Interview with Daniela Manger of Manger Audio

MI: What was your first experience with high- end audio and how you got into the business?

Since I was a child, I have always been surrounded by the Manger Sound Transducers, influenced by the Manger credo and dedication to achieve perfect sound reproduction.  Those days I didn’t know it was high end, but it was always about getting the best sound. After studying electrical engineering I decided to enter the family business and after 25 years I still know it was the right decision.

MI: How and when Manger Audio was formed?

Manger was started as an offshoot of our family’s radio, TV and music store.  My father wanted to get better sound than at that time was possible from conventional loudspeakers, so in the late 60s he began looking into it. Manger officially began serial production of drivers in the late 80s.  Two years ago we changed the name to Manger Audio when we completed our new product line and launched our website with new branding.

MI: Is there a person or company in audio business that inspired your venture?

I have watched my father as a little girl.  He was my inspiration and the reason I continue to push the brand.  I learned my passion for sound from him. 

MI: Do you consider yourself an audiophile?

If you mean someone who is constantly comparing equipment and changing products to get the perfect system, then I am not an audiophile.  

MI: What is the difference between audiophile and music lover in your opinion?

This is a complex question to ask an audio manufacturer.  If you ask ten people the same question, you will get ten different answers.

I think that a music lover wants and uses high end equipment to get closer to the music.  He is less interested in the technology used.  An audiophile is mainly interested in tuning and playing with equipment or accessories to achieve the sound of his individual taste.  For me too often, the music comes second to the gear.

MI: Are you building your speakers in house, what is the exact process and what are your standards?

The Manger Sound Transducer is built completely in our factory, the diaphragm, the voice coil, the magnets, even the plastics are produced in house according to a special formula, developed by my father. Nowadays the speaker design is in my hands. The cabinets, crossovers and electronics are contracted out to specialist manufacturers in Germany and sent to us for assembly. We test each product for quality and the built-in tolerances of less than 0.5dB mean that no matching is necessary. The measuring protocols of each Manger sound transducer and speaker ever built are stored in our archive. 

MI: Can you kindly name the complete product range.

Our speakers come in active and passive version.  The floor-standing models are the p1 (passive) and the s1 (active).  The book shelf models are the z1 (passive) and the c1 (active), which have been awarded by the German Focus Open Gold design award. We also have a passive on-wall speaker, the w1. The latest development is the i1, a passive in-wall speaker, for the growing customer installation market.

MI: What would you say that is most important thing in making the loudspeakers?

The development of the Manger Sound Transducer started with the question of why the sound reproduced by a speaker is different than the natural sound of an instrument. Achieving this is the standard for our speaker systems and all their components. This involves physics, its principles and careful measurements in time and frequency.

MI: What specific materials do you use for building speakers, what technology and why exactly?

The Manger Sound Transducer is unique and patented.  Although, the core technology of the bending wave principle which the Manger Sound Transducer established hasn’t changed, we constantly look for better performing materials, including cabinet materials, bonding agents and parts.

MI: Can you tell us more about your unique drivers?

Our sound transducer is a bending wave driver. It is full range down to 80 Hz. In our speakers the crossover to the woofer unit is at around 360 Hz. The patented sandwich diaphragm varies in structure and thickness and creates frequency dispersion in the diaphragm, like when you throw a stone into water. The big advantage of this plate diaphragm is lack of storage energy, which gives a precise transient behavior, which has a rise time of just 12 microseconds, combined with a frequency range from 360 Hz up to 45000 Hz. You probably know that nature established this bending wave mechanism in our hearing sense for the basilar membrane quite a while before the Manger sound transducer!

MI: What is needed to achieve high- end performance with speakers?

We have never lost sight of why we started the company.  It is all about sound reproduction and how human hearing perception functions. This requires the highest precision in fabrication, extensive testing, as well as commitment and passion.

MI: Pro Audio and high end audio industry comes with different sets of rules. How do you see the difference?

In Pro Audio, they want accuracy.  They don’t care about exotic wood finishes or living room appeal.  They want a speaker that functions as a tool to check the recording, the mix and the mastering. The Manger Sound Transducer is the answer to their expectations as professionals. 

In high-end audio industry there is more than just sound involved. What is accurate in the recording studio is not the only thing what interests an audiophile. It is difficult to operate in both markets, but we have been doing it for about 30 years. The quality of the Manger Sound Transducer is appreciated by customers in the High End and Pro Audio market, who want to hear what is in the recording.

MI: What reference electronic do you use to drive you speaker in lab?

Every cook has his secret recipe. 

MI: What electronics do you use to drive you speaker at home?

I still have a vintage Denon POA3000 connected to my passive speakers, but equally I like the active models. Combined with a preamp and streamer they enable a minimalistic setup. And of course it is not necessary to mention the higher WAF on these models.

MI: How important is the quality of parts being implemented?

The Manger sound transducer is like an acoustic lens that let you perceive every tiny nuance. This got better with every improvement we made. Compromising on quality is out of question.

MI: Do you believe in exotic parts?

Our focus is not on finding exotic parts, but staying true to our original mandate of producing natural sound.

MI: How important are room acoustics in creating a real high performance?

Many people spend large amounts on speakers and electronics, while neglecting the importance of the room.  The reality is that most systems are in living rooms which are not conclusive to major acoustic treatment. Room acoustics is a science by itself.

MI: Can a well constructed loudspeaker bring high performance, high-end sound to a typical home listening room?

Yes, but there is always an interaction between the speaker and the room. The direct sound from the speaker to your ear is the shortest distance. The better this direct sound is, the less important the indirect sound is. But on the other hand you would like to reproduce the acousticsof the rooms where the recordings were made, like concert halls, jazz clubs, etc. 
However the living room has its own acoustics and the result is a superposition of two rooms and this can be tricky. Any speaker will benefit from a good room treatment.

MI: What would be your dream setup, if time, circumstances and finances wouldn't be the limit?

For me a dream setup should create emotion, while listening to music. I got goosebumps and felt strong emotions listening to our speakers. I would spend time and money to achieve that and prefer to spend the remaining money for visiting concerts and buying music and a wonderful bottle of wine to enjoy while listening.

MI: Do you think that we can experience real live feeling of the live musical event in our listening spaces?

You can come very close to it, but it will always depend on the recording.

MI: Do you prefer some exact brand for driving your speakers?

Yes, we build the best speaker we can. We cannot build our speakers around electronics of one manufacturer and be confident that it will work with electronics from another manufacturer as well. In any case we measure and test our products according to our high standards.

MI: What is your Manger Audio cost no object, dream audio product or setup?

An all-Manger system which is currently not possible!

MI: What should ultimate audio system bring in your opinion?

An audio system should create emotion, as music is emotion.

MI: What would you say are your musical references?

Acoustic instruments.

MI: When the long working day is over, what kind of music do you prefer to listen to?

Although I would love to provide you with a wonderful list of music, I am the mother of a young teen. After a working day dedicated to music, I go home, cook and then help my son with school work.

MI: How do you see current state high- end market?

Suffering due to higher and higher prices. The average consumer cannot afford most of the wonderful systems industry produces.

MI: There are not many woman CEO’s in our industry. Does this create different kind of challenges?

I have the same challenges as any other CEO.  I am fortunate to know both female and male executives to discuss and get insights into the realities of our business.  

MI: Did Internet and digital audio made any specific impact with your business?

Yes, as a boutique manufacturer of speakers, the internet provides a means to spread the word and reach potential customers outside of our geographical boundaries.  Before, we would have to rely on printed advertising, which for a small company is cost prohibitive. 

As for digital audio, we now see digital audio as a real alternative; especially high-res.  The better the quality of the source material, the easier it is for us to show why the Manger Sound Transducer is unique. 

MI: What are your plans for future?

The future plans for Manger are to continue to push the design limits for our products and in the process make music lovers all over the world proud to own our products.  

MI: Any words for our readers?

Try our products and listen to them. You will find them unique.  As one of our longtime customers said, “as long as you only read what is written, it is just advertising, but once you listen to the speakers, it becomes reality…”