Audio brands are often closely linked to its founders. Keith Martin is no exception, although his background is not essentially tech-oriented as one would expect of an essentially technical company developing power solutions in audio. Keith was a high performing gymnast as a kid, representing the UK in international championships. He studied Industrial Design. In 2001, IsoTek (derived from Isolation Technology) officially started as a company in Hampshire, England.
Q: Keith, why did you do it?
A: To do something better.
I got into audio by running a mail order record company after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Industrial Design… it was a fill in job whilst looking for design openings. But it taught me a lot about music, and sound reproduction, as the emphasis was on audiophile recordings, played on very expensive audio systems.
After two years of effectively running the business I was offered a job in one of England’s first digital photographic studio’s 1997 – this was very new technology with cameras having to capture three images in Red, Green and the Blue, we colour corrected these RGB files into CMYK for print. Storage was expensive these days, 1500 Euro for 1 Gb. We designed high level graphics for many blue-chip clients from Coca Cola to Dr. Martin shoes… It was an exciting time of new media graphics.
After two plus years I left and decided to make my own business, mostly as a graphic design consultant, but my passion for business and audio remained. I set up a mail order accessories business and IsoTek was created because I could not find a good quality mains power cleaning system, and the ones on the market (then) were expensive and did not really deliver on the promise they made.
When we started, the category of power had a bad reputation; there was mostly voodoo, not a lot of facts, smokey science … and a lot of half-truths. We researched basic principles, tried to understand the fundamental problems with mains power, the good bits and the bad. We developed a ‘nuts and bolts’ system and solution which was fact based, could be demonstrated, and used the best quality parts, design and original thinking at that time.
Of course, now, after almost 20 years we know a LOT more… and the circuits, concepts and techniques we bring to mains electricity are unique; we feel we out class our competitors.