being always excited when it comes to listening rooms – how they were built and do sound – I recently went to a privately built big listening room which is run commercially providing excellent concerts for a number of at least 100 visitors.
A congenious team of the investor & architect built this “very special box” in the middle of a small village in the Bavarian Forest for about 1.6 million Euros. The first image shows the entrance going down into the building.
While most of this room is built by concrete the interior surfaces are made of a mixture of 80% of shell lime and 20% of concrete which gives the room the soft and fantastic acoustics. Of course the design and the particular measurements and implementation on resonances etc. are part of the stunning positive effects.
To be very honest I was really surpised about the quality of the sound. Listening to a piano concert of Tschaikowsky`s “Die Jahreszeiten op. 37” the Ukrainian pianist lady was able convincing me that this room is one of the very few exceptionel small concert halls providing a perfect Audio Sound for nearly all listeners.
For me one of the 10 best rooms & halls I ever heard! and believe me I went to some, also internationally…
The stunning thing about the we13a was the simple fact that once setup you just leave it alone and play music, that’s it.
Having we13a horns going out to dedicated listeners around the planet landed me back with my we16a horn. I was curious to hear it again in my main room with all the western electric upfront gear. I was using it in my office space linked to lesser gear, no bass support and a basic tweeter. In my office I did not feel that the time I would have to dedicate to correct setup was worth it. However sound was more than good enough for a day’s work at the office.
Placed in my main room it took a few weeks of listening to get the bass intergate correctly and find the sweet spot and for tweeter (597a) xover. Further phasing got things integrate with the velvet smoothness my ears have become accustomed to. Over the last months I’ve been listening a wide variety of recordings. I never jump to fast conclusions on sound from a system that’s correctly setup. It takes time and a wide scope of music, volume and times of the days to determine and come to solid conclusions. I admire people who can make definitive statements on systems after just a few records.
The true character of the 16a comes through when all is setup correctly. It’s resonance delivers a very singular signature that some listeners dislike. The construction of this horn corresponded to the requirements of mass production as the theatres were being fitted at a rapid rate. The we12a and we13a made by the taking machine company were hand made, solid thick wood could not be made fast enough and undoubtly far more expensive than the we15a/b or we16a. As the owner of silbatone says the we15 and we16a were the cheap versions of the venerable 12a and 13a. When you read the patents this is confirmed.
As written in previous articles here the 16a resonates due to its construction in sheet steel. When you listen to the 16a you hear this. It’s advisable not to raise the volume too high as things start to get a bit out of control. More complex and dense musical recordings put the resonance to a challenge. On the other end of the scale at lower volumes and listening relatively close violin, female voice, quartets, Jazz (not Coltrane at full pace….), guitar, brass solos are stunning on the 16a. The 16a has two we555 drivers so you can play plain mono (mono source or summation stereo correctly done) or stereo even if the stereo is “mixed” at the 16a’s mouth. I find the voices to be slightly muddy when using as stereo. I prefer the 16a in mono even from sum mated stereo sources.
Yes the 16a is for intimate music experiences rather than louder or dense and full blown musical scenes. The we13a does both. A single we13a is marvellous with a single we555 driver. One tweeter and some bass support.
Yes I miss my we13a’s…..okay back to my woodworking room.
Any of above or any other reason, meet to you in London September 29th.
A little office system. Smaller that the we16a that used to sit there! We4151 driven by we86, Boyer compression driver connected to old western electric microphone horn. I may arrange that the red light at mouth of horn lights up when the system is on…sound good and easy even and just so smooth.