It was during 1972, when I decided that I had had enough of the industrial revolution and decided that it would be more fun and rewarding running my own business.
I had spent the first years of my life working as an industrial chemist in the West Riding of Yorkshire's laboratories based in Ossett, analysing bituminous and thermoplastic materials used in road construction. I was then head hunted and joined a small independent company as a chemist and materials developer. During those early years, part of my time was embroiled in the design and development of plastic coffins no less and we all know what happened to that idea!
Over succeeding years and a few takeovers later, I migrated into production and managed material coating plants and quarries throughout the North-East of England. That tiny insignificant company I first joined ten years previously metamorphosed into the now mighty Tarmac!
I was always an avid supporter of most types of music and owned many different hi-fi systems, some good, some not so good. I was greatly excited by changing the equipment within a system to drive the performance to a new and higher (although I have to say it did not always work out that way) level.
So it was, that I decided to leave the comfort of a monthly salary and the promise of an excellent future, for a dubious business venture in hi-fi. I opened Lintone Audio during the August of 1974 from the same premises that Lintone trades from today. Granted the premises have grown six fold over those years and the responsibilities even more so.
All of my industruial colleagues said I was absolutely mad, but I drew some comfort from my immediate boss who said "if it does not work out, give me a call".
Hi-fi was still pretty much in its infancy and there were a tremendous number of "build it yourself" kits around at that time, but I felt I had spotted a niche within the North East for a specialist store.
As finances were constrained at the time, it was a modest beginning and a search for an even more modest monthly rental. After much retail property therapy, I found 60 sq metres in Gateshead for an affordable £8.00 a week! You have to remember this was 1974.
It was of course quite a difficult and traumatic time, fortunately my wife at the time ran her own business in distribution which brought in the daily bread, so our basic daily requirement was assured until the company turned a profit which took 12 months.
You might be interested to learn that the name of Lintone was the amalgam of my wife's name "Lynne" and my name "Tony". So simple, but it took a good friend to come up with it.
Agencies stocked at the outset included Rega, Revox, Era, Thorens, Harmon Kardon, Martin, Acoustic Research, IMF, Goodmans, Cambridge, Alpha, Shure and others which I fail to recall some thirty four years on. Of course, many of these names have now vanished from the planet for various reasons.
The opening launch of the store was arranged for a Sunday, supported by much local advertising. As I recall, it was quite a busy day, not St. James Park busy, but very satisfying. People that I met on that first day were very enthusiastic toward music and hi-fi systems and it was all very encouraging.
Over the following years agencies came and went but the most significant development was in my introduction to Linn Products and the infamous LP12 turntable and of course its designer, Ivor Tiefenbrun, who came along with new and radical ideas. To quote "All turntables sound different, but ours sounds the best". Back in those days it was never viewed this way, you were buying rumble and wow and flutter factors as well as decent engineering.
Many dealers thought the guy was a loon at the time, for those that understood Glaswegian. In today's parlance it would have been "snake oil" or "smoke and mirrors". However, he was right and it did sound better than other decks.
Another bar raising experience was listening to Naim Audio electronics for the first time. Talk about the 'wow' factor, I just could not get enough and used it for most demonstrations along with the LP12, the sum of parts created this seamless sound.
I have to thank Ivor for that again. He rang me one day and said "you must listen to Naim amplifiers" which i had never heard of up to that point. He went on to say that he would send a pre and power amplifier for me to try. Some days later, a couple of musty boxes arrived containing a Naim 12/160 and covered in coffee cup stains! I have to say that until switch on, I was far from impressed, but on switch on, WOW!
I had not heard such dynamics, details, imagery and weight. It was a sheer joy to listen to. It could make speakers at sub one hundred pounds sound like speakers at five or six times their price. My thanks go to Julian Vereker, the founder of Naim Audio, who sadly passed away in January 2000.
Naim Audio had arrived and the rest is history as they say. They have continued to be a dominant force both at Lintone and the market place in general.
Thinking back over the years that I have been involved in hi-fi, which now totals thirty seven, almost as many as Doug Brady! This has to be a bench mark in time. I think I can say, no other product has impressed me anywhere near as much since then.
The company expanded into other towns and cities around the North East - Newcastle, Durham, Whitley Bay and finally the Metrocentre, whilst simultaneously developing the main Gateshead store. As fashions changed within the industry one had to adapt and single speaker demonstration rooms became multi-functional rooms as audio visual systems developed. Now it is Audio/Visual which often is the driving force behind a purchase. Although there has been a large resurgence of two channel systems within recent years, particularly at the high end of the market.
Technology today is moving forward at an accelarating pace and presents an exciting challenge for our staff to be up to speed, with almost constant ongoing product training. From advising on and installing a high end hi-fi system to a home cinema to a multiple room Sonos system and networked audio we have the ability to create wonderful sounding and looking systems that have kept people coming back for more and more over the years.
You can draw comfort in the knowledge that staff have been with the company for anything up to thirty years and collectively have well in excess of 100 years experience within the industry. Not many retailers around today can boast anywhere near that figure.
For your convenience we take in part exchange equipment against new product and we offer generous trade in allowances, this has now become a substantial part of the business. We also have many exclusive special offers listed, so don't forget to check them out.
All of the staff at Lintone Audio look forward to hearing from you.....
We hope you enjoy our new website!