A category of one. That would be the most accurate description of Richard Edmund Lord, the founder of REL Acoustics, Ltd. . And those who knew Richard know that he loved accuracy which was, ultimately why he took things into his own hands and created REL; because without deep bass, Richard reasoned, too much was missing from music and –later–movies.
Richard was a larger-than-life character with a fantastic appetite for life, a good laugh and was always willing to share a new story or joke. Ironically, when I had lunch with him last year at the Bristol Audio show we wound up speaking of his family, the company he loved so much and his own mortality. “We’re all on a conveyor belt John, next one up might be me.” He laughed, his face reddening as he continued to chortle and considered the possibility, “Or it might be you.” And he slapped me on the back. That was Richard, always able to see the humor in the situation and somehow making pronouncements that seemed large, everything seemed larger around Richard.
Born in 1939, he believed deeply in justice, doing the right thing even when the odds seemed impossible. The exact situation that years later, after a stint in the merchant marine as a radio operator, led him to start up REL with the express intent to build the world’s finest subwoofers.
His first subwoofer design was a massive affair, built into the seating of his bay window one can only wonder what the missus must have thought. But it was the seed that sprouted an empire and created the first company to speak of bass in serious terms—not just the mechanical outlines of it as the American subwoofer companies of the day defined it; dry, technical and in purely engineering terms. But rich, florid descriptions of bass that sought to capture the emotionality of bass, or at least what deep bass does for music and film sound in terms those that love it might understand.
Richard was a one-off. In engineering terms, he was a pre-production prototype, all hand built like a pre-war Bentley with hand turned fasteners and shiny chrome plating; coming from an England filled with great audio engineers and optimism before the world got too complicated. He strove for accuracy and greatness and found many willing to share in his dream. He lived a good life and would not have regretted anything other than leaving behind his loving family. We at REL Acoustics do honor to this wonderful man by continuing to build the best subwoofers in the world—just as he did.
From all of us at REL Acoustics