Back in my unhealthy, meat-eating, junk food laden younger days, I couldn’t get enough of the secret sauce the local hamburger joint served up. It was orange, fatty, with little bits of sweet chunks that made burgers come alive. I always asked for extra. After enough pestering, the manager told me what it was. Thousand Island dressing. Excited to have learned the secret I scoured cookbooks until the recipe unveiled itself (this was before the Internet). It was simplicity itself. Mayonaise, ketchup and pickle relish.
Often it’s the simplest things that give us the best solution. In yesterday’s post, I wrote about simple and said we had found a way to make the perfect finish for our products. Anodizing metal, which is what we used to do and most manufacturers still do, can be problematic. Anodized aluminum’s finish and color consistency are dependent on so many variables that it’s easy to get one wrong. And then you wind up having products from one year look just slightly off from those of an earlier year.
We had learned from Levinson’s industrial engineer, David Barson, that they solved this problem by using powder coat paint, an electrostatic process that forces dry, powdered paint to adhere to metal surfaces just long enough to be melted and fused to the material in massively hot ovens. This modern painting process is environmentally safe and harder than nails, making it the perfect finish except for one thing. Black reveals fingerprints. The oils in your skin cling to the painted surface and create a different reflective pattern showing up as imperfect blotches on an otherwise perfect surface.
Levinson never had this problem because they only used powder for their silver color, a lovely shade of off-white that doesn’t show fingerprint oils. But our customers wanted both silver and black and in matching finishes. And we couldn’t stand the idea of a surface marred by blotchy oils begging for constant cleaning. We wanted to encourage our customers to feel their products, get closer to them, bond with their new kit. Touchy Feely.
Working closely with Cardinal paints our engineers spent nearly two years testing formula that would not only look great but rejected the smudge of oily prints. Finally, a formulation was found and that mix became our own custom silver and black that have become hallmarks of PS quality—and pretty much unnoticed by all our customers. You see, it’s the little things people don’t notice that make products special. They may be big deals to perfect, but if we do our jobs right, you’ll never notice. Rub your hand across the elegant finish of our amps and preamps and you’re happy. That’s all that matters to us.
Want to know what the secret sauce was in our custom blended powder coat? Paraffin, that waxy stuff they make candles out of. Oils from your fingers don’t stick to candles and they don’t stick to our painted finishes either. Want to see what that finish looks like? Check out this close up of the new P20 Power Plant. There you can see the elegant lightly textured finish impregnated with just enough wax to keep finger oils where they belong. On your fingers.
It’s the little things that matter.