Audioplan was founded in 1980 as an alternative high-end studio by my parents, Volker and Renate Kühn. True to their chosen motto, “It’s all about the sound”, all products in the catalog are selected only after they have been compared in numerous and auditions that often last for hours. A good school for listening, concentration and patience for me, son Thomas Kühn, who accompanied the enterprise from the beginning with interest and commitment. A school that gained importance when I began my own development and basic research into cables and audio power supply and helps me even today to overcome difficult hurdles in new developments. But first came the development and experimental designs of my first own loudspeaker, the Kontrast I, in 1981. The motivation arose from the desire to bring the superior sound quality of our reference speakers at the time to a more affordable product. The result was a compact 2-way loudspeaker with high-quality drivers, crossovers with foil capacitors and air cores carefully matched by ear and a complex sandwich box that was introduced to the market in 1982. The loudspeaker, which came with custom-designed, free-standing pedestals, optically contrasted to the usual design of the time with its slender front and extended depth. The typical speaker during this period in Germany was a flat and relatively wide three-way system, which could be integrated into a shelf or wall unit in the living room. The loudspeaker was successful, however, and has remained to this day a standard for the typical design with a narrow and relatively deep enclosure.
My father continued to experiment with a variety of electronics and eventually with various cables for the in-house reference system. Because none of the cables available from RF and power engineering were satisfactory, we pressed on with our own custom developments, which also were patented in 1983. At the same time, in our loudspeaker research we were confronted with strange sound fluctuations, which we ultimately identified as power line effects. This resulted in the first PowerPlants in 1982, a recommended component order in a power outlet strip and attention being paid to the correct electrical phase. If we were thought to be amongst the first companies to focus on audio cables, when it came to the subject of power lines we were a pioneer. Another important factor was added in the middle of the 80’s. The Sicomin platform brought acknowledgement of the major audio effects of mechanical vibrations on electronic components. Our import activities also began during this period, starting with trade fair visits by my father, Volker Kühn. Always with the aim of increasing the overall performance of our systems, we supplemented our own products with selected amplifiers, turntables and CD players from the global market place. In the course of expanding our activities during this time, the first workplaces were created in production and administration at Audioplan.
Following my studies in telecommunication engineering, I increasingly concentrated on servicing import products and advanced development of various proprietary products. This brought together several different fields. Knowledge from mechanical engineering flowed into the cables and ultimately led to CRC technology. Knowledge from the electrical engineering flowed into the crossover designs and, in the other direction, experience from the loudspeaker field led to advancements in power products. I was always accompanied by my father who acted as the most demanding critic, motivator and source of ideas and took care of production, sales, public relations and advertising. My mother was in the background, taking care of the administrative duties. Another event in the early phase had an important effect on me, namely the first contact with a Jadis component at a regional trade fair in southern Germany at the beginning of the 80’s. Although I was only able to hear the JA80 for around 30 seconds (the salesman interrupted the demonstration), it became immediately clear to me that someday I would own such an amp, and that I wanted to represent this brand in Germany. The distributorship became available in 1986 and we obtained the distribution rights. In the meantime, we have developed very close cooperation, which has resulted in special models for the German, Austrian and Swiss market. Now that the origin of the basic areas of activity at Audioplan have been described, the rest of the story can be quickly told.
The following years are characterized by continuing development and consolidation of knowledge from the various areas of activity. A lot came from lengthy series of tests, because the measured values and subjective impressions were difficult or impossible to correlate. Our own theories and working hypotheses were either confirmed or disproved, thus providing important experience in all fields (mechanics, drivers, players, cables, current, tube engineering), which ultimately has led to today’s new understanding, materials and products. A decisive event in 1993 was the death of my mother, Renate, following a lengthy illness. This required me to take on more responsibilities in business management as I assumed 49% of the Audioplan company in 1994 . Exactly 10 years later, at the beginning of 2004, I entered into an agreement with my father to take over the Audioplan company. Since then, I have personally led the company with the active support of my experienced employees of many years. What is important for me in addition to offering excellent products in each price category, is to provide an overall concept in which the result is greater than the sum of the parts. The motivation for this is to express the beauty, truth and emotional content of the music.