Yrjönkatu 8

00120 Helsinki FINLAND ----------- Map/Kartta

Also home of the American Bookshop (click for great computer book offers)

 phone +358-9-441901

Mon-Fri / Ma-Pe 11:00-18:00 Sat / La 11:00-14:00



Acoustics of Finland AE-2X
Dolby Digital
Letter to Boston Audio Society re DVDs and Regions

(in Finnish/Suomeksi)

Connoisseur spare belts
Telarc/Decca CD's
Phono Pre-amplifier

LP Pre-amplifier

Home Theater
DVD 5.1 Films
Nordic Press

Fun stuff:

The Great Yogi (Yogi Berra)

You Might Be A Bubba If -

Who's on First

One of the nice themes from CarTalk: Listen!




Huvudstadsbladet 1/2004


Translated to English:

Hufvudstadsbladet - Sunday, 11 January 2004

He believes in clean sound

High quality does not have to be expensive. That's the opinion of Robert Woods, entrepreneur in the sound reproduction field. Destiny brought him from his home town of New York to Helsinki.

After he got his Ph.D. Robert Woods planned on going to Europe to study Environmental Planning in Copenhagen or Helsinki. Our traveler arrives one frosty December morning in Finland. Woods decided to stay over the winter. The garden city Tapiola and its creator Heikki von Hertzen, who he interviewed, were so interesting that he wished to study Tapiola further. When Woods finally had settled down he could send for his belongings, including among other things his record player.

When the goods arrived in Helsinki the record player was broken - the drive shaft had been damaged in transportation. A new one was needed, but there was no replacement to be found in Finland or even in the whole of Europe and so it had to be gotten from the USA.

The incident was the beginning of a career in the sound reproduction business. Woods left the Tapiola project and founded his own company called Sound Center in 1970 to start importing sound reproduction equipment for the Finnish market.

New brands

The climate in the early 1970s was not friendly for a newcomer who wanted to sell sound equipment in Helsinki, especially if, in addition, he was a foreigner. 'We carry all the brands we need, said the representative for one of the bigger stores in the city when Woods suggested they would include the brand he represented in their own selection. But Woods did not give in. Today he can proudly state that brands he introduced - like Marantz, JBL, Harman Kardon, Teac and many more - are represented in Finland.

Value for money

Woods founded together with a few friends a company manufacturing a new brand - NAD, which was designed around the principle of good quality at reasonable prices. He has no sympathy for the practice of the big manufacturers of luring customers with blinking lamps and booming exaggerated bass reproduction.

- - Imagine the long chain of musicians and technicians that together do their best to create a natural sound in the recording process. If a speaker or electronics manufacturer puts in additional bass or treble or misses some of the sounds the original fine recording will be lost. Absolutely horrible, says Woods and looks devastated.

He tells with a certain pride the story about his own speaker brand that obtained the highest marks in a stringent test in the leading Finnish journal in the field. [Acoustics of Finland]

After thirty years in the field Woods has no illusions regarding people's vanity or that customers would get sufficient information about the products they buy. It often happens that a prospective customer comes into his store asking primarily for equipment costing over thousands of Euros. When Woods shakes his head at the question the customer disappears.

There are lots of people for whom the price is more important than quality. Decent quality does not have to cost a lot, but far too few customers realize that.

Woods hopes that the big manufacturers would meet the customers halfway and offer good products to the large middle group of people that are not content with mass-produced standard equipment but who have no wish to pay exorbitant amounts..

Robert Woods sits in his shop on Yrjönkatu and is still ready to fight for people who wish to learn to appreciate quality in sound reproduction.

The future will show who is the winner: the Ph.D. in environmental planning or the big manufacturers. The struggle has not been an easy one. The market forces are strong and those wish to have, as Robert Woods puts it, decent products at reasonable prices have a hard time in getting their voice heard. When looking back and comparing with the situation twenty years ago it appears that Robert Woods now is on the winning side. His idea of using simple solutions to keep the quality high and prices down along the whole chain from the record or CD-player to the speakers has been of decisive importance.


Yrjönkatu 8

Mon-Fri / Ma-Pe 11:00-18:00

Sat / La 11:00-14:00

Are you an AV professional?

Follow industry developments with Chameleon Oy's "AV Reporter"