AudioQuest was not so much founded as it was evolved.
When Bill Low created AudioQuest in 1980 it was really just a small variation of the audio activities he had started in the early 1970's.
After six years inside the audio business, both as a retail proprietor and a manufacturers’ representative, Bill once more started a by-appointment-only store out of his living room in Santa Monica. This time Bill made one small but very important decision … he decided to make custom audio cable for his store.
Audio cable became a visible subject in the US in 1976 when Polk Audio introduced a Japanese sourced cable under the name Cobra Cable. This high capacitance/low inductance Litz cable encouraged some amplifiers into self-destruction, but it usually made systems sound better. By 1978, Polk, Bob Fulton, and Jonas Miller Sound had made audio cable an important subject for those at the leading edge of audio.
Over the next two years, Bill manufactured this cable, and a second smaller model, simply with the intention to sell them in his small store. However, other dealers in the Los Angeles area began to buy this cable from Bill. It was also distributed in Japan. In 1980, Bill realized that it was time to make cable for the purpose of selling to other dealers. He started AudioQuest.
The evolution of AudioQuest cables has taken place over the entire life of the company, however several of the most important basic design criteria were established very near the beginning. These basic priorities were established as a result of empirical experience and not by abstract theorizing.
By the end of 1980, AudioQuest was selling to forty-two outlets in southern California and one dealer in Denver. In January of 1981, AudioQuest exhibited for the first time at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. A month later, AudioQuest was selling in Europe, Asia and most of the US.
Over the following twenty years Bill has continued to refine his understanding of the mechanisms that cause distortion in cable. There has been a logical and rational progression leading up to today’s extremely coherent line of audio, video and digital cables. In 1987 Bill first published a paper he titled “Cable Design; Theory versus Empirical Reality.” Even though every cable in the AQ line has improved since that time, the basic priorities Bill laid down in 1987 have not changed. His ability to implement those priorities has evolved and surely will continue to evolve.
AudioQuest has been the largest cable supplier to the high-end specialist market for many years. AudioQuest is sold in several hundred outlets in the US and in over sixty countries. Bill is especially pleased that this success has been possible despite his insistence that the foundation of the company, and the foundation of AudioQuest marketing, must be the performance of the product. In the audio world, many professionals have learned that it is not always convenient to listen to the products they sell … they might learn something they don’t want to know! Bill has always understood the challenge of basing the existence of AudioQuest on the performance of the product. However, to Bill, this is the only reasonable way to do business and the only acceptable way to combine his passion for music (and all things high performance), with his need to make a living.