‘Under the Spotlight’ with Sontronics

How did you end up where you are now? 

I’ve loved music all my life and am a classically trained flautist and pianist. It was my ambition to play in orchestras and after graduating from uni, while looking for my dream job, I started work as editorial assistant on Classic CD Magazine in my hometown of Bath. It awoke in me a passion for writing, researching, editing and commissioning, and I spent the next 10 years in magazines. I worked on various music titles, edited Future Music for a time, ran travel magazines and produced publications for Korg and Roland as well as PC World, Savills and other high-profile clients.

By 2005, I’d decided on a radical career change and began studying to become a languages teacher. Oneevening, I bumped into two good friends (also previous Future Music editors) Andy Jones and Oz Owen who were meeting with Trevor Coley, a few months after he’d started Sontronics. I spent the evening with them, Trev and I didn’t stop talking and sharing ideas, and the rest is history, both personally and professionally!

Within six weeks, I gave up teaching to put my writing and promotion skills to good use for the fledgling Sontronics brand, while still freelance magazine editing and also doing marketing for the brilliant Alan Barclay at Absolute Music, although it wasn’t long until Sontronics became too busy and became my full-time focus. Two years later Trev and I married (Alan was our best man) and 17 years later our microphone company is respected and adored by artists, producers, musicians and studios all over the world.

Tell us about the values of Sontronics?  

The most important value of Sontronics, and the thing that has helped its success over the years, is that it is a family business in more ways than one. Not only is it run by a husband and wife who live and breathe the brand, but also our close-knit team at Sontronics HQ feels like family and it’s a joy to work with our talented colleagues. Likewise, our international distributors, who represent Sontronics in over 60 countries, truly feel more like relatives than clients.

It’s also fair to say that every single user of Sontronics who comes into direct contact with us, whether through social media, in person at an exhibition or by registering a product for lifetime warranty, is treated as family. It’s a family that is constantly growing and everyone is welcome!

If you had to share one unique selling point of your business, what would it be?

One key USP for Sontronics is our Lifetime Warranty that supports all our mics. It’s a genuine promise of quality, which we’re able to offer thanks to the extreme diligence and strictest standards that go the building and testing of our mics, all backed up by class-leading (and award-winning!) customer service.

Your range has grown over the years to include studio condensers, ribbons, valve and dynamic microphones – but which product is your favourite and why? 

Without doubt, my absolute favourite is our Aria valve mic, launched in 2014. It was three years in the making, and I was privileged to see Trevor’s notebook sketches turn into beautifully sleek first-production models. Trev and I were invited into Abbey Road to watch a prototype Aria being used on recording sessions with award-winning composer Michael Price (Sherlock, Unforgotten) and engineer Andy Dudman, and it was a magical experience. Hearing the mic come to life in that stunning environment, being used alongside legendary vintage mics that John Lennon would have sung into, was indescribably emotional.

Aria has become a flagship product for us, loved and used by all kinds of artists and producers, from Paul Epworth (Adele, Florence) to Jamie Oliver (a talented musician as well as chef!) to Ed Sheeran (who has two). I love the silky smooth sound of the mic, not just on vocals (which is what Trevor originally designed it for) but also solo strings and my own flute, of course. Plus the fact that Aria enabled our wonderful friendship with Abbey Road Studios and its engineers (including the legendary inspirational mic technician, Lester Smith) that continues to this day.


What do you feel is the biggest challenge for Sontronics this year and beyond? 

The current state of economic uncertainty is a global issue affecting all businesses in all market sectors, and I don’t mind admitting that worries about the war in Ukraine, climate change and looming recession cause sleepless nights. As a manufacturer and as a small business we are lucky that we can be agile in reacting to market changes, adapting our strategies and changing focus where needed, and this has allowed us to develop, grow and improve even in these unpredictable times. A good example of this is during pandemic when we could have pressed Pause or pared things back, but instead we upscaled production of our Podcast Pro mic, drafting in our whole team as well as a couple of friends and our three children (then aged 18, 18 and 19) to build, test and pack thousands of mics, and this resulted in our brand being introduced to a whole new customer base.

Tell us your favourite thing about your team?

I adore the fact that we’re all avid music-lovers, and many a conversation will come about through a new album we’ve heard, an artist we’ve discovered or a gig we’ve been to or played at. In addition, I continue to be impressedby everyone’s dedication and passion for Sontronics, and the fact that we’ve become an incredibly efficient and productive unit. We always pull together as one and the results have been and continue to be awesome.

What are you currently listening to?

When I’m allowed control of the Bluetooth speaker or car stereo, I’ll listen to Radio 3 or Coldplay, but what’s currently taking up my spare time is learning one of my favourite piano pieces – Debussy’s ‘Clair de lune’ – off by heart. It’s tough on the brain cells but so so satisfying when you master a new tune!


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