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Chris Sommovigo…the Passing of Gifted Audio Designer and a Good Friend [UPDATED 08-24-2022]

08-23-2022 | By David W. Robinson | Issue 123

Chris Sommovigo, sharing a beer with me at AXPONA 2019 (Photograph and image processing by David W. Robinson)

Chris Sommovigo passed away at his home in Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday, August 15, 2022.

Another really good man gone to glory.

Apparently, Chris came home an hour early on the day that he died, complaining that he was not feeling too well. His wife Mayu was on her way out the door to teach a violin lesson, and left; Chris's teenage children stayed home. Chris went to his bedroom.

His children reported that they heard a sudden sound from that room, one that caught their attention. They went into his bedroom and discovered their father lying on the floor. He was unconscious and unresponsive to their attempts to revive him.

EMTs arrived, but it was too late. Chris Sommovigo was gone.

Chris Sommovigo with one of his cable-making machines (photograph by Doug White)

When I got the news via phone, I was shocked. I've known Chris since his early days in high-end audio cables, with his well-regarded Illuminati S/PDIF Cable over 25 years ago. Later, he would go on to join Ray Kimber at Kimber Kables for a few years, learning and contributing to the quality work done over there. That was followed by his departure to start his own cable companies over time…Stereovox, Stereolab, Black Cat Cables. He entered audio distribution for a while, dealt gear…including some highly regarded brands like Continuum…and edited his own high-end audio magazine online for a bit.

Photograph courtesy of Doug White

From 2014-2017 Chris was in Japan with Mayu's family, making the family connection there. But I knew that the long distance between Chris and the USA was a real challenge for him. He returned after his dad passed away in 2017, in order to help his mom who needed his care. All of this was typical of Chris; he made sacrifices and did what he could for those he was close to.

Chris was a Renaissance man who worked hard, was very entrepreneurial, was interested in new designs and new products, and hustled to provide for his family.

Memories of Chris Sommovigo. Happy Valley, OR, 2022. (Photograph and image processing by David W. Robinson)

I've written a number of memoriam articles over the years. Time goes by…across the floor and out the door…and so do the people. Some you're close to; some you aren't. But Chris was a very special friend of mine, and so I felt his passing keenly.

Marjorie Baumert and Chris Sommovigo (photograph by Doug White)

Over the years, we would connect from time to time via phone, or a quick email, or by seeing each other at various shows over the years. We would ping each other from time to time when it had been a while, or when one of us had a question for the others. But the best times were the shows…always the shows.

Chris Sommovigo and Lila Ritsema of PF, at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, 2012. (Portrait and Dry Brush image processing by David W. Robinson)

Those who got to know Chris well knew two things about the man within the man:  he was extremely thoughtful, a critical thinker…and he was deeply spiritual, being a believer in Jesus Christ. (As am I.) We were able to talk about some profound aspects of music as a created domain of delight, and its connections to the joy that we feel when we listen to music either live, or via fine high-end audio systems. The audio arts were at the heart of many of our conversations.

Chris Sommovigo:  a portrait. Munich, Germany, 2018. (Photograph and image processing by David W. Robinson.)

And we had fun! There were always lots of laughs with Chris, and he and I could tease, enjoy a beer, and talk about whatever.

Life is full of whatever, if you take the time to notice.

And true friends can always dig it.

That is the sort of thing that I'll miss most with Chris:  his always interesting and very congenial conversations, from a person who possessed many virtues.

Now I mourn. And I'm not the only one.

Portrait of Chris Sommovigo, by Doug White

Doug White of The Voice That Is, a high-end audio distributor and dealer in Philadelphia, and a close friend of Chris, wrote this to me about his passing:

"Chris and I spoke 3 -5 times a week—often multiple times a day, about the industry (where it's going and how to cope with customers and change); business, product development and pricing (the Level 4 Indigo cable was an idea I had him bring to market. I am probably the only one in the world to have it, as well as a Level 3 Power Cord he just developed and I received 3 days before his passing); marketing (what works and where—see the video I had created. Things were tight for him financially and he couldn't manage his share to create this video. I did it anyway as planned with others, and surprised him:  https://youtu.be/AmlCBCEUB98).

Chris loved food. We talked about BBQ and he loved Philly Scrapple, and I found a place near him to get it. Breakfast chats were about the crazy things I had to deal with:  family, fun (many of our calls were just laughing at things), and of course, music. Chris liked all types of music, really loved Jazz, and had a really good collection. 

Chris and I were planning a cooperation with TIDAL Audio product in his studio, to grow in the Atlanta area. The attached photo was taken on our visit to see him in March.

On left, front to back:  Doug White, Celeste White, Mayu Sommovigo. On the right, front to back:  Chris Sommovigo and Lee Scoggins.

I've been working with his wife Mayu, and mother Carol, in effort to get a grip on things in his business, to identify products that were completed, and obligations I knew about. He just received two new machines in the past year that helped him develop the new Level Zero cable and update the performance of his level 1 and 2 cables. Chris was the distributor for Concert Fidelity. He also has a Caliburn turntable all boxed up he wanted to sell. It's hard for the family in many ways.

Todd Garfinkle, Chris Sommovgo, Doug White, and Richard Mak:  show time! (Photograph courtesy of Doug White.)

Proceeds from Black Cat and Graceline product in my inventory will go to help the family. Thanks again for your contribution on gofundme. Mayu cried when she saw the outpouring of support.

Chris was a rare individual in our industry and in life. He was always positive even when in pain. He was a great friend and I miss him very much."

Finally, I received this notification from Chris's family today, just before publication of this article:

"This is Stephanie Sommovigo, Chris' sister. For those of you that may not know, my brother passed away from a cardiac event on August 15, 2022.

His family will be having a celebration of life this Sunday for local family and friends to honor his life, his many achievements, his passions, his expansive intellect and his unending wit. 

In addition, we will be hosting a bespoke listening party Saturday evening for the audiophile community for friends and colleagues to share laughs, memories and some of Chris' favorite recordings direct from his listening room at Stereolab.

We will be live streaming both events so friends and family all over the world may share in this tribute. 

The listening party will be streamed via Zoom on Saturday August 27 starting at 5:30pm EST, starting with a virtual tour of the facilities by his wife, Mayu Sommovigo. The listening portion will begin at 6pm EST.

Here is the link for the Zoom:


Meeting ID: 822 2887 9069

Passcode: 948015

The memorial will be streamed via Facebook Live from Chris' account on Sunday August 28 from 1pm to 5pm EST.

This is the link to Chris' Facebook account:


If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. Thank you.


Stephanie Sommovigo"

UPDATE 08-24-2022

We have some updates and additional information to share regarding the memorial and the family:

We have had a change of start time for the live stream. The office/warehouse tour will start at 7pm EST and the listening party will go from 7:30pm to approximately 10pm EST. The Zoom link remains the same.

During the tour, Mayu will highlight the audio equipment and vinyl collections that will be sold to help support the family. My brother poured heart and soul into his work and his collections, which were selectively curated.

In addition, a GoFundMe account has been started by a friend of Mayu's to support the family through this difficult and unexpected financial crisis, as my brother had no life insurance and put his savings into his bespoke audio and vinyl collections. 

The link for the GoFundMe: 


Thank you again for sharing your memories as well as your thoughts and prayers with us. Each one is so meaningful to honoring Christopher's life and work! 


Stephanie & Mayu

So I'm not alone. A lot of us will miss Chris, and for all of the right reasons. His memory is a blessing.

See you in glory, Chris. We'll take a walk up golden roads and catch up, my friend….