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'I have always enjoyed classical music', says Bonk. 'Whether it is a good opera or concert music. But my busy schedule as CEO of a computer hardware company does not leave me a lot of time to go to concerts and so unfortunately I am usually restricted to listening on CDs or DVDs. So when I started this company in 1992, concentrating on multimedia, sound was of utmost importance to me. And I am not talking only about the enjoyment of listening to a good opera or a nice concert on CD, or watching it on DVD. In today's modern age, I think that computer-listening is becoming increasingly important. Apart from general listening while using the computer, nowadays many people read online magazines, like yours, from the comfort of their own home, and many of those magazines provide what you do: reviews of new classical music CDs out there on the market, complete with an excerpt. So why should people want to listen to these excerpts with inferior quality?'

To appreciate a good piece of music, you want to reproduce the concert experience as much as possible, even if it is just an excerpt that makes you decide whether you want to get a particular CD or not. The problem is that this top-class listening experience usually comes with a hefty price tag and it is precisely here that Bonk provides a welcome alternative.

'I strive to provide top range quality at an affordable price', the successful entrepreneur says. 'Economic times are tough and not everyone can afford to fork out top dollar for top sound equipment. We wanted to save in other areas -- like not embarking on expensive advertising -- in order to be able to put all our resources into the development of top products for maximum listening experience. When developing our latest surround system, for instance, I had the experience of a concert hall or an opera house in mind. Firstly, you don't want to deal with cables and ugly sights when you really should concentrate on your opera. Secondly, you want to get the feeling that the sound is coming from everywhere, just like the effect that good singers are able to achieve in an opera house -- the music has to come at you, flood your senses and take you away to another, magical place, where all your troubles can be forgotten and only the beauty of music rules. Opera, or concert music, should be an all-encompassing experience that touches you on a deep level inside yourself, opens new emotions that remain buried in today's fast-lived society, and takes you away into a different sphere. So if you cannot be at a concert in person, then you should have the right to experience this in the comfort of your own home, whenever you can make time for it.'

Typhoon founder Dominique Bonk. Photo © 2005 Phil Crebbin
Typhoon founder Dominique Bonk. Photo © 2005 Phil Crebbin

The man has a point. Until I discovered Typhoon, there seemed to be only two choices of products when it came to speakers and other devices (including DVD players) connected with the recorded rather than live classical music listening/viewing experience: either buy the expensive stuff and leave a massive hole in your pocket or go for the cheaper versions and forego the clarity and depth of sound and thus some of the enjoyment. This seemed very different and so I decided to put it to the ultimate test: the next day I turned up at Typhoon again (by then they were used to me and already had a cup of coffee ready for me) but this time with a Pergamenschikov / Gililov CD, the Rachmaninov Op 19 [listen -- Allegro moderato] that not only happens to be my favourite but also is very well suited to testing any sound equipment because of its low registers and its sensitivity of interpretation that, coming from a top-cellist, requires top equipment to enjoy.

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Copyright © 17 April 2005 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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