Right from the outset and based on real-world experience, our vision for Lode Audio was to create products for the Custom Installation market that not only performed to spec but also had the reliability that the market required. After all, the last thing any CI integrator wants is to have to keep re-visiting a site to replace or repair faulty electronics. Therefore, all of our designs had to be able to conform to our very high standards, which meant working directly with manufactures who are specialists within their respective fields. Due to the country’s legendary engineering heritage, we located the right partners right here in the UK, enabling us to not only react quickly to design tweaks but also link up certain processes for a smoother development program. Ultimately, we are also able to say that every Lode product is Made in Britain, which is a statement we are very proud of.
A crucial area of the design was to deal with the scourge of all CI products housed within equipment racks – heat dissipation. The usual way to deal with heat is to employ internal fans, which keep a constant air flow over the delicate electrical components to maintain a nominal temperature. However, our belief is that any moving part reduces reliability and increases noise, both physically and electrically, so we wanted to eradicate fans and create products that not only employed a low-heat design, but that also dealt with heat dissipation in a more reliable way. The most efficient way to do this is to make the whole chassis of our products act as a heat sink, therefore distributing any heat across the whole product. To do this, we embarked on a wide series of tests to ensure that not only would this concept work in the real world but also that we could find the correct supplier who was able to provide the exacting specifications required for the job.
Through research, we started working with a manufacture of ‘fan-less’ computer systems built to medical equipment specifications. An international leader in its field, this expert manufacture mills all product chassis’ entirely within its own factory in Manchester, from raw aluminium billets to precisely manufactured, hand finished and anodised products. After the initial consultation period, we worked closely to develop our own bespoke chassis for the LA4, using CAD/CAM software to not only design the chassis but to also carry out flow simulations systems, which accurately forecast the cooling characteristics of the design. Once the design is signed off, each chassis is milled from a single billet of aluminium on the in-house, high speed CNC milling machines, before being hand-finished and then anodised with the deep black brushed finish our products are known for.
The whole process is time consuming and expensive for a product that would normally reside out of sight and in a plant room. However, we feel it is an essential ingredient to the success of our products, as it not only guarantees the perfect finish we require but also provides the ideal housing for our electronics that enables us to successfully achieve our goal – to create great performing products with the reliability essential for the custom installation market.