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….

Various angles

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`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…

Best solutions are simple!


At the 2016 Munich show the Silbatone team needed to avoid mid range shoutiness off the rear wall just cancelling some of it with a low tec solution. Yet awesome bass produced by the “small” sub… Now they did not do run out to get any high tec room compensation solution that was the popular solution at the crowded show…No…constructed simple on site using Ikea pillows hung on this “hightec”frame.

Like it!

Simple solutions satisfy the most…even more when its from a shared effort. Here three of the best audio minds on the planet just doing that, thanks SB, JC and TS…see you et ETF.

All fun…


No free lunch, but it tastes good!

imagePreviously it was about free lunch and it’s starting to taste good!

The misfortune was loosing my patern models that entailed making them again..

Well those models are intended to make castings for the use on the horns…to reincarnate the western electric 12a horns. Yes originals are as rare as hens teeth and afraid that even if some did apear it would be big buck world.

The castings here are lets say “slightly warm” and ready to be machined to final finish, drilling and affixing the brass insert for connecting the we555 or we555w.

Here they sit in the mouth of a recently built we12a that they are intended for. This is a highly gratifying stage just seeing all the bits come together after the hard work!

All fun….







Size and it matters

I have frequent questions on the size and suitability for setting up western electric stereo horn configurations. I can only reply based on experience and actual fittings into my room. This room is approx 6,50 x 7 metres and see here how the different horns fill the room. The length of the wall between the two doors is 3m25.

In order :


Hope this helps.

All fun…





Interesting reading here that dates back to 1928

So blog partner goes into the future with High Res digital and I work backwards to the roots of sound reproduction. This is how we imagined Audio16 in the outset, two angles of the same subject matter.

This article dates back to 1928 when the WE555 was hot cakes and as the article says way ahead of the competeiton at that time. The fact that this drivers is today still unbeatable seems unbelievable…but true..okay it has its specific applications as the articles puts it, long horns with low cut off…but when that condition is reached its a magic combination…

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A Trip To Fellow Blogger

Time had come to get together to taste the Western Electric 13 taking the opportunity that our good friend M was in town, we gathered three nationalities Polish,  French, English and a German.

DSC09970Having followed this blog you might not have overseen that someone was “deeply” involved in Western Electric Horns and playing around with them also self building the WE12a and the WE 13 for a historical 1st build and listen in Europe. But on topic we  have the stereo version installation of the Western Electric 13a.

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More than just the horns we entered a world where lived some very nice original pieces like WE49 preamps, WE92b Push Pull 300b, WE1086e

WE46b restored to original condition with time and patience. Other nice pieces lived in the space. You can feel as you walk into Audio16 blogger friends “room” that he has consructed an enviromenet and judging his smile a place he is happy to be in.

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But this was not a sight seeing adventure but one to experience these big horns in a home enviroment. Upstream gear was on as usual well suited for the adventure, EMT 927a and Studer 730a playing in this session with no preamplifiers. Yes the 86e and 92b can be set to produce 99db of gain….but here they were just set at 50db…

We had a session before “dinner” and “after” so that the the good French wine and the fantastic cheese served did not alter our ears…! But this gathering is mostely about people. JL up in Belgium and T agree that the audio and the music are the “material” that enables us to gather.

Still a few words on the sound warm, deep, emotional and engaging. Anything missing? not really…..

But the experince was three fold with WE92b, WE86 and last but not least WE46b. Each giving a very different experience. The simple fact that we listened to the records from beginning to end is we think all that has to be said.

The music sessions inspired us to exchange on topics outside the audio realm and given the nationality mix open our perspectives…and yes we had many funny insights ….

The next day we went for a good walk in  Marais and also had a look at some record shops finding some excellent Mono Jazz records.

All in all this was a very sucessful weekend not really tiring!

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