Industry News

AKG Closes in Vienna; Cavalli Audio Closes

As reported in Copper #42,  Harman laid off 650 employees in its Pro Audio divisions. Since Harman’s purchase by Samsung last year, the company has undergone a series of contractions and consolidations, which many industry folks would argue were necessary given widespread redundancy in Harman organizations. The first noticeable effect of this round of layoffs was the closing of the Crown factory in Elkhart, Indiana; the second major effect is the shutdown of the Vienna headquarters of revered brand AKG.

That’s the bad news. The good news that the core engineering group from AKG has formed a new company, Austrian Audio.

As is true of pretty much anything related to Harman, this story isn’t as simple as it first appears. There have been no mentions of the Crown and AKG closures in any Harman press-releases, but it appears that AKG the brand will still exist, with products made in China—but whether the company will maintain its significance remains to be seen.

Here’s the first report of the formation of Austrian Audio; here’s an interview with the head of marketing of the new company.

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Cavalli Audio, a longtime favorite of headphone listeners and the Head-Fi community, announced that the company would be shutting its doors at the end of October. The announcement from Alex Cavalli read:

“Dear Friends,

“It is with a heavy heart that I would like to inform everyone that Cavalli Audio will be closing its doors on October 31, 2017.

“I have been involved with this community for a long time and am forever grateful that I could play a part in the evolution of both the hobby and community since 2000. I have been privileged to watch and be part of the growth of a niche of dedicated headphone listeners, always in pursuit of better sound. I recall many conversations about how to improve sound and produce a better overall experience through headphone listening. This community has spurred much innovation in headphones, headphone amplifiers, and associated gear. Some of this innovation is now part of the products we can buy off the shelf. Truly something to be proud of, as few industries have been this influenced by the members of its community.

“For my part, I have been fortunate to create amplifiers that most people seem to really like. I am grateful for the support for these amps and for our fantastic customers.

“The reasons for ending CA are purely personal. I have been semi-retired during the life of Cavalli Audio and had always intended to pass along the baton once I had been able to establish a robust company with excellent products. I have been looking for such a partnership for some time now and have, unfortunately, not been able to form a reliable partnership with anyone to continue my legacy and at this point, there are a number of things more demanding of my time, including an ever-increasing collection of grandchildren.

“I have worked to keep certain aspects (the best aspects) of CA alive after the end of the company.

“The first part of this has been the work with Massdrop (as most of you are aware) to continue to make Cavalli designs available at affordable prices. When I was still considering moving forward with CA I had begun to create an entire line of lower cost, but still great sounding amplifiers. Though there are no certain plans beyond the CTH and Carbon, with any luck a few more of these new ideas can be made available through MD.

“With the closing of the company, all warranties will expire. I realize that this will concern many, but the amplifiers will continue to be supported by a reputable service and repair facility. To ensure this support, Avenson Audio has agreed to continue servicing CA amps. Avenson has done final assembly for every big CA amp and currently do all the repairs to CA amps. Current owners will be in good hands if such a need arises. A link to their website is on the CA website.

“I know that this news may come as a shock to many while others might have anticipated this transition. I would like to thank everyone for their support over the years. I love this community and its passion for all things headphone and have been made to feel part of its extended family. My obligations to my own family, however must take priority at this time.

“My thanks to all of you.

“Alex”

The fact that warranties will expire is a little troubling, and going to the Cavalli Audio website produces a warning notice.