Innovation is rarely without its challenges, however, and although Kwak received positive feedback from industry colleagues on his homemade effort, there was still a ways to go in developing a product that would, in his words, “bridge exquisite sound and art.” With the express purpose of developing an ultra-high-end audio system that would meet his exacting standards, Kwak founded Askja Audio in 2014. Beginning with perfecting the sound quality, Askja Audio began work with Swiss Fibertec, a company specializing in carbon fiber designs and composite molds. It became quickly apparent that the choice of materials, size, shapes and the manufacturing processes themselves presented a fundamental challenge. Namely, the manufacture of the hybrid amplifier’s unique design. To achieve a superior sound quality together with an aesthetically pleasing look, Askja’s designers realized the complex design of the large format amplifier incorporated an unusual curved shape that made it nearly impossible to manufacture traditionally.
Additionally, the amplifier was designed in multiple parts requiring joint assembly. The challenge here was that any imperfection would not only affect the look but also the vibratory continuity vital to achieving a perfect sound. For Kwak, wood and metal weren’t the answer and neither was traditional manufacturing. The sound company researched this challenge and discovered the design freedom of 3D printing would allow them to produce any shape they came up with, with no geometric limitations. “This capability proved to be the cornerstone to realizing the design and production of our hybrid amplifier, filters, and power supply unit,” said Kwak.