Interview with Peter Brem of DaVinci Audio

Exclusive interview and insights to DaVInci Auido 

How did all started with DaVinci Audio?

It’s a long story… I started many many years ago with Hifi as consumer, then hobby became more and more of importance to me.

Later I start to get involved in vintage systems like Western Electric, Altec, Klangfilm etc. Then I start to build my own 300B amplifier etc. With time I formed a hifi club at my home. We discussed about tubes and elaborate on  established and dismantled dogmas.

We listened to a lot of music. During that time I got an opportunity to make recordings. So I occupied myself intensively with music.

All these led me to understand deeper the musicality. From this understanding came one day a desire to build a completely crazy system, which had to be very close to the reality.

So I start to build a complete transformer coupled system with tubes. Further I created and build a Horn system, the "Voice of Theatre". As front end I was using the Platin Verdier turntable, an SME 3012 tone arm and an SPU cartridge. This was my first system, which in my opinion brought the musicality I was searching at that time.

Just when my system was ready Jolanda came into my live. She loved and still loves music and played in the orchestra when she was younger. So I invited her to a listening session, but she didn’t came immediately… 3 – 4 months later she finally came.

Impressed about the high musicality that she heard trough my system, she asked me for whom I build this system and I replied, that it was for me and if you like from now, also for you"J. She said: "You must build this terrific system for the world! I will help you to promote this unique system”… so we started with a crazy idea to build amplifiers for the world J.

Why the name?

When we were searching for a name we quip about names. It was funny… We looked both at our library… We do have a lot of books. Our eyes stopped by the books from DaVinci, so both said at the same moment "DaVinci!". Why we have to take another name? J
Any strong inspiration?

My strong inspirations come, when I take a walk in the nature with our mascot Mr. DaVinci. 

MR. DaVinci
Would you consider yourself an Audiophile?

I don’t know, but what I know is, that I love music and music is my great passion.

How is you company organized?

We are a small but very special manufactory. We do not want to make mass products. Our pieces are unique and build only by order.

You’re one of the few true artisans in audio industry. What do you think is shaping strong individuals as you?

It is our passion for music. You can convert this only in a small manufacture. Because we are so small, we can develop special things outside of the mainstream.

Does love for music affects the high-end audio creations?

Of course!

Do you think, that analog is still the best way to enjoy the audio?

For us analog is the best way, but today as you know, digital music is becoming more and more important and some music reproductions are only in digital version…

If you love music sometimes you have to listen also in digital.

How do you “tune” your products? Neutrality, music, performance?

The strength of our system is credibility associated with a large emotionality.

Digital vs analog?

Sound waves are analogous with ups and downs. Digital is a format made up of combinations of characters.

So I can say: "Analog touches directly your heart and soul. Digital affected primarily head and brain."

Tubes vs transistor?

For me up to last year’s there were only tube amplifiers. In my opinion only them made music.

But then I create a new invention in form of transformer coupled, single ended class A transistor electronics. For me it was a completely new experience, a new music world.


I can tell you I will never change back to tubes, but also never change to normally transistor circuits. I found my ultimate design.

Many high-end companies these days are loosing their path and capability evolve. You’re only going strong and more determined. How so?

It’s my passion. If you could listen to my system, you knew immediately why J.

How much is simple enough for you?

Everything is based on the art of omission. You must ensure that nothing is omitted that you need.

Masters Reference VIRTU PhonoAmp

What is your view on balanced topology?

I love single ended and simply concepts. Balanced topology is too much complications and to complicated for me J.

Your known for your attention to detail. Does every little thing matters?

Yes, details can be very important, at the right place.

Masters Reference VIRTU PreAmp

How much of your work is done in-house?

In house we make:

Whole design / development
Complete assembling
Transformer winding
All testing and quality assurance
Only mechanical parts are made outside.

How important are the electronic parts?

Each piece is responsible for sound, so I can say, that they are all important.

Exotic materials. A need?

Yes, they're needed in our transformer cores.

Does form follows function with your products?

Function comes first, then the form.

How important are aesthetics?

Aesthetics are important for us. But aesthetics are individual; I think we are on the right track.

Where does one draw the line between luxury and true audio instruments?

To reach our pure musicality, we use only highly selected components, a lot of hand work etc. I don’t know if it is luxury?

Is high price a must?

To reach this high musicality, it automatically draws unfortunately consequences. High quality has its price.

Can you elaborate on new Virtu tonearm?

The new Virtu tone arm bases on an old idea of mine, that I treasures since many years in my mind.

We start first with the idea of make an MK II of the Grandezza tonearm. But then by testing, not enough sonically improvements were given… Only cosmetic changes. This was not enough for us.

I decided to take my old idea , which I had since many years in my mind to reality. So we started to develop a completely new tone arm.

Masters Reference VIRTU tone arm

Why ebony?

The material mix is important. We made a hybrid tube, one part it’s made of ebony. The combinations of all parts of this hybrid tube, helps to reduce resonances.

4 point magnetic sapphire bearing?

It’s a new invention of mine. It is a 4-point gimbaled magnetic- sapphire bearing. It’s unique in the world. The operating point of the bearing is absolutely stable. At the same time this magnetic- sapphire bearing absorbs practically all resonances.

Resonances are energies; you cannot kill them, you can only convert them.

Have a look at the our YouTube video,  so you can see how precise bearings works.

Swiss precise bearing, Patek Phillipe references? How did you come to idea about using watch technology for your tonearm?

Best watches are building in Switzerland, near of us J.
Patek Philippe is unique in precision and so are we in DaVinci Audio.

Do you still believe in traditional Swiss quality?

Why not? I love Swiss watches, Swiss chocolates, Swiss cheese, and I live in Switzerland J

Difference between Grandezza and Virtu?

Primarily the bearing. First tests showed already, that VIRTU beats the Grandezza by far.

Ever thought about DAC or CD player?

Not at all.

What brought you to creation of AAS Gabriel?

Several years ago, we took over the turntable from H.P. Gabriel, a friend of mine.

We were convinced that we could build on this base, and create a world-class turntable. So we incorporated all our knowledge and ideas for a completely new re-design. Today we can say target achieved! We received
 quite few awards for this turntable.

AAS Gabriel DaVinciAudio turntable

How would you describe the difference between In UniSon and AAS Gabriel?

Both are very good turntables. The AAS Gabriel is our reference model.
We use same platter, motor, motor controller, bearing and feet with In UniSon, but not same material and mass distribution like with AAS Gabriel.

Ever thought about direct drive turntable?

We have our own philosophy; the direct drive is not suitable for our concept.

Why a belt driven one?

This system it gives us the possibility, to reduce resonances from the motor to the platter.

Do you think belt driven turntable can be pitch stable?

No problem, our turntables are very pitch stable.

Some say high mass turntable can kill the music. What is your view?

As you know, music is absolutely the most important thing for us. If our turntable design would kill the music, we’ll never release such a turntable.

Your experience with 12” tonearms?

I simply like them.

Can you tell us more about your cartridge? What is special about it?

Actually we stopped production of our cartridge. We're focusing on amplifiers, turntables and tone arms.

What is the magic of Peter Brem?

Ask Jolanda please for this questions J. 

Maybe because, I’m going in my way consistently straight to the goal. Nobody and nothing could stop me.

What are your references when creating any of new products or refine existing ones?

My and also our team’s ears and of course my measuring instruments.

In the late years it seems, that your focus about audio changed a bit. Virtu preamp seems to be the shift to a new direction or a stand out evolution?

I'm always looking for the best results regarding musicality and opinions can change in due time. Today I’m sure that my own transformers are the biggest part for reaching to the pure music.
Any new upcoming products from the same DNA as Virtu?

Yes, the NIFTY a very fantastic line, trust me.

Nifty PreAmp

Transformer coupled is being used in past years by quite few recognized  audio designers in search for ultimate musical goal. What made you choose this very delicate way?

Many,many years ago it was also an idea of mine… then later on that idea became reality. I had a possibility to learn a lot about transformers from an old wise man.

This knowledge helped me over the past years to perfect my work. For this reason today I’m developing and making my own transformers.

Transformer coupling is for me very important part to reach this high quality.

What does music means for you?

Passion, inspiration, creativity, relaxation etc. I would not miss at any time a chance to listen music with my friends and customers, talk about music etc.

300B is one of my favorite tubes. Do you still find it as important as you did in past?

This is the exact tube, that led me years ago to start building amplifiers J.

Solid state and tubes. Can you kindly tell us your view about each one and what is your preference?

For long time tube amps were my favorite!

But now after developing the new transformer coupled, single ended, class A 
VIRTU amplifier, I have to change my favorite!

Now my favorite is my new solid state VIRTU. In my opinion it is the most musical amplifier I ever made and heard. And I heard a lot.

Secret or not so secret hidden dream product?

My secret hidden dream is my reference line here in our showroom.

Some say you’re moved from Western Electric approach to Peter Brem’s one?

WE300B was one of my favorite tubes when I used it in my tube amps.

But my way was never Western Electric. My way was to build the best transformer coupled amplifier, starting with tubes…

I wanted to come closer to my goal. Today I have reached my goal, I would not know what I could do better at this time as with transformer coupled, single ended, class A, solid state design VIRTU.

Who would you say your typical customers are?

We have two types of customers: first one with a long history as an audiophile. He has a lot of the time and he's into technical kind of hifi listening. He was trying to improve his system for a long time with new cables, new amps, new diffusers etc., already spent a lot of money and was never satisfied. They have only 5 LP’s for testing. In this case I say this client listen with his head and mind, but he never enjoys pure music. He was never touched by emotions.

The other type of customers are connoisseurs and music lovers, who are looking for the highest standards of accuracy in music reproduction. Persons, who appreciate extraordinary quality, redefined elegance and service.  

To both we recommend to take his favorite LP’s along when they come to visit us.

It takes a while to understand (one has his strong listening habits) until people begin to perceive the purity of music. The real emotions, the subtle nuances and many details, that they never heard at all.

They usually say, after listening few tact of music: WOW. Never heard my LP in this manner! How can this be possible?

How do you see high-end society changed during the years?

The big change: people have less time listening to music.

It means, people forget what music can do: Inspire, encourage creativity, reduce stress, calming, etc. Sometimes music can even heal. 

And what about present time?

Our responsibility is to make peoples realize that listening to music is something special, that it's really worth to take time.

Would you consider your venture an Ultra high-end company?


At the end of the day what music do you put on?

Is difficult to say, sometimes classic, sometimes jazz or pop… It does depend of my mood.

What holds the future for DaVinci audio?

That determine our customers. We give our best to satisfy customers around the world.

Ultimate goal of DaVinci Audio?

To find and know a lot of enthusiastic music lovers and further more to have amicable relationship with our customers around the world.

Ever experienced that feeling of live event in musical replay?

Sure!!! Make the experience yourself here in our showroom in Allmendingen Bern, Switzerland.

What would you say sets DaVinci audio above the competition?

Our really pure musicality, very close to the live concert feeling.

Any last thoughts for our readers?

Paper is patient; trust to your ears and your taste. When music touches your heart and soul, only then and from there on you'll enjoy your music system…

More about DaVinciAudio you will find here:
Please contact us if you have questions, we are pleased to help.
We are looking forward to new visitors.

Matej Isak

Mono and Stereo ultra high end audio magazine
All rights reserved, November 2011