Q&A with Joel Sietsema of Marantz and Classé Audio

What spurred your interest in high-end audio? Did it come from the music side or the electronics side? 

I’ve always been interested in consumer technology. Growing up, I developed a reputation in our neighborhood as the “techy-kid” who could fix VCRs, TVs, etc. I often found myself dropping by a Best Buy to shop for CDs, check out car-audio systems, or test the latest speakers. My initial interest in better audio came from the music side in my first job out of college in Minnesota. As a local MN company, Best Buy was an attractive employer, and I decided to take my first post-college job selling speakers in a Magnolia store inside Best Buy. This is where I got my first formal exposure to premium audio, and was struck by how much better music could sound on upgraded equipment and in a treated room. 

My role as Buyer of Audio at Magnolia Audio Video fueled a deeper level interest in high-end audio, combining two of my passions: technology and music. I was exposed to the very best equipment and ideas on Earth from some of the most influential people in our industry—leaders like John Hunter at Sumiko/REL, Doug Henderson of B&W and JL Audio, Charlie Randall of McIntosh Labs, David Solomon of Peachtree and Qobuz, Kevin Zarow at Marantz, Paul Grove of Martin Logan and Paradigm, and many more. 

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