This has been a long time coming. I visited CH Precision’s small, efficient manufacturing and design facility in the middle of last year. CH Precision was named after the first letters of the surnames of founders Florian Cossy and Thierry Heeb, although ‘CH’ also just happens to be the data-code for Switzerland (‘Confoederatio Helvetica’, meaning in theory that CH Precision’s website could have been ‘ch.ch’ instead of ‘ch-precision.com’). The two cut their audio teeth at Goldmund before founding the OEM company Anagram Technologies in the 2000s. We spoke to Florian Cossy (above, centre).
CH Precision has two sites within metres of one another in a business park in the small Swiss town of Préverenges, just west of Lausanne. The ground-level site combines a manufacturing facility, an upgrades and repairs section, and warehousing. The second is across the way and up two levels, and sports prototyping, R&D, sales, marketing and other admin, and a dedicated listening room. This last is used in part for listening to new components during development, and for dealer and distributor demonstrations and training. Put together, the whole CH Precision workforce combined could just about field a soccer team, so long as it was unisex and there weren’t too many substitutions.
That places significant demands on the workforce; with over half the personnel dedicated to design, there’s no room for an “I just make the power amp” team member. However, to ensure quality and consistency, that workforce is extremely well-trained and highly self-motivated. The company also relies on exacting documentation in its build-up plans and flexible work-benches/assembly lines. The products are typically constructed in batches of up to six at a time. The workforce is divided between those who prepare for assembly, and those who actually assemble the products, with sub-assemblies and modules built, tested, and stocked. Final assembly itself is more of a ‘Lego Brick’ process than ‘board stuffing’; true to the atelier tradition that supports the Swiss-watch industry, the boards themselves are built by a third-party also in Switzerland, however testing, additional processes and tuning, and final assembly is all performed in house. Having someone potentially building a CD transport one day and a power amp the next helps prevent worker boredom (there is no excuse for a ‘Friday afternoon car’ in high-end audio, but CH Precision’s manufacturing schema practically guarantees a happier work-place environment, and more satisfied workers means better built components).