A trip to the AudioPro HQ at Helinsbourg near Gothenburg on my motorcycle seemed a nice challenge, so quick email to Steinar at Audio Pro and the visit was arranged.
I took the overnight ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam and with no sat nav managed to ride along a 30mile dyke in Holland and a nine hour ride to Hamburg my first stop, arriving at 9pm at night. Long traffic delays in Germany delayed my passage, the Ibis Hotel was fully booked so I got stung at the Holiday express opposite.
The next morning I made good progress towards the Danish border and the countryside opened up and felt fresher and alive.
I aimed for Copenhagen which is on a large Island and I navigated three HUGE bridges that day that were stunning in construction in a well kept but largely flat country. I took the coast road to escape the monotony of the 2 lane motorways and eventually got to the outskirts of Copenhagen and a freeway that directed some very impressive new buildings and hotels and a monorail to set it all off.
The last bridge was featured in a TV series and is 10 miles long, comprising of a tunnel, island then a massive bridge that went on forever.
Customs in Sweden was low key, I booked ahead with hotel.com after last night’s fiasco and again got stuck in a horrendous traffic jam.
The road from Malmo to Gothenberg should be four lane instead of two, for some unknown reason we were diverted off the motorway through pretty tree lined villages with the locals staring in disbelief at the melee unfolding before them and shattering their ideal.
Helinsbourg is a lovely small city with a busy ferry port, University and quaint centre. The Hotel was half the price of the night before and had an underground garage for the bike, so in better time than yesterday I found a nice Italian restaurant and could afford one 8 euro beer in a local bar.
No one had heard of AudioPro at the hotel, but the receptionist was very helpful and produced a map. So the next morning iI rode to the Industrial estate at the edge of town and spent a good half hour before I located the inauspicious building that housed Audio Pro situated right next to a massive bright red Puma sportswear Sweden HQ!
Most of the Audio Pro staff of around 20 people were away in China where the speakers are made, however a kind lady showed me inside and introduced me to Jonathon , one of the two designers that work there.
In a dedicated listening room , Jonathon demonstrated the new Drum Fire speakers (300w) with built in amplifiers to tremendous effect.
My T20’s are fantastic but 60w, so for anyone wanting plenty of power and deep bass, preferably living in a detached house, the Drumfires are outstanding for both sound and price.
The HQ deals with the internet orders, has a repair facility and produces new ideas – a tubular product will be available this Christmas for around £100, Alexa controlled and ideal for say a student wanting a pleasing quality music source.
The speakers are controlled with a very clever app so the room had at least ten sets of speakers that could be played with ease.
I bid Jonathon and Linda goodbye and made it down to the ferry port. Every 20 minutes the Scandanavia Line ferries depart to Denmark and the journey is 20 minutes with duty free booze that is very popular with locals.
I followed the coast road to Copenhagen and wasted time finding the Tivolli gardens that I fondly remembered from a previous trip years ago but which were now a pay to get in amusement park resembling a zoo.
Sat Nav is normally taken for granted so to be without it was a big challenge . I made it back to mainland Europe to Odense the fourth latest City in Denmark. On route I had a fantastic Venus Schnitzel at a roadside cafe, freshly cooked to perfection.
In Odense I stumbled across a record store with a bar! A very large collection of new LP’s of all genres and I met an American guy who was a vinyl lover and beer drinker – perfect! A nice evening discussing turntables , music and life in general.
So next day I arrived at Osnabruk in Germany near the dutch border and gate crashed a posh wedding, with four well spoken and very friendly German young men who were dismayed the UK was leaving the EU.
Cars on the Autobahn were doing frightening speeds of 160mph plus which is terrifying on a bike with a terminal velocity of 80-90mph in relative comfort.
So back to the ferry and the end of a bum numbing 2000 mile adventure to be remembered.
Post note the BMW RNine T is being sold and replaced with a Can Am Spyder that will be emblazoned with Blues Audio decals and free advertising.
The move to Cornwall is finally looming after a very stressful process over one year.
The new location will be in Portreath, Cornwall and the Maxonic speakers will be partnered with the D’Agostino MLife and CS Port turntable for our ultimate system.
For a more affordable solution, Avalon Ideas speakers will be used with T+A electronics and the TV will use Audio Pro T20’s and T14’s with a sub for the best value audio I have heard for quality and price bar none.
We hope to see our customers in the new year, thanks for bearing with the upheaval – the end result will range from the sublime to the ridiculous, but the music reproduction from our chosen manufacturers is worth a listen.