Eunice Kron heads up KR Audio Electronics located in Prauge, Czech Republic, a manufacturer of hand-crafted, high quality tubes (all glass is hand blown) and audio equipment. Hifi Pig goes Behind The Brands with her.
How did you get into/what was the first job in the industry?
I married into the job although at the time I didn’t know it. When you fall in love, you marry not only the man and his family, their feuds and history, but share your husband’s successes and failures of his work and career.
Who was the biggest influence on your career?
Certainly it was Riccardo and his drive to find a perfected way of reproducing music as if it was live.
What was the proudest moment of your career?
When I first heard the stereo amplifier playing a piece of classical music that made me cry. The notes of the arrangement were so clear and dynamic.
What was your very first system?
This I do not remember.
Tell us about your system history.
The system history really started with the creation of the first vacuum tube after 54 years of world non-tube production. The tube was called VV52 (this after three years of hard R&D and much money). It was a design based on a superior 300B. We went to Milano Top Audio and placed the only two tubes we had to up-grade the Audio Note Kegon. The people were quite marveled about the difference in the sound performance. This was in Sept. of 1994.
What component/product have you never gotten rid of?
This is a hard one to answer. We have a vast “library” or better put an archive of tubes and tube designs. The tube really is the heart of the amplifier.
What is the best system or single component you have heard?
Again here we are in a subjective world of audio applications. I have been around the world many times and heard many very good sound in many different countries, but have also heard terribly distorted musical systems being proposed as ref. systems. May I just add that women over all have better hearing than men and superior aural memories.
Tell us about your current system.
In the KR listening room we currently have connected the VA 830, the specially designed speakers done by my husband and the very anonymous wiring. The idea here is to show or for all intent and purposes educate the listener. With the development of the KR tubes and the reverse hybrid design application (solid state first and then the tube application in the second stage), the amplifier has moved from the sound engineer’s text book as being 20% to what some say is around 50% of the stereo system. Our case in question is we have a push-pull amplifier at a modest price that give 40 Watts output with a 300B application.
The State of the Industry
What are your views on the valve renaissance?
This is fairly easy to answer now. When we started, Riccardo and I were alone. Most thought he was too visionary to abandon modern solid state and return to a dinosaur technology. How many times did I see men shake their heads without murmuring the thoughts out loud that, “This man is crazy”.
Basically the long road has been these past +20 years since the development of the tube in the beginning of Feb. 1992 of one of patience.
Riccardo was vilified in the Hifi journals as well as lauded. Competitors find us a hard adversary to beat and there is a definite sense of frustration when KR will not conform to their ideas. We continue to do demos and show the public in both public and private auditions what real music should sound like.
What are my views on the state of the industry? Where do I think it is going? What will it look like in five years?
I hope given the time the company has dedicated into training young men and women both in the technical teams as well as the commercial network that this legacy will continue and thrive. My greatest asset is Marek Gencev, the only real tube designing engineer. His age will put him in an excellent position as head of the Product Development at KR to lead the industry in the future into accepting better tubes for audio purposes.
Analogue will remain as a valid option for two channel stereo.
What are the industry’s biggest cons?
This is also a big question. Many companies are forced by commercial reasons to sell or manufacture what is convenient, This may not be the best for musical fidelity.
The Way You Work
Presuming the measurements are fine, what do you listen for when assessing products?
I think we should turn the concept around a bit. The product or products should should dynamic and real. Measurements are only a detail.
You have asked what is my sound preference and mention the following descriptions: ‘smooth, listenable music, foot-tapping involving sound, neutrality and transparency’ All these descriptions can be heard in our KR tubes and sets. If I could add that medically we have done tests and clear, truthfully reproduced music lowers heart beat and reduces stress levels. These techniques are being employed in operating theatres for the patients as well as in certain therapies.
Hifi Pig has asked about my preferences for floor standing speakers or free standing monitors with a subwoofer. Here I must admit a prejudice. I do not like sub-woofers nor small monitor speakers.
It’s all about the music, man.
What is your favourite recording?
I have no real favourite and like all music equally if it is well mastered and recorded.