Western Electric 12a and 13a « combo »

In the heart of Switzerland a 13Audio replica horn setup has been installed for what I can call a “very keen” listener “I” who is very happy playing mono even from stereo recordings, good man!

I is also into his whiskey as I discovered when I opened the door behind the horns, does that help bass in anyway? Time will tell!

13Audio will design a bespoke bass that will be big yet concealed in the room. Typically with this setup we are looking at one and half or two octave below the 13a. It’s just that those octaves need to be as fast and open to match and big 12a and 13a and deliver nothing nasty into incomparable midrange sound that only the we12a and 13a deliver.

The two horns work simultaneously enjoying the same signal yet attenuated by about 3db versus the 597a tweeter. This is achieved via a 13Audio crossover network that has no resistors or autoformers in the signal path. The crossover is built with original 1940 western electric capacitors checked and selected. The air coil is handmade by 13Audio. Wires are bespoke made by 13audio.

My friend “I” was fortunate enough to score a pair of original 555 drivers whilst I was crafting his horns…these were serviced by 13Audio with replacement diaphragms fitted they sing as they should! 597a is from GIP. The tungar is a motiograph lodged into a 13Audio enclosure (here)

This is a sort of plug and play vintage horn system. Setting up was a breeze in a well balanced room.

Any weak link or shortcoming in the upstream components is discovered straight away and I is aware that tuning the system to his likes will take sometime, but worth it !

All fun….

Berlin Berliner

Having good audio friends in Berlin and knowing  their audio community is very active I had to post about Emile Berliner (May 20, 1851 – August 3, 1929)….

This German-born American actually invented the flat disc “gramophone record”…we owe him so much!

Now the Berlin will call themselves Berliners?

All Fun…

Shipping big horns

I guess it all started in 1926 when they had to transport the we12a and we13a in the USA from New Jersey to San Francisco. See here they had dedicated truck, task force and even sherif to guard then with his gun!

Check out the image wgere you can see 2 WE12a horns, the WE13a stands and those will be packed with all the goodies…these convoys travelled the country to “demonstrate” the “Talkies”….in the mid 1920’s sound on film was a novation let alone syncronised sound on film…Tell any kid today that he owes his taken for granted “instant video with syncro sound” to these guys…!


This crowd is actually taking care of “high tec” of the age. The cost of this such a syetm was proablly as much as a regular home…

Let’s say that such extreme transport resource is not “really” necessary in this day and age!

The very 1st horns that I made for US west coast were shipped to New Jersey and then taken by truck to the West Coast, same route some 90 years later. The owner of those horns is very proud indeed..

Today’s audio equipment is small, light and easy to send around the planet all neat and snug in some sort of padded protection.

The big horns it’s a whole other story…They do dismantle into sections just as the originals that does gives “some” ease…but still.

My horns have travelled all over the planet.

13Audio has designed dedicated wooden crates that along with use of selected professional and careful carriers insure a safe voyage to any place on the planet. The crates are bespoke and sized so they can can travel by air or sea and are certified ISPM 15



Visit to machining shop

Castings come out “rough” and need machine work….Not much but it makes all the difference. Drilling, threading, surfacing….all so that they fit neatly in place matching the wooden junctions.

A few images of my friends place, glad to say has not caved into all CNC….keep it real in a world of 3D printing….!

All fun…


Western electric 12a and 13a

A few posts ago I showed a 12a hanging and this is a follow up.

Only one channel now but the second will be setup soon.

I’ll be spending a fair time setting the system up, tuning to get the sound needed. This is truly unknown territory indeed ! We could go for the all vintage xover etc… but I know that doesn’t always deliver the sound that’s needed. Anyway updates are to follow…

Great to see my 13Audio horns in such posture….

All fun….

Design 1st half of 20th century?

I’d really like to know what was going on during the 1st half of the 20th century….

Okay I think that the Western electric horns are not only fantastic at what they are designed to do delivering a level of audio efficiency unheard of but also the organic shapes are just pieces of art….btw that another reason I reincarnate them…

Here we have some train design….did they do this on purpose? Man it’s just awesome to see what they did!

The Cleveland Mercury took to the rails in 1936 and remained in service until the 1950s.

All fun…

Western Electric 13a feet that count…..

The we13a needs good feet to support the mouth. These are like originals supporting the horn at the exterior sides of the mouth. It’s strange that when you support the 13a in the middle of the mouth it affects the sound. Actually when you listen to a pair in stereo one being correctly supported and the other not you immediately hear the difference. It’s like putting a central tension point. The mouth is 62 inch (157,5cm) side and the wood is about 1″ thick and it’s supporting a great deal of the horns weight. So that kind of all puts a lot of pressure on the centre of the mouth. When supported at the exterior there is no flex at all. 13audio make the appropriate legs to support the mighty 13a.

All fun….

A day at the foundry

I was forced to change foundry See here

Therefore it was necessary to spend sometime with the craftsman who’s doing the work, to go over the details and specifics.

Here a few images showing the mould ready for the molten iron. We run a test to then break the throat just to check the regularity of the throats wall. All seems set.

Tomorrow fulls sets will be done for we13a and we12a parts.

All fun…