Wednesday, June 15, 2011

more Munich High End Impressions....

This post gets to the heart of why we go to shows. Yes, we want to walk around and sample the gear as we are always looking for new and different, but we mainly go to see friends... and make new ones... However, when Silbatone shares something from the archives, you listen.. listen for what it does right... of course you will note what it may not be doing perfectly, but man, oh, man does the Western Electric 16 horn do something right....

it is not like you need to see any more pictures of this horn from me.. I have admired its form for years and years. I think it belongs in the Museum of Modern Art. Dave and I are never ones to copy, but when a commission came in for me to make this one - with the option to make improvements where I deemed necessary as long as I kept the theme in place - my mind started swirling... that form in my life on a daily basis?... and now having heard the directness... and the absolute best "scale" I have ever heard.... well, sitting in front of the 16 while in Munich has pulled my vote over to "Amen. Let's do it!"...

Yeah, as always with such high resolution we struggled a bit. The bass was not really integrated perfectly, and the new 300b was too forward for this setup. But by day three with the WE242 amp now in play and Frank having done his Frank thing with the Van Den Hul cartridge, it was doing something so very right in the middle. I guess four field coil compression drivers running full range will do that! roughly 80 to 6k at what, 120dB? that is crazy talk... and directly connected to the amp... no crossover parts??? whew! So, considering that I tell people a year to get a good horn tuned, three days for phenomenal mids is not bad at all!

I did lament the fact that we had to close the room at night. That is my pet peeve with HiFi shows. With all of this gear here, we should be hanging out and listening late into the night. That is what Dave and I like to do. But we had to settle for too much Bavarian brew and giant round tables filled with thirty of your closest friends from a dozen different countries. I guess that is a good second choice. Oh, even the vegetarian ate well. No sausage, but plenty of super good food - that giant white asparagus, cheeses, pastas, potatoes, salads with real greens, and of course a barrel of pretzels to go with my beer!

so who made up the rambling wreck this year? man.. Silbatone...Bae, Joe, JC, Lee, Manho.. too many Euro Joes - Wolfgang, Christian, Manfred, Rogell, Holger, Sikking, Mayer, Von Langa.... Japan and GIP in the form of Suzuki, Kikawa, and Kawanishi... the analog guys, Schroder adn Schick.. the dutch kids, of course... a few Americans - Stewart and me.. even a real deal local diy superman - Dietmar... and I am sure there were others.. what a mess it was trying to get this group to move about.. like three year old soccer teams.. a slow moving blob.... so the table shot is of about half the "team".... were took up a few tables...

oh.. a funny one to me.. after the show one night... sitting in a really wonderful outdoor beerhall, I mentioned that I had not eaten in twelve hours and was also quite dehydrated... so traditional German rehydration was ordered up special just for me - 72 ounces of half lemonade and half weiss beer! by the time I was halfway through, I had to stop for fear of embarrassing my 150 pound, now drunken self in a foreign country! and of course the waitress, who was barely taller standing than I was sitting down, could have carried me out under one arm... she was bringing those giant steins ten at a time... I was genuinely scared..

I also was able to get a bunch of JC and Stewart time in... joe and I hung out non-stop in Holland, but the two of us together do not push each other much.. we are just observers of culture on a stroll... a fabulous time, but WAY different than JC and Stewart time... those dudes were great... talk of tube construction.. regulation.. self noise.. stuff to try... early Eimac audio experiments.. and then quickly somehow we are back to the city.. Ornette, Kirk, and Ulmer.. then Mingus... and Hartman and Coltrane.. wrecking me with my own favorite things: Eimacs, direct coupled circuits, Trane, Mingus, and what happened to jazz... late into the night and into the morning.. hanging out with those guys was inspiring... stewart, I am waiting for teh day when I can come visit that brain bank of yours and that vinyl... and JC, brother, I just want to stroll Sweden, preferably in summer, and talk life and circuits, after all, they are the same thing....

and back to "the sound"... well, I can honestly say that I have never heard piano and violin like I heard in that room... so direct, so honest... MJ always says, "metal horn"... repeats it like a mantra.. and based on my experience with the 24 and 16, I get what he is saying.. preservation of energy may be the single most important tenet of HiFi... it somehow preserves more of the emotion when you have this drama of scale... the best example of this is when a very well known cartridge maker came in.. he was weeping in a room of fifty other people.. most total strangers.. he was just moved.. and I know exactly where he was... it was heavy... overwhelming, really...


  1. Thanks for that heartfelt post!
    Letting the heart lead the way,
    inspired by soulful music,
    my kind of men, any day...

  2. Hi Jeffrey,

    Great blog - you and jc morrison provide a real oasis in the hi-fi interwebbed wilderness.

    Just wondering if you had any thoughts or comments on the GIP field-coils? Just curious really...



  3. Hi Jeffrey,

    Do you know the present whereabout of Maria, philanthropist?


  4. oh, Manho!!! you just made me cry from laughter! so funny.... how could I have forgotten? If you are genuinely looking for Maria, last I saw her she was headed out for sausages at 2am... I was invited, obviously, as she loved my accent... (what?!)... but I can teach *you* Southern English before Munich next year!

    still laughing...


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