Thank you for visiting the Atacama website.
My name is Carl Sambell and I am the Managing Director of Sambell Engineering Ltd, a company probably better known to you under our trading names of Atacama Audio and Apollo HiFi.
What follows is a brief history of where we started, how we grew and where we are now.
The business began as a partnership in 1969 as a sub-contract engineering company specializing in high quality aerospace work, becoming a trusted supplier to prestigious companies such as Rolls Royce, GEC and British Aerospace.
The business was incorporated in 1976 and continued in the aeronautical industry until the late eighties.
From the very early days, it had been the ambition of the then Managing Director, Mr Ron Sambell (my father), to manufacture our own commercial products. The sub-contract market had always been unpredictable, so the decision was taken to start looking at producing our own branded designs so we could plan our future more easily and control our own destiny rather than rely on others.
The early products had moderate success, highlighted in 1987 when the company began to develop an innovative design of HiFi speaker stand. The initial reaction to this speaker stand from local specialist retailers was very encouraging and manufacturing began that year on a very small scale as part of a pilot marketing campaign.
Unfortunately, the project was shelved in 1988 as our manufacturing capacity for our core business was overwhelmed.
However, the interest these stands had created was not forgotten.
In 1989, after serving my apprenticeship and time with blue chip companies in the engineering sales and marketing industry, I joined the family business. With this background and experience, I quickly put it to good use.
Soon after, the boom times of the late eighties turned into the deep recession of the early nineties and survival was the name of the game. Our aerospace customer base had contracted considerably, and hard times were to come.
It was clear that we had to diversify if the company was to continue.
As part of this plan, in 1992 we began a fresh appraisal of the speaker stand we first designed nearly 5 years earlier.
It was obvious from the outset that our speaker stand was different to anything else available on the market.
The competition was offering industrial looking stands that were costly, with very little in the way of performance. The design we had was functional, sonically dead, tuneable, affordable, and able to absorb the vibration from the speaker that it supports. It also had the visual appeal required to complement the end users home surroundings.
Working from the original 1987 speaker stand, we refreshed and refined the design, culminating at the end of 1992 with the release of the ‘SE' series of speaker stands, launched under the new ATACAMA brand name.
An ambitious sales and marketing campaign began, especially around the Atacama SE24 speaker stands which were given particular attention by the HiFi press. The result was that In June 1993 this model was awarded a ‘Best Buy" by the highly respected magazine Hi-Fi CHOICE.
The SE24 then proceeded to win the same ‘Best Buy' award for a further 2 years running, achieving "HiFi Accessory of the Year 1996" by the British Federation of Audio.
In the same year the largest hifi magazine within the UK industry, What Hi-Fi? awarded the SE24 a ‘MUST HAVE PRODUCT' which was presented to us at the award ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel in London.
From these early days the company grew from strength to strength.
In 2001 Atacama launched the Equinox Series of equipment supports to complement our award-winning speaker stands. Within a few years Equinox became the equipment support of choice, winning PRODUCT OF THE YEAR in What Hi-Fi? for 5 consecutive years, 2004 until 2008.
Due to our engineering background, Atacama had always been a manufacturer of metal and glass products, however our instincts to innovate resulted in 2011 with the next major development happening when we decided to invest in new equipment to process wood and more specifically, bamboo composite.
2013 saw us acquire what was once one of our competitors in the HiFi furniture world, Apollo HiFi, allowing us to follow two separate, distinct development paths.
For the Atacama brand, the new bamboo material opened us up to technically advanced design opportunities based primarily around performance, whilst offering our customers an ecological alternative to traditional hardwoods.
The Apollo brand meanwhile focuses on incorporating more traditional wood materials for HiFi furniture design which, while still offering a high level of performance, is more biased towards the aesthetic and practical applications requested by clients (for example, vinyl storage).
Success soon followed!
For 2012 & 2013, the Atacama Eris Eco 5 (our first Bamboo based rack) won EQUIPMENT SUPPORT of the year by What Hi-Fi? magazine, followed by the Evoque Eco 60-40 and Moseco Speaker Stand in 2014.
Since then, two updates to Evoque (the Special Edition and SE2 versions) has kept this range as What Hi-Fi' s favourite HiFi equipment support with Moseco achieving the same success for speaker stands winning every year 2014-2023!
To compliment this success, the new Apollo Storm 6 modular HiFi rack also did well and was awarded 5 stars by What Hi-Fi? Magazine in 2018 by their review team.
As a company, we are always looking to innovate and bring new concepts to HiFi furniture design. This brings us to the newest range of speaker stands, NeXXus series. Available in a multitude of height, top plate size, tube combination and colour choice, making them our first adaptable, upgradable speaker stand design!
Thank you for taking interest in Atacama Audio and Apollo HiFi furniture. I hope we meet your expectations for both HiFi speaker stand and AV rack support design and will look forward to bringing you even more new and innovative designs in the future!