Origin Live’s History

Origin Live is a specialist firm located in Southampton UK.  Founded by audio enthusiast Mark Baker, we started building Hi Fi products in a garage. Mark’s ear for sound quality and extensive engineering experience as a Naval Architect proved to be highly applicable to Hi Fi.

Since those difficult early days (over 30 years ago) Origin Live has grown to become a respected British Hi-Fi manufacturer with its own factory, running modern CNC machines and employing highly trained  staff and interns.  The company exports up to 80% of its products to over 40+ countries around the world and enjoys a growing reputation for outstanding performance. Here are some landmarks, along the way.

  • 1986 Company founded and called Cable Design. First product is solid-core cable, the first of its type specifically designed for hi-fi applications.
  • 1987 Equipment supports launched, and the name changed to Origin Live to encompass everything hi-fi related – it is short for “hearing the original source as played live”.
  • 1989 Skyline Platform wins first major award for the company, from Hi-Fi Review magazine.
  • 1990 Origin Live speaker stands win Hi-Fi Choice group test, beating nineteen other brands.
  • 1991 Turntable production begins. Modified Rega tonearms are produced for Avondale Audio. Award-winning amplifiers are assembled for Kelvin Laboratories.
  • 1993 Origin Live Rega tonearm modification service begins. DC turntable motor upgrade kit offered.
  • 1995 Origin Live stand-mounting and floor-standing loudspeaker ranges launched, including Sovereign, Resolution, OL1, OL1A, OL2 & OL2A2002 Silver Tonearm MK1 launched and hailed as “the best arm ever heard” and “design of the decade”.
  • 2004 Origin Live turntables and tonearms begin winning major magazine awards.
  • 2008 Work on phono stage commences, using a design by David Rusby, formerly of Lynwood Electronics.
  • 2009 Astute loudspeaker development begins…
  • 2010 First commercial phono stage launched, the Origin Live Ultra.
  • 2014 Astute loudspeaker launches.
  • 2016 Origin Live’s Voyager and flagship Voyager S turntables launch.

Origin Live’s Founder

Mark Baker started Origin Live back in 1986. After a career in design, management, and production engineering in the Warship building industry, Mark decided to get involved with something that he loved; Hi-Fi and listening to music.

The aim initially was to offer a new design of solid core cable called “Soli-Core”. The design originated from new ideas and a compulsive nature to innovate and improve things. It was in fact the first commercial Solid core cable on the market. Up to that time, people had been raving about how good normal solid core mains wire was over exotic cables. The cable was a good design and met with a fantastic review. In spite of this it was not a great success because dealers found it’s lack of flexibility a problem when doing demonstrations. Solid core is great for semi-permanent installations but constantly changing systems is not what it is designed for!

The next venture was a special isolating table to enable turntables to perform at a much higher level. After a large number of prototypes and comparisons against the competition with friendly dealers, we finally had a winner on our hands and went on to receive “Accessory of the year Award” from Hi-Fi Review magazine who were one of the more critical magazines.

Origin Live has developed Turntables, Tonearms, Amplifiers, Loudspeakers, Cables, and Support Stands. This wide expertise gives a holistic design approach which translates into products that are very system-friendly.

Over the years the company has grown steadily and now distributes its products through specialist Hi-Fi dealers and directly, to more than 40 countries worldwide. Due to the high value and relatively low cost of our products, we do not encourage discounting (in common with most quality manufacturers).

History of Locality

Origin Live is based in the UK at Southampton, which has a great history of innovative engineering. The city boasts a considerable number of record-breaking achievements, from the early Schneider airspeed trophies to the building of the first gas turbined high-speed craft. The Schneider trophy-winning planes formed the basis of the Spitfire, which was designed and built in Southampton and became one of the world’s most famous aeroplanes. This rich heritage has been passed down to a number of high quality local firms.

A bit more about Mark Baker, founder and chief designer

A little bit about Mark is best said by some magazine review comments from those who know us:

“Any Hi-Hi manufacturer will tell you how great its products are. Some say it with a passion bordering on the psychotic, showing how completely blinkered they are to other companies’ designs. Others say it with just the slightest hint of irony, as if to say “come on, we’re not that bad really.” Origin Live calls its new Illustrious, “unquestionably the best tonearm in the world by a staggering margin.” This surprises me, because it hails from OL’s Mark Baker, who is absolutely the last man on this planet prone to bouts of hyperbole or overstatement. If he’s right, it could be one of this decade’s most important products — to us analog addicts, at least. Mark is a very quiet man with patience, an enquiring mind and forensic attention to detail. These attributes, plus thousands of hours of listening time, enabled him to come up with a ‘thesis’….” 
David Price Hi-Fi World Editor

Of course success is dependent on a great team of people and Origin Live is fortunate to have retained skilled people who now have many years of experience to produce high standards of workmanship.