As an adjunct to Europe’s premier loudspeaker design consultancy, we at FinkTeam create many speakers across a wide range of markets and prices. Loudspeaker manufacturers hire us because of our expertise, experience and extremely well-equipped simulation and measurement facilities. But we are the backroom boys, and so much of our work is confidential. Only if the client elects to mention our involvement are we credited.
When we began, in 2014, designing a loudspeaker for ourselves, we envisaged it to demonstrate our capabilities and as an internal reference. There was no intention that it would go on sale. We are loudspeaker engineers, not loudspeaker manufacturers – at least, not then.
Karl-Heinz credits his success of owning Europe’s most successful acoustics design consultancy to being lazy.
He uses his brain to solve a problem rather than manual labour. He detests carrying out the same job repeatedly, which has driven a massive investment in design, modelling and measurement computers and applications. But as he will admit, when pushed, the actual investment has been in people – The Team – and ensuring that the Team can fully utilise and understand the output from this investment.
For over 30 years, Fink has developed award-winning solutions and products for clients worldwide.
Norbert is the heart of the FinkTeam project and leads it internally. As a master carpenter with more than 20 year’s experience in High-End cabinets Norbert manages our wood shop. He also runs production and co-ordinates the quality control. He is also a member of the acoustic team and the listening panel. Plays bass guitar and loves funk music.
Markus is one of the leading vibration specialists in our industry with a solid scientific background and long experience in all sorts of materials. He runs the cabinet simulations and is responsible for the research programs within the team. His research is the basis of all our cabinet constructions. Loves headphones and High-End in general and riding one of his many push bikes.
Shauk is doing most of the work related to signal processing like the group delay compensation and other development programs around modern DSP solutions. He is also responsible for all our Klippel devices and keeps them up and running as well as doing a lot of measurements with the various systems in the lab.
Nicola is the brain behind our simulation work on drive units. He runs our COMSOL department with a lot of creativity and always tries to find new and better solutions for magnets, cones and surrounds. He is constantly learning new things to improve his knowledge – and he has a somewhat hidden passion for horn speakers.
Bernd is part of the woodworking team, but does also a lot of the speaker assembly and testing before they go out to the customer. Every speaker that leaves from the production line goes through his hands.
But events took an unexpected turn when Marantz Europe’s brand ambassador Ken Ishiwata* heard an early and not very eye-pleasing prototype (known internally as ‚the washing machine‘). He asked us to create an adequately finished version which he could use to demonstrate his electronic designs. This speaker, the WM-3 – with industrial design by Kieron Dunk of IDA in England – unveiled at the Munich High-End show in 2016. The industry reaction was so positive that we had to rethink. Like a car maker who shows a concept car that wows the press and public alike, we experienced an unexpected demand for what we had created.
So, we set about making it a ‚real‘ product, a process that involved much more than creating a small- scale production line. We decided to enhance the design in crucial respects: by swapping the WM-3’s good but not perfect bass driver for our design, improving the midrange driver chassis, and selecting a different AMT (Air Motion Transformer) tweeter. Of course, all these required changes to the crossover and cabinet too.
The result of our efforts, the WM-4, is the best loudspeaker we knew how to make.: the distillation of our vast, deep experience of designing loudspeaker drive units and loudspeaker systems and marrying them into something even greater than the sum of its parts. But that was then, and we pride ourselves on learning more every day
We believe combining our design skills and total control of manufacturing – as we build in-house – allows us to deliver a world-class loudspeaker system at home playing audiophile demo tracks as playing classic rock, jazz and orchestral music.
The WM-4 may be a technical tour-de-force, but it is all for one single purpose: to maximise musical enjoyment.
A year later, we completed Borg’s design – a smaller, domestic room-friendly loudspeaker. Yes, we know an excellent 10inch isn’t going to be better than a great 15inch for bass power and dynamics, but for some, a ten is as large as is practical.
Late in 2020, we released KIM, a design ideal for smaller rooms. KIM, however, isn’t a compromise in accuracy or musicality.
* Ken Ishiwata was a very close friend of Karl-Heinz Fink. We are sad to say that Ken died in 2020. He leaves a massive hole both as a friend, a music lover, a hi-fi-enthusiast, and a guiding light.