After three years in development, Kent based manufacturer Kleio Audio is launching with the introduction of its first range of high quality electronics, the K1 series. Founded in 2012, Kleio’s focus is on manufacturing high quality, great sounding products in the UK. Managing director Garry Wise (who you can read more about in our interview here) formed the business with the philosophy that, “It is paramount people feel a Kleio product makes them want to really listen to and enjoy their music.” Indeed music is the heart of the company’s focus as it also works with upcoming artists to help promote their music and has a number of artists lined up ready to work with the brand.
The launch of Kleio is an example of the resurgence in small scale ‘craft’ hi-fi manufacturing that is happening in the UK. Importantly, the technology aspects of hi-fi design have been recognised by funding bodies as part of the Government’s wish to see technical innovation prosper. Kleio’s founding was supported by the Government Start-Up Loans Scheme and Kent County Council’s Small Business Boost (Regional Growth Fund) Loan Scheme, which contributed towards the initial electronic prototyping and enclosure development costs. Kleio is very proud to be a member of the official Made in Britain campaign, with all products assembled at the company’s Folkestone based workshop. Wherever possible components are sourced from the UK and Europe, such as enclosures from Sussex and PCBs from Kent.
Wise has assembled a carefully selected team of experts to help make the concept a reality. Chief audio designer John Cheriton has been involved in the electronics industry since 1978 and is responsible for the pre-amplifier circuitry and innovative power configurations. The careful selection and sourcing of the electronic components was overseen by team member Philip Saunders and software and audio engineer Simon Coachworth, a previous finalist in the Prince Philip Designer of the Year Award and part of a team that secured a Queen’s Award for Innovation, took ownership of the user functionality and product innovation. The aesthetic vision comes from a design house with many years’ experience of industrial design for the broadcast and professional audio industry and Nick Ebdon, graphic designer, is responsible for creating the visual brand image, including website, advertising and packaging. Office management and finance administration is in the hands of Francine Wise, who has over 11 years’ experience in blue-chip organisations and the local authority sector.
Excited about the launch of the new company, Garry Wise says, “While Kleio was officially formed in 2012, the idea was conceived in 2010. We spent two years working out how to make the vision a reality so we could launch with a solid engineering philosophy that sees us ‘do it properly’ without unnecessary gimmicks.” He continues, “Our product roadmap for the K1 series is finalised and over the coming months we will introduce a DAC, headphone amp, phono stage and network media player. What all of these products have in common, apart from the engineering, is a focus on music. We firmly believe that music has to be at the centre of what we do, hence our support for up and coming musicians as without this talent where will the next generation of music come from?”
The first products to come from the company are the K105 and K135 (pre and integrated amps).The K1 series will be available from dealers in late September 2015, with retail prices from £2000 – £4000.