Hello, Julian! Let’s hear a bit about yourself.

Hi, my name is Julian Hyvönen, I’m 22 years-old, and I’m responsible for marketing and sales at Amphion Loudspeakers Ltd. I was born in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) where my father was working at the time. My parents came back to Finland right after I was born and my father started Amphion. I’ve lived for twenty years in Kuopio, where the company is located. After constantly traveling to LA, New York, London, Munich, the drive back home from Kuopio airport—especially in fall and winter—was getting to me, so a year ago I moved to Helsinki. I felt I needed a slightly larger city! (laughs)


After my junior college (lukio) I enrolled in the open university to take courses on marketing and business administration.

In contrast with the hustle and bustle of NY and LA, do you miss the Finnish countryside sometimes?

Now that I live in Helsinki I have learnt to appreciate it. Whenever I go back to Kuopio I notice how quiet it is! But I really enjoy Helsinki; the scope of life is much wider and people are more open. Working remotely has suited me—for my work I only need my laptop and my phone.

Let’s talk about the origins of Amphion.

My father has always been a hifi guy, interested in sound and speakers in particular. At the end of the 90s he was working in Asia, when an opportunity arose to establish a loudspeaker company. Amphion Loudspeakers Oy started producing home loudspeakers in 1998, and in 2014 we introduced our studio line for professionals.

Does your father have any formal training in sound engineering?

He was just enthusiastic about hifi and was interested in possibilities of high quality sound. He amassed information from multiple sources, and was surrounded by professionals who designed and built audio products.

How did you get to be part of the company?

One day, when I was fourteen years-old, I asked my father “Is there any job for me?”. I started with the most simple tasks, like braiding cables, little bits of soldering, that kind of stuff. Back then, as I do today, I honestly believed our speakers are something different. It felt natural to want to work there.

The plan was to work only for a year between school and college, but then I had a chance to go to New York for a convention. I thought of it as a free vacation with my father, but I actually enjoyed being there, showing off the speakers. Apparently I did very well, as in the following January I got a ticket to LA to attend NAMM, the biggest annual pro show in Anaheim. Around that time I was thinking “do I really want to go and study for five years, or do I want to start my career now?” I always felt our social media was underperforming, so after we came back from the trip I got the chance to take over our Instagram for a month. As I managed to grow our reach and impressions tenfold, the decision was taken that I become responsible for our Facebook too. Step by step I have received more responsibility in exchange for results, and nowadays I am in charge of Amphion’s print and web marketing worldwide.

What was your dad’s motivation for launching Amphion?

Anssi—my father—says that he spoiled a great hobby and turned it into a way to make a living. His goal was not to push boxes, but to create something that enabled listeners to experience the emotional side of music. Sadly, most people don’t get to experience music in all its glory, and my father believes that a proper sound environment can de-stress, recharge and make you feel better. I think that’s an amazing point of view and I agree with him 100%.

How did Amphion get beyond the home and into the studio?

We have always had some customers who used our home speakers in their studios, but the final step happened by accident. Martin Kantola, who later became our designer, was developing a custom microphone for legendary Bruce Swedien. Swedien has mixed for jazz giants like Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Oscar Peterson, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, and a lot of pop artists—he mixed Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album. Martin was traveling to Florida to attend a master course with Bruce and we ended up doing a carry-on demo kit, so that we could play his microphone samples. The reaction from Bruce and others attendees was surprisingly enthusiastic, and several wanted to purchase a pair. “If people of this caliber like what we are doing, we must be on the right track”, said Anssi. So instead of selling them the speakers, we started developing the products further. Four years later (in 2014) the studio monitor lineup was introduced.

Was it difficult for you guys to break into the market?

It happened organically. At first it was Anssi traveling around the world and showing the speakers at trade shows. We’ve always felt strongly about delivering the right product for each customer, and this dedication eventually led to lots of positive attention on Gearslutz, the largest pro-related online forum. Customers started talking about this Anssi guy who answers emails at all hours of the day, and often recommends cheaper gear than the one you wanted (and then found that his recommendation ended up being correct). After receiving such uncommonly good service they were happy to share the experience with their friends and peers. Word-of-mouth recommendations have been important for us, as we do not have the marketing budget of our larger and more established competitors. Today the “Amphion… Beautiful” thread is the most browsed thread on the high-end section of the website, with more than a million views and 274 pages of discussion.

Who buys your products?

95% of the market is abroad, mainly in Asia and the US. 60% of the sales go to the studios and 40% to consumers. Home customers vary from hardcore audiophiles to the aesthetically-conscious. We feel that timeless, minimalistic form follows function, so Scandinavian design is an important aspect of the Amphion brand.

Any ecological considerations?

We believe in building quality products with the longest possible lifespan. Naturally most materials can still be recycled. The cabinets are made of MDF, which is a type of wood composite. They are made close to our factory, only 45 minutes away. Other parts (woofer drivers, tweeters) are made of aluminum, titanium, by several manufacturers. An important point is that the passive design doesn’t have many electronics in it, which makes for a very long-lasting product. We have multiple customers who continue to be happy with their speakers after twenty years of use.

Where are the products available?

We offer our products through specialty retailers (we have three in Helsinki). Retailers are essential in finding the right solution for the customer.

What’s Amphion’s selling point?

Natural sound. Many manufacturers make great speakers, but we aim to make a product that allows you to hear music the way producers, artists, and mastering engineers intended. We are only truly happy when the listener can forget about the loudspeaker and focus purely on the music itself.

Can you briefly explain the technical approach?

Innovative acoustic design allows us to keep the products electrically simple, which leads to a high level of transparency. Many manufacturers place the crossover (the frequency where the drivers are joined together) into the area where the ear is most precise, around 2000-5000Hz, which leads to certain problems. We minimize them by using a lower crossover point of 1600Hz, and achieve a more natural and coherent sound.

Loudspeakers can be divided into two categories. Those with amplifiers inside (active speakers) and those which are driven by external amplifiers (passive speakers). We believe we can achieve longer lifetime and better results by keeping our speakers passive. Initially all speakers were passive, but especially in the pro world the active solution has become a standard, more or less. The idea of bringing passive speaker monitors back into today’s recording studios was a bit crazy, but we managed to do it. It’s amazing how much music and soundtracks are made with Amphion monitors right now.

Producers Finneas O'Connell and Josh Gudwin (Justin Bieber)

Okay, you can namedrop now.

(laughs) Billie Eilish, Justin Bieber, Dua Lipa, J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West… to name a few. The sound engineers of all those artists are using Amphion products, and I get to talk to them and they actually listen to me! (laughs) Sometimes, for studio sessions and demos, I get to meet the artists themselves—I’ll never forget when Kendrick Lamar walked into the studio! Our most recent customer is producer Finneas O’Connell, Billie Eilish’s brother, who recently won a Grammy Award for Producer of The Year. After trying many different speakers on the market, he chose ours!

Wow. How does your dad react to all this?

I think he is happy. He gets to do something he loves and help people to both create and enjoy music. He has a very strong vision on how music should sound and feel, and it’s really cool that people are using our products to make great sounding records, games, or soundtracks. Things have come full circle: it’s become possible to experience music and movies the same way sound engineers do, when they create the mixes in their studios.

My dad’s a hero of mine. He has put in a lot of work during the years, but even when I was young he still managed to take me to hockey and football practice, and be there for me. I really love to work and travel with him; people often ask “Is it nice to work with your father?” Yeah, it’s great!

Personal plans for the future?

I’m happy doing this, and really lucky to be in this position at my age (22). So I’ll continue doing my best, moving forward with Amphion. Also the thought of having my own business has always been in the back of my mind. I have a few ideas, but right now I am perfectly happy with what I am doing. I’m always eager to learn more and educate myself. I believe learning and self-improvement stops the moment you believe you are best at something.

What do you do to recharge your batteries?

I love sports. If I know that day I’ll get the time to go to the gym, or exercise, I’m happy. I’m also a bit of a perfectionist, try to do everything to the fullest, so for the past two years it’s been 50/60 hour weeks, 24/7. Last summer I had my first vacation because I was close to a burnout. I learned to appreciate my “Julian time” and take a break.

Do you do anything music-related?

I try and do some mixing of my own, and I want to learn to play the piano. But mostly I’m just a big fan of music in general.

Where does the name ‘Amphion’ come from? It sounds Greek to me.

It is actually Greek. Amphion was a Greek mythological figure who, using his magical golden lyre, moved rocks to rebuild the walls of the city of Thebes! Anssi had three requirements for the name: 1) It had to work internationally and have a quality feel to it 2) it had to reference music, or its powers 3) if possible, it had to start with an ‘A’ to be on top of an alphabetically-ordered list. So he came up with Amphion! The name has worked well internationally—except in France, where “phion” means something not at all related to loudspeakers. But it’s free marketing! (laughs)

Where is Amphion headed?

To conquer the world step by step, doing our best. I can’t say more for now. (laughs) And to educate more and more people about the beauty and emotional side of sound!

This is Amphion’s Instagram, Facebook, YouTube channel, and this is their website.