Chord Electronics have been in business for over 30 years. they took flight in 1989 from an idea their Founder, Chief Engineer and Owner John Franks had in the early 1980s whilst working as an electronics engineer for Marconi Avionics. His idea was to apply the strict disciplines inherent in electronics for aircraft, where perfection must be achieved to guarantee safety, and pair them with his proprietary dynamically coupled ultra-high-frequency switch-mode power supply designs and custom MOSFETs, to produce highly accurate, transparent and reliable, high-end audio amplifier designs. John never wanted to produce his technology to a price, but to manufacture it to a performance level in Great Britain. By 1989, John succeeded in his aims, producing the SPM 900.
Just a year later, in 1990, they were discovered by the BBC and began co-developing their first broadcast-quality amplifier, the AM820. This became the standard for BBC Studios for many years and its implementation was just the beginning in establishing their professional credentials. they soon experienced demand from small, medium and large studios including the world-famous Abbey Road Studios, Sony (New York), Toshiba (Japan) and Skywalker Sound (LA). Proudly, these installation products are amplifiers that they still service and maintain for the studios today.
Although in the early days the company was focused on its analogue technologies, it was in 1994 that their Founder John Franks met Rob Watts, a talented digital designer working for massive clients, at CES in Las Vegas. Just like John, Rob had his own approach to digital: he had his own technologies to reach precision and truth in audio playback, at a time when digital was in its infancy. Rob’s stance was important because John knew that this was the future: that digital would become the number one format and that digital-to-analog converter chips, used by most manufacturers, were never going to be good enough for high-fidelity playback. In 1997, Chord Electronics introduced its first digital product, the DSC 1500 and later in 2002, a (now legendary) product named the DAC 64.
From Chord Electronics’ inception in 1989 until 2014, their presence rapidly expanded internationally as a result of the quality and unique craftmanship of their high-end audio products, but it was the introduction of Hugo, a transportable DAC, in 2014 that drove their popularity amongst a much younger demographic, quadrupling turnover; Hugo 2 became a landmark product with legendary status. The business again tripled in turnover when Mojo, an affordable, portable DAC, was launched in 2015, allowing consumers, regardless of budget, entry into Chord Electronics ownership. Now in 2019, with the introduction of their dual-feed forward error-correction topology into their amplification range, they are, yet again, excited about the future.
To this day, Chord Electronics is wholly owned by the original founder.