“I love quality things,” says Nic Poulson, owner of Trilogy Audio Systems, with a smile. “I’d rather have one fabulous thing than lots of ordinary things,” he says, “because, 10 years on, you’ll still talk about the fabulous thing.” Given the quality of the company’s bespoke, handcrafted amplifiers, Nic’s commitment to the exceptional is hardly surprising.
“When other two-year-olds were playing with toys, I was following wires on the floor,” he remembers, laughing. “There was something in my DNA; I’ve always been interested in hi-fi and music.”
At the age of 18, Nic started working at the BBC. “I was there ten years and ended up being a senior sound engineer.” Trilogy emerged during that decade, with Nic initially launching his amplifiers as a sideline. “I had a drive to make something myself,” he says. “I had my way of wanting to do things.” Establishing his company in earnest in 1991, Nic went on to win the 2009 Hi-Fi Choice Award for Best Amplifier over £1,000.A quietly understated expert, Nic values purity and integrity. “If you ask what’s special about a luxury car, you can’t say it’s just the engine,” he says. “It’s the engine and the finish and the overall brand values.” At Trilogy, this translates as pristine sound quality, elegant design, and uncompromisingly high standards of manufacture.
Britishness is central to Trilogy, too. “We are one of a handful of British-owned, British-manufactured, high-end hi-fi brands,” says Nic. The company’s studios are based in south-east London, and Nic is involved in every element of manufacture and design. “We’re a small company, and we like to do things properly. Hi-fi should look stunning as well as sound stunning.”
Trilogy’s newest product is a case in point. In luxury hi-fi, Nic explains, an amplifier is split into three boxes; a pre-amp, which has the controls, and two power amps, which drive the speakers. The new 915R pre-amp and 995R monoblocks launch this year and are set to become Trilogy’s statement products. “They’re beautiful,” says Nic, with audible pride. Sleek and architectural in design, the new line looks more than likely to become that fabulous thing you’ll be talking about 10 years in the future, and beyond.