I mentioned before that at about the same time I built my first HiFi system, I got exposed to the Elipson 4040s and that changed my (audio) life!
I could not afford a pair of these fabuloous speakers and had no room for them anyway, but I could afford to buy a pair of 215 RTF from Supravox and the plywood to build new speakers.
I built the RJ baffle at the time. I helped a friend build an Onken version with a Fostex compression tweeter on top in the late 80s
Both fabulous full sound, courtesy of the perfect phase across the frequency range, the high efficiency and full range of the speakers.
Difficult to beat, specially if driven by a low power valve amp!
When I was at Uni - and still living at home, as most students did at that time - my passion developed further, and I was keen to use my new found knowledge - I was studying for a BSc in Electronics - to build my first hifi system.
Coincidentally, my sister and I were gifted a DUAL 1219 turntable for Christmas, so I decided to get down to work.
My budget being quite limited, and having settled for a full range high efficiency speaker and valve amplifier, I went shopping...
I was confident I could design and build a solid state preamp, so I did, but for a strange reason, I didn't feel confortable designing the amp from scratch, so I went and bought a kit from Cibot Radio and assembled it myself, crossing fingers that I would not put the house on fire on first power up. As I am still here to tell the story, you have your answer...an added bonus though was that my room was
always a couple of degrees Celsius warmer than the rest of the house, as you wouldn't switch that amp off, would you?
It was quite an ugly thing in military green lacquered perforated metal for the cover, but the sound...ah that glow in the valves transcribed itself in velvet music! Even my crude preamp could not ruin the sound...
For the technically inclined, it seems that this was the valve configuration: 2xel84;2x12ax7;ez80, but it is a while back, so I can't be sure.
If anybody has more information let me know via our contact form or the comments function. Thanks in advance.
Now, for the speakers, I used a full range 17cm drive from SIARE in a closed box made of MDF and filled up with wool bed covers kindly given by Mum...
At the time, Michel Visan was the technical director of SIARE. He ended up starting Davis Acoustics, who continues to make some full range speakers inspired by the ones he designed for SIARE - see photo above. We ended up quite good friends and I would use some of his paper cone woofers in future designs, but more on that later.
I have never been a fan of Kevlar which started to be the rage in the 80s, when both Jacques Mahul at Focal (ex technical director of Audax and arch rival of SIARE, and Michel Visan at Davis Acoustics introduced drivers using this "space age" material.
I still believe paper cones have the ability to sound better than any thing else for the midrange, as they respect the timbre of instruments better.
The whole system was housed in a white laminate "structure" with the amp on one side, the preamp and turntable on the other side to avoid picking up rumble from the amp, a desk in the middle and the "legs" containing the speakers at the top and some space at the bottom for records stored vertically (bien sur...). I will try to find a photo from my parents archives or else, I will make a drawing of it
(but do you really care...?).
This system kept me happy for quite a while, until I came across the Elipsons and Supravox. But that will be my next story.
Our last post on Andre Charlin has lead me to reconnect with Josef Svalander.
I had a suspicion we knew each other, and getting in touch with him via email confirmed the story!
Josef and a few of his Scandinavian mates, all Hi Fi journalists at the time, actually DROVE to Paris for the HiFi show. That's dedication!.
Josef and I have different recollection of our first meeting and he might be right: Josef believes we first met at the Frankfurt Fair.
We made friends, had them for dinner at our place, and they presented us with a beautiful crystal vase, (which tends to confirm we had met before...) that actually survived the trip to Australia!
Josef ended up trying to market our products in Sweden and still have a pair that his daughter uses as computer speakers...Such is life!
We had more success in Norway with our friend Martin Viktorin now at Digital Audio Martin Viktorin, who flogged dozens of them to the Norway National Radio in their powered version.
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.