Retailer Focus - Infidelity

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Retailer Focus - Infidelity

Simon Byles has been at the helm of Infidelity since the autumn of 1992, opening the business at the tail end of the late 80s/early 90s recession. Nestled in the leafy Surrey suburbs of Hampton Wick, the shop is a haven for the region’s serious hi-fi enthusiasts.

Step over the threshold and you’ll find a shop full of great examples of British hi-fi from the major names and including, of course, PMC. “I stock them because I have a great respect and admiration for both the speaker designs and the clearly evident integrity of the company and its people,” says Simon. “And their sense of fun.”

With such an array of quality British brands on offer, it’s a glowing endorsement of PMC that Simon chooses to include them in his offering and the twenty5.23s make it onto his list of favourite bits of hi-fi kit, “They’re just a great design that works!” he enthuses.

Wind the clock back a few years, and Simon could be found studying for a degree in applied physics and acoustics and listening to music via headphones and a portable FM radio – an upgrade over the AM radio he used to use. Thus, began his love affair with hi-fi – reading the magazines and drooling over hi-fi in the shops and buying better equipment when he could. It was, perhaps, the perfect background for a hi-fi retailer.

Since then, bar a short spell as a ski instructor, Simon has been working in hi-fi all his life, whether in manufacturing or retailing.

Today you’ll find him running Infidelity with his team, where the philosophy is to keep it uncomplicated, friendly and focussed on what the customers want. As Simon puts it, “Buying a hi-fi is an indulgence that should reward the time and care that we, our suppliers and our customers put in to the equipment and its choice. The pleasure and thrills of listening to music is the point – and that can be enormous!”

The hi-fi business in Hampton Wick is alive and well thanks to the power of music and the enjoyment of owning well-made, considered equipment that lasts. There’s a good stream of new customers, most of whom discover Infidelity through word of mouth, including a good number of younger customers who are buying turntables again.

Having been in hi-fi for quite some time, Simon has experienced a good number of components and his list of favourite products reads like a who’s who of classic British hi-fi: Rega 3, Naim 32.5/HiCap/NAP250 and the LP12 of course. But he’s not against progress and up there with the analogue classics are the Naim NDX2, Linn Klimax DS Katalyst and PMC’s twenty5.23s. It’s equipment that can often be heard playing Simon’s diverse choices in music, which range from Charlie Parker to REM, Massive Attack to Bach and Steve Earle to Bjork.

Pull up outside Infidelity and, if he’s not in the middle of a lake sailing, or taking in a live concert, or the occasional Arsenal game, you’ll find Simon the perfect host, ready to share his passion for all things hi-fi and music with you.