Quali-Fi was founded by Ole Brøndum i 1963 – almost by coincidence. From his early childhood Ole had a passion for classical music. Inspired by hgis father – a radio amateur and inventor – he ventured into experiments with tube amplifiers and loudspeakers with significantly better performance and reproduction of the coveted music, than the equipment on the market back in the day.
Somewhat later after being stationed in the USA by the Danish Navy, the American Hi-FI equipment had made a lasting impression and raised the bar for reproduction of especially opera and heavier orchestral works.
During his studies as an electrical engineer and with a wife equally hooked on musical perfection, Ole conducted constant listening sessions and experiments with amplifiers, loudspeakers and turntables.
One lodger – Gormsen, an architect and designer – introduced the then revolutionary pick up arm SME being presented in Copenhagen in 1963 on an exhibition for British design. SME were seeking distributors, a quick decision was made to try for it. As company name they chose Quali-Fi a combination of quality and Hi-Fi. SME anwered later that Quali-FI had been chosen and they were very proud of that. A year later they learned that they had been the only applicants.
This was the foundation, SME tonearms were the first products on board. But more was needed to become a high end Hi-Fi supplier. Turntables were evaluated and Garrad 301 was chosen and then Shure pick ups. Gormsen designed high end plinths and through SME they got in contact with Radford and consequently also had a top end amplifier in the program. Quali-Fi also managed to get an agreement with the upcoming Dolby company. This noise reduction technology spread like wildfire in all the Scandinavian recording studios.
Later Quali-Fi got JBL loudspeakers through a contact Ole had acquired in the USA and the product lineup was pretty complete and it got really serious. And this connection with JBL proved to be the most important one with regards to loudspeakers. The JBL loudspeakers were already well established in the professional sound field as the stage sound systems for the leading bands.
After a while Quali-Fi got permission to build cabinets locally in Denmark and assemble the speakers here, the products were the JBL S99 Athena, JBL Lancer 99 and Lancer 101. Under the strict supervision of JBL quality control the manufacturing of cabinets for these models was approved – all in Danish Design looks and finish. This immediately gave a boost to the Hi-Fi sales.
- Sales were up further when several performing musicals such as Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar and groups such as The Savage Rose were equipped with Quali-Fi gear. Later Quali-Fi supplied a large part of the European market with JBL speakers.
Quali-Fi almost became synonymous with high-end Hi-Fi in seventies, supplying installations to all recording studios, large concert halls staging such productions.
When the public was exposed to such an experience of sound, they started asking for more, this led to major discotheques investing in Quali-Fi systems with JBL speakers, and eventually consumers started to flock around.
In 1973 JBL was sold to Harmon Kardon, and business relations deteriorated. In the end Ole Brøndum left to pursue other avenues and Quali-Fi descended into more ordinary consumer product, but – as they say – is another story.