Crookwood – the worlds oldest audio name?

A brief history of Crookwood

Crookwood was started in June 1992, and trades as a partnership. Their first product, the Paintpot Pre-amp was released in May 1993.

The name “Crookwood” comes from the name of farm in southern England where one of the partners grew up. The farm is very old, and is mentioned in the Doomsday book of 1068AD. King John (1100AD) used to go hunting deer in the actual Crookwood, so named because it resembled the shape of a shepherd’s crook. This probably makes Crookwood the oldest name in the audio business!

Aims

Crookwood was founded with the aim of providing digitally controlled tools to increase the quality of commercial recordings. Unfortunately, in the current marketplace, lip service tends to be paid to quality, and cost often becomes the dominant factor.

Crookwood’s response is to offer innovative tools, that are of the highest sonic quality, but also save studio time and resources through efficient control and integration. In particular we have targeted the recording and mastering side of the chain, as we believe that it is here that the greatest gains in overall quality and integration can be made.

Recognition

Crookwood has been nominated for a TEC award (1996), has received an Entech award for technical brilliance (1996), both for our Paintpot design.

Our first product, our 2 channel mic amp, the Paintpot, depending on your personal tastes, rates highly in the top 5 most accurate mic amps of all time, and is easily the most neutral remote controlled pre you can buy.

Our mastering consoles are also highly regarded, both for their incredible flexibility, and for their neural sound character.  We have probably made more mastering consoles than any other company worldwide.

Structure

Crookwood is wholly owned by the two Partners, and all work is done in their UK premises.

All product R&D, electronic, digital, analogue, PCB layout and mechanical design is done by Crookwood, together with manufacturing control and test strategies. We used to subcontract all manufacturing, but now all manufacturing is done at our premises to ensure the best quality control.

Crookwood also designs all it’s own marketing materials and sales aids, which are then organised by our world-wide dealers. UK and specialist sales are handled by Crookwood directly, although we obviously sell to UK dealers as required.

Background of Personnel

The most technical of the two partners, Crispin Herrod-Taylor, has spent all of his working life in the audio industry — having been involved for over 20 years. He starting originally by running the entertainment facilities, while he was at Birmingham University, studying Physics, with special attention to acoustics. After gaining his BSc. he joined the premium British Hi-Fi company, Meridian, where he worked on their amplifiers, tuners, active speakers and CD players. The Hi-Fi industry has very different priorities to the professional audio industry, and it is not surprising that most of Crispin’s designs follow a Hi-Fi type philosophy rather than the more industrial audio industry.

After leaving Meridian, he spent 5 years at SSL, where he worked on their SL4000G and SL5000 console designs, as well as working on Screen Sound and their fader automation systems. He moved to the new Focusrite in Aug. ’89 as their systems designer, and was involved in both Studio Console designs, completely designing the present version of the console, albeit sympathetically to the original Neve designs, rather than his own minimal preferences.

Crispin’s main responsibilities at Crookwood, are R&D, product development and sales.

The other partner, Penny Herrod-Taylor had until Crookwood, rather sensibly had nothing to do with audio, (apart from a brief spell at Martin Audio) having spent 16 years in the retail/corporate sales management and marketing sectors working for diverse organisations such as the National Physical Laboratories, the Automobile Association, Hilton Hotels, and Ventura Software.

It is however this background which allows her to apply a fresh approach towards the sales and marketing of Crookwood products, including their overall look. She is responsible for the colours and branding of the Paintpot preamp, and subsequent products.

Penny’s main responsibilities at Crookwood are financial, production logistics, and marketing.

Staff

Apart from the partners, there are four other members of staff, responsible for manufacturing, test and shipping.