August 16, 2012

10Qs For Frank Denson, International Sales Director, Dynavector Systems Ltd.

Dynavector Systems Ltd, is a Japan based company who makes high end MC(Moving Coil) cartridges and electronics with strong links to their offices in Australia and New Zealand.

Thru Frank Denson, an elderly Kiwi gentleman in his 70's, I get to learn about the people behind the great history of Dynavector. I now share with you, our dear readers, especially analog fans, my new found admiration for the Dynavector brand. 
Frank Denson is Dynavector's International Sales Director. He's also a keen audio engineer and designer at heart. 

Big E: Frank, which part of New Zealand are you based?

FD: I am from Christchurch, south island of New Zealand.

Big E: How is Christchurch recovering from the devastating earth quake two years ago, and are you affected in any way by the tragedy?

FD: Christchurch is being re-built slowly but surely, and I consider my self lucky that I was not affected in any way, because I live 20 kilometers away from the epicenter.

Big E: Tell us about some of the illustrious history of Dynavector?

FD: Dynavector developed a coil winding machine which gave them the capability of producing high output moving coil cartridges in the very early 70's. Dr Tominari, then a professor in automation science at the Tokyo Metropolitan University, founded Dynavector, along with Mr Masaaki Sasa, an apprentice who was one off his students, went on to manufacture one of the very first cartridges with very short cantilevers made from precious stones such as Ruby and Diamond. He also produced a very small production of tube electronics which have become collectors items throughout the world.

Big E: Other than cartridges and tube audio electronics, what other engineering interest did Dr Tominari pursued?

FD: In 1985 he became very influential in the development of a Mikuni fuel injection system but was frustrated by the strong worldwide patents of Bosch in Germany. He was an avid car enthusiast, owing  heavily modified V 12 Jaguars and Alfa Romeos. He also has completed many circuits at Brands Hatch motor racing track in single seat race cars.

Big E: How did you, as a Kiwi, got involved with Dynavector?

FD: I had always represented Dynavector in New Zealand, where I run an audio specialty retail business. On the event of his untimely death in 2003 and because of a lack of English speaking personal at Dynavector Tokyo, I was invited to take up the position of International Sales Director, a position I have held to the present day. Fortunately Dynavector are blessed with the brilliant, now senior engineer Mr Masaaki Sasa who had been with Dr Tominari since a university graduate and even greater cartridges have evolved in the Dynavector stable which makes my job an exceptionally easy one.

Big E: Is it true that you designed the Te Kaitora Rua cartridge and got Dynavector to manufacture it?

FD: Yes, I designed the original Te Kaitora Rua cartridge and got Dynavector Tokyo to make it for me. The latest version is an improvement over the original design, but I didn't do much design input by then.

Big E: How did the popular P-75 phono stage came about? Was that your handy work too?

FD: The P-75 phono stage was a collaboration between Mr Davis of Dynavector Australia and myself. It has been produced since 2003 and will be getting its first serious makeover this month.

Big E: Any other new Dynavector products that you'd like to announce which is coming our way?

FD: We also have a new Step Up MC Transformer SUP-200, which started shipping recently.(By then Nelson of Centre Circle Audio was trying to order some already, so expect them to be here soon!)

Nelson(left) of Centre Circle Audio, Malaysian distributor of Dynavector seen with Frank Denson. 

Big E: Why are there scale model airplanes available on Dynavector's website?

FD: The model airplanes are a project of Taro Tominari(son of Dr. Tominari). They are very special kit sets of quite rare airplanes. Dr Tominari's other son Jiro has an interest in restoring and racing in Tokyo, vintage & classic British Motor Cycles.

Big E: Obviously, you're very good friends with Dr Tominari, how would you like to remember him by?

FD: Dr Tominari's legacy, not confined only to the Hifi World is significant and is testimony to the man's genius.

Incidentally, Frank Denson is also owner of the Well Tempered Lab turn table brand. He designed the latest Simplex turn table which was also on demo at the KLIAV show this year. Out of curiosity, I asked about the use of a golf ball integrated in to the tone arm's design. Frank said that the golf ball is the most aero dynamic(naturally also the most hydro dynamic) item with natural self damping properties, most suitable for the fluid damping design mounting base on the turn table.

I tried to asked him more about his turn table ventures and he said, "That's another long story best left for another day!" I agree to him finish his cuppa and get back to his demo sessions. Many thanks to Nelson of Centre Circle Audio for arranging this most interesting 10Qs session.

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