Leon Suter and Lee Gray of Kyron Audio were kind enough to spend a few hours listening to my vintage contraptions, aka my Microphase speakers. My current subwoofer is slightly bigger than the original and now sports a 10" XXLS from Peerless with its own 200w amplifier, and the tweeter now upgraded to a 1" VIFA.
Electronics include a NAD preamp, Bryston 3B amplifier and OPPO player. The Bryston feeds the satellites directly and the preamp drives the Bryston AND the subwoofer's amp separately. I found that setup to give the most control on one end and the best sound out of the satellites, as they are not filtered at the bottom end.
I hope they will leave their own comments below, and without wanting to reveal too much of their reactions, I was pretty chuffed when they said that these speakers "would have created quite a sensation" at the time!
Quite not big enough obviously, but what not cease to amaze me is that after 30 years, they still sound as accurate and dynamic as they were then. Some might say than they have been truly broken in by then...
We listened to Alchemy Live by Dire Straits , Modern Cool by Patricia Barber on Blu-Ray, Anouar Brahem, The Astounding Eyes of Rita on ECM and an historic recording of Bill Evans, Live in Paris, 1972 Vol 2 recorded by Radio France at the time and pressed by the Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (INA) in 1988. we also listened to a famous French percussionist Jean-Pierre Drouet, a digital file kindly "loaned" to me by Alain Wacquet of AW Audio fame. Lee is a percussionist himself, Leon a clarinetist, btw, so he could really appreciate the soundscape!
We had a great time and I had to push them out of the door as they had a plane to catch back to Melbourne.
Thank you guys, it was good to have you in my patch this time!
This original system was certainly one of the most "out of the square" system at the show. Since it was a static display, trying its luck occasionally by playing at low levels not to upset the neighbours (and the organiser...), it was difficult to assess its quality properly.
Having said that, Jean-Michel Jarre has all the credentials for it to be a very well designed system. He used to be one of our good clients when I was working at HP Test & Measurement (now Agilent) and he was very well equipped to master the engineering subtleties of such a unique product. It is not trying to be the best system in the World, but it is a very honest attempt to deliver the best possible outcome to IPods and iPhones enthusiasts in a very limited space, which fits the young demographics linked to the Apple frenzy, specially if used with uncompressed files. It is also connectable to a USB stick, or another MP3 player or a turntable equipped with an USB output (like Pro-Ject). It claims a 52Hz to 20KHz range, uses a 135mm woofer firing downwards and two 75mm wideband drivers at 120 degrees from each other, covering a surprinsigly wide listening cone of 260 degrees. It is powered by a 60W and 2 30 watts amplifiers, in essence a triphonic system built into a 1100mm high glass tube with stainless grilles and trims. Certainly a very nice and desirable object to fit a modern minimalist interior...
Andre Charlin was in his seventies when I first met him at one of the first French Hifi show I visited. He was always sitting quietly in a corner of the room, silently assembling a demo on his turntable and enjoying the reactions of the audience.
By that time, he had mastered the turntables, the amps AND the speakers...so it was an awesome experience and very different from most other equipments on display.
I would always spend an inordinate amount of time at his booth, asking questions on this or that, and I realise today how much of these conversations have actually filtered down to my own designs.
I recommend you visit the most comprehensive website on his life achievements at http://www.svalander.se/charlin
I have borrowed the photo above from that site.
Charlin was also a great sound engineer and recorded a vast array of music. He had invented a special stereo microphone, called the "artificial head", which is basically an object shaped like a human head with two high quailty microphones installed where the ears should be.
This technique has been since improved and is still very much in use for boutique classical recordings.
I believe such a device is actually permanently suspended in the void of the Sydney Opera House and used for live recording by ABC Classic FM.
If anybody can confirm this information, I would be most grateful.
I have actually used a home made version of a "tete artificielle" hooked up to a portable tape recorder from Stellavox running at 38cm/s (You need to be very quick to exchange tapes in between movements...)
Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.