Reclaiming sound

Central horn


It’s such a pleasure to enjoy handcrafting horns for friends that understand that sounds systems are only just part of the sound reproduction race. The space and life around the music enjoyment is the very very important factor. We share a great deal with friends outside the audio focus that initially brought us together.

Here one 13Audio  we13a that has a very nice patina…placed in the living/workspace of my good freind D…his wife creates some stunning art in their spaces. Working and having sound from a pure and simple single horn like the western electric 13a will take the experience to a whole new level. Yes I will install in my next woodwork shop a big baby horn! Hey….why not?

D’s wants his system to grow….he just needs to be patient!

Nadine Debien works can be discovered here : Nadine Debien






1939 machines talk from minds


The « VODER » doesn’t that sound like a character from Star Wars or Star Trek?

Great historical piece explaining exactly what the Voder is, was… the first device that could generate continuous human speech electronically. The flowing composition of the many speech sounds had to be done manually in real-time on a special keyboard.

Video is here

Bell Laboratories (think Western Electric….) developed this back in 1939…to say it took so long for this type of technology to become mainstream as we know it today is amazing.

It’s all about making inventions work?

Note that at minute 4:25 a comment is made about women using the “Voder” and the speaker in a calm manner says regarding women using the Voder

“It requires a particular combination of particular talents that is not too common”…wow…. things have changed indeed!

So maybe that is what it never hit the mass market?

All fun…


When Classical Musicians Go Digital

img_5717Facinating article to read here Click here


Men who listen N°13 “It all comes around”


By Avis Cardella

Neil Young, the Canadian singer-songwriter, once said that: ”Listening to a CD is like looking at the world through a screen window.”

This is one man’s opinion, not an indictment of a technology. But it does have something to do with JL’s story.

JL is not someone who looks at the world through a screen window. He’s a doctor who looks like a rock star who was a former world champion water skier. He lives life “full tilt” as I like to say.

It’s not surprising to hear JL explain that he listens to music because it “frees” him from stress.  It’s also not surprising to hear him add…”and because I’m frustrated that I’m not a musician.”

Perhaps not a musician but in possession of a musician’s instinct?

When he says that the only place he never felt the “need” for music was in Africa, because “the music was in the Sahara,” I immediately want to go, if only to hear what he heard.

I’m also curious to know about how JL listens today.

For one thing, like Young, he remains unconvinced the newest gadget is always the harbinger of better sound.

“I became depressed when CD’s came out,” he confesses, “I went back to turntables in 2002.”

While CD’s promised “perfect sound forever,” for JL the shiny silver discs couldn’t compete with the appeal of the LP. The distinct sound created from—a turntable, pressed vinyl, a tone arm—was what JL realized he was after.

In addition, CD’s proved a poor substitute for “the mechanical process of putting the needle in the groove, and the excitement of seeing the object turning.”

His ideal turntable has always been the EMT 927. When he told a close friend that he “dreamed” of having the rare EMT927 the friend confided that he, in fact, had two!

“The next day a truck arrived at my doorstep, two EMT’s inside,” JL recalls.

What luck! What a friend!

Meanwhile, back in 1988, sales of CD’S outpaced the sale of LP’s for the first time in history, while, at virtually the same time—the end of the Eighties—the last EMT rolled out of the factory.

The end of an era?   Maybe not.


My wife Avis has now completed the last but not least of her “men who listen” series.

I say here “the man who listens?”

Thanks JL for offering so many of us the opportunity to meet enjoy and share, freindship is the foundation of all passions.

Various angles

IMG_0017WE13a flat-2

`When “W2” listens to the WE13a he prefers this setup with the horn down flat and facing straight forward, field coil tweeter tucked in the mouth and he’s all set. Those EV T350 tweeters are not connected…

Good thing with the WE13a is it’s so easy to change the angle having adjustable (or remove) tubular feet that support the front. The floor stand is like a huge bearing as the back of the second solid wood section is curved. It smoothly rotates on the felt (natural…) pads. Cool indeed!

All fun…




Another world…in Munich 2016

L1006988TAD David

“C” and Silbatone have granted us the opportunity to see and hear some of the most significant, historical and rare western electric gear at “High End” audio shows and mostly Munich. How can we thank them enough? We cannot! I do owe to “C” my very addiction to the Adam and Eve of speakers WE12a and WE13a.


Munich 2016 High End offered something very very different indeed! Stemming form the mind of “C” and extraordinary combination. Playing with WE gear (modest scale…) I deeply respect and appreciate the path taken. Mixing and matching this way doesn’t just require “inventory” no…it takes a deep understanding of the equipment and setup skills and obviously passion! This very setup came from “C”’s imagination, I applaud! Thank you.


What a setup:

  • 2 x WE11a horns per channel fitted with GIP 555w drivers running full range
  • WE24a horn per channel fitted with WE555w mesh (original)
  • 1 x 597a high frequency driver per channel with high pass (slope & Hz?)
  • Slot baffle bass/sub fitted with 2 x GIP 415 (15”) and 2 x EV30 woofers
  • 415’s and EV30’s driven by separate amps and active xovers (slope & Hz?)

The 3 parallel 555 drivers land a neat >5 ohms load for the amps…cool!

Yes so simple!

So if you have a few parts hanging around…

All fun…

What ever happened to colour?

Swimming Pool At The Mt. Royal MotelRoom At The Thorndike HotelMt. Royal Motel At Night


Seeing colours like these prompts that question. Indeed we have today digital software that can imitate these colours and tones. But nothing can replace original unalterated can it? Guess for those of us that have never stopped using LPs its the same thing. Indeed the digital version does seem to lack the tone and colours no matter how much work is put into the DAC calculations.

All fun…


Roll them into stage!

As we know the 1st sound installations for talkies were designed to be rolled onto the stage of theatres. They were rolled out when it was “movie night” ! Then rolled back in….this carried on until dedicated theaters were installed as talkies literally took over the “scene”. Just imagine this huge construction with all wires hanging off etc….this is without doubt a rare image of a western electric 12a and 13a installation very early indeed, 1926? Also image taken before the advent of sound transparent screens. The screen is above the horns, you can notice how the 12a’s are pointing upwards to get the sound to the balcony audience. It’s not evident why there is drappimg around this tower of horns, perhaps to keep them out of sight when not in use?
All fun…


Wooden tonearm, 1911?

Interesting development back in 1911 when vitaphone introduced their tonearm that could playback lateral and the rare vertical cut records. With this they got rid of the heavy soundbox unit like this :

Think mega VTF….!

The tonearm has its acoustical reproduction assembly at its base to then claim to get rid of the “metallic, nasal scratchy sound”…hey! Marketing? 

The further claim that any horn could be attached thanks to this, a we13a? Hey….lets have our imagination work !

Actually this is similar to the way a cantilever like we have today, only bigger! Did anyone try to use this technology with a moving magnet, ceramic or moving oil at tonearm bearing? No idea….please tell me! Project and adenture for my friend Franck S..?

They go on and actually talk about the qualities of wood for the purpose of sound and design. Now how cool is that ?

All fun…

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