Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers...

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I really thought that Joe and I were "on the down low" coming from Amsterdam to Munich. I guess not. Thomas saw right through us from a mile away. He sent this picture around. As Joe said, "Jackson as Phineas Freak? You nailed it."

and JC, on the left, well... he grew up in the village *way* before it was clean... across the street from *the* park.. and I do not mean Central Park... he never had a chance to appear normal... especially not German normal...

but guess what, Mr. Schick Tonearms? I got you, too... remember this?

video

Peace,
Me

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Goto 505 on Le Cleac'h 140 horn - measurements...

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My inbox popped up with more Goto questions... I guess someone started things up at Roman's forum again... one day I will catch up on my reading and head back over there.. I still owe him a phone call or two...


I noticed that there were no measurements at all in any of these discussions... so I figured I would post a few as I am actually listening to them out in the shop... you have to listen and measure and *think* to set up a good horn rig...

Goto 505 free air impedance:


Goto 505 impulse and frequency response on Le Cleac'h 140 horn:


This combination sounds very good... but I will say that it takes up too much space for the range it covers...

oh, and thanks again to the machinist who made these adapters:


and to DC, who sent me that laptop when I was down...

stay tuned.. something curled up is nearly done... lots of midbass compression drivers and cone drivers to test in the near future... something to go *below* this 505...

Me

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I need a bigger Lathe.


I received this in the mail today as a thank you from fellow lowther enthusiast Matteo in Italy for sending him a lowther reformer.
A few clicks in google brought me to this blog post that had some speakers with his signature on it and some other eye candy.

source

I remember seeing these before and the (blog is now linked) it reminded me when Herb came over to sharpie work the Feral Eye 

give papa $29 for the original art

At some point I need to do this treatment to my bigfuns but where do you find artists that work for free?  Silly me, they all do.  JJ when you heading up this way?


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Music Maker of the Month - in Munich!


It is fitting that I have let Music Maker of the Month slide for so long. With the work Dietmar has done in building his system, he deserves a Music Maker of the Year award....

Dietmar has built nearly every component in his system. It is very evenly balanced with no excesses in any one area.. ok.. well, that sentence is probably best written as even excesses in all areas... but what I mean is that his front end is not in a different class than his amplifiers or speakers... every area has received careful, well planned attention... he built his amplifiers... his horns... modified his drivers.. treated the room... worked up the crossovers..

and the sound? he nailed it... natural is the only word you can use... and that is the perfect word... from the first words out of Elvis's mouth, you knew he had it... absolutely stunning...

(so, how about we proceed to a bunch of bad cell phone pictures? classic hifi heroin from my side... I spend my money on junk, not camera equipment... more horns! more tubes! more drivers!)


Basshorns were built into the wall.. this is his attic... see the slope on the top right? the horns are actually on hinges to act as doors... so this one is open so JC and I could climb back there and look around...

which reminds me.. in the first picture, you can see how he has filled the peak of the attic with sound absorbers of differing density and then covered it to look like a flat ceiling.. genius!


JC for scale... note behind the mid horn you can see the floor to ceiling and wall to wall basshorns... which use the room as natural extension... eat your heart out PW Klipsch!


Have you tried a few drivers, Dietmar?


here is the control center... EMT... (check out the cabinet he built for it!).. phono and line stage.. digital crossover and delay... all right in front of the listening position.. why get up when you do not have to?


horn front shot... on rollers for easy movement left and right... why? you ask..


because of the well known dispersion characteristics of snail horns... check out those graphs....


amplifiers in use...


yeah, he made this himself.. of course he did...


ever built a transmitting tube amp with mercury rectifiers? yep... done that as well...


more Dietmar and more scale....


and you know a humble, soft spoken guy like Dietnar measures.. it is the proper engineering way.. you have to listen *and* measure.. you just have to.... one of the rules... yeah.. and how many of you have a flux probe? (yes, dave, I know you have Sid Smith's old flux probe.. I was not including you)...

Astounding work, Dietmar...


Me

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...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Remote Intact Autoformers...

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I forgot to show you guys what I shipped right before I wandered over to Holland and Bavaria...


The knob drives the display and the volume (duh)... in addition to volume, the remote controls balance, mute, and display on and off.... with the logic, -56dB to +7dB is available in 1dB steps...


The bright sun exaggerates the display glass... I really like the soft glow in a dark listening room... not too much light...

the traveling demo unit should be back any day now... so speak up if you want on the list...

Peace,
Me

Monday, June 6, 2011

Munich High End - show impressions...

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ok.. I have to be honest. This is rather awkward for me. I am not a reviewer. I am a manufacturer. However, I am always asked for show reports. It would be very easy to read this as my attempt at shooting down my competition. But, as you guys probably know, that is not really my style. I am always looking for potential. That is my gig. The eternal quest for something that communicates music. Besides, my demand is far exceeding my ability to supply as it stands today. The last thing I need now is to pick up all of their orders...

so, with all of that having been said, take it however you want.. this is my best pick from a an hour or two of wandering each day.. I am 99% sure I heard all the horns that were there.. if it is not mentioned below, there was something, or a lot of things, that really got to me.. as always, your ears may vary...

+++++++++++++++

first, the best all around sound at the show... and super nice guys.. was Musique-Concrete....



this blurry picture is perfect... you can't tell which handsome scruffy guy is which... (big laugh).... anyway, their sound was good.. good all around.. maybe the highs could have been a touch sweeter, less electronic, but it was good... not as dynamic as the big WE system, but balanced, integrated, easy to listen to.. made music.. good work, Marco!

(that picture kinda freaks lisa out.. paint the speaker black and it is also eerily similar to what is in our den... and Marco and I just met when this picture was taken!)

+++++++++++++++++++++


Auto Tech had some Le Cleac'h horns there.. fiberglass... but well built.. the seam has been minimized.. but the rear has that black damping spray that Lisa won't allow in the house.. however, for a DIY'er on a budget, they were noticeably less plastic sounding than Avant Garde...


++++++++++++++++++++++

on a general horn note, many systems, as always, were very restrained.. not sure why.. what is the trend of making horns sound polite? sad for a dynamics and scale guy like me.. I like *life* in my music.. if you can read the paper while listening to Sonny Stitt, you goofed...

and then there was *dry*.. horns that had no flesh.. I guess a little bit of Beryllium can be nice, but a whole stack of it is way too much....

as you can see, not much to write home about in regards to sonic marvels.. I guess even a well done show in Munchen is still just a hifi show.. the good news is that there was lots of vinyl...lots of turntables... woo hoo!!

my next post will have more good stuff... fun people and a lot of thoughts on Silbatone and the WE16...


Oh, one really cool item that I forgot to mention:



this sweet little 7", in combination with an Iphone (or others) app named platter speed is just what I need for my 50Hz strobed Garrard 301... yippee! oh, platterspeed is a free app... so if you already have a test record that you know is accurate....




ok.. back to work...

Me

Friday, June 3, 2011

The (almost) original Strain Gauge


First I want to offer my most sincere apologies to Barbara and Julius because if Frank ever sees this installation it will surely kill him.


I finally scored another piece of history and had to do the typical get it done installation to see how it works.  I grabbed a piece of 1/4" plywood and hacked out an armboard which is held in place by amorphous and 80% nickel cores :-).   


Unfortunately the PS was kaput so that bummed me out a bit... sure i could spelunker into it but I know it is a crappy compromised solid state design that really isn't worth the effort particularly when a fine supply such as this is resting on the shelf below.


Before all of you gasp at the fact that I actually built something without wheels, I'll point you to the german version of the PS that Frank (hope you are still with us mate) took to the ETF in 2008. (pic borrowed from holger)







If the german one is still to crude (I think it is beautiful) I guess I could get off my arse and assemble the last two of the 'drug through the hudson ones.


Now that I think of it... I'll just keep listening to the rats nest and take the boys Kayaking... Summer has officially hit NY.