A few years back, this gentleman got in touch with me through the AudioVintage forum. He had bought and restored a pair of passive SATs from Microphase. We talked further about where to find a subwoofer to match. And it just happened that my good friend Pierre Bréart, the happy proprietor of Audio Conseil in Uccle, one of the most respected dealers in Brussels, as well as one of my best dealers at the time, had bought one back from a customer. And I just found out that the two got together and clinched the deal! The power of the internet and social media!
You will find below a few photos of the inside of the beast, including Cabasse 21 cm woofer, modified SAT active amplifier and connectors. And to help this particular fellow and happy new owner of this very rare piece of French Vintage Hifi, I have put together a wiring schematic for his new hybrid system. Very few of these subwoofers were made, so it was quite a surprise for me to find one in such a good condition. When I first got photos from Pierre, I actually didn't remember producing this particular product. So here it is for posterity!
I have not had a chance to review this popular system in details so far, as I could not find one to photograph.
Thanks to the power of the Internet, I have now found this system scattered between Belgium and Switzerland, and made another discovery - more on this later...
I had approached my good client Pierre Breart at Audioconseil in Uccle, the posh suburb of Brussels, where he has been operating for quite some time, bringing the pleasure of good music reproduction to a lucky and loyal clientele. He was my second best dealer, and share with me a passion for good food and wine, obviously sprinkled with good music!
I was hoping he would be able to access some of my products from of his past clients...and he found something of a rarity, a lone exemplar of an ACTIVE central subwoofer.
My guess is that we would have designed this just for him, as I do not recall selling many.
By co-incidence, a reader in Switzerland got in touch with me to find out more about a pair of ACTIVE SATs! Lucky day...
The SATs in their active version were invented for my German distributor, and ended up being quite a success there, and also in Norway, where my distributor, Martin Viktorin, ended up selling over a hundred pairs to the National Norvegian Radio.
As a further twist in the story, the amplifier was designed by a very good and astute dealer we had in Strasbourg.
His original design sounded sublime, but didn't pass the German inspection, as it was internally wired as a valve amplifier would be - so, in short, it looked quite messy inside, but the resulting sound was outstanding, primarily because of the perfect grounding of the circuit, reducing noise floor and IMD distortion to an absolute minimum. Unfortunately, I have no photos left of this product, and would very much like to find one pair to review.
So, I had to fight with my dealer, to get him to change his design to be more professionally made - at least on the surface...
Being the purist he was, he refused, and reluctantly gave me the circuit diagram for me to produce an "industrial" version myself - here is the result:
Very neat and tidy, easy to build, install and service, but auditively a shadow of the original...
Don't get me wrong, it still work extremely well and I quote my contact in Switzerland here:
"although I didn't position the speakers too precisely, voices were nailed spot in
the middle of the speakers - amazing! With certain music the speakers actually
did what I love about a good speaker: disappeared! There was music - not sound!"
And these speakers are in fairly bad condition, having their foam suspension starting to desintegrate and fed but an iMac...
Now, let's have a look at the subwoofer.
This is actually one sample equipped with the best driver we ever used a double coil Cabasse 21 cm, (single coil in this active version, and a black membrane), specially made for us, and very expensive. It is the ancestor of what is used in the Sphere now, and it works wonders - specially when only using the lower two octaves (30-120Hz).
Using the driver downfiring against a known surface and a fixed distance gives a very linear bass response indeed (+/- 1db over that range)
Using an integrated amplifier helps adjust the levels betweem satelites and subwoofer. The very low cut off frequency ensures that it is difficult to hear the position of the subwoofer.
This active TRITON system would make a very good sub/rear channels add-on to the front channels of a 5.1 home theater system. I might soon be able to report on the results...
Below are a few photos of this unique product, courtesy of Audioconseil
Finally some more images of the SATs active, courtesy of my reader in Switzerland:
I have finally had a chance to find a review of this system in its passive version in "La Revue du Son".
It seems like there is a previous review of the active version. I would be grateful if somebody could find a copy for me. Merci d'avance.
You will have to sharpen your French (and your eyes...as the scan is not very good...) but at least everybody will be able to read the measurement results.
To be noted are the very linear impedance and phase curves, the very good transient response and a very flat amplitude response both on axis and at 30deg
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.