Fern and Roby are slightly different from most other audio companies. Their work offers up a heightened emphasis on texture, not just within the details of fidelity, but also on the surface of their hand crafted, delicately machined works of audio art. The industrial design shines as much as the gleam off off the finish does. Christopher Hildebrand’s handiwork is at the helm of the company and his high-level design sensibilities can be found everywhere in room 606 at AXPONA 2018.
With everything Chris touches, artistic “polish” can be found. Not just on his audio products either. All visual materials from his business card to the show room handout matches the stylebook of the company brand. No, that’s not bone or “eggshell with Romalian type” on the card either, its three layers of paper pressed together so the company red can only be seen from the subtle edge – Patrick Bateman would be jealous.
It’s a wide swath at this show, starting with aptly named two-way “The Towers” ($9.5k) floorstanders. Chris pulled the cross-over out of the equation with an external passive system at line level that ups the ante in terms of amplifying possiblities. The unit actually has separate gain for each level and can be configured for a three way system as well.
Perhaps even more of an atheistic show stopper is was the Tredegar Reference Turntable ($14.5k) equipped with a Fern and Roby Uni-Pivot Tonearm. The industrial flair of this metallic beauty can’t be overstated, also… don’t drop it on your toe. From the company site:
“…designed to nostalgically refer back to classic turntable designs while using sculptural and industrial materials that make it a luxurious and lovely object that is distinct and unique.
Our design is defined by a high-mass and balanced platter concept using a 65-pound cast-iron plinth that lowers resonance and achieves vibration-dampening as a result of the material properties and design of the form. It has a cast and turned 35-pound balanced brass platter.”
Attached to the table was the David Slagle Silver Reference Step-Up Transformer ($4,250) and Maverick Phono Pre ($975) for MM with F&R SUT Cable (balanced). Chris also managing the external design for a pair of amplifiers along with Linear Tube Audio. Fern and Roby handles the casework from concept to manufacturing for the new MicroZOTL Pre ($2,650) and ZOTL Power ($6,800). All good things as far as we are concerned.
For those inspired by the industrial chic design elements, the Fern and Roby site is definitely worth a perusal. The company also handles made-to-order furniture and an assortment of hardwares that include everything from a metal drink jigger CnC’d from a solid 2-inch bar of titanium to equipment racks incorporating reclaimed wood.