Up to 37% in savings when you subscribe to hi-fi+

Begin typing your search above and press return to search. Press Esc to cancel.

Meet Your Dealer: Deco Audio

Meet Your Dealer: Deco Audio

Deco Audio in Aylesbury is perhaps the most traditional audio store opened recently in the UK, but that’s perhaps understandable, as it extends the long and significant tradition of having fine audio stores in the South of England.

Deco Audio in its earlier guise was one of the first hi-fi stores to use a domestic house as the venue for selling good audio. However, its success has meant it could move to new premises; in a business park on the outskirts of the town of Aylesbury. This runs counter to the normal direction of travel for hi-fi companies – recently they had bigger premises and shrunk down to size, rather than the other way around, so it bespeaks of a company with more of a finger on the audio pulse than many of its rivals, and that’s easy to understand as you take a look around the store. Rather than simply presenting the usual stock of audio suspects, this is a fun and vibrant place filled with some of the more exciting ranges of audio components and very few of the mainstream brands.

The company has something of a reputation for being a centre of turntable excellence, and in no small part this comes down to head honcho, Peter Empson. We spoke to Peter about Deco Audio’s ethos with respect to audio and music, and more besides…

HF+: What brands/products do you stock?

PE: Where do we start! We always try to offer products at a wide range of price points, but all are individually selected after careful listening and consideration. It would be unfair to just cherry pick a few as they are all here on their merits.

, Meet Your Dealer: Deco Audio

What ties all these products together is that they make music an event, they should portray the passion and energy of the performers. This tends to mostly bring us to championing simple circuits – single ended valve circuitry for analogue and, for digital, multi bit filter free conversion, natural materials for speaker drive units with designs that are efficient and therefore highly responsive. That all being said, we’re not dogmatic, and if something better comes along we’ll stock it, but we are very proud of our portfolio as it represents a lot of work over many years.

What music do you listen to when doing a demo?

, Meet Your Dealer: Deco Audio

Unless the customer requests otherwise we adopt a very relaxed approach to demonstrations, music is ideally any that a customer is familiar with. While we do always try to get the message across that to concentrate on any one aspect of an item or recording can be very misleading. Sadly it’s very common. The hi-fi world has taught people to listen this way, so people will be concentrating on the bass on one track or the decay of a cymbal on another. What can then get missed is the musicality. Ask yourself the question, are you enjoying the recording more than ever before? So taking your time and relaxing are absolutely key for long term enjoyment.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to someone who is looking to improve/upgrade their system?

Simple, find a dealer whose ears you can trust and build a relationship with them. Beyond that, leave no stone unturned, almost everything you do to a room or system is audible, don’t overlook any aspect from the acoustics through to the mains supply. These are all areas we can help with, as well as the actual kit itself of course.

Where do you see the industry going?

I’ve stopped worrying! Twenty years ago I was told hi-fi was dead and I should get into Home Cinema. Ten years ago I was told hi-fi was dead and I should be selling multi room systems. I’m very happy to have ignored this advice. I can only get enthusiastic about things I’m passionate about, and I feel very lucky to have been able to spend my ‘working’ hours assisting people get more enjoyment from their music. 

What is heartening is that the recent vinyl revival has seen whole new generations get into vinyl, and many others return to vinyl. We find this means people are taking music much more seriously again, we are seeing a point where the consumption of music is moving from a ‘fast food’ experience to something akin to fine dining – a much more satisfying and rewarding experience that can only be good news for our industry.


You have just moved out of the high street. Why?

We had out-grown our old premises, and it had become clear that a town centre was not the best place for us – parking hassles and the hustle and bustle were not conducive to the atmosphere we wanted. 

So for nearly two years we built our current site, doing much of the work ourselves. We had an almost completely blank canvas, which gave us the freedom to fit it out exactly to our requirements, enabling us to massively increase the space for showrooms (now spread over two floors), build three demonstration rooms, allow ample space for our record shop, workshops for repairs, servicing, upgrades, and modifications, as well as manufacturing facilities.

, Meet Your Dealer: Deco Audio

We’re also rather proud of our coffee bar, which is a nice sociable area to meet and chat, and along with the special events we run with invited manufacturers, there’s a social side here that we just couldn’t entertain at a smaller site. Then there’s also our Showcase room, a demo room set aside to feature products which anyone can come in and use as if they were their own, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – basically a year-round ‘hi-fi show’ enabling you to experience a wide range of systems throughout the course of the year. The longer-term plan is also to host live music events to support local musicians.

You also have a record store?

We love music and what better way to embrace that than sell new and used LPs and CDs. Called ‘The Vicious Squirrel’ our record store currently has the space to display about four thousand LPs, but this increases substantially twice yearly for our own ‘record fair’. It also goes some way to explain the rotating squirrel in the front window of the store! We do go the extra mile with our used LPs; each is, of course, carefully graded but also vacuum cleaned prior to sale – a rather massive undertaking given we buy several thousand records annually, which at times necessitates running three cleaning machines! 

, Meet Your Dealer: Deco Audio

For new LPs, we try to cover a wide variety of genres from many different labels ensuring there’s almost always something for anyone. A selection of titles are also available to buy online at www.thevicioussquirrel.co.uk

You also manufacture products?

We produce a small but growing range of items, basically through necessity where we felt that the product we wanted did not exist or where we felt there was missed performance potential from the products on the market.

If there’s a common theme, it’s that we pay a lot of attention to the materials used for construction of our products as their resonances and electrical properties cannot be overlooked, so we have our range of pure silver cables insulated with the absolute minimum of synthetic materials, primarily with cotton. Then there’s our fully star wired mains block housed in a plywood chassis. Our equipment supports are naturally also made from wood (plywood and balsa). 

Beyond these, we also produce a range of efficient speakers (as reviewed by Hi-Fi+) and are just about to introduce a range of electronics. As always, we are particularly proud of our next product, called the Dacon, it is a truly discrete multi bit ladder DAC designed entirely in house. This has been a labour of love over the course of the last three years as once we’d heard the potential of the original breadboard built prototype we knew that it just had to be put into production – it simply redefined the performance we felt was possible from digital.

There’s more on the horizon too, a phono stage and pre amp will follow shortly afterwards – there’s always lots in development as we will never rush a product to market.

And what of the future?

The substantial investment in larger premises was key to allowing us to grow. It gives us the scope to hold an even wider range of products whilst providing us with the facilities that we’d always dreamed of. All of this is done with the aim to offer the very best specialist experience possible and is something that we are always very proud to be striving for. 


Adblocker Detected

"Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..."

"There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..."