RICHMOND, VA (PTA) — Throughout the year of 2019, a few of us at Part-Time Audiophile have spent what we see as a warranted amount of time in adoration of everything Fern & Roby. From the more obvious components like turntables and speakers, to the less obvious amplifier chassis builds made for Linear Tube Audio (LTA).
Words and Photos by Eric Franklin Shook
One could say, that a lot of our eagerly given attention for Fern & Roby comes in the form of admiration for Fern & Roby’s founder and chief designer Christopher Hildebrand. Mr. Hildebrand could be best described as an intense, gritty, and yet warm figure of cherub like demeanor. It is he for whom the Fern & Roby brand owes the best parts of its character.
To say that our 2019 coverage of Fern & Roby tells the complete story would be remiss. To suggest that Marc Phillips and myself were the foremost to take notice of Fern & Roby, and thus be the first expense ourselves on a journey to visit the factory, would be a criminal act.
Back in 2017, during what some might call the beginnings of our glory years, our then intrepid Rafe Arnott trekked (via dog sled) the entire 4,823 kilometers from his winter home in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada to Richmond, Virginia USA. Along the way braving the oppressive summer heat, to then finally to arrive at the Tektonics Design Group factory and facilities, where the Fern & Roby brand was born.
Read, watch, and listen to Rafe Arnott’s factory tour, interview with Christopher Hildebrand, and short documentary film on Fern & Roby. Located in the large link above.
In early 2019, near the close of season two of The Occasional Podcast, it was our own Brian Hunter who sat down with Christopher Hildebrand to take a behind-the-scenes look at the Fern & Roby manufacturing process. Along the way a philosophical examination of what it means to be a creative, and yet an even deeper look inside the brain of Mr. Hildebrand’s as they dissect the meaning of life, and his role in working with manufacturers throughout the high-end audio industry.
Listen first hand as Brian Hunter of The Occasional Podcast sits down for a one-on-one interview with Fern & Roby founder and creative honcho Christopher Hildebrand. Located in the large link above.
Two years later in the Summer of 2019, it’s Marc Phillips and myself hot on the trail to Richmond, Virginia to visit Fern & Roby. With new questions and a vision in hand. Marc asks the question: Can the team at Tektonic Design Group redefine “lifestyle products” for the high-end?
Our second visit to the Fern & Roby factory resulted in Marc taking home a pair of Fern & Roby’s larger Raven loudspeakers for review. Even further, an open invitation from Mr. Hildebrand to come back and experience the first listening room open house event to be held at the Tektonics Design Group facilities later in the fall of 2019.
Check out the complete 2019 collection of three literary masterpieces from our own editorial laureate, Marc Phillips. As he outlines the Fern & Roby story of progress. Located in the large links above.
Factory Photo Tour
Photography by Eric Franklin Shook and his trusty Ricoh GR.