Ivor Sigmund Tiefenbrun
Ivor Sigmund Tiefenbrun MBE (born March 1946) is the founder and Chairman of Linn Products Ltd, Glasgow-based manufacturers of high fidelity audio equipment and home theatre equipment. He was influential in the manufacture and retail of British audio in the 1970s and 1980s, and was appointed MBE by Elizabeth II in 1992.
Tiefenbrun was born in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, the oldest of three children, to Jan (also known as Jack) Tiefenbrun, who was born in Kraków and arrived in Glasgow as a refugee from Austria in 1939.
Tiefenbrun dropped out of a Mechanical Engineering degree from Glasgow's Strathclyde University, and developed his engineering and business skills in his late father's company, Castle Precision Engineering, now run by his nephew (also named Jan).
Linn Products Limited was started by Tiefenbrun in the city's Castlemilk district near Linn Park in 1972 to manufacture a hi-fi turntable, developed from his personal interest in music reproduction, based on contemporary models. His approach was to strive to extract much more information from the long-play gramophone record (otherwise known as the LP), and to make the turntable immune to audio feedback. He thought that precision engineering of the turntable would prove to be far more important than many other designers believed The end product was the Linn Sondek LP12, actually a rebadged Ariston RD11, which remains in production after nearly five decades.
In the early years, Tiefenbrun took the turntable around shops trying to prove that not all turntables sounded the same. Tiefenbrun also argued against industry notables like Edgar Villchur, who felt that loudspeakers were the most important aspect of the audio playback chain, instead asserting the primacy of "the front end" (that the quality of the source was key to hi-fidelity music reproduction). He said that once information was lost, distorted or corrupted, it was gone forever and could never be retrieved.
Many of the dealers who auditioned the turntable felt they heard an improved sound when compared to other brands. By the end of the 1970s, Tiefenbrun's views had gained significant ground and large numbers of dealers and audiophiles had accepted "primacy of the source" as the norm in the United Kingdom and then around the world.
Ivor is outspoken, irreverent, highly opinionated, a brilliant and original thinker, and one of the most fascinating conversationalists either of us has met.— John Atkinson & Robert Harley
Tiefenbrun had been suffering from a serious illness, and in May 2006, it was announced that Ivor Tiefenbrun had stepped aside as Linn's managing director, but would assume the role of Executive chairman. The business suffered considerably during his absence, and the bank put Linn on their "special measures" list in 2006 and a massive restructuring plan was ordered. His son Gilad was appointed managing director, and Ivor was brought back in an executive role.
Tiefenbrun married Evelyn Stella Balarsky in 1969, and has three children – Natan (born 1970), who had 3 children - Ely (2002), Ava (2005) and Lyla (2008). Gilad (1972) and Sara (1978). And while Gilad is Ivor's successor at Linn, Natan works for the Bank of America, a multilateral trading facility. Sara moved to Australia in 2008 and runs The School of Life in Melbourne
Ivor revealed that he was suffering from Crohn's colitis, a debilitating autoimmune bowel disorder. His realisation that research into this condition was seriously underfunded led him to found Cure Crohn's Colitis, dubbed C3.
He is founder member of the Entrepreneurial Exchange.
The outspoken Tiefenbrun, a long-time ardent supporter of Margaret Thatcher, was selected to contest the Glasgow Maryhill seat at the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections for the Scottish Conservative Party. He withdrew upon the uproar after it was reported in The Scotsman that he had said "you would have to be thick to accept that [Margaret Thatcher] was evil force" in Scotland.
Recognition and awards
- MBE for his services to the Electronics Industry (1992)
- Invited to serve on the Design Council (1995–1999)
- Honorary Fellowship from the Glasgow School of Art (1999)
- Scottish Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2001)
- Visiting Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Strathclyde University (2004)
- Lander, David (30 November 2003). "Ikonoklast: Linn's Ivor Tiefenbrun". Stereophile
- "Ivor Tiefenbrun, MBE" Archived 2 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Power Lunch Club
- Hardesty, Richard (2006). "An Interview With Ivor Tiefenbrun" Archived 3 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Audio Perfectionist Journal
- Linn LP Playing System, Michael Fremer, Stereophile, November 2003
- Dudley, Art (30 June 2011). "Listening #102. Stereophile
- Youman, Robert S. (March/April 2012). "Vienna Acoustics – The Music Loudspeakers" Positive Feedback.
- John Atkinson & Robert Harley, A Wee Dram of Scotch: Linn Products' Ivor Tiefenbrun, Stereophile, October 1994
- Vass, Steven (18 July 2010). "'How close were we to going bust? One hates to speculate. Really close...'". Sunday Herald. Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2022.
- "Ivor Tiefenbrun Reveals Why He Founded Cure Crohn’s & Colitis". Cure Crohn's Colitis, September 2012
- "An Interview with Natan Tiefenbrun". HFT Review, 2 December 2010
- "Interview with Sara Tiefenbrun, The School of Life Melbourne". The Bulb 16 March 2013
- Bannerman, Luc (4 October 2005). "Hi-fi tycoon turns to fighting disease Linn Products founder sets up charity to study Crohn's". The Herald (Glasgow)
- "Ivor Tiefenbrun MBE 2011". Entrepreneurial Exchange.
- "Plain Speaker". The Engineer, 7 February 2003
- "Tory candidate steps down over Scots Thatcher slur". BBC News, 6 October 2010