Laurence Dickie

Laurence Dickie set out to design and produce loudspeakers with the cleanest possible window on the original performance, he has achieved this with Vivid Audio.

1960 Born in England to French mother (foreign language teacher) and English father (mathematics teacher)

Showed early interest in natural sciences and taking things apart to see how they worked. Father passionately interested in music and owner of Tannoy York speaker with Quad amplifier later upgraded to stereo Tannoy and Quad II/22.

Early interest in chemistry diverted into electronics by cousin who points out how much more practical it is in the home environment.

Spend two months a year in Paris with mother's family, most very musical and artistic, grandfather was electrical engineer. When visiting a record store, impressed by Ellipson loudspeakers from design point of view.

Built first speaker driver at age 10 from cut paper cone and hand wound voice coil.

Taken to Harrogate hi-fi show by Father and very impressed by design of B&W Model 70 Continental with distinctive curved front.

Built first speaker enclosure at age 11 from 6" driver found in old radio.

Age 12 got interested in electric guitar and built most basic instrument from straight piece of wood.

Age 13 father donates Vitavox K12/10 so built first serious wooden enclosure. Used with home built EL84 valve amp and home built record deck.

After this point it becomes a blur! Significant memories; noticed improved performance from drivers mounted in long tubes. Built horns for guitar and push-pull 6L6 amp.

Joined Southampton University to study electronics in 1978. Built KEF B139 based transmission lines during second year. Finally traded home built valve amps for Yamaha CA1000.

Graduated in 1981 and spent summer building loudspeaker systems based on KEF drivers. In particular B139 transmission lines.
Moved to Nottingham to work in electronics design making, amongst other things, turntable drive system. In spare time developed fully active speakers, still based on KEF drivers.

Joined B&W in 1984. Taken on to develop active speakers. Adapted fully symmetric MOSFET design for purpose and then went on to build stand alone amplifiers MPA1 and MPA 810 fully bridged 800W mono power amp.

While quite at ease with designing electronics, real interest was in the loudspeakers themselves. During '86 B&W was working on cabinet materials. Fibrecrete had been used successfully in 801 mid-range but not practical for main cabinet. I suggested filling the enclosure with a network of perforated partitions which support opposite walls. In '87 Matrix enclosure patented.

John Bowers impressed by my experimental approach and gives me licence to develop new approaches starting from dipole mounted Kevlar cone mid-ranges. Quickly realise that Kevlar cones working in break-up not the ideal. Develop first a 50mm dome and then the exponential rear loading.

1990 Encouraged by Robert Trunz, now president of B&W, to create 'concept speaker' featuring exponential tapered tube loading for each of four drivers.

1991 Prototype Nautilus speaker system shown at B&W 25th anniversary.

1992 First asked to provide sound for Techno party. Begin building up sound system based on 801 drivers mounted in tube enclosures. Experiment with highly portable bass speakers using four 801 bass units on minimal volume cube enclosure. Full power of M800 MOSFET power amp needed to drive sub-resonance design but very clean LF noted.
1993 Finished Nautilus launched.

1993 Approached by Simon Gahahry to assist with designing Podspeakers - later to become Blue Room.

Radial magnets proposed and shown to give good performance but deemed uneconomic at this point.
Reaction cancelling sub built using two opposing Nautilus bass drivers and 2.2kW amp. Official noise complaint received from neighbours.
Spend next three years working on B&W 'pro audio'. Project dropped in late '96 when Robert Trunz decided to sell his shares and leave B&W.
I decide to leave because going back to domestic audio at that point was not what I wanted.

1997 Leave B&W and start Blast Loudspeakers Ltd. with the intention of producing studio monitors. Spend next two years developing drivers which will eventually become the Vivid Audio D26, D50 and C125.

Also work on highly sequenced fireworks to produce percussion piece which uses just pyrotechnic charges for sound. Named alternately PyroTechno or Pyrrhythmia.

1999 approached by Turbosound UK who need new life in R&D after company is freed from Harman ownership. Agree to join as consultant leaving time for other projects.

1999 approached by Philip Guttentag and Bruce Gessner through Robert Trunz, who meanwhile had moved to South Africa to continue work on his music label MELT2000. Philip and Bruce are thinking of starting domestic speaker manufacture using OEM Scandinavian drivers. First introduce them to the idea of building own drivers and they introduce me to the idea of launching non-active systems. Soon won over after playing with passive crossover optimisation software.

Begin to learn 3D design with Solidworks. Cabinet design for B1 begin to take shape.

2001 Become father. Life to change forever!!

Next four years spent slowly building up expertise in new cabinet construction methods and driver assembly.

Vivid Audio launched in 2004

Meanwhile at Turbosound new Polyhorn design patented and put into production first in Aspect and now Flexarray. Both large scale sound reinforcement products for a range of venues from halls to Stadium and open air concerts.

Frustrated by inability to use exponential tube absorption in bass reflex enclosure. Eventually hit upon combination which is to become the basis for Giya.

2006-2008 go through wooden prototypes to test bass loading. 3D design which follows on require new 3D design so learn Rhinoceros to complete the cabinet design.

2008 Giya G1 Launch in Las Vegas with Robert who returned to the industry. G1 becomes an instant success and the darling of the world hifi press. 2010 highly successful launch of the smaller GIYA G2 resulting in a busy order book with a considerable backlog.

2011 highlights the birth of G3 taking the GIYA design into the smaller livingrooms.


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