Mention the name David Hafler and his Hafler and Dynaco products to audiophiles of a certain age, and watch them wistfully harken back to their youth and beam about the products that likely started their path into the audiophile world.
Decades past the brands' heyday, the high-performance pro audio company Radial Engineering is relaunching the Hafler and Dynaco brands. The Hafler-Dynaco product launch is officially set for the upcoming Munich High End Show in Europe this May, and the move further diversifies Radial's reach into the consumer market, having already launched its Primacoustic brand of acoustical treatments into the residential custom installation market.
Back in the 1990s, when Hafler entered the pro audio space Radial Engineering immediately noticed Hafler's products, and shortly afterwards it became the company's Canadian distributor. Radial, which is a top manufacturer in the pro market with users that range from Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and Sting, to Chick Corea, Andrea Bocelli and Victor Wooten, produces everything from direct boxes (DI), effects (chorus, phasers, etc.), interfaces, snakes and cables, 500 series components and switching devices, including its ToneBone products. Peter Janis, president of Radial Engineering, says the initial launch of Hafler-Dynaco will offer users a choice of a half dozen new products.
“Back in the 1990s, we enjoyed tremendous success selling Hafler amplifiers in Canada. After Rockford-Fosgate decided to shelf the brand to focus on car audio, we approached them to take it on and have been diligently working to put together our first series of Hafler products,” explains Janis. “As a small box, specialty manufacturer, we decided to begin by focussing our attention on items that we could build using our current production techniques. With the incredible proliferation of turntables and headphones, the path was clearly defined by the market. So we have started with six products: Two step-up transformers equipped with world-class Jensen transformers, two active phono stages—one for moving magnet, the other for moving coil—and two headphone amps. The first [headphone amp is] powered by valves [tubes], the second is 100 percent discrete [solid state]. Retail prices [for the products will] range from $500 to $1,200 and these products are now available.”
Janis says the Hafler and Dyanco brands will follow the precedent established by David Hafler during the golden age of consumer audio to provide users with high performing, value-minded solutions. Validating the products' performance he notes that several demo units have already been sent to recording engineers such as Tom Coyne (Adele), Chuck Ainlay (Mark Knopfler), Al Schmitt (Frank Sinatra) and Alan Parsons (Pink Floyd and The Beatles).
Addressing a topic that is critical to many audio enthusiasts before they purchase any component, Janis adds that Hafler-Dynaco products are made in Canada and not in an overseas factory to ensure the best possible build quality and performance. Moreover, he says there are plans to revive some classic Dynaco products, but with a modern twist.
“One of the first questions we regularly receive is whether the products are truly made in Canada or are they simply relabelled offerings from some Chinese OEM supplier. The answer is a resounding yes … Hafler and Dynaco products are currently and will always be made in Canada,” emphasizes Janis. “The huge benefit here is being in control of every facet of our production. From concept to engineering, to production, each stage is done right here under out watchful eye. Last year, we shipped over 90,000 electronic products to our pro-audio distributors around the globe.
“This success has come from delivering a quality product and growing the brand steadily with our wonderful distribution partners around the globe. We intend to follow suit with Hafler and Dynaco. Another common question we receive is if we will be remaking some of the legendary Dynaco products such as the ST70? Again, Yes. We will be showing an updated version of the venerable Dynaco ST70 at the High-End show. Although the new model looks dramatically different, it has the same sonic character as the original with improved signal-to-noise and damping in order to better address the source material and loudspeakers that are in use today.”