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The Full Story

I started my audio journey at a young age listening to my parents' records at the age of 5. I remember my mom driving me to Radio Shack in the rain to buy a new needle for the turntable. I have many fond memories of playing those albums and exploring artists such as Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Music moved me more than any of my other siblings. I started working on car audio systems with my friends as a teenager and continued to work on car audio into my mid twenties. This is when I identified my affinity in audio system design. Although I went to college for a business degree, I did take the Physics of HiFi class at the University of Utah to broaden my understanding of audio. When I purchased my first house, my first project was to put together a stereo system. I built my own speakers and purchased a California Audio Labs CD player and

a pair of Quicksilver mono amplifiers.

I continued to build speakers and invest in audio equipment as the years went by and my passion, knowledge, and experience grew. I was constantly searching to improve the sound quality of my personal system as well as helping friends and family with their own systems. I found early on that certain components worked better with certain genres of music. That is when I decided that my pursuit was to build a system that would play all genres of music equally well. Now, I look back and understand how ambitious of a plight this was. I have discovered that most components are designed around a certain genre of music. Measurements are key to designing high end audio components (speakers, amplifiers, DAC’s, cables, etc) however, each part (capacitor, inductor, resistor, wires, etc) has their own sonic signature that is not measurable. That is why most high end audio manufacturers listen to their components with various parts to achieve their desired result. Because of this fact, there is a continued balancing act between each component

as one builds a system. 

At the end of 1998, I teamed up with Thierry Budge to start my own speaker company, Talon Audio Technologies. The initial designs were based on Thierry’s design and experience. After 3 years, we parted ways in my effort to have better measurements and push the envelope in speaker technology. The Firebird loudspeaker was my first speaker design (David Evett created the industrial design) and it was well received in the industry. In 2006, I decided to sell Talon Audio for personal reasons to Rives Audio (Rives Bird). A few years later, I designed the Talon Audio Phoenix loudspeaker for Rives Bird. This design

brought back my interest in high end audio.

During my hiatus from the high end audio business, I spent my energy sharpening my woodworking skills while also improving my personal audio system. My long term plan was to build a high end loudspeaker one day when the time was right. I contacted my friend Caelin Gabriel (Shunyata Research) for technological advice on my loudspeakers back in 2019. During this time I was inspired to start a high end audio dealership. I wanted to further explore building audio systems that are honest to the music, regardless of music genre. This is how I have found the brands that Farnsworth Audio represents today as I continue to push the envelope in bringing recorded music into

listening rooms everywhere.


Michael Farnsworth

The Talon Phoenix

System Design and Philosophy

High end audio has changed dramatically throughout the years I have been involved. Here are some current observations regarding this enjoyable hobby.


-Vinyl records with turntables offer the best sound for the money in high end audio. This is with the caveat that the turntable and cartridge are set up properly to yield top performance.

-Digital has come a long way with streaming audio. Although a CD/SACD transport can outperform streaming audio, there are methods to achieve high quality sound in this medium. I will discuss this later on, but for now, remember that streaming starts at the modem.

-Power distribution with high quality cabling is extremely important for audio excellence! These products have drastically improved over the years and have also become more affordable as well. Along this avenue are new methods in grounding that have brought the audio noise level to an all time low.

-The room and proper equipment set up is vital to achieving the best performance for your 2 channel rig. This includes room treatment (plants and furniture count too), audio stands, equipment isolation, cable isolation, seating position, and speaker positioning. This can also include working on your electrical for your audio system with dedicated lines and further isolation of your electricity for your audio equipment.


While considering these aspects of designing your system, the next step is to select the best components that will suit your personal audio tastes. We all have different ears and hearing. We also have our own personal tastes in the way music moves us. What is wonderful about our individual audio systems is they can be tailored to represent our personal listening preferences. This is an audio journey in which the more we listen, the more sophisticated our listening taste develops. Through the years, I have listened to thousands of components (cables, racks, room treatment, etc.). I also have many friends in the industry that consult with me to search out those special components that will deliver music in the most satisfying way. From this experience and continued pursuit and passion for audio, I can be your guide to help you design the system you are dreaming of. It is my mission to save you time, money, and frustration by helping you build the best components for your system within your parameters. There are few things in life that I enjoy more than helping a fellow audiophile improve their audio system and enjoyment.

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