David Jefferys: an audio luminary

david jefferys

Larger-than-life David Jefferys was one of the first people I met upon joining Hi-Fi News & Record Review in 1988. David was then at Tannoy, having previously been sales manager at both AKG and Haden Labs which distributed Sennheiser (as well as Denon and Dual). I recall how we discussed things that I knew about from my former days at the BBC and as a headphone/mic reviewer for the Institute of Broadcast Sound’s magazine, Line Up. From those very first days, David’s kindness in welcoming me to the heady world of hi-fi is something I’ve always appreciated. I really was like a duck out of water since this ‘new territory’ that I found myself in was such a far cry from professional audio. I think he sensed this and I felt that he’d taken me under his wing.

David took me to the bar, if my memory serves (!), and we spent a few very happy hours as he introduced me to the major hi-fi players. He knew everyone and was a constant source of news stories and industry background. Without the aid of Facebook or LinkedIn, we lost touch when I returned to broadcasting while David became international sales director for loudspeaker brand Mordaunt Short and then back to Tannoy as their international sales manager. He then started his own company, AudioVend, to offer bespoke sales and marketing support for companies such as Armour Home, Alphason Designs, Ceratec, Cable Talk, Real Cable, Audio Group, Myryad and Waterfall.

We met again on the road when I was with the marketing team at Harbeth, and would see each other at various audio shows around the globe. I remember the hearty welcome back to the hi-fi scene at, I think, the huge Munich High End event which I found quite daunting. David was then at Armour Home Electronics and looking after the QED brand in territories such as Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Central Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. I know that one of his most enjoyable moments was the successful launch of the Q Acoustics loudspeaker range of affordable high-end designs which benefitted from acoustic input by Karl-Heinz Fink whom he’d first met when they were both at Tannoy.

Never one to sit on his laurels, David resurrected AudioVend in 2017, using his immense skill and tremendous knowledge of business development for various brands. His mission “to find the right route to market their products and managing those markets for them”. This was to see him develop a closer relationship with Karl-Heinz Fink as he joined Finkteam as their Export Director when they announced their own product (the WM-4) rather than merely being development consultants for other brands. He was also hugely instrumental in Finkteam’s acquisition of Epos from Mike Creek and started to create a new vision for the brand. It’s a project Karl-Heinz says, in his online tribute to David, he will try as hard as he can to bring to fruition and make successful.

David died in hospital, close to his High Wycombe home, on Boxing Day 2022 after a short illness. Hi-fi shows will never be the same without David’s infectious smile and enthusiasm. We met last in Gothenburg last October, our first face-to-face since before lockdown. I remember how he explained that he could not come to the big Warsaw show because he was going on holiday, but we were looking forward to 2023 events including Bristol. Now those shows will seem empty without him.

David had wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and join ‘London’s finest’ as a police officer but was told he was “too light”, so began working in the TV and radio department of a John Lewis branch in Finchley on the first steps to a long and distinguished career in the audio industry which took him all over the globe. We would speak about travel and his enjoyment of travel planning. Whenever away, David would find time to explore the city that he was in rather than just go from the airport to the show and back home again.

Music was a huge part of David’s life and we discovered that we’d both been at Abba’s 1979 Wembley gig: he because AKG had supplied all the microphones, and me because my then best-friend’s elder brother was accountant for the concert promotor.

Rest in Peace David, my friend. And deepest condolences to the extended family that I know you loved so much and leave behind.

Trevor Butler

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