Sorry about the delay in my
response. I eventually found your last two
e-mails in 'spam'.
Thanks for the plans. And the
accounts of your exploits with static and
record-cleaning are quite interesting, as usual.
.Oh yeah, having recently
entered the 50s-zone, I prefer to see myself as
approaching the hill - certainly not over it. I'm sure you'd be amused
way some of us try to push-back that 'hill', instead of admiting
to climbing it. Yep! I consider myself to be still on the approach. (A
diagnosis of 'early-stage emphysema', a couple weeks ago,
with this outlook, though - but at least I'm 'lucky' to be
I'm aiming to have that review
posted by the coming week, along with the
thread of our correspondence, to date. And since you said; "
It's very nice to have
someone to talk to about hifi
that has the same outlook." I have to admit; same here. It's very
refreshing to discuss high-fidelity without having to endure references
'tastes & preferences', implying that fidelity can be tailored
It's really amazing how much the mainstream mags
brain-washed gullible 'audiophiles'. One fella
actually informed me that sonic realism was different for everyone, and
his 'realism' is likely different from my 'realism'. So, then, I guess
is no longer absolute - according to the teachings of these mags.
.It's frightening how powerful
it's even more frightening how much they abuse this power. Consider the
for instance - certainly a good tt
but, as you say, no cigar, compared to the likes of an EMT. Yet years
said the Linn was the best thing since
sliced-bread, many abandoned EMTs, Empires, 301s and 401s, 124s, and Lencos
(all of which are better than the Linn) to jump onto
the Linn band-wagon (Granted; some need to be modified to display their
but they're also better than many of the mega-buck tts
the same mags
told us were the ultimate). But even
this pales against the CD fiasco. How many of us put aside great tts
125, in my case) to
ride that CD-bandwagon, at these mags'
my hands are raised). Forgive me if I neglect to elaborate on the lies
spew about modern speakers, compared to those like yours, and even your
I'm particularly bitter about this topic since I
allowed myself to be led astray, by these mags,
though I should really have known better, considering my involvements,
Perhaps I should leave it at
that. (At least you had the sense to
in horns, etc). I was stupid enough to endure
BC-1s at home (and in my car, after being disillusioned - long story)
better part of two decades (tho
in comparisons with the live sound) simply because the mags
said there's nothing really much better out there (and hearing the
were touted, I agreed). But this is also while I was involved, on a
level, with the likes of Altec,
(two 18s of which I still have) and (Pro) Celestion -
much better, in hindsight. Yet I refused to fully embrace
these for domestic purposes, since the mags
they were not worthy. How stupid can one be? And now you know the
source of my
bitterness, concerning these despicable mainstream audio-mags
and small-coned toy-speakers, in general.
Thanks for the listening ear
(perhaps this is 'therapeutic', after all - talkin'
Very sorry to
hear that you have emphysema, and I
really hope that you can keep it under control. Really,
really nasty thing. And no,
as a smoker of 57 years, I have no room to
talk. It's annoying that as we get older and have the money and leisure
enjoy ourselves a bit, we get nuked with something or other. I am
diabetic so I
get to stab myself every day.
can be as vitriolic as you
like with regards to the
they deserve everything they get
from the likes of Atkinson, Fremer
& co. I have
been lucky enough to have had a varied technical career and to see what
swallow keeps me highly amused! Have you come across Peter Belt? http://www.belt.demon.co.uk/ if
you have sufficient
interest in yet another set of scams. For a giggle have a look at this
They are “into” Dihydrogen
Monoxide http://www.dhmo.org/ and I
well of it......
Years of good listening
with not one problem and the surrounds which were very soft and supple,
gave the slightest signs of breaking down. Nor did the voice coils ever
signs of being overheated despite me running loads of power into them
I used them in an ice-rink (in bass reflex cabinets) for a show my
friend and I produced. They stayed there for two months and even the
didn't affect them. Also outdoors for PA work at horse shows my wife
run. Mine dated from the mid 60's and were designed (which perhaps you
Ted Jordan. He is still building drivers with metal cones,
his first attempts were the Jordan Watt Modular speaker also dating to
the same time.
wonder if you subscribed to
Sound Practices magazine?
Also have you read that very amusing nut case,
To him I owe my interest in Tannoy.
As I think I have said before – it helps to be a
little mad. I would dearly like to hear a full blown system with Altec
VOT driven by Westrex
but not likely to here in S.A.
I'll write a bit more this weekend.
files are acceptable to you! Here is
one that took me by surprise. A bit of polish and everything sounds
know my car goes better when it’s clean, but really.
The Westminster cabinets are solid and with all the internal panels,
braced. I can see adding sand above the driver and maybe in the slanted
corners, but who would have thought polish. Maybe the very dense birch
walnut veneer on top is porous.
Found this and a very good job he seems to have made too. I wonder why Tannoy
uses these stupid connecters. Anyone with a grain of
sense would solder connections where possible. On this point the solder
is Silver bearing but this is more for mechanical reasons rather than
gains in the sound.
Do you have an opinion on spikes on something of this size, given that
floor is concrete? I do not use spikes; I rely on the sheer weight of
.Sound Practices? No, never
subscribed - that was a late discovery for me.
Keep in mind that, though I've been in audio since a tender age, my
audio-epiphany occurred in the late '90s. [Though I really had better
some ways, from my mobile pro-sound system (and actually used parts of
home sometimes, especially after I relegated the Spendor
to more 'appropriate' duties in my car) I'd, generally, heeded the
the 'bibles of the industry', for my domestic system, up until the late
nineties.] That's when I really started to find my way. That's also
really started to seek alternatives to the mainstream mags
(which I'd gradually cast aside). Alternatives
Sound-Practices - belatedly.
However, I've read quite a few
of the S-P articles at 'enjoythemusic.com'.
In particular, I find the writings of Greg Boynton especially
he delves into horns, and into the make-up and design of Altec
speakers, in general. I also liked the writings of those guys that
built the Altec-based
Exemplar speaker-system - Jeff Markwart
is one (the other name eludes me, at the moment,
sorry). Yep, I'd say I'm definitely a fan of that mag,
and I think it's a loss to us all that it's no longer in operation.
listed & linked in my site's; 'Guide To
by the way). The Audio Critic is another great mag
(also linked) and also discontinued. Oh, and The
Audio-Critique (by Arthur Salvatore) is, thankfully, still in operation
outstanding. Let me know if you've read it. If not, then there's also a
it at my site.
OK, so I was familiar with the
quality of Tannoys
for quite a while, but the late Harvey Rosenberg's intelligent 'rants'
first alerted me to the heightened level of performance Westminsters
are capable of. (I believe his were the first Westies
in the US). I also remember reading an article by Stereophile's
Art Dudley extolling the virtues of those same Westminsters,
after having spent a night on the couch in front of them. And, speaking
I'm sure you must be aware of the quality of
J. Gordon Holt's articles. However, I'm not sure you're also aware that
these may still be found in their 'Archives'. If not, then you could
to these from the fore-mentioned 'Guide To
And did you say you've been
smoking for 57 years? My Gosh man, that's longer
than I've been on this particular planet, in this particular life - for
I don't want to preach, but
perhaps you should consider quitting, though.
Emphysema (discovered at a very late stage) is what took my dad out in
year and, even with that, I was stupid enough to continue smoking 'til
discovered I now have the beginnings of it. Still, I consider myself
to be at just the 'early-stage' since, as long as I quit smoking, etc,
like being given a second chance in life. I'm encouraged by what I've
told, and by what I've read about it. One guy, diagnosed with similar
'early-stage' emphysema at age 28, for instance, has lived to 91, and
around, I believe. So
sorry to hear that you're diabetic.
I suppose we all have our 'crosses' to bear, one way or another. (My
puzzles me, btw, as she seems to be on a quest to acquire
every minor '..itis'
in existence - arthritis,
sinusitis, and counting). But, with regard to your allusion to
affluence, I don't
consider myself quite there yet. Good to know at least one of us is,
With regard to spikes, and
other 'tweaks', bear with me as I express the
long-winded version of my opinion:
I believe some 'tweaks' are
beneficial, to some degree. And spikes for
speakers are among them, in certain circumstances, especially where
involved. However, I also believe most 'tweaks' are more trouble than
worth. Many of these 'tweaks' could be the products of superstition,
but I also
suspect most are the products of fertile (if devious) minds in search
innovative ways to fleece audiophiles of their hard-earned cash. In
system-building, I believe ALL the budget should be dedicated to the
and other major components of the system (in that general order). Even
and expensive cables should be put on hold at this stage, in my
the components themselves are much more important, with much greater
contribution to the overall quality of the system (Rat-Shack cables
will do, for
starters - I'd swear). Long after the very best equipment have been
for the available funds initially, then exotic and expensive cables and
'tweaks' may be added, at the listener's discretion, and as funds
available. My general advice to those interested would be that no cable
tweak ever made a bad system good, but there are very good systems
expensive cables and tweaks. This fact, by itself, determines the
expensive cables and most tweaks on my priority-list.
That being said, I'm fully
aware, from experience, that even with the very
best system one's ever owned, the 'upgrade-bug' will still
or later. At some stage or other, we'll inevitably feel the urge to do
something, even to an outstanding system. This is where I think tweaks
invaluable since, instead of mucking-up a perfectly good system with
un-necessary equipment-changes along the 'upgrade-path', we may simply
tweak or two and reap the harmless benefits - real or imagined.
With that being also said, I
reiterate that speaker-spikes are among the
more worth-while tweaks, in my own humble opinion. So then, if I were
the short answer would be; yeah, I'd go for it. I'd spike them
By the way, that pdf
with the Westminster mods
could never be argued against. They're the best kinds
of tweaks - perfectly logical.
But then, these are only my
made a mistake 53
years not 57. Both my parents smoked, my mom 30 a day from her teens
until she died at 89. My old man smoked 70(!) a day and a particularly
strong brand that no longer exists. Springbok Plain in boxes of 50. He
died at 61 but not from smoking, it was the 3 bottles a day of brandy
that did that. So I smoke but don't drink. I obviously live in my own
little world of denial!
I am not wealthy,
just comfortable, which is where I'll be till I die unless I start down
the road of bribery which is the only way to get ahead in this country
now. Enough of that!
have a supplier of
valves (tubes for you lot) who imported the complete set of Sound
Practices and photo-stated complete sets. Mine are worn, dog eared and
in need of replacement. Maybe I should buy the CD and put them on my
tablet instead. The Audio Critic I like very much and have downloaded
all that is available on his web site. Some of his views may be a bit
extreme but I can't judge as I have not had the exposure to the sorts
and quantities of equipment the average reviewer seems to have. He
seems to have come almost to a halt and the latest update to the site
was over a year distant from the one preceding. In my small world of
hifi the biggest problem I have found is that very few amplifiers do
not change the sound hence the love of my TacT / Lyngdorf. I attach a
review of the thing for what that's worth. I do agree with the part
where he mentions it's lack of it's own sound.
I heard a Graff OTL amp my valve fundi
re-built and again
good but nothing special. I would love to hear a Futterman OTL though.
Also Audio Research and various Krells. conrad-johnson Premiers seem to
stand out as good sounding but without direct comparisons who knows?
Would buy one of them second hand. I bought a Jolida hybrid amp and was
very glad to get shot of it too. On the other hand I have a Jolida CD
player which works far better than some very expensive alternatives. I
have listened to the Jolida in direct comparison to a couple of
Meridian players, a 206 and a 508. The Jolida to my ears was superior
to both as a device to play music on although the 508 was a bit better
on detail. Both of them cost a whole lot more than the Jolida.
Work continues rather slowly on the LP
cleaning unit due
mainly to sloth and also Mad Italian woodworker managed to router a
groove in his thumb which delayed things. I believe there is now a
contract out on the CEO of Elu which is owned by Black &
Somewhere along the line I sent you a
picture of a
replica Watts Dust Bug. This has a brush and roller which drags along
the surface of the record and picks up loose dust. It works to a
certain extent and is better than nothing. I have just had an idea
(deluded and fevered brain) which I would welcome comment on. In
sourcing brushes for the vacuum / rinse unit I found a narrow brush
about 3/16” thick with bristles 1” long. This is
part of a draft excluder made to mount on a door. I got to thinking
about how it would work as a pre-play wipe on a LP. I seem to have hit
on something that actually works very well with one proviso, clearing
the debris after digging it out of the grooves. So I have come up with
the idea of mounting the brush in a Perspex channel with the brush just
protruding, by around 1/4” and applying suction from a
vacuum unit via flexible tube. I know this probably sounds a bit
extreme but what the hell why not go the whole hog? I always pre-clean
a record before playing using a velvet lined pad but this only really
cleans (grinds the dirt in?) the surface and makes no difference at all
to the clicks and pops. The brush does reduce quite considerably the
surface noise and I hope suction will improve that. Anything that
reduces dirt is good!
After reading some more of your web site
a bit about
resolution at low levels started me on a listening spree with that in
mind. I specifically went for old recordings both on CD and LP. Heifetz
on violin and Cziffra on
piano plus an old 4 Phase Stereo recording of works by Ketelbey and yes
I know 4 Phase Stereo is junk! The detail is there with the system set
below the volume I would expect from a live performance. And for that
hint from you, I thank you. If you havn't heard any of Georgy Cziffra's
recordings try and get some. It makes the modern pianists (Brendel,
Kissin, Ax etc.) sound like over practised children. Lang Lang should
be shot with a ball of his own …...! And no, I don't believe
everything old is good and everything new, bad. Mind you a new,
improved (mute) wife would be nice.
the subject of performers,
have you ever heard anything played by Jean Guillou organist of St
Eustache, Paris? Compare him to John Scott ex St. Paul's, London and
now at St. Thomas, New York. I heard him a couple of months ago here in
Johannesburg and a wet fish of note with totally un-inspiring to listen
to. Guillou is the exact opposite and if he came to SA I would follow
him around the country just to listen. I have around thirty five
recordings of the St. Saen Organ Symphony and the ultimate best, my
opinion, is the performance with the San Francisco Symphony and Eldo de
Waart, Guillou in the Davies hall.
mentioned the violinists Heifetz and Oistrakh earlier and compare them
to the likes of Joshua Bell who while very good does not seem to have
the last little something. Nigel Kennedy does however and also Julia
of my rubbish. Have a good week.
How funny is this? That pdf
review you sent, regarding your amp, is the very same review I'd
already included and linked to, in your review. I absolutely swear. I'd
linked to most of the pictures you sent, mainly in the list of
components in your review. But there was no individual picture for
either that amp or the two Jolida units, so I decided to look-up
reviews of these units and link to them. That review you sent was one
of the reviews I'd already linked. The only difference is that my
version of that review is sourced from "Secrets of Home Theater and
High-Fidelity' (not sure where your
version is from). How funny is that?
I'm not done yet - this is too
fascinating. I'd sourced these reviews some time after midnight,
last night. Though I didn't see it 'til mid-morning today, your e-mail,
with the attached pdf, came in at 1:49 a.m. This means that both of us
were focusing on this very review at almost exactly the same time, half
a world away. It's
more than remarkable, in my opinion. I mean... ...are you
superstitious? My Gosh!
Anyway, enough of that
superstitious mumbo-jumbo. Oh, by the way, I've been notified that my
site is down (again) by The Internet Seer - still down as I write - so
I'll publish when it's up again. Un-welcome nuisance.
Regarding the modus-operandi
for your dust-buster, you mentioned; "I seem to
on something that actually works very well with one proviso, clearing
the debris after digging it out of the grooves."
And, for that proviso, you also mentioned; "I have
come up with
the idea of mounting the brush in a Perspex channel with the brush just
protruding, by around 1/4”, and applying suction from a
vacuum unit via flexible tube." Obviously an ingenious solution has
already been worked-out. Further comment from me would only contaminate
My own ideas (not for dust, but
for wet-cleaning) when I once contemplated this perennial issue we all
confront, is this: An old dis-used turntable with a brush attached to
an arm-wand a la Shure V15. Rubbing-alcohol, gravity-fed thru a tube to
a point just before the brush. Regarding any debris dislodged in this
manner, the idea is that the brush would follow the spiral-grooves of
the record to the very end, where said debris could be gotten rid of,
as we go about repeating the process for the other side. Not too sure
how effective this would be since I still do it by hand, augmented by
lint-free cloth. Yep! Some of us just have no class!
Speaking of which; I did,
previously, allude to my long involvement, from youth-stage, with my
mobile pro-sound DJ-system - to cite its full nomenclature. Perhaps
because of this involvement, my main area of expertise (if we should be
so bold as to call it that) is in the area of popular music,
R&B, etc - hence my long-standing vexation at the antics of
studio-engineers, and the effect this has on a revealing system such as
my home-systems, thru the years. Because of its use of some acoustic
instruments, mainly piano and guitar, I've long been especially fond of
'folk-rock' (or 'soft-rock') from the 60s - 70s. Starting around 15
years ago, or perhaps
before, I've found myself gravitating towards Jazz, especially
the older I get. Also since then, I've found that I've acquired a taste
for classical music. And though this has been the case for quite a few
years, I refuse to consider myself anywhere near an expert on either
jazz or the classics. So even though it's true that, since my youth,
Ive listened to every type of music (as long as the quality was
apparent) the popular genres are the main areas in which I feel expert
and confident enough to name names and versions of performances - I'll
recite such details in my sleep, literally.
I spend so much time stressing
the importance of acoustic music in
system-assessment, that I suppose it's natural to assume I'm a
long-standing expert at the classics - the most common or
source of acoustic music. Naw. My all-time favorites are
still the the popular fare such as the1812 Overture, the Nutcracker
Suite, and Beethoven's Fifth. Sure I like many others, but for most of
those I'd still have to refer to the record itself for detailed info,
if you catch my drift, I wouldn't venture to name composers, etc, as I
would for such like the 1812, for instance. For non-critical listening,
I've also taped many classics, and jazz (not on R2R - high-quality 6hr
HiFi-VCR, actually) from various sources, most of which I haven't the
faintest clue as to who, what, when, or where, the answers to such
questions as composer, conductor, soloist, orchestra, venue, etc, may
be. In fact those 6hr tapes are my most frequently used source of music
don't have to regularly change discs as I listen while I work.
Nevertheless, I doubt I'll ever be as versed in any other genres
apart from those I grew-up with. So much
for that, anyway.
On the subject of OTL
amplifiers, my young ears, between 11 and 14
years of age, may well have fooled me, but I'd swear no high-end amp
has ever sounded quite as good, in some ways, as my parents' Philips TV
(which was actually turned over to me, for experimentation) at the
time. Much later in life, I've come to learn that the speaker in that
TV is now considered a classic, in certain circles (Here's a link to
OMA's example of a speaker-system utilizing multiples of a similar
Philips TV driver:
Jonathan Weiss expounds on the virtues of high-impedance Philips
speakers here: http://oswaldsmillaudio.com/forum2/index.php?topic=19.0
I've also since discovered
that the amplifier in that TV was an
OTL, also respected by a few for some reason, I seem to recall. So it
seems my pre-teen ears were not wrong, after all. As I remember, this
amp/speaker-combo excelled at the separation of instruments, airiness,
and natural tone reminiscent of the real thing (which I'd become
cognizant of, even then). Are you, or any of your associates, aware of
this TV phenomenon? Though I'm happy with what I now use, I'd be happy
to find an amp which could mimic the outstanding OTL amp in that
I kid you not.
Ah yes, the site is up and
runnin' again, so the review, etc, will
be posted as soon as I get round to it.
to OMA's thread, I now wonder if the speaker is the item most
responsible for the unique sound-quality of my long-past Philips-TV
combo. I actually preferred music on that TV to that from my dad's
stereo, at the time - and still long for a slightly-improved version of
that sound - really
Be advised that the review, and
related pieces, are now posted.
Please let me know if there are any changes you'd like for me to make -
it's no problem.
Thanks and will go and look at it shortly. Need actually to do some
telepathetic? (sorry). I take it that the saying
“great minds think alike and fools never differ”
has not passed you by…..
For me the Bernstein version of Beethoven’s 5th
is my favourite and Ormandy did a recording of the 1812 with the Valley
Forge band and organ – I only have a very old and worn out LP
go and look at WAJ
Will write soon.
You'd mentioned Gilbert Briggs' demos in your review, and that reminder
provided the inspiration for the theme of my 'Live vs Recorded'
preamble. Thanks for that.
And thanks for that booklet on the orchestra.
am trying to find a
copy of one of Briggs’s books to scan in re the Royal
Festival and Carnegie Hall concerts. When I do I will forward them.
Here is something from my archives by Briggs. He was aided and abetted
by Peter Walker of Quad.
AT THE ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL
have been invited by the Editor to write briefly on the
THE 4th WHARFEDALE CONCERT SUMMED-UP
- By G. A. BRIGGS
of how the concert of May 9th, 1959 compared with our three previous
demonstrations in the Festival Hall. I do so with pleasure. because
there are many differences-some plus and some minus-
some expected and some unexpected-which may be of interest to readers
in general as distinct from those who patiently sat through the event.
As we were playing stereo from disc (six items) for the first time in a
concert hall, this article might well have been headed " Fourth
Dimension ", the extra dimension referring to the unknown prob-lems of
using two channel discs in such a large hall, as well as to
the sound reproduced..............
Obviously, you're a veritable
repository on most things hifi, and all things Gilbert Briggs.
Thanks for all the info you
just sent on the great man, and his work. I'm so sorry I can't reprint
much of the
info so as to pass it on, but.....
Look around you today, and
tell me how many iconic figures are there who really genuinely care
about hifi, and about where it's going? Who really cares about
upholding high standards anymore? How many are there of the calibre of
Gilbert Briggs, a Henry Kloss, Ed Villchur, Saul Marantz,
Paul W. Klipsch, Guy R. Fontain, Ronald Rackman, J. Gordon Holt (yep)
Peter Walker, James
B. Lansing, or so many others? How many of today's industry-players
could claim to be able to even walk in these guys' shoes?
I was just wondering
about that. That's all.
Another quicky! Possibly the best turntable I owned before
the EMT. Did what it was supposed to do without noise and or rumble.
Had what was probably the world’s first and hopefully, last
opto coupled cartridge. Tracking force could be monitored with a built
in meter. The cartridge was heavily biased towards bass so it got
thrown out in favour of a Goldring Elite.
It was given to me by a Ham friend who is the main agent for Jamo
speakers in South Africa.
attached is a very expensive speaker.
Just after it came out a friend invited my musician
friend and me to audition it.
My musician friend put his trumpet in the boot of his car and off we
went. After listening for a while he asked for a trumpet record to be
played, listened for a few moments and then fetched his trumpet from
the car. And I suppose you can guess what happened next..
Anyway this was in the mid 90’s and the cost to the importer
was the same as a mid size Mercedes car and a more foul loud speaker I
have yet to hear. It did nothing right and the finish for the money was
rubbish as well.
John Crabbe is an Audio Journalist of some distinction and I think he
is still active.
Jack Dinsdale is a scientist and an export on horn speakers. He
developed the trough system for the Townshend Rock turntable. The
article mentions Harold Leak who to all accounts was not a nice person.
Rex Baldock who died recently was another of the old school. I have in
the past read a lot written by him – the two articles here
are all that I have.
Don’t know anything about Colin Walker.
I wonder if you know of David Manley? He was originally from this end
of the world and at one time had a business in partnership with my
valve guru friend.
For your hall of fame perhaps Tim de Paravacini?
Another nut case, an author and journalist who was mainly involved with
motoring although he wrote for the now defunct Audiophile mag in the UK
is L.J.K. Setright. For beautiful prose no one came near him and his
technical grasp was immense.
Sorry for the multiple emails as I am not sure how big a file you can
My short-list of paragons was
by no means comprehensive. If this were so, then I could
never have left out two of the greatest, who are also closest to my own
It's funny that you should
mention Tim De Paravicini. He's the designer/builder of my E.A.R. 834P
phono-stage which outperforms many that cost much more. It's a bargain,
just shy of 2-grand, new. But the thing about it is this; the expensive
units it outperforms are maxed-out with the more expensive and best
parts (caps, resistors, etc). Yet the 834 equals or betters them using
ordinary and much less expensive parts. Simply modifying the 834P with
these premium caps, resistors, etc, elevates the level of performance
even further past its expensive rivals. The man's a genius.
But Tim de Paravicini is most
renowned for his design of studio-gear - he's the modern-day
guru, as far as that's concerned (his hifi amps are also revered).
However, the second great figure close to my own situation is Bill
Putnam - also belonging firmly on any list of audio paragons. He's the
founder of Universal Recording Electronics Industries, a.k.a. UREI, and
designer of my long-standing favorite small ss amp (also a part of my
system). He's the inventor of the studio-console, in its current form,
I believe, and the designer of the most desired mixer in the DJ field.
In fact, almost every piece of equipment in the typical
recording-studio owes either all or some aspect of its development to
Bill Putnam: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Putnam
Bill Putnam is the original
trail-blazer, Tim de Paravicini continues the tradition, in the same
Ruddy Bozak is another notable
omission. Like Henry Kloss and the
Wester-Electric/Altec engineers/designers, Ruddy Bozak's obsession
wiith achieving 'good tone' in his speaker/driver-designs is very-much
you know who. No-way would I have excluded him from any comprehensive
list of mine, regarding iconic figures in audio.
Oh, and the designers of my
main tt and pre-amp, Ivor Tieffenbrun
William Z. Johnson, would both deserve mention since they're arguably
almost single-handedly responsible for maintaining public interest in
the turntable and the tube, respectively - i.e. during those times when
audio-world had, effectively, discarded such components, at least on
I'll leave it there, before I
get too carried-away.
.Toshiba? Never would've
thought of that - don't doubt you tho. Gotta go now - got some readin'
to do. LOL.
Oops! This was sent last
night. However, this morning the Mailer Demon informed me that it
didn't go thru. I hope it reaches you on this attempt.
Oh yeah, regarding your point
about that speaker; how prominent do you think such expensive crap
would be if we had more honest mags and reviewers?
I hope you find the reports on those demos. Attached is a pdf of the
reports on Gilbert Briggs' '57 Liverpool demos.
Sorry to be so disjointed but we are working all hours at the moment
6.00am to 7.00pm which means getting up at 4.30am and falling into bed
before 10.00pm – bit hectic!
Thanks for the Briggs pdf. Just what I was looking for. Have fun with
the attachment – exam starts tomorrow! I have just skipped
through it again and a lot of his work makes sense but how it applies
to music I don’t know. There are parts on colouration which
he defines also as timbre, wrongly from the musical point.
I have quite a few books which are too large to send via email so
eventually I will get round to listing them and those you want I could
either dropbox them or write them to disk and post them. For instance
Olsen’s Acoustical Engineering and also Dynamic Analogies.
The AE book is 20MB and I can’t compress it further.
Anyway I am going home and will answer your last tomorrow.
.Here's a link to a site with
some real high-end stuff. Perhaps you should join them too - really.
Though I'm sure that if you do, yours will be the best there. I'm sure
you know that, while many h-e systems similar to yours may rival your
system's quality in most aspects, only a very few systems in this world
can claim parity with yours, regarding bass-reproduction. In that
regard, yours is head and shoulders above most others - I'm sure.
.There's a guy at the site
linked below (can't find him now) He built two bass-horns on his roof
(they seem to be at least 40' in length - sorry - height) firing thru
his ceiling. There are one or two others who built bass horns of
similar length in their yards, blowing out a wall or two to accommodate
the mouths of these humongus horns in the listening-rooms. Perhaps
these guys' systems could compare to yours. Not many
Mr. Doppler may have some relevance, here). http://www.audiovoice-acoustics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=168
Have you any more pics of the
system? Especially full-length pics of
that sub, in situ. Obviously I'm still in awe of an outstanding system.
Heartiest congrats on your achievement. Sincerely!.
Well, that Harry Olson was
really something-else. He loosely copied
Altec's A-7, I believe - so well that some claimed his version, the
LC-9, was better. Yet, when Ed Villchur claimed to have invented
acoustic-suspension, Harry/RCA sued him, claiming authorship of the
concept, on paper - tho he never ever even attempted to build a working
model. In any case, his claim was dubious, to say the least, tho poor
A-R opted not to contest it. OK, so Harry only worked for RCA, but I
see the whole affair no less hypocritical, and convoluted.
.Re; The outstanding RCA
article first appeared in Skeptic magazine,
Volume 11, Number 3 (2005).
think that a science-based field like audio engineering would be immune
to the kind of magical thinking we skeptics see in other fields.
Unfortunately, you would be wrong. In my 35 years as a professional
audio engineer and musician, I've seen some of the most outrageous
pseudo-science sold to consumers, and even to other audio pros who
should know better. Not unlike claims for alternative medicine,
nonsense is shrouded in scientific-sounding jargon to confuse the
uneducated. Or a.......
minor additions since publication.)
.I confess. My interconnects
are pretty-nifty - mostly from Wire-World and Monster-Cable.
Speaker-wire lengths are like small garden-hoses, and from
.Perhaps I should be the last
one to advise people not to buy expensive inter-connects and cables.
But the truth is, I never deliberately sought to buy these. They came
automatically as part of a deal. - didn't even know they were part of
.But, do they make a
difference? I confess, again - not really. Sure there may be very minor
differences. But I would never tell anyone that these very minor
changes are worth anything much - if at all - there may be a slight
differences, yes, but I wouldn't say it's better. And I've gone out of
to compare these premium inter-cons and cable with the cheapest of sh--
I could get my hands on. Not much difference of any significant
.While in the process
of designing a reader's system recently, I was asked what premium
cables I'd recommend. I advised the gentleman to concentrate on getting
the very-best equipment for the money. I went further to suggest that
it's much better to acquire the best equipment, even if he had to use
Rat-Shack cables, initially. As far as I was concerned, he could always
run out and buy such cables after I'd secured the best equipment (I saw
where he was determined to ride the cable-bandwagon) but he certainly
wasn't going to do so with any help from me, and not at the cost of the
really worthwhile gear. I simply can't bring myself to recommend what I
don't believe in, regardless of how popular and in-fashion the item may
.My opinion on tweaks is quite
similar. As I mentioned not too long ago, apart from a few, like
speaker-spikes in certain circumstances, many tweaks are worthless.
Perhaps I'm old-fashioned.
.However, I thank you for the
literature corroborating my stance on these issues. I'd felt like a
lone-wolf on this
one, as I do on several points in hifi, but such articles as
these help to
strengthen my resolve - I'm encouraged. Still, I really can't
understand why it is that so many intelligent people are so prone to
what amounts to superstitious beliefs, and the panacea-effect - not to
mention; sheer stupidity. What a
monumental waste of money?
.Oh, and thanks for that
full-length pic of your sub-woofer. It's now linked by the appropriate
word in your review - 'extreme'. Nice write-up too. And TNT is a great
resource to utilize in exposing it to many readers, their readership is
a lot greater than that of little WAJ on AUDIO, which only
started relatively recently. This is also why I was encouraging you to
also display this system on that site I linked to, or similar, in my
Your system is inspirational,
and I think it should be shared with
many people as possible. If nothing-else, it serves to counter the
dishonest arguments of those nay-sayers who claim hifi will never be
really close to the live sound. This is why I spent so much effort in
my preamble, seeking to refute this notion (btw, you never gave your
opioion of it - good, or bad). I appreciate your mention of comparisons
with live instruments, in assessing your system - obviously most people
don't even consider such things anymore. And I'm grateful to you for
the reminder regarding those LvR demos of Gilbert Briggs, et al -
nothing could have illustrated the point any better (in refuting
misinformation) than the facts of
those widely-publicized demos - awesome.
I sent the-above e-mail last
night, and since I haven't received a response, I'm sending it again,
on the assumption that you didn't receive the first one. I know you
said you were somewhat busy but, based on past actions, I'm sure you'd
have responded in some way, if you'd gotten it.
.This gives me an opportunity
to clarify my stance on cables, since I don't think the-above came out
right. I said; there may be a
differences, yes, but I wouldn't say it's better -
not really the proper choice of words. (I've done a fair amount of
experimentation with my own system, and those of others, with the
result that I'm not the greatest advocate of expensive cables). For
instance, one of my inter-cons does seem to elicit a very slight
increase in transparency, over the cheap Rat-Shack version - and I
slight. But I really don't
think such a slight increase warrants the vast difference in price,
especially at the initial stage of a system-build. This is why I stress
the acquisition of the very best components, for ALL the budget
available in building a system, initially - Rat-Shack cables are fine,
in such a circumstance, initially. Later, one can always go out and buy
premium cables with anti-corrosive, gold-plated connectors, for
instance (at least these serve a tangible purpose) and if other slight
benefits are also apparent, then so be it. But, where the cost of a
cable rivals the cost of a tangible equipment up-grade, for instance, I
draw the line.
.For example, I'd already cited
my design of a reader's system. Of three pre-amps I'd recommended, he
opted for the least-expensive (still very good - ARC SP-8). Yet, he
also expressed a desire for expensive cables, and sought my advice on
the issue. Cutting a long story short, his pre-amp choice (the least of
my recommendations) was demonstrably compromised, slightly, at high-mid
to high-frequencies, compared to a passive pre-amp (which is flawed in
other ways, in my experience) as virtually all active pre-amps are. My
other two recommendations both incrementally improved on my
least-recommended option in exactly this area. (In fact, the best one,
Coincident Statement, is one of only a very few active pre-amps as good
in this area as an otherwise flawed passive pre-amp - it's one of the
world's best, at a ridiculously reasonable cost).
In addition to premium cables,
he was also considering one or two
un-necessary and/or un-necessarily expensive purchases, which had no
prospect of improving the quality of the system. My advice to him was
to forget about premium cables, at this stage, and about those other
un-necessary purchases. He should put the money saved toward the
purchase of the very best (my primarily recommended) pre-amp, as this
route is the only one that would offer the most benefits in improved
performance, for the same amount of money - even with Rat-Shack cables,
initially, if necessary.
.I hope this clarifies my
position on cables. It's not that they're worthless (as I believe some
outrageous 'tweaks' are) but I believe better gear is much more
important. Premium cables are only relevant after the best gear have
been acquired and, in any case, I don't see where prices even
approaching anywhere near half a grand can be justified. Those that
cost thousands are simply ridiculous.
But these are just my opinions..
be only replying today to your last. I am writing this on my Samsung
this being the only connection to the outside www world from home.
That's IF I
can copy this to email.
to have missed your mail with a description of your setup. Or not yet
on your site. Will try harder!!!
your remarks on interconnects with interest and again find myself in
with you. I admit to trying cheap aftermarket "upgrade" ones and
found they did make a difference over the really basic ones that seem
supplied with every CD player, TV and other things we surround
I bought a pair for around $20.00 and yes they did seem to sound better
(different). What was bizarre was they were marked with arrows for
and when I reversed them the sound changed a bit. Apart from rewriting
of physics to account for that, the only way that could happen would be
manufacturers had added something such as a capacitor to "improve"
the sound? Around that time another hifi fiend was trying very fine
running parallel on Selotape without any problems. Off I went on a
applied some knowledge gained during my Ham phase. The net result is
long as you use a wire with low resistance in any of the accepted
configurations, the results are satisfactory. So as I mentioned I got
silver wire, 0.7mm thick and played around. The Goetz ribbons sound
different than the others probably because of the capacitance between
conductors, the rest of them are indistinguishable one from the other.
is a center conductor insulated using a small rubber tube (used in the
of bicycle valve) with a second conductor twisted round - one loop
6" or so fastened with tape here and there. Another with conductors in
Teflon tubing slightly twisted and taped. Another set, also in Teflon,
in parallel and the whole inside a silverplated screen stripped from
milspec co-ax, 1/2" variety. I also tried RG58 and R59 which are 50 and
Ohm co-ax again milspec. The co-ax cables were leftover from Ham days.
worked pretty much the same.
give you an idea of the futility of this
whole cable thing. Whilst playing around with transmitters one of the
our club and myself built a rather heavy duty set of cavity filters for
repeater at 145HZ. This so we could transmit and receive on the same
simultaneously. There were six of the filters which were made from 6"
diameter copper pipes, around 3' long with 1/4" wall. In setting the
up we used a Rhode and Swartz system generator borrowed from the South
agents. This instrument is a couple of steps up from a RF spectrum
very expensive. With it we could accurately determine the frequency
set peaks and nuls of the filters.they were arranged three to a set
series. On the screen you could see the actual filter curve, both width
(frequency) and depth (dB). Everything was of the best, the link
connectors and even the silver bearing solder. We achieved over 70dB
attenuation per set which was about double of the original commercial
OK. Long introduction. As we needed to get the cable lengths exactly
right - to
the mm as the R & S could show exactly where the null in the
cabel was, we
made up a dummy set with normal cable and standard N type connectors
the 1/2" version of the BNC. After that episode we tuned the filters
made up the final set of cables and the final "tweak" to the filters..
Now the interesting part, at last! The through loss for all 6 filters
the connectors, test set to final, was 6dB when fully matched. Which is
lot when you consider we are talking about 18 N type connectors, 3 N
connectors and around 10 meters of cable AND 145MHz. To get this we
normal chromed connectors to silver plated ones, from mil spec 1/2"
with copper conductors and braid to double screen, silver plated co-ax
foamed He dielectric and the filter tubes were silver plated with damn
micron deposit, inside and out. 20kHz is less than 0.01% of that. So
speaker cable loss.
days of my Goodmans I used light ripcord until I was given a roll of
heavy, 360 strands per side twin core (suppose you could call it very
cord). Again I heard no difference at all but along the line I read
Goetz cable so I had to try. At that time I was part owner of a
radiator core manufacturing plant so the ribbons of Copper were no
problem. I acquired
a roll of 4" wide 80 micron plastic laminate, the works office
and made up a couple of runs. All very fancy. Had to adjust the
take the thickness as after application of the laminate to the copper
pairing them up, laminate sides together, and re-laminating the whole
defeated the feed. Anyway I made off the ends, connected them up and
Triode amps crazy. Should have known the extra capacitance would be a
At the time the only amp I had was a Radford amp with EL 34 output and
worked. There seemed to be slightly less body in the sound, almost the
effect one would obtain by turning the bass control down a couple of
Gave them to my valve guru buddy who tried them and passed them on
never to be
heard of again. Copper strip was 27mm X 0.07mm of the highest purity.
One day I
will make up a set of the ultimate speakers leads as project using
screen silver plated 1/2" co-ax or even better 7/8" silver plated
Heliax used for microwave. Just to piss people off, as it won't sound
just look impressive!
just finished reading The Audio Expert by Ethan Winer author of the
article I sent. Very good book with his educated opinions on audio. He
very knowledgable and has had a great deal of experience in audio from
side. You might say he is QBE, qualified by experience! He bears out a
what we both believe is true in audio. Well worth reading. He now runs
business, Real Traps, producing sounds traps and diffusers. I have a
amount of information on acoustics, most of it totally opaque to normal
me very much included! His explanations are right up my street and when
finished the record cleaning unit and the valve vacuum record wipe
thingy I am going
to have a go at some room treatment. There are two points in the room
resonate in the low bass, one of them also much higher up. Likewise I
just try Styrofoam panels a foot or so behind the ribbons as just maybe
is some comb filtering although to my ear it seems OK. According to him
filtering can cause loss of accuracy in the placement of instruments.
me it seems fine but one always wonders. Audiophile friends are no use
tend to listen for things that only they find important.
is something that they all try to find but it seems to escape them that
there are a couple of recordings that play back almost perfectly then
system is good and any funny artifacts heard at another time might just
flaming recording!!! Just because a LP or CD is sold doesn't make it
just put up the article on the ultrasonic
record cleaner under DIY,
if you want to look.
go inside for coffee
I note, with interest, your
similar views on cables. Though, given your use of high-quality
silver-wire, this comes as a mild surprise. I suppose I shouldn't be
surprised for this reason, though, since I also use some fairly nifty
wire myself, even as I question the necessity of such extravagance.
Enough said on that, I suppose.
You also mentioned; "I seem
to have missed your mail with a description of your setup. Or not yet
on your site. Will try harder!!!"
Here's a direct link to the
article which best describes my system, and its sound, though changes
have been made since then; http://wajonaudio.webs.com/systembuiding-for-lifelike-sound-my-system-by-waj.htm
.Pictures of the system are
That is the article which
actually started WAJ on AUDIO, since somewhere around the first 10
articles started life as a part of that mega-essay - actually written
long ago. I'd been brimming with elation, for a number of years,
regarding how close the system now sounded to an acoustic 30-piece band
that frequently played in the open-air next-door. (This band/orchestra
had/has always been my reference-source. It's also the reason I was so
frustrated with the incompetence of my 'highly-rated' Spendor system,
previously). That immense joy actually stemmed from the satisfaction I
now experienced whenever I compared my system to those instruments
next-door. And my road to where the system is now actually appeared
I bought a cheap and incomplete pair of KLH speakers.
Perhaps I should explain this
point a little further.
The fault I found with the
Spendor (and most modern speakers) in comparisons with the live sound,
is (a) a lack of realistic dynamism and (b) a paucity of realistic tone
and tonal weight. I also found that pro-sound systems, including my
own, were prone to exhibiting much more realistic dynamism. And though
many such systems also displayed somewhat more realistic tonal weight,
most didn't sound quite right - crude, amongst other things. The best I
heard were not really pro-sound systems; Tannoy and Klipschorn. I was
also familiar with Altec, from a distance, and closer to home since 12"
417s (not their best for hifi) were a part of my own pro-sound system -
very loud/efficient but....
Long story short, I embarked
on a quest to find Klipschorns, come hell or high-water. I didn't!
(I eventually I found a damaged Model 19, but that's another story).
is about when a friend sold me a pair of cheap KLH 7500s (post Henry
Kloss) with one of the 12" mid-woofers missing. The original intent was
that this was for a secondary system but, out of curiosity, I hooked it
up to the main system. This was encouraging, so I decided to keep it
there as a reference while I tried to find another brand of driver with
similar tone (of which I could obtain a pair to replace the cheap KLH).
And this is how I've come to
realize that very few drivers display realistic tone today. Countless
drivers were tried (bought, begged, or borrowed) none could match the
tone of that single KLH 12. Why was it so important for me to match it?
Well, that's because that cheap KLH was the one that came closest to
the tone and tonal weight of those instruments next-door. Not even the
18" Goodmans, of those I'd already owned, came close. They could
midrange weight, but this was unrealistic and really crude, bereft of
finesse and resemblance to the real thing. Others weren't even as
'close' as that, with even 15" drivers lacking the tonal weight of the
Bear in mind that I was using
a passive pre-amp set-up, at the time.(I've since discovered that
these, themselves, also lack tonal weight). Therefore, the difference
I speak of is really very subtle, at this stage. At this stage, the KLH
only very slightly hinted at things to come. Then came my purchase of
an active ARC LS-3 - magic. The lower-midrange, previously
by the passive pre-amp mode, was now unleashed. It was only now that
the full lower-mids attributes of that single KLH 12 were made much
more apparent. It was now that the KLH resembled the tone and weight of
the live instruments even more - further distancing itself from the
others I'd tried.
Still I wanted something that
was just as good, but with more 'prestige'. And voila, a pair of JBL
4430 studio-monitors were advertised, locally. Perfect. Now this would
be goodbye to that cheap KLH. (Not too bad a find, since no Klipschorn
turned up). The seller had agreed to bring the JBLs over, and
confidently agreed to a sale based on the outcome of an A/B comparison
with what I already had. He was even more confident when I told him the
comparison would be against a cheap KLH (Spendor had been long
discarded - damaged by the sun, in the back of my car - no regrets,
Most would find it difficult
to believe the rest, but I'll say it anyway. The single KLH was
hooked-up to one channel, and one of the JBLs connected to the other.
(First-priority was to better, or even equal, that KLH driver - stereo,
and such issues, were
secondary considerations). After level-matching by ear (the single KLH
is 91db/w/m, btw) we spent
a fair amount of time switching between both. This was un-necessary,
really, since the winner was apparent from the very first round. Oh
yeah, the LS-3 does have a 'pure' passive pre-amp mode, and both
speakers sounded similarly 'neutral' here - scarcely a difference
between the two, except for the JBL's better treble (KLH was still
equipped with its cheap Boston-Bland tweeter, up to then). However, on
switching to the active mode, the JBL was left in the dust, it could
not approach the superior tone and tonal weight of the cheap KLH, which
had already proven itself, in direct comparisons, to be very near to
the characteristics of live instruments. The difference between the JBL
and the cheap KLH was significant, really significant - no, really,
After that test, I decided to
live with the cheap KLH. I bought two more pairs on e-bay,
double-stacked two pairs (now the tone/tonal-weight almost perfectly
resembles the real thing) and extensively modified the thing for
improvement in other aspects. The doubling of 91db/w speakers would
bring the efficiency-rating to 94db/w and, I figure, this combination
along with a crossover-less 7" driver from a Yamaha NS 10
studio-monitor, adds another 1db for a total of around 95db/w/m
efficiency. This combination gives me the previously missing
tone/tonal-weight and much of the dynamism of live music. It's now a
pleasure to 'A/B' between my system and that live band/orchestra
next-door. Previously with the Spendor this would bring pure
and disappointment. I'm happy, now!
Oh, perhaps I should explain
the reason for the NS-10's 7" driver, and even the extended purpose of
That cheap 12" KLH may be as
good or better at the lower-mids than almost any driver I can think of
- I'm certain of that. But I'm also certain that that's the ONLY area
it's really good at - middle-mids aren't great and bass is OK, but the
leading-edge of mid-bass is atrocious, and mid-bass tone isn't great
either (very similar to the Spendor and perhaps most speakers in these
The NS-10 driver is excellent
in almost every area in which the KLH is mediocre (and vise verse) they
other. The details may be gleaned from the relevant article but,
suffice it to say, especially since no x-over is used on the 7"er, the
leading edges at mid-bass are as sharp as (or really sharper than)
that of the typical mini-monitor - consider the PRaT of a
crossover-less full-range driver, for a better illustration. Similarly
the tone of the NS-10's
mid-bass more accurately resembles that of real instruments (a
kick-drum, for instance) and better matches the tone of the Goodmans
subwoofers. Therefore, upper-bass/upper-midbass is dominated by the
NS-10 drivers, and mid-bass to low-bass is dominated by the 18"
Goodmans. (An alternative mode of operation is to confine the 18s to
transient quickness of the smaller drivers and the sledge-hammer
power of the large (18s) are all combined to better represent the
characteristics of the real thing, better than either type of driver by
itself, in my experience. Suffice it to say; I'm no longer looking-out
Finally, the relevant article
still expounds on my initial use of the Altec
compression-driver without its matching horn (a much-smaller horn was
once adapted since I felt the 811 was too colored - further tests and
mods have changed my opinion, tho). Yep, I'm proud to declare that the
802/811 Altec combo is an integral part of my DIY speaker-system
(augmented by Philips tweeters utilized as super-tweeters, in this
application). I've previously hinted at this in the article entitled;
'The Ultimate Speakers Are Within Reach'. However, I'm overdue a
system-update since, obviously, a few things have changed since those
articles were written.
That's it, basically.
had one of those moments. When I brought in the ribbon units I tried
various things suggested by Dr Singh to blend them in with the Tannoy.
These units were made 100db @ 1 watt and to get that level of
efficiency apart from very strong Cobalt magnets a heavy steel
"retangular box" with 1/2" walls concentrates the field further. The
ribbons are open to the back and the back fires into the corner about
2.5' distant. This is actually not right as there is some signal
cancellation and in theory comb filtering would also raise it's ugly
head. I tried foam, fiberglass wool and even lambs wool in the cavity.
To me that muffled the sound so they were left empty.
I had never heard the effects of comb filtering I asked my valve buddy
to listen and he couldn't hear any signs of it. So that's how it's
been. Until I read through the book I mentioned by Ethan Winer. His
explanation of how comb filtering could thicken the perceived sound
made sense and I had another go at cutting off the back radiation. I
have placed a Styrofoam panel about 5" behind the ribbon "boxes" and
low and behold, instant and easily heard improvement in the detail. The
ribbons run at the same level as the Tannoy HF pressure driver and
complement each other and very definitely add detail now even more.
fact I am seriously thinking of hitting my head on the wall for not
preserving at the outset. This extra detail goes down all the way of
course as even in heavy organ bass there are higher components. In
addition there is a noticeable, good, increase in the output which
seems to stretch from low midrange upwards. This should be the result
of less cancellation.