Retailer focus - Soundcraft Hi-FI

Thursday, August 16, 2018


Standing in the middle of the high street in Ashford, Kent, Geoff Mathews’ Soundcraft HiFi has been serving the music lovers of the area for over 40 years. Prior to that, Geoff’s dad operated a photography shop from the premises that also happened to sell hi-fi – a once common dual approach to retailing, given the customer base was somewhat similar.

It was playing with classic British hi-fi in the shop, such as Garrard turntables, Quad amps and Celestion speakers, that got Geoff hooked on hi-fi. By day he was a welder in a steel fabrication company, but really yearned to be playing music and selling hi-fi. Now, some 42 years later, Soundcraft is one of the country’s most respected hi-fi dealerships, with a wide range of products and brands, including PMC of course.

“We used to stock the old IMF and Gale loudspeakers”, says Geoff, “and I liked what those old transmission line designs did, so it was a no-brainer for us to take on PMC as they have honed, tweaked and developed the transmission line into something quite incredible.”

Given that Soundcraft have the IB2s on demonstration, it’s fair to say that size might pay a part in the products that they choose to stock – Geoff says his favourite bits of hi-fi kit are turntables, valve amps and big speakers! Perfect for his love of rock music, or as he puts it when asked what his favourite music is, “anything I can tap my feet to”.

Soundcraft’s philosophy on hi-fi retailing is simple: “people buy from people” and so it is the personal demonstration that is key to helping customers make the right choice. And that can often mean a home demonstration, which takes time, but it’s time well spent and is absolutely essential to enable the selection of the right equipment. Soundcraft’s driving force is music and that is reflected in the priorities of the customers who choose to shop with them. At the end of the day, it’s music that the hi-fi is designed to deliver and their customers want to enjoy it sounding the best it can.

When Geoff’s not listening to vinyl on his big speakers, you’ll find him tending to his garden – quite apt for someone who lives in the Garden of England, or travelling around the world, where he’ll no doubt be perusing the local record shops for something to tap his feet to.