Serbian-born engineer and innovator Zoran Mihajlovic has produced very special handles for gramophones. The production is taking place in the Serbian outskirts and it started back in 2016. Each of the handles costs several thousands of euros and according to their creator handles are among the finest in the world.
You may not have known, but the quality and sound of the music on the turntable are affected by every single thing – and the handle itself can greatly affect it.
“A math formula is used in making handles, in order to determine which handle is best for which head and needle. However, in the case of Supreme Analog handles, such a calculation is not necessary. There are different types of handles depending on the type of record player, head, and needle. It turned out that our handle can be adjusted to each of them and that it does not affect the sound quality”, said Zoran.
Handles made in Serbia named Tangenta are of supreme quality in terms of dynamics in both high and low tones, as well as in the naturalness of the sound.
“Tangenta handle doesn’t add anything to the sound, it just tries to transmit the sound as it is on the board to the speakers, i.e. the amplifier,” stated Zoran.
Thus, Supreme analog works on Swiss technology. All parts of the handle are important for the sound – and believe it or not, there are more than 95 of them – they are made and installed by hand.
“These are very small parts that are made on Swiss brand watchmaking machines. These are very precise machines, lathes, milling machines. Everything is micrometer-precise. If something is missing in the handle, anything, it will not work. All measures must be followed precisely”, said Zoran.
All parts of the handle, except the wires, are made in a Serbian factory, and the necessary ingredients are brass, bronze, stainless steel, and wood.
“Wood is a decorative material, so each handle is unique. We have five models, all the handles are the same, only the finish is different”, according to Zoran.
The finish is done in a combination of silver and gold, in matte and high-gloss variants.
“We are constantly improving and testing new materials. The most important thing in the gramophone handle is the ratio of the masses of individual parts and materials “, said Mihajlović.
The handles he makes are eventually sold for 15,000 euros.
“We do not sell them directly on the market, but I have associates and distributors, who sell products to the end customer for that amount as well. My selling price is significantly lower. If we didn’t work like that, we might have the same earnings and work much less, but it’s important that we are constantly in business, that we raise production, meet new people, reach new customers and distributors. Distributors are obliged to order a certain quantity, but also to ensure that the handles are on low-cost technology”.
The current dynamics of production are four handles per month, and everything he makes is sold in advance. There are currently none in stock.
“We never make just one handle, but if we calculate how much time it takes to produce one, it is somewhere around 180 to 200 hours of work.
It only takes about 30 to 50 hours to polish just to get a top shine.”
The only part of the handle which is not the work of his hands is the wires. “Wires are particular and for us, they are made by one of the largest cable companies. These are high-purity copper cables with some special coatings” stated Zoran.
Zoran has customers all over the world, and he says that high prices can only be reached in certain markets.
“Europe is a very bad market in the world of HiFi – everyone has some local production, so if you want to sell something expensive, you can only do it in Asia, Russia, America, and Canada.”
Before he sailed into this business, Zoran had the opportunity to listen to gramophones with two of the highest quality handles at the time – one made in Germany, the other in Sweden.
“We have tasted some materials and came to the conclusion that the combination of wood and brass is the best for sound. After all, all musical instruments are made of brass and wood.”
The gramophone handle is distinguished by details, sound image, and sound depth.
“Everything is clear here, everyone knows what is good and how it should be done. However, due to the large production and price, some do it a little sloppily, so they don’t have top-quality handles. There is no falsification here, neither in the materials nor in the processing”, said innovator.
The most expensive handle he made was black ebony from Gabon, one of the most expensive trees in the world.
Original interview in Serbian is done by K.S. and its available here.