Tube Audio Isn't Going Away
Lukasz Feliks is not worried about tube availability, so why are you?
The Feliks brothers, Lukasz, Piotr, and Michal, at CanJam NYC 2023.
The Feliks Audio Envy lives up to its name.
At a recent audio show, a well-known amplifier designer we cannot name sat down at our headphone booth to try out Feliks Audio's class-A 300B amplifier, the Envy. He listened silently for a while, then removed his headphones and said, "I can't build something this good, and that pisses me off.
We've become used to near-unanimous acclaim with these hand-crafted products from Poland, and the Envy has been especially singled out. Many listeners have removed their headphones and declared, "This is the best in the show."
As with so many great brands, the Feliks Audio story begins with a man in a shed. Engineering genius Henryk Feliks started making amps for himself and later for friends and very soon had a company big enough to be run by his three sons, Lukasz, Piotr, and Michal.
Henryk is now 72, and despite Feliks Audio occupying a large factory, he works out of home in the same "R&D shed"—as Lukasz puts it—where he started. Don't make the mistake of thinking he's just tinkering, though. He is very active in the business's product development side, constantly pushing his sons to improve and develop products.
We got on a video call recently to chat with Lukasz, who handles sales for the company, and asked him how CanJam NYC had gone for them.
"Our customers are demanding, and that's good," said Lukasz with a wry smile. While they were excited to meet their customers, the Feliks brothers were also looking forward to meeting the Upscale Audio team. We are so proud of our people because every manufacturer comments on their knowledge and passion for the products we sell.
Lukasz confirms they plan to regularly attend US shows. Feliks Audio is in the US to stay, but what about tube audio in general?
The Feliks Audio Envy in the American Walnut finish. It is a class A single-ended transformer-coupled, balanced amplifier, powered by 300B tubes. Handcrafted in Poland.
The Worry about Tube Shortages
With the situation in Ukraine, everybody is asking about tube availability. Lukasz is not worried. The tube market has seen many ups and downs. Lukasz reminds us, "Feliks Audio is privileged to have a great location and mature business relationships in Russia and Ukraine."
Lukasz can't overstate how much time Feliks Audio spends evaluating the tubes they use, not just for their sonics but for long-term reliability and availability. This is where the size of the company really shines. It's small enough to be nimble but big enough to be relied on for world-class after-sales support.
As Lukasz says, "We are a boutique company with everything handmade to a very high quality, yet when the popularity of Feliks products was more than expected, we were able to scale up to meet this demand quickly."
Far from worrying about tube shortages, Feliks Audio is looking to growth and new product development. Lukasz promises fans and dealers the launch of something new every year. "This year, we have something really exciting, a tube amplifier for electrostatic headphones," he says. "This will be a high-end premium product, almost like an Envy for electrostats".
The Feliks Envy, other Feliks Audio products, and many more will be on display today and tomorrow (June 10, 11) at T.H.E. Show SoCal 2023 at the Hilton Orange County Costa Mesa.
We're Open on Saturdays
The Upscale Audio store at 2058 Wright Avenue in La Verne is open on Saturdays from 9 to 5. We will be running with a smaller crew, and there are a couple of important things to note:
1) As with all other days, you'll need to call ahead and set up an appointment for a specific demo. If you decide to drop by, you won't be turned away, but your auditions will be limited to our headphone station and—only if the rooms are free—whatever systems we already have set up.
2) The warehouse will be closed, so if you need to pick up something, please call ahead, and we'll ensure we bring it over by Friday. If you buy something while you're here, it might be cheaper to ship it! After all, shipping is free above $49, and you'll save a little on La Verne city tax. Unless you live in La Verne...
Please call 909.931.9686 to make a demo appointment.