The Tesslor® Story

Zeng DeJun is a well-known name in the Chinese audio industry where his reputation as a designer, teacher, entrepreneur and business man is legendary.  He’s the designer of China’s first Hi-Fi vacuum tube amplifier, a founding member of the nation’s Hi-Fi vacuum tube industry and designer of many lines of hi-end multimedia speakers and numerous Hi-Fi products with cult followings in Asia.  In 1994, Zeng founded the Shenzhen V.A.L. Technology Co., Ltd. to finally pursue a lifetime goal of manufacturing a line of unique Hi-Fi retro radios based on the classic wooden receivers of his youth that first kindled his love of radio.

Some of Zeng’s earliest memories as a child are of the beautiful wood radios in his home that brought voice and music and sparked his curiosity towards science and technology.  He recalls that as a young child he asked how such a box could do such magical things but received no clear answer.  One day, when no others were around, he opened the back cover of the radio but could not find the small people he had imagined were inside.  All he saw were the glowing bulbs (tubes) and lumps of iron (transformers).  His parents couldn’t explain how the radio worked and told him that when he grew up and studied, he would be able to understand.

Thus began Zeng’s lifetime love and curiosity in radio and science.  In school and led by teachers and others, he began to assemble simple crystal radios and more sophisticated versions.  Growing up in a remote area, radio was both the fastest and most effective way to learn of news and information from the outside world.  Later, as a new recruit in the Army, he found and repaired a faulty transistor radio for a superior who was so impressed that he gave Zang the option of choosing the specialty for which he’d receive advanced training.  Zang chose the communications corp where he was quickly trained for radio communications.  Always curious and inventive, he found existing military radios heavy and outdated so he set about designing and building lightweight versions that earned him an Outstanding Innovation Award and a transfer to the army research institute.  Later, he was sent to Beijing University to study where he became a professor and a new phase of his life began.

Over many years and many changes in his life, Zeng found radio programming and music to be a close companion that gave him strength to pass difficult times and challenges.  Having spent many years in the audio industry, Zeng is familiar with high quality music systems and CD players but prefers the fresh music selection and information found on radio.  He prefers to work in an office with a good table radio and, in part, this is one reason why he dreamed of designing and manufacturing a quality radio set like the ones he recalled from his youth.  Having designed and built the first commercial Hi-Fi vacuum tube amplifiers as well as the Hi-End brand of V.A.L. tube amplifiers, he had often thought of designing high quality table radios, and saw this as an area no other companies had pursued.

To Zeng, a high quality radio, like the ones many people grew up with, have a special place in their heart.  In China, the famous wood radios of the past were brands like Panda, Red Lantern and Shanghai and are similar to the overseas brands like Grundig and Telefunken.  Zeng still owns the vintage Kaige 455D tube radio he purchased in 1971 along with its original receipt and the radio remains a prized possession to he and his family even today.  While he had thought many times of designing and manufacturing radios, it was during an invitation to a Guangdong radio station interview, where he saw many vintage radios on display that he decided to start work on a new model.

That decision was the start of a new chapter in Zeng’s life and a long journey that brings us to today’s Tesslor brand of radios.  Since Zeng had set a very high standard for himself and his products, the process of developing the new radios faced many obstacles, much trial and error, many special circuit designs, many technical challenges solved and the awarding of several patents along the way.  As new models rely heavily on R&D costs, special tooling, and special manufacturing processes, even small items such as knobs, buttons and small parts must be made from scratch in small batches and at a high cost.

The result of Zeng’s exceptional vision and efforts is a line of ten products unlike anything in the marketplace.  The designs, philosophy, technology and manufacturing process are a blending of old and new.  Even the 60 day-long process of forming, curing and finishing the wood cabinets is from another age.  It’s almost as if Zeng somehow reached back to the time of his youth to craft a radio that spans two different eras.  In doing so, Zeng has created a product that has the spark of the modern age but the soul of a vintage radio.

Unlike mass produced consumer products, your Tesslor radio is truly hand crafted.  They are made by people who hope they become as prized a possession as the beautiful wood radios of the past.  In a world where consumers know little about the people who make the things they use, we share this story of Zeng and his vision to produce something unique and beautiful.  We hope you enjoy your Tesslor radio as much as the people whose passion brought these products to life.


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