About meA little about me, Anthony Mathews and how Tube Distinctions came to be.
How Tube Distinctions came to be…
My name is Anthony Matthews and I am the sole proprietor of Tube Distinctions; a small but well established company situated in Mid Glamorgan, South Wales, UK. We specialise in repairing,modifying, designing and manufacturing all types of valve/tube audio equipment.
I am first and foremost a music lover; I guess I became an audio engineer out of necessity rather than by choice.
Tube Distinctions have been building audio equipment for over 20 years now, but I personally have been repairing other manufacturers’ equipment, from guitar amplifiers (all types) to audio replay equipment (hi fi) for as long as I care to remember (about 30 years!).
It was in fact out of frustration from my many disappointing experiences of other so called high-end manufacturers’ equipment that led me to start up Tube Distinctions.
My roots are I guess firmly planted in what I would describe as the ‘amplified instrument domain’, e.g., guitars, harmonica’s, organs, etc. and of course not forgetting the human voice.
These instruments and the sounds they produce were the original inspiration that led me to become intensely interested and later involved in all aspects of the audio spectrum.
From my humble beginnings of learning to play the guitar from the age of eleven and thus the start of my understanding of what it takes to create music in the first place, to the birth of the high end audio equipment Tube Distinctions now design and build to reproduce faithfully what has been recorded and captured for all time.
A little bit more about me…
Ever since I can remember, I have always loved music, from my earliest memories as a child, going to sleep most nights to the sound of the radio emanating from my father’s workshop, which happened to be next to the bedroom I shared with my brother.
But, unlike my brother who was usually asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow, I was always wide awake way after I should have been for my age. My father, an electronics engineer, loved all types of music and would be in his workshop repairing and building equipment sometimes way into the early hours of the morning. With my mind racing with exciting ideas for the coming day, the music relaxed me and every song that played seemed to capture my imagination and would always succeed in keeping the tiredness at bay until the next one and the next……
I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music..… I get most joy in life out of music.Albert Einstein (1879~1955)
From a very young age, electronics became almost second nature to me. I would spend hours with my father in his workshop, watching intensely his every move, picking things up and asking “what’s this, what’s it for?…” and probably many other questions along the same lines. Eventually, my father would stop what he was doing after several attempts to ignore this very persistent child and realising he wouldn’t get any peace at that moment until he had satisfied my curiosity, he would almost always manage to come up with an explanation that I could grasp. I was a child when valves were still pretty much in everyday use, and it is the familiarity of those glass bottles that I associate with those early childhood days and my affection for them is still as strong as ever.
When I became a teenager, I became intensely interested in guitars and after what seemed weeks and months of nagging and sulking, my parents finally gave in and bought me my first electric guitar. It was like Christmas! I spent every spare hour playing it – well, making noises anyway! When I was about 14, I made my first real complete piece of electronics: a guitar affects pedal! This inevitably led to the completion of my first guitar amplifier and so on…
My late teens is when my real interest in Hi Fi began, but as I progressed into my twenties, I became more and more disappointed by the results of my many experiences with the run of the mill audio equipment that was within the reach of the everyday man in the street. So there was only one alternative, to build my own system! I remembered how good a system sounded that my father had when I was a child; of course it was all valve! So this sent me on a painstaking journey. Starting-off with salvaged parts, constructing amps, preamps, etc, listening, testing, learning from each creation, going on to building better, more accurate and presentable equipment. Also finding out how all the individual parts worked and most important of all, “how everything interacted”. Needless to say all this experience has given me a vast understanding of what makes a good or bad system. I have also learned to have an open mind, and not be afraid to “think outside of the box” and deviate from what is recognised to be the norm. All the equipment I now make is the result of my own painstaking experiments and experiences, although I feel without the help and knowledge I received from that one person as a child, and the passion he gave me for music and electronics, none of this would have been possible. That brings me to the end of this brief but factual account of my many years involved in audio and electronics. Just one thing left to say, “Thanks Dad…”