QNKTC was founded by Børge Strand-Bergesen, who is an expert on electronics filter design, circuit board layout and design for manufacturing. He believes the circuit board design contributes greatly to the sound quality of the DAC. Critical analogue signals are kept on short tracks and away from the digital section. The board design has an obsessive focus on controlled return currents and builds on Strand-Bergesen’s experience with radio frequency and analogue ASIC layout. 

Your History

  • How did you get into/what was your first job in the industry?Borge_Strand_Bergesen.

I made my own intercom in 8th grade, around the same time I fixed Selectric typewriters for fun. My first real job was for a small Norwegian company (Notyfyer) where I did RF PCB layout and microcontroller programming.

  • Who or what was the biggest influence on your career?

My high school electronics teacher, Sigmund Hoel, who gave me an oscilloscope when I was 17

  • Proudest moment/product you’re most proud of?

When the prototype for my Hi-End CD player played music for the first time, and did it well.

You and your system

  • What was your very first system?

It was a Technics setup bought when I was 15

  • Tell us about your system history

The Technics setup was quickly replaced for NAD components and modded Celestion 5 speakers. After that I put more focus on building my own gear than buying. At the moment I have K701 headphones and a Graham Slee headphone amp.

  • What component/product do you miss the most/wish you had never got rid of?

I wish I had a room where proper speakers would make actual sense. The last places I have lived it has been impossible to place a system with any degree of success. Hence the headphones.

  • Best system (or single component) you have ever heard (no brands you represent please…!)

Listening to a friend’s Quad 2905s was a real ear-opener

  • Tell us about your current system(s)

The headphones, basically, and a lab full of CD player and DAC prototypes.

The state of the industry

  • What’s your view on the valve renaissance of the past 20 years or so?

I think it’s great that old technologies are revived from time to time

  • What are you views on the state of the industry/where is it going/what will it look like in 5 years/what will typical systems look like?/What will happen to prices?/What will happen to the high end – will it carry on regardless?

In my opinion, the industry is driven forward in sudden leaps of convenience (LP -> CD -> MP3) and slow steps of quality improvement. I believe this trend will continue, and I believe the high end will survive quite well.

  • What are the industry’s biggest con(s)?

A lot of individualists fight strongly for their own technology and discard everything else. I wish minds were sometimes more open.

The way you work

  • Presuming the measurements are fine, what do you listen for when assessing products?

It depends. If I want to listen for audible quality it’s with good classical recordings. I have a lot of Bach material which I complement with 90’s techno like The Shamen. If I’m debugging functionality or searching for a noise source, I prefer Enya over pure sine waves. I do not wish to “pollute” my favourite melodies with too intense listening.

  • Your sound preference -‘Smooth, listenable musicality’, ‘forward, driving, ‘foot-tapping’, involving sound’ or ‘detailed neutrality and transparency’?

Personally, I lean toward a detailed reproduction.

  • Your preference – Full-range floorstanders or freestanding mini monitors with a sub?

This far, the rooms I have used have not been able to support floorstanders.

It’s all about the music, man…

  • What is your favourite recording?

If I must pick just one it must be Trevor Pinnock & English Concert: The Harpsichord Concertos

  • Tell us about your 3 most trusted test recordings

An Enya collection CD resampled to 44.1/48/88.2/96/176.4/192 to verify all sample rates during development. To ensure good reproduction quality I try to avoid being subjective, and prefer to test with the setups of various friends. Before that I try everything from Snap to Vivaldi.

  • What are your most embarrassing recordings/guilty musical pleasures

Die fantastischen Vier: Die Da. It’s German rap.

  • Having safely ushered  your loved ones out of the house as it is burning down to the ground, you ignore all standard safety advice and dash back inside to grab just one recording – what is it?

The harddrive with my flac files and project backups.

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