Jon has asked me to write a short Company History, but to understand Jon’s company, first you must understand a bit about Jon.
He is a very Determined man, in that Quiet Leadership way. I’ve seen this in many areas of his life; for example, he is part of a very small community of people dedicated to restoring, maintaining, and putting back into daily-use, vintage or quirky vehicles, mostly as live-in’s. He is also a hardware hacker, which I think is the origin of Alacrity Audio amongst other things. Or maybe those origins lie in the fact that if he can’t buy or hack the electronics he wants or needs, he just builds it. It’s that Determination coming through again.
Yet he is also very compassionate, and holds himself to ‘a slightly higher standard’. This results in him being very reliable to his word, very honest in what he sets out to do, and is probably the worst combination of facets for a businessman in the ‘rip-off and run’ world which we live in today. However, if anyone I know is fully equipped to take on the challenge of starting and running a new business in the current economic climate, it’s Jonathan.
The earliest roots of Alacrity Audio are sunk deep in the peaty loam of 1972, when UK manufacturing ruled the waves, with the presentation of a small transistor radio to a small, slightly odd, six year old boy. Fascinated by this new concept, and wondering how the radio stations managed all the artists in the studios and got them set up in time just to play one song (really?), his fate was sealed as he became determined to understand how it all worked.
Twenty years later, Jon’s home town is virtually wrecked by economic convulsions brought on in the Thatcherite destruction of our manufacturing industry. With his last paycheque in hand, he decided that he would find a way of building small loudspeakers that were worth playing Dub-Reggae on. And for him, the start of what would result in his work being described as “stumbling onto a previously undescribed physical phenomena” was as simple as that.
Many people say that the design- and operational-principles that came out of that journey are a bit ‘left-field’ (“like, outa da ballpark, man..”), and he certainly can’t be accused of copying. He is in possession of a full UK Registered Patent, granted in 1997, entitled simply ‘Loudspeakers”. The process was long; four years in peer-review, seeing off challenges from the likes of Laurence Dickie and Dakobayashi, only to be told that his idea was against commonly accepted audio-engineering principles. Well, he knew this, which was why he made the 1993 Patent application in the first place, and based on the fact that there was “nothing like it known in the prior art”, the Patent Office had to fully grant the application.
Jon has actually contributed to the sum mass of human knowledge.
He has also spent the last 20 years trying to get anyone to believe in him. From 1993 to 2011, he has been; White Speakers (Patent granted), Horizon Audio (HiFi Choice, Jason Kennedy), TFIWorks, and Erudition Audio, and through these incarnations has built and sold/lent/given, or had stolen, over a hundred pairs of his speakers. He has also worked with Robin Marshall while at Mission, and Bruce Kier at Marshall, both before and after he got ill with Polio.
Ah, yes, Jon’s health is of course a factor, but in him it’s a strength. In 1994, as Jon was about to launch for the first time, he was paralysed from the waist down by a devastating food-borne virus. He made a spectacularly late, but still only partial, recovery from this, and only just in time to take full custody of his 3 year old son, who still lives with him today.
And there’s that determination again. Through Hell and high waters, Jon has skillfully navigated them both to safety, as he has with his speaker designs, as he will Alacrity Audio.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen him turn the Research bit of RnD back on, after years of solely Development. The Dundee range is an indicator of that, and Jon keeps talking about the next stage.
He has garnered serious credibility within the industry in terms of reviews of his equipment and his recent acquisition of a serious and dedicated, market-experienced Sales dude, but more importantly, he’s determined that he is going to make a success of this.
The next stage he’s aiming at is to get to the National Audio Show at Whittlebury Hall on the weekend of September the 20/21. He has been working hard on his vehicle to get there with, and all the other wheels are turning; like cabinet manufacture, component sourcing, and I don’t know how he does it but he’s nailed it with the sound of his crossovers in the new Dundee range. And he’s got a new operating principle to show us next year.
He is my friend, and I do not say that lightly.