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

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