Roots, Stems & Flowers

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The origin story - where it all began

You may have noticed that our logo is a hand drawing of Samphire (Sam-fer). It’s native to the Norfolk coastline and locally known as ‘the asparagus of the sea’. There’s more to it than just our logo as I’ll explain. It’s intricate structure of stems and branches show the complexity of the audio industry today with many paths and choices – and of course the final result will depend on how you cook it!

Roots

It’s an old cliché when people say “music has always been part of my life”. You’d have to be in a pretty small minority to avoid music in some form or other, so what happened?

Well, life happens. Whether we realise it or not we all choose a path in life, partly by design and partly by chance. Certain aspects have greater influence over others of course and I’d suggest it’s only when you get older and start to reflect on the past that you realise what influenced you the most. In your early days you are too busy living life to think that much about it and life events, significant or otherwise, are the ‘junctions’ for change that dictate your path.

My ‘teenage rebellion’ was fuelled by heavy rock, and in to my 20’s whatever my social circle of the time deemed appropriate. I’d frame it as mood music essentially. Later, during a somewhat uninspiring career, I’d pick something to set me up for the day on the commute in, and similarly something to support my mood on the way home.

For equipment in those days (pre-internet) my options were pretty much mainstream brands until I went to visit a hifi supplier who had some omniray horn loudspeakers, a valve amplifier, and played some music that made the hairs on my arms stand up – that day changed everything.

Stems

Being a freelancer allowed for, sometimes significant, downtime so why not start a side business to do something you enjoy. Seemed like a good idea and relatively low risk as the other business would mostly cover the bills.

Now to decide what path to take. Selling mainstream brands wasn’t an option as, since my earlier goosebumps experience, the sound just didn’t float my boat. However, finding product that did became the challenge – and that would inspire me to a journey of discovery.

I decided to call the business 8th Dimension Audio to emphasise the complexity of the journey ahead. We all understand the first three dimensions and the fourth, time, also seemed appropriate. After that it really becomes a world of various possibilities with different start points which I felt summed up the industry. Some say ten dimensions exist and others eleven, but I stopped at eight – it’s a lucky number after all…

Flowers

Flowers are a wonder of nature and a common backdrop for a multitude of emotions. Happy or sad, apologies or celebrations, flowers are there. It’s the same for music too. Some of the more exotic flower varieties are truly exceptional, and less common of course.

In my journey so far I have come across a few wonderful ‘flowers’ like Sound|kaos loudspeakers from Switzerland. I met Martin and Ursula Gateley about ten years ago when Martin had his Wave 42 loudspeaker. It was a beautiful design, like high end furniture, and a sound so emotionally engaging it could bring you to tears – and still does.

That experience became the standard on which I have built the business. The journey goes on in the hope of finding similar products, but in an industry that seems centered on technical excellence rather than emotional engagement, it’s a challenge for sure, but one I thoroughly enjoy.

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