Lyrics by Andy Lloyd-Russell
Who doesn’t love a classic underdog story, an unexpected rise of a star
If there was ever such a story to be told from the upper echelons of the professional Hi-Fi and pro audio industries, it would be the story of Perreaux.
For those unfamiliar, Perreaux is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of handcrafted preamplifiers, power amplifiers and loudspeakers, but unlike the majority of other world-class manufacturers who typically operate and manufacture their produced in Europe, North America and parts of Asia, Perreaux is owned and operated in a somewhat more remote corner of the globe.
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Founded by Peter Perreaux in the town of Napier, New Zealand in 1974, Perreaux has always taken pride in producing the most meticulously designed and manufactured audio equipment. Beginning with the now legendary GS 2002 Integrated Class A Transistor Hi-Fi Amplifier, Perreaux’s no-compromise approach is a direct testament to the company’s success and longevity.
Kiwi’s magical combination of handcrafted quality, carefully selected parts, rigorous testing and a healthy dose of ingenuity has caught the attention of big wigs in the audiophile and professional audio communities, with this little audio company known from below quickly setting the standard for power, performance and personality.
To set the scene, New Zealand in the 1970s was pretty quiet, secluded and, well, damn quiet. With almost all the manufacturing of goods being done domestically, for the domestic market, New Zealand imported very few goods. The odds of securing export deals at the time were difficult to say the least, so those starting a business on home soil faced the harsh reality of manufacturing in a small country in a remote corner of the world.
But for Peter Perreaux, it seemed like just a $1,000 investment was all he needed to get started.
After introducing several successful products in the mid-1970s, such as the aforementioned GS 2002 integrated preamplifier, the 4004A – a switchable 40 W dual mono/stereo output integrated amplifier, and the 2100 EXR / 2200 EXR / SP 100 – separate power amps and control consoles, Perreaux managed to obtain subsidies to develop export to Australia and the Americas.
What became very clear about Perreaux early on was the careful design and quality of their products. During the 1980s, Perreaux was considered the only professional audio manufacturer to not only select components (such as their transistors), but also to mill, bevel, and engrave all of their metal work. This gave them a distinct and authentically ‘artisanal’ edge over their many competitors.
Perreaux’s unparalleled selection of high-quality components, from their hand-picked transistors to their high-conductivity 24-carat circuit boards, it was clear that Peter Pereraux was never going to be content to design and build anything other than a platinum product, in the truest sense of the word. And it is in this spirit that Perreaux products have earned their comparisons to well-known German automobiles – elegant, meticulously built and engineered.
Decades of world renown
Starting with an impressive yet modest 22W per channel Hi-Fi amplifier, for decades Perreaux designed and handcrafted countless other world-renowned audio products. During the second half of the 1970s, Perreaux introduced its first horn sound systems and the impressive SA80B power amplifier, released in 1979.
Perreaux being never one to shy away from new technologies, the SA80B was one of the first Perreaux products to incorporate MOSFET technology, which they had imported from Japan. This allowed their designs to benefit from combining the sound quality of valve/tube designs with the efficiency and compactness of solid state transistor designs. The SA80B became a main export product for the company.
In the 1980s products such as the Model II preamplifier were introduced, as well as the extremely powerful 8000B two-channel power amplifier which was introduced in 1982 – often used to drive monitor speakers in studios of recording, providing a monolithic 500 W per side.
Other iconic products include the PMF2150B power amplifier, the valuable SM2 Class A preamplifier, as well as the elegant Silhouette SX1 (1985) Hi-Fi amplifier. Finally, the SM3 preamplifier, TU3 tuner and PMF 3150 power amplifier were a dominant trio in the mid to late 80s.
While Perreaux’s designs and aesthetics were essentially classic for the 70s and 80s, they took a bold step into the 90s with the iconic SM6 “Dog bone” preamplifier. Quite the Rolls Royce of the Hi-Fi world, the SM6 was as visually striking as it was musical, with matching 200, 350 and 6150 “Dog bone” power amplifiers, it was a series that carried on throughout. of the decade. and into the 2000s. The SM6P “winged” design with matching 250p and 350p power amplifiers provided a more modest aesthetic to the line, while being extremely popular as well.
The modern era
Today’s Perreaux indeed remains true to its rich and renowned history and reputation as one of the most scrupulous audio designers and manufacturers. Its diverse yet focused line of current products includes six preamplifiers/power amplifiers, with the SM6 MKII preamplifier being at the forefront of the catalog, but also includes a gigantic 750W monoblock power amplifier, with customizable colors being the name of the game.
The three built-in amplifiers range from 80W to 300W and the two floor-standing speakers (2-way and 3-way models) deliver pristine sound reproduction along with a highly customizable color palette.
With such a rich history and a history that has gone against all odds, this now prestigious audio company from Napier, New Zealand has well and truly earned its place among some of the biggest names in the industry.
Successfully exporting to overseas markets in an otherwise domestically dominated manufacturing environment in the 1970s is testament to the quality of Perreaux’s products, as well as a deep understanding of the fiercely competitive markets in which they competed. are heavily taxed. of.
It would seem that New Zealand craftsmanship is really fighting back.
Go to Perreaux for more information. For local inquiries on Perreaux products, contact Sound and Music.