How do you capture the essence of a person?

Along the twisting paths that are our lives, we meet many different people and share many different experiences. These occurrences, that often seem to be of pure happenstance, forever shape who we are. Whether it’s the fortuitous timing of running in to a kind soul or a hard lesson learned, we are the sum of these experiences.

Perhaps, if you’re lucky, you’ll share time with someone who is one in a million; someone who traverses this earthly world selflessly helping all those who cross their path. From the very first instant this person is forever your friend, forever your mentor, forever your confidant, and, when you need it, can deliver one swift ass-kicking. This person knows when to encourage, when to push, and when to listen. This person’s only wish is for you to be the best you can be.

Ten months ago we lost such a person. Only he wasn’t one in a million, he was one in a billion.

I met Barry Knittel for the first time twelve years ago, near to this very day at AEI Music. I felt like I already knew him, for he was so revered in the organization that I’d already heard so much about him.

Barry would freely give of his time, wisdom, and knowledge to anyone who would take advantage of it. He would also give freely of his criticisms, while stern and at times stinging they were always fair and always to your best interest. I look back upon my time with Barry fondly; I know he only wanted me to do the best I could and I know I’m a far better person because of him. My only regret is that I didn’t spend more time with him.

So, we set out to build The Knittel Lounge at our corporate headquarters in Austin, TX to honor Barry’s legacy. Just as Barry always gave us the best he could, I set out to honor him by building the best analog playback system I could.

In my opinion, there is nothing like the pace and rhythm of a vintage idler drive turntable spinning vinyl through the warm soft glow of vacuum tubes. This is purest and most honest form of music reproduction that I know; uniquely suited for the purest and most honest person I’ve ever met.

Since we’ve opened the lounge I’ve found great joy in watching people rediscover music. We’ve shared smiles, laughs, giggles, and tears. I’ve watched people reflect and I’ve watched people dance. We’ve discovered new music and we’ve discovered new friends.

I don’t know how to capture the essence of a person like Barry. What I do know, is how to help share the things he held most dear:  family, friends, and music.

– Submitted by JP Jones, CTO