I will be honest with you dear readers, we have not sold myriads of this upgrade kit, primarily because the people who still own our 1980s SATs are rare, and the sub ensemble of those who read this blog and are prepared to spend a couple of hundred dollars for an upgrade are even rarer.
So, I am always delighted when I start a conversation with one of these dedicated clients and audiophiles.
Recently, I got an email from Steinar Thomassen, all the way from Norway enquiring about changing the foam suspensions of the AUDAX driver and the upgrade kit which is available via our online store.
I probably provided Steinar with the right answers as I soon received a notification from PayPal, that I had received an order and some dough!
I immediately went on to prepare this kit, which involves buying the tweeters, packing them for export and transport all the way across the planet, together with the new flange duly glued to the tweeters, providing the new Allen key cap screws and the elusive Allen key. (I now keep a stock of them...). Then off to the Post Office to airfreight the small package. Although I use the less expensive option, I still go to the extra step of using a service with which I can track it to its final destination!
For a bit of marketing history, we had three major export markets at the time, Belgium, Norway and Germany in that order. Belgium was successful because I had a personal relationship with two of the best dealers, one in Uccle, one of the most affluent suburbs of Brussels - AudioConseil - (Hello Pierre, now retired...) and the other in Ghent (Gand pour mes lecteurs francophones...), Ghent Hifi.
In Norway, Martin Viktorin, with whom I am still in contact, ex audio consultant for the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, had a lot of good connections in the pro audio business and with some of the top hifi dealers. These connections resulted in a number of good sales to the public all over Scandinavia, but also, Martin managed to convince the National Norwegian Radio to equip all their studios with the active version of our SATS, resulting in the biggest single order in the history of Microphase. In Germany, we were dealing with a passionate man who was importing just a few high end products from France and Italy primarily. He was only selling the active version of our SATs. I am afraid, I can still see his face, and remember his lovely German accent, but not his name...
If he reads this blog, I would welcome him making contact to rekindle the friendship and refresh my memory...
I made contact with Steinar a month after receiving his order to ask for his feedback. He has authorised me to publish his comments, so here is a copy of his email, after editing for the purpose of clarity. (Most people in Northern Europe have very good command of the English language, so has Steinar...)
So here it is:
Thanks for the follow-up on my, in the end, very satisfying upgrade project. The new tweeters you send me are installed and both of my speakers are now in top shape. The upgrade went smooth, plug and play as it was promised, perfect! I had more of a struggle with changing the damaged cone rings on the 4”. I ordered new rubber suspensions from speakerrepairshop.nl but I could not find any professionals in Oslo who would take on this job. I went for it myself. My challeng became how to make a perfect centering during the process of glueing. The www.SpringfieldSpeakerRepair.com clip on youtube, was helpful (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpMYZq-qQNo). I glued the rings while sending 50hz into the speakers. This gave me perfect control in the adjustment process where i just avoided any scratchy sound indicating that the suspension element touched the inner core.
I now have two perfectely upgraded speakers with new tweeters and rubber suspensions and in addition my one original speaker, with foam suspensions and tweeter fully intact, working fine. My ears are not highly educated, but the new tweeters sounds great, very crispy and full in the top, making an even more open sound. Properly widening the register of the speaker even more than the original.
Attached a few pictures of the collection.
Thanks again for helping me out breathing new life into this great looking and great sounding Microphase speakers.
Well, that made me very happy indeed...
Below details of the active subwoofer equipped with a 21cm Cabasse DuoCell driver, still in production today, and used in the Iroise 3 and our bespoke amplifier designed by one of our dealers in Strasbourg.
What was not obvious from the first lot of photos Steinar sent me, is that in fact these satellites are indeed the Norwegian Radio units and active versions! Here is the proof! Enjoy...
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.