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Interview with Gabi Rynveld of IAH

Interview with Gabi Rynveld, IAH

From the Music to the Wire and Back

International Audio Holding’s recent acquisition of HMS Electronics has stirred up quite a bit of a tempest in the hi-fi teapot, as the Elst-based company now has three distinct high-end cable brands in their portfolio. Gabi Rynveld gives us a rundown of how the company became what it is today and explains how the three brands form a big picture.

Interview with Gabi Rynveld of IAH
Gabi Rynveld

FIDELITY: Ms Rynveld, the hi-fi industry is in large part driven by people who are passionate about music and its reproduction so how did you get into hi-fi?

Gabi Rynveld: That’s a long story. I’m from Hungary, and I’ve been brought up with classical music. I received piano training starting at around age five and eventually went on to become a concert pianist. I played concerts around the world for many years, and my performances included anything ranging from solo recitals, piano concertos with a full orchestra and also chamber music.

Whenever I listened to music, it was over an old crackling transistor radio. As you can imagine, I much preferred listening to music live – we went to concerts almost every night: classical, opera and ballet of course, but also musicals and jazz cafes or gypsy music. As a musician, hifi music reproduction never caught my interest – in fact, I wasn’t even aware of there being systems that might sound anything like live music.

Interview with Gabi Rynveld of IAH

So at which point did you become aware of hi-fi, and how?

Apart from playing concerts, I was also giving piano lessons, and that’s when I met my husband Edwin, who owned Siltech. At first, this didn’t change all that much about my attitude, but with the marriage came our five children. Raising them didn’t leave me with a whole lot of time to practice and perform, so I joined Edwin in the business instead. Siltech was a relatively small company at the time, so I helped out with marketing – and started joining the listening tests. That’s when I realized what level of sonic performance hi-fi can achieve.

So that’s how hi-fi cables changed your perspective. Did your participation in the listening sessions in turn influence the company?

I guess so, to a degree. Blind listening tests have always been essential to our product development. Even though Siltech is very much a technical-minded company, the measurements are just the starting point when the first samples are ready for a new concept product. Once we’ve tried out various approaches and carefully selected one that is fully satisfactory from a technical perspective, a listening team goes on to evaluate the candidate in a series of blind listening sessions. It’s always these blind tests that inform our final decisions – our mission is to bring a listening experience to our customers that comes as close to enjoying a live performance as possible.

Interview with Gabi Rynveld of IAH
Edwin and Gaby Rynveld during a listening session.

I think my main asset during the blind listening tests is that am still very much a musician first. The team is comprised of engineers and production technicians as well as Edwin and myself on a regular basis. My approach to the sessions is very different from that of my colleagues with a technical background. I listen for the emotion, the performance and the engagement of the music – nuances, details and acoustic soundstage.

Going back to the beginning: when and why was Siltech founded, and how did the IAH come to be?

Siltech was founded in 1983 – so last year, we actually celebrated the brand’s 40th anniversary. Siltech stands for SILver TECHnology, because we use exclusively the higest purity silver and silver-gold alloy metallurgy in our conductors and in designing and engineering our cables, we follow a science based technological approach.

In the early 2000s, our engineers have found a new way to develop cables that incorporated the same high-tech engineering and achieved the same musical soundstage as our Siltech cables, but were differently constructed. These new cables achieved their sonic performance using a new hair-thin coaxial construction, which made them not only flexible and easy to work with, but also beautiful to look at. We felt that these new cables are distinct enough from our Siltech models to warrant the inception of a new brand, and so we founded Crystal Cables in 2004.

Interview with Gabi Rynveld of IAH

At first, we ran both brands independently, carefully building a distributor network for both of them – but since they both have the same place of origin anyway, we eventually decided to merge them into the newly formed International Audio Holding a few years later.

How exactly is the IAH organized how is R&D, manufacturing and distribution handled within the company?

IAH as a holding deals with all things related to finance and business administration. Its brands, Siltech, Crystal Cable and the recently acquired HMS brand are high end manufacturers, where each of them retains their specific background, skill set, brand values and customer base. We are working with more than 50 distributor partners around the world, helping our products to bring unprecedented musical performance into the living rooms and studios around the globe.

The portfolio consists exclusively of cables and mains distributors. Why is that?

High end cable design and manufacturing is our main area of expertise and hence also our core business. Our cables are designed and manufactured by hand in the Netherlands, we have the largest laboratory for research, development and measurements. Three engineers – two of whom hold a PhD – ensure that we always stay at the leading edge of technological progress in the field.

Interview with Gabi Rynveld of IAH

Our scientific research results in unique proprietery metallurgical methods, while magnetic field measurements help our engineers create the best cables on the market. We use COMSOL Multiphysics simulating software for our acoustic design work and have twelve dedicated and trained production technicians who are constructing and testing each cable with the highest degree of craftmanship in our Elst factory.

We are, however, not only a pure cable manufacturer: We employ a total of 36 colleagues, who are making cables, loudspeakers and electronics. Crystal Cable is famous for its cables, including very high end portable cables for headphones as well as IEM cables. But our iconic loudspeakers are also highly esteemed worldwide – the Siltech Pantheon and Symphony Models, the iconic SEPA and our current model SAGA electronics, the Arabesque Glass Master and the Minissimo Series have accrued many outstanding reviews and awards throughout the years.

Interview with Gabi Rynveld of IAH

So it’s not only cables, but that is your core business. With the recent acquisition of HMS, you have now three direct competitors in your portfolio – what sets the three brands apart from one another?

With Siltech and Crystal Cable, we have two super high-end brands on the market, which indeed share many common values. These are the use of the highest possible quality materials, the scientific approach, PhD engineers working on product development, the use of our hi-tech laboratory, Dutch craftmanship, plus having me as a professional musician on board. As described above, the cables differ in their construction and their look and feel, but also in their sonic character, like in their presentation of the soundstage among other things.

Interview with Gabi Rynveld of IAH

Siltech is the iconic, classic, impressive brand that has built a huge customer base over the years and is a true household name in the industry looking back at four full decades of history by now. Siltech cables are characterized by being big and massive high-tech cables, boasting proprietary silver-gold metallurgy, pure monocrystal-silver conductors in the higher models.They offer full and spacious sound and are considered a true market leader, a reference in highend cables for many music lovers all over the world.

Crystal Cable, on the other hand, is an elegant, contemporary brand that is equally high-tech, but takes advantage of the aforementioned all-coaxial construction, which allows for hair-thin, flexible conductors. Crystal Cable products are consequently especially pliable and easy to work with while also being exceptionally musical and offering an engaging soundstage. They also sport a more lifestyle appearance, fitting all interiors. This year incidentally marks Crystal Cables’ 20th anniversary.

Both brands are positioned in the absolute top segment of the high end market, each having their own sound, look and feel as well as their own set of followers.

Having recently joined our company, HMS brings almost 50 years of research and engineering to the table. The brand’s roots are very different from Siltech and Crystal Cables. HMS is known for designing and supplying ultra-low noise measurement equipment to the world famous CERN facility for particle research in Switzerland. Building on the legacy of founder Dr. Hans M.Strassner, HMS gives us access to Dr. Strassner’s tremendous knowledge of EMF research and its application in hi-fi.

Interview with Gabi Rynveld of IAH

The three brands are all individually exceptional. They are market leaders in their own right within their own respective segments and have their own distinct customer bases. At the same time, being part of the same umbrella company IAH, they gain the advantage of being able to exchange knowledge from all the various research disciplines, which helps our engineers to keep innovating and developing new and exciting products.

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What are your plans going forward?

We are looking into a bright and exciting future, full of music – and to this end, we aim to make the best cables in all price segments. Development of new loudspeakers and electronics is also on the drawing table.

As a new addition, we are introducing our own recording label: FifthForceRecords. Our children are all grown up, some of them joined the company, ensuring the succession in the family-business.

I can now take up my original passion and profession, playing again the piano and preparing recordings and performances.

Myself being a musician, and my husband Edwin also being a composer in his free time, this is our way to start at the source: Create and perform live music, improve the recording equipmentlike microphones, cables and recorders, and produce the complete reproduction equipment in-house.

This is a dream, a mission if you like. A mission we are going to work for, with a passionate team of 35 colleagues, for many years to come.

Now this sounds like you’re coming full circle in the end all the best and thank you for your time.

Interview with Gabi Rynveld of IAH


The stated retail price of the reviewed device is valid as of the time of the review and is subject to change.