Western Electric 16a….1932-Patent 1853955

ImageFertility of minds in that era were driven by commercial interest as in our era. David G. Blattner from mountain lakes NJ assignor to Bell Labs was no exception to that. He inveted a whole raft of speaker and audio systems along side A.L. Thuras and the all famous E.C; Wente.Image

They designed the “compression driver” and the famous WE 555 driver , 597, etc….and the horns to go with them. Consulting the catalogues from that era demonstrates the genius and range of solutions they came up with to install sound systems in theaters. Many of their design have resisted time and even the actual pieces that were made at that time have resisted the wear and tear since the 1930’s…They were all designed to make money.

I have heard quite a few western electric systems, each time it is a pleasure. Oh…for certain one needs to step back from high end high resolution mind bending bass and crazy highs to listen to these systems. they deliver a velvet sound that is smooth; organic is often what can be used to describe the sound. Setting them up takes real dedication. They will forgive no approximation in recordings and anything between the record and the horn. In this endeavour you are alone to decide what is best for ones ears, no glossy magazines will give you any reassuring hint of the direction to take. Image

I have run in my home my 16a with the Kondo Ongaku and Gakuon. these are great amps that many aspire to but they show flaws, th when exposed to a level of efficiency that only huge horns deliver, and yes I have used Goto drivers and horns and despite all of their qualities they are nowhere near the level of exposure to upstream details. We are talking about sound not “get a flat response”.

If you place a WE system to the scrutiny of a frequency sweep you may run in the oposite direction and buy the latest edition of some audio magazine to give you directions…However if you sit down and forget the technology? Try it one day…

Maybe it’s worth the effort to step back from high end and it’s trends, telling us “new is better”?

I host a 16a speaker in my room and marvel at the singular industrial design, the sensual curves, the steel construction and last but not least the sound. Image

Does FM mean "Full of Music"??

It was in 1895 that Marconi got the ball rolling and introducing broadcasting that took the signal a few kilometres it wasn’t until 1939 that the “FM” started commercial broadcast (despite FM having been patented in 1933). We owe this historic evolution to General Electric at Schenectady, NY. Long story….

Now most abundant source of music that you can feed your cherished audio kit with is FM radio. Some countries are more blessed than others in this regard; top of the list is France in my view; Governments (left and right) that still sets culture high on the agenda maintain radio stations funded by tax payers. These have no “commercial” agenda, no annoying commercials, compressed sound signatures or music selection skewed towards the record industry. Intend to enjoy it as it lasts…

My love with FM started in the 80’s when I managed to “save” enough to get a Mission Cyrus One tuner.

This was an ear opener even if at the time my “antenna” was taped to the wall…no fancy long reach, high gain technology here….blasting sound via a naim and heybrook one setup….thinking that this was it; it was, well at least until the next step…

So I climbed a long ladder of tuners and consider that the Rohde & Schwarz BN 1508/2 FM tube receiver 82 -108 MHz being  a pinnacle…albeit vintage with 18 tubes!!!! etc and etc…Use it in mono and it will fill your room and ears with an abundance of music void of any commercial pressure if you are lucky! Okay tuners do not compete with vinyl that we favor at this place or even digital but when it comes to content? Live repersentations coming from the other sode of the planet…considering that a good, great or even exceptional tuner will set you back less than a tonearm and good cartridge!

I have heard the Rohde & Schwarz vs the all time loved Marantz 10b  and Magnum Dynalab 108t….that for the ears of some critics are close enough to the top of the scale: http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue20/marantz10b.htm

BTW: If you ever hear a Rohde & Schwarz BN 1508/2 in a high efficiency system you will perhaps recall this post…