Be­hind the Brand

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Hegel is a Nor­we­gian com­pany which had a rather strange be­gin­ning. ‘Way back in 1988 Bernt Holter, a young elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent at the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­sity in Trond­heim (NTNU), was pay­ing his way through uni by play­ing in a heavy metal band called ‘The Hegel Band’. As the band be­came more suc­cess­ful and started play­ing larger venues, it needed more pow­er­ful am­pli­fiers, so Holter de­cided to build them him­self, us­ing a new am­pli­fier topol­ogy based on a cir­cuit he’d de­vel­oped for a the­sis in which he’d proved that it was pos­si­ble to re­duce dis­tor­tion in an au­dio am­pli­fier with­out ad­versely af­fect­ing other per­for­mance pa­ram­e­ters, in par­tic­u­lar fre­quency re­sponse and damp­ing fac­tor (the cir­cuit is now trade­marked by Hegel as ‘SoundEngine Tech­nol­ogy’).

Rather than build ‘one-off’ amps, he de­cided the cir­cuit was so good it de­served to be built into fully com­mer­cial prod­ucts, ca­pa­ble of be­ing mass-pro­duced, so Holter ne­go­ti­ated a part­ner­ship with one of the big­gest telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies in the world, the Te­lenor Group, which is based in Oslo, Nor­way, but has mo­bile op­er­a­tions in 13 mar­kets un­der its own name and in an­other 14 mar­kets in part­ner­ship with Vim­pelCom Ltd. In all, Te­lenor man­ages more than 390 mil­lion mo­bile sub­scrip­tions.

Of course the new com­pany re­quired a name, so Holter de­cided on us­ing his band’s name for both the name of the com­pany and the brand name of the am­pli­fiers. Thus it was that Hegel Mu­sic Sys­tems came into be­ing. #

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