Audiophile Products BV
Audiophile Products BV is, like Durob Audio BV, a company belonging to Herman van den Dungen.
While in the end of the Seventies Durob Audio BV started up and set up the European distribution network for Koetsu as well as for a number of other high-end brands in BeNeLux (e.g. Krell), Audiophile Product BV was at that time mainly used for kind of audio-hobby activities with a few friends.
Herman and his friends were experimenting with record-weights (yes they were melting lead at that time in the kitchen) and record clamps, building tone-arms (they made a Dutch version of the Hadcock arm¹ which for a while was hobby-wise a co-op with Eddy Driessen² from Pluto Audio), producing PinPoints³ (the European version of Tip toes) -also known as CounterFeet by Sumiko -for placing under loudspeakers and electronics, the Record Interface Mats (which was also produced for Oracle), the Record Interface Clamp, the CD Interface Mats (several thousands were sold by Gryphon friend, Flemming Rasmussen) and so on.
Audiophile Products BV still exists, but the juridical form is now used for another Van den Dungen’s project: Dé Hifiwinkel in Beek-Ubbergen (The Netherlands).
1. At that time, the original Hadcock arm which we imported was kind of “flimsy” and we felt that we could improve it very much by make things tight and fitting. It was said that George was an aviation engineer who used to walk his goat in the evening after work. True or not true, but we were joking that we would never fly again before we had the chance to modify the plane he had been working on. What Herman remembers from him, was that he was a very gentle man though and maybe the aviation engineer story wasn’t even true at all.
2. For a certain time, we were using balsa wood for the arm tube. In the center of that balsa arm tube we had a very small diameter metal tube to screen the internal wiring of the tone arm. People could not understand how we managed to get that metal tube in the center of that balsa wood arm tube. We made jokes that we had 30 cm long drills with a diameter of 1 mm. Still it’s a kind of secret for many people how we did it :-). But think of a pencil and you might get it. Eddy could help us with super polished bearing pins which he could make at work and we had access to some of the best micro bearings and tone arm silver wire (from AudioNote’s Mr Kondo).
3. Herman saw the TipToes in the USA, thought of all the machinery we had at home in The Netherlands and decided that shipping aluminium from USA to The Netherlands was not very economical. Besides, he immediately saw different ways how to modify and improve TipToes. One simple way was to add a threaded hole and screw so that the cone could be attached to the speaker or the amplifier and become part of it. At that moment the brand name PinPoints was born -and registered- :-). And then there was also a very nice story about the reaction of Audiac, the TipToes distributor-representative (at least that was what he claimed to be …) in The Netherlands. Herman received a letter from a lawyer, stating that PinPoints were a bad copy of the TipToes and that the threaded modification was even worse, etc etc. We visited the BeNeLux brand-registration office and we learnt that … the brandname TipToes was registered by Audiac, but as the fee was not paid, it was not considered as being registered. That’s how things work :-). Later we learnt that the Canadian manufacturer NEVER exported one TipToe to The Netherlands … The TipToes sold here were illegal local copies made by Audiac … Bigmouth marketing made everybody believe these were the originals … 🙁
4. We had a special lathe built by Karel Zwetsloot, a gifted engineer, and his son, to produce these acrylic platters. We learnt a lot how to do and not to do, about warped mats and straight mats, air-cooling, water-cooling, statics, halfspeed (and less) cutting and so on … I still regret we dismantled this machine …