After a number of emails and missed opportunities, I finally got an appointment to visit violet aka Jullien Thaller, the industrial designer behind the website dedicated to Elipson:
This website is all in French, so I was keen to give my English-speaking readers a glimpse of what Jullien had accumulated in terms of stories and Elipson vintage speakers.
More recently, and you can't get better proof of somebody's passion than that, jullien has been working at Elipson and is responsible for the (amazing...) look of the new 4260s shown left.
Jullien's home is an Ali Baba cavern of all things Elipson, and you barely walk into the living room that you are confronted with small and large "bits' of Elipson history!
In good french tradition, Gaelle had baked a beautiful chocolate cake, and Jullien brewed a real cup of coffee which was very welcome after the 2-hour drive to his house from Gare de Lyon and a quick lunch with some of the managers of Cabasse (More on this later...).
Jullien gave me the grand tour of his house and with his permission, I went on a rampage of photographs, like if I were a crime scene investigator.
I felt like a child on Christmas Day, and Jullien have so many elipsoesque objects that it would take a coffe table book to give them justice.
Most of these are in perfect condition, some waiting in his "hospital" in his basement awaiting various degrees of surgery.
However, the main purpose of my visit was to do a A-B listening test between the old and the new, aka the reference 4050 against the new 4260 top of the range.
Jullien has worked for another iconic French company, YBA, which makes amplifiers and CD players, (more on YBA soon...) so we had these massive monoblocs feeding the no less massive speakers, music by Jullien's iTunes library via ...DAC and the convenience of an iPad as a remote control for the whole thing.
At 129kgs each, there is no way to move the 4260s...Besides, Jullien has spent quite a bit of effort to fine tune their position in the room, so we will have to be content with listening to the 4050s wheeled in front of the 4260s: not ideal, but the best we can do.
I had listened to the 4260s at the Paris Hifi show, both in 2011 and 2012, and I had been impressed...
Having a chance to reconnect with the 4050s that I had not listened to in probably 30 years was quite a treat: the common trait is the openness, the transient response, the quality and neutrality of the midrange.
The 4260s seem to have a more extended response, and certainly a more articulate bass (38cm from PHL Audio...), but it feels more like a hifi speaker, where the 4050s make more music, and bring more life into it.
Both are extraordinary performers, don't get me wrong, and it is quite fascinating that after 30 years or more they still work so well.
I believe the configuration is one of the latest ones with all Siare drivers: woofer 31TE, midrange 21CP3 and tweeter TWM. One of the hair pulling things with Leon's contraptions, is the lack of continuity in the sourcing of the drivers. It seems that there are a myriad of combinations: Boomer Goodmans 38cm, Siare 31TE, medium Isophon, Supravox or Siare, Tweeter Audax TW8, Siare TWM, etc...
It probably reflects the fact that the mold for the plaster enclosures last only for 150 units!
If your eyes are good enough or if you are a Photoshop wizard, you might be able to find out what we have been listening to...things like Simon and Garfunkel" Bridge over the troubled water" and all sorts of things from the 80s and some tracks that I would not have chosen, but Jullien thought better of!
A very interesting afternoon indeed and a great many thanks for your hospitality Gaelle and Jullien!