Interview with EveAnna Manley for Image HiFi Magazine in Germany (May 2006)

1. Ihre Lieblingsmusik als Zwölfjährige?

            Your favored music at the age of 12?

I like this question! I had been playing records on my parents’ Gerard turntable and Fisher 500c receiver since a young age of 3 or 4 years old. I was pretty much a Top 40 kid throughout the 70’s. I can’t recall any “oldies” stations I listened to, or if they even existed back then. In 1980 when I was 12, Disco was getting played out and I started regressing my musical tastes back to the 1960’s. My father had put a bunch of stuff into storage in the late 60’s and those items were rescued in 1980. In the collection were about 200 LP’s and tons of 45’s from the mid to late 1960’s, many of them given to him by the artists (as he was in the music business back then). So at 12 years old I stared discovering this music for myself. Beatles, Stones, Cream, CCR, psychedelic San Francisco Music such as Jefferson Airplane, etc. That’s what I was getting into at 12 years old. My friends thought I was a little strange…. They probably still think I am too.

2. Und jetzt?

            And now?

I still love that 60’s stuff still to this day and I have a particular obsession about early 1970’s pop tunes, especially one hit wonders. Much of what i listen to is for nostaligic reasons, as music for me always puts me back to a specific place through its power of association. For instance, if I hear the Steely Dan song „Reelin’ In the Years“ I will think of my Auntie Barbie visiting us when I lived in Miami and picture her singing along with the radio – a fond memory. I also listen to a lot of early 1970’s brazilian music, Tropicalismo. And why I don’t listen to certain genres of music at all anymore also has everything to do with „power of association“ in a negative sense and it’s unfortunate that I just think of bad events in my life when I listen to most classical music these days. Perhaps one day I’ll get through that, but for now, why put myself through the emotional torture? Crazy isn’t it?


3. Welchen Musiker möchten Sie gern persönlich kennen lernen?

            Which musician would you like to get to know personally?

Building pro studio equipment I am fortunate to know many famous (and not-so-famous) musicians, but one I have not met yet is Neil Diamond. I am good buddies with his recording engineer, but I haven’t met Neil yet. I would like to at least meet him.


4. Ihr Lieblingskomponist?

            Your favored composer?

I’ll give the same answer that I did when I was hanging out with producer Rick Rubin a few years ago at CES and the topic of conversation was „Who’s your fave singer-songwriter?“ Rick answered John Lennon and we spoke about him for awhile. My other pal Rick Rosen answered Neil Young and we spoke of him for awhile. I told the guys that I thought Neil Diamond was due some praise. Look at his body of work! Over decades! I find out later Michael Fremer had had this same conversation with Rick Rubin a month earlier so it’s no coincidence that we might have had a small influence in Rick hooking up with Neil Diamond and getting an amazing album made, the „12 Songs“ record. 



5. Das schönste Geräusch, das Sie je gehört haben?

            The most beautiful noise you have ever heard?

I am pulled between the sound of my Harley-Davidson FXLR pipes and hearing my 1969 VW Bug start up again after 10 years restoration…


6. Ihre Lieblingsfarbe?

            Your favored color?

#3E048D is a nice one. That’s C: 97, M: 100, Y: 7, K: 4.

7. Ihr Lieblingsmaler?

            Your favored painter?

I’m not so bad myself, but the honours can go to Paul Klee or Van Gogh...


8. Ihr Lieblingsschriftsteller?

            Your favored writer? 

James Clavell. Wish there were more of his historical novels available.


9. Ihre Lieblingsbeschäftigung?

            Your favored occupation?

If I didn’t have to type all day and run a company, I would love to be a Quality Control tech again, and Prototype Engineer. Get the bugs out. Life sure was easier when that was my job, and I was excellent at it.



10. Ihr erstes HiFi-Gerät?

            Your first HiFi-unit?

As mentioned, my parents’ Gerard Turntable, Fisher 500c, and AR 2ax speakers.



11. Waren Sie damit zufrieden?

            Were you satisfied with it?

Sure! Until the movers dropped the Fisher on my Mom’s toe and broke her toe and the receiver.



12. Und Ihr erstes, das Sie sich vom selbst verdienten Geld gekauft haben?

            The first (hifi unit) you have bought with the money you have earned?

That was when I was in high school and my new mid-fi system that I bought mail-order (shame on me!) with my own hard-earned bucks was a Kenwood receiver, An Akai tape deck, a Technics turntable. I added a JVC CD player a year or two later. I used my Mom’s AR speakers.



13. Platte oder CD?

            LP or CD?

Both! In a global sense, theft of music is what worries me for our industry. And that low resolution computer-based media storage will become the new standard delivery device, a severe downgrade from CD and LP. It’s already happening as we know. Quality takes a back seat once again. Shame.


14. Die wichtigste Komponente in der highfidelen Kette?

            The most important component in a hifi chain?

Everything? It only takes one bad solder connection to make the whole thing not work. Nothing? What about the Music itself? But as for gear, the amplifier to speaker relationship is probably the most important thing, in my view. You have to have enough power and the speaker needs to present a friendly and responsible impedance load to the amplifier, more important for tube amplifiers. And that’s what I am into, obviously. 



15. Und auf welche können Sie am ehesten verzichten? 

            Which component could you miss most easily?

Any of the cables…… If you came to my house and changed some cables I probably wouldn’t notice for awhile…


16. Welchen highfidelen Traum möchten Sie sich unbedingt noch erfüllen?

            Which hifidelity dream would you like to come true one day?

That we get a new design out as quickly as we used to 10 years ago when life was simpler.


17. Welche highfidele Erfindung bewundern Sie am meisten? 

            Which hifidelity invention do you admire most?

The iPod. But the vacuum tube rates right up there too…..



18. Und welche ist am überflüssigsten?

            Which is the most superfluous? 

A traditional preamplifier with too much gain when all our sources these days have plenty of output level. What we really need is input selection and a volume control situation and then a good line driver to properly drive the interconnects to the power amp. Who needs more gain with 5V output CD players? You’re just attenuating the signal to get to your 1V sensitive power amps…


19. Was halten Sie von Low Fidelity?

            What is you opinion about low fidelity?

I can still listen to music on the worst car radio on earth, which happens to reside in my ’74 Alfa Spider. It’s still all about the music, for me.


20. Ihre Definition von High End?

            Your definition of High End?

Having to spend tons more money to try to extract that last 10th percentage of musicality and performance out of a piece of gear. It definitely works on a logarithmic scale.



21. Wer ist für Sie der klügste Mensch der Welt?

            Who do you think is the most intelligent man on earth?

Hell if I know. I haven’t met everybody yet.


22. Welchem Politiker trauen Sie?

            Which politician do you trust?

Not my president, but I like my California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger!



23. Ihre Lebensphilosophie?

            Your philosophy in life?

Work hard. Be honest. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it on credit. Treasure your friends.



24. Was treibt Sie zur Verzweiflung?

            What makes you desperate?

That I don’t see how I will ever get unchained from my computer keyboard. I seem to type all day. 


25. Was ist für Sie noch wichtiger als HiFi?

            Is anything more important than hifi?

Most everything is more important than hifi……


26. Was ist für Sie das vollkommene irdische Glück?

            For you, what is perfect happiness on earth?

Cuddling up with my dog, Max. That’s unconditional love right there.


27. Ihre Lieblingstugend?

            Which is your preferred virtue?



28. Welchen Fehler entschuldigen Sie am ehesten? 

            Which mistake could you accept/forgive most easily?

Any mistake that we skip all the focus on blame and get on with finding a solution to the screwup. We are all human and we all make mistakes.



29. Ihr Hauptcharakterzug?

            Your main character feature?



30. Ihr größter Fehler?

            Your biggest fault?

That I get distracted by the smallest things when there are larger issues or more important projects I should be working on instead.


31. Was loben Ihre Freunde an Ihnen?

            Which feature of yourself do your friends praise?

Generosity, probably. I’m usually the one buying dinner.


32. Was sagen Ihnen Ihre Gegner nach?

            What is your reputation at your opponents/adversaries?

I don’t think I have many opponents in the gear business. And if I do, it’s probably more to do with their own insecurities resulting in jealousy than anything I have to do with. So it’s not my problem. I concentrate on my many friends in the industry and maintaining good relationships with my peers. I don’t waste my time with those who see this all as an adversarial competition.



33. Ihr größter Erfolg?

            Your greatest success?

I think I am living it now.


34. Ihre weitreichendste Fehlentscheidung?

            Your farthest reaching wrong decision?

Well, I haven’t killed anybody yet, so I would say that most of my errors have been of recoverable nature. Whatever happens is all part of God’s plan. When I make wrong decisions, I seek to recover quickly and then learn from them. I focus on solutions not problems.



35. Wie schätzen Sie Ihren Anteil an der HiFi-Geschichte ein?

            How do you estimate your part/share in the hifi-history?

Others would probably see me as one of the few girls who made success in a man’s technical world. But for me, I would hope to be remembered as a hardworking and honest person and a good leader who built a successful and interesting company out of previous chaos. Also the cross-pollination we have achieved between HiFi and Pro Audio is interesting and unique.

36. Worin liegt die Einzigartigkeit von Röhrengeräten?

            The uniqueness of tube gear?

Good tube gear is real and natural. Organic. For me it connects the music to my soul and manifests itself in a way that cannot be measured. If my foot is tapping and I want to sing along with the music, then it is right. 



37. Bitte vervollständigen Sie den Satz „Röhren-HiFi ist ...“

            Please complete the sentence: "Tube hifi is…."

…supposed to be enjoyable and fun. Let’s all cut through the sales hypes, the overly expensive, and obsessive focus on unimportant things and get back to enjoying the music we love. Through tubes of course.