AUDIO EXPERIENCE FROM FRANCE
In this industrial park located in greater Paris, I am unable spot Micromega, a French HIFI company, from the street. I have to walk through the doors of SICOM, a company that specializes in wholesale industrial electrical equipment , to find the Micromega team.
As soon as I walk into the large office of Didier Hamdi (the CEO of SICOM), I am immediately struck by his clear passion for music. Hanging on the wall are 35 Gibson jazz guitars; there is also a set of gigantic avant-garde horn speakers and a couple thousand vinyl records. I also notice a Micromega Epure turntable, which is the brand’s iconic record player. An older model motorcycle serves as a reminder that Hamdi was a motorcycle racing champion.
Micromega has been getting attention as a result of the success of its MyDac model. What led you to come up with such a product?
When I bought Micromega, I obviously spent a lot of time studying the products being made by its competitors. I have always thought that it was important to set ourselves apart and come up with high-quality products that are accessible to everyone, not just the consumers on the high-end of the high-fidelity market. Furthermore, I really wanted to get off the path typically beaten by HIFI manufacturers and break classical conventions, such as building enormous amplifiers with large dials.
We started from scratch and focused on creating a product by considering its constraints rather than just its technology. In this spirit, I asked Daniel Schar (Micromega’s brilliant and passionate R&D director) and his team to come up with a product based on a requirement that was both simple and complicated at the same time: the machine had to be high quality, affordable, and made in France. In order to come up with a converter that cost less than 300 €, we very quickly decided to save money on the component that costs the most when making electronics: the case! The cost of an aluminum case can represent up to 50% of the total cost of a machine. When it comes to the MyDac (and all the other products in the “My” series), the circuit board accounts for 90% of the total manufacturing costs. We sold 12,000 MyDacs in one year because the product is meeting a need that has been generated by dematerialized music and it does so in a very simple and very affordable way. When it comes to its quality, it has received unanimous praise from around the world; consumers have not made a mistake in purchasing it.
The “My” family of electronics is growing. What are the next products to be released? And what is going on with the brand’s other electronics?
We have already released the MyZic headphone amplifier, and we have just come out with the MyGroov, a phono preamplifier that responds to the needs of a growing number of clients who want to discover or rediscover the pleasure of vinyl records. In early 2014, we will release the MyAmp (2x35W, Class AB); it is the smallest amplifier in the world and will cost 475 €. We will also be releasing MyCables, a range of cables (with coaxial, USB, and digital connections) that will be available for a very competitive price (from 40 to 65 € per pair). Then the MySteam, a wireless converter (24/96), will come out, followed by the MyDisc. I will be honest: we are also thinking about the possibility of one day offering MySpeakers, which would complete the “My” family.
As for our other products, such as the traditional “IN” series, the specs are almost decided upon, and they hold a couple nice surprises in store. Both the technology and the aesthetics of the products will surprise you, and, as always, they will be as affordably priced as possible. Our series of “Airdream” streamers is also likely to further develop thanks to their new, more advanced built-in technology.
What general perspectives do you have on the HIFI market and its major players?
I think the “small world of Hifi” makes no sense sometimes. We should really question the actual added value of certain products that are sold for several thousand euros. In my opinion, many expensive products are essentially marketed based on their looks, and they really are not at all technologically innovative or revolutionary. As far as our company is concerned, we are going to continue to strive to offer products whose price-quality ratio is absolutely unbeatable.
At present, Micromega is making a profit, and I am deeply satisfied to see the high degree to which our clients and resellers are enthusiastic about our products. The MyDac, which has been an unquestionable success, is paving the way for alternative means of “consuming” music at home. We intend to keep pace with this profound change in music consumption over the long term.