasp a small
“behind the curtain." The accompanying article can be read in DER SPIEGEL. http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-9134435.html
MagAmp finally was unveiled to the public for the first time at the
“High-End Show” 1997 in the Kempinsky Hotel/Neu Isenburg.
In our demonstration it was alternated with the tube amplifiers of Ken
Shindo and paired with our speakers the “Provence” by
Auditorium 23 as well as the “Pata Acoustica” by ATD from
Italy. The MagAmp generated a lot of excitement and was very favorably
In spite of these very positive reports, the market
remained reserved. Perhaps it was the exotic nature of the design -
neither transistor, nor tube - or it simply may not have been the right
time. In any event, the necessary commercial success did not come
within the allotted time frame the manufacturer required. The demand
did not justify the costly burden of the custom components and the
necessary manpower taken from the company’s main business
(producing audio transformers of excellent international reputation).
So the decision was finally made, albeit reluctantly, to discontinue
the MagAmp project.
Fast Forward – Spring 2009
all of the years that have passed, I always felt that the MagAmp was
not given the time it needed to reach its market. But time follows its
own laws and takes as well as gives opportunities.
relationship with a colleague in the south of Germany, Claus
Jäckle of Acoustic Plan, inspired me to share with him the MagAmp
story, my regrets about the loss of this fascinating product and
finally to ask him if he would be interested in getting involved in the
re-launch of the MagAmp. Claus was very interested and curious to learn
more so I sent him one of the amps I still kept in stock from the early
days. As a result, he called me soon after receiving the MagAmp and
informed me of his willingness to be a part of the project.
fortunate chance meeting with Per Lundahl at the Frankfurt Music Fair
in March 2009, I told him about our desire to re-launch the MagAmp and
asked his opinion. He was hesitant, though not generally opposed, and
wanted a few days to think it over. He shared with us that there had
been several unsuccessful attempts by different people over the years
who had contacted Lars and Per Lundahl with the same idea. A few days
later Per gave us his “Go ahead” for the project.
everything went very quickly. Since Claus is a manufacturer of his own
line of hi-fi gear, he was able to build a first prototype into one of
his existing chassis. This first prototype gave him the opportunity to
become more familiar with this unique circuit and to optimize parts
choice and placement as well as plan for a production version. http://www.acousticplan.de/
the Munich High-End Show in May 2009 the new MagAmp prototype generated
tremendous excitement among visitors and journalists just as it had
year’s prior when it was first introduced. The next opportunity
to show the new MagAmp was the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
in January 2010, where it also caught the attention and piqued the
interest of many visitors.
Germany, Cai Brockmann of Image-Hifi was once again the first reviewer
to be given the new MagAmp and we also shared with him this story of how it came to be.
The relaunch of the
magnetic amplifier is my hommage to Lars Lundahl. While Lars is not
able to actively participate in this new project, we are honored to
have his support. Through his various works in transformer design and
this one-of-a-kind amplifier, Lars Lundahl undoubtedly deserves to
stand in line with the most important personalities in Hi-fidelity of
the last 50 years.
|In May 2010 the MagAmp received the |
Image Hifi Award 2010
by the German audio magazine Image Hifi