Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Thermin & Birth Of Electronic Music

The Thermin was invened by Russian Leon Thermin as a proximity detector in the mid 1920's. That was not its fate however. Lenin after being given a demo of the Thermin immediately started taking lessons and commissioned 600 to be sent all over Russia and later the world. This was the birth of the first electronic instrument.

Clara Rockmore was the first virtuoso of the thermin in the mid 1920's. She was previously a violinist but a muscular disorder stopped that career. Fortunately she was friends with Leon who gave her a second career with the thermin.

After Leon invited the Thermin other instruments based on its design followed like the electric chello in the pic below. If I had a time machine this concert at Carnegia Hall would be on my list of stops. In America Leon Thermin influenced instrument designers like Raymond Scott and Robert Moog just to name two.

Thank you Leon Thermin.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Haigner Horns

Haigner Horns are modern european two way systems. They are beautiful. Check out the pics and specs.

The Alphahorn

The bass system is based on two 18 inch drivers with very lightweight cones, coupled by a molded-concrete core part. The high/midrange section uses a coaxial compression driver and a constant directivity (NON tractrix) horn from 350 Hz up to 21 kHz. We shall place a link to more information about the design and development of this outstanding loudspeaker as soon as possible.

* Sensitivity 103 dB / 2.83 V / m
* Impedance 8ohms, constant over whole frequency range from 30–21000Hz
* Weight approx. 350 lbs

A scaled down version of the Alphahorn the Betahorn.

The bass system uses a 15 inch driver in an innovative reflex cabinet, combined with frontal horn loading. The high/midrange section uses a 1.4 in. compression driver and a constant directivity (NON tractrix) horn from 650 Hz up to 20 kHz

* Sensitivity 96 dB / 2.83 V / m
* Impedance 8 ohms
* Frequency range 34 – 20000 Hz
* Weight approx. 176 lbs

Check out other Haigner horns at

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tannoy Westminster Royal

Tannoy is one of those brands I've always wanted to hear but never have. The next time I am traveling to a big city a Tannoy system is on my dream to hear list. Tannoy has a very long history starting in 1926. I'll skip to more recent history. The Tannoy company was sold around 1974 and the new owners were moving offices when originals drawings of Mr Fountain came to light. These drawings were new designs which showed the opposite in current speaker trends which were skinny inefficient boring boxes. Tannoy engineers and owners honored the founder of the company by finishing these designs and creating the GRF Prestige line. Bravo Tannoy!

One of these designs GRF left for Tannoy to discover was the Westminster Royal. It features a dual concentric driver which Tannoy is famous for in a large back loaded folded horn design. I look forward to hearing these feats of Scottish engineering.

Here is a pic for scale. I hope to post more about other Tannoy speakers in the future. If anyone wants to send me some samples ;)

Tannoy history

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

High-Fidelity Vol 1 Issue No.1

This is an article by PWK in the first issue of High-Fidelity magazine. The article is How To Get Best Results From A Klipschorn. This is a great early article.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Glory Days Of HiFi

Check out these pics of vintage audio stores. I wish I could get in my wayback machine with a pocket full of cash and stock the spaceage bachelor pad with killer audio gear.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hi-Fi Wife of the 50's

Ok now this is just hot. Forget any top model of the day I'll take Mrs 1950's wife with a killer kitchen system with a turkey. I bet she is listening to some 1950's exotica perhaps Drums of Bora Bora.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Experience Music, Inc

Do you want some really cool triode amplifiers, preamplifiers, or large horns hand crafted? I think Experience Music might be the company to do it for you. It seems they do incredible custom work.
Here are some triode pron pics.

Tube amps

Passive Preamp

I hope to take a trip to Memphis to hear some of this great gear.

Friday, December 4, 2009

BROOK Electronics 12A one of PWK's favorites

I think I've finally found the Brook 12A modification specifically for Klipschorns. Brook and PWK worked on this in the early days of Klipsch. This document comes straight from the Paul W Klipsch archivist Mr.Hunter. At first I thought I had the wrong document because it lists the 6B4G instead of the 2A3 but they are close enough it turns out. The 2A3 and 6B4G are used interchangeably in the 10C and 12A schematics. The Brook 12A 2A3 PP amp was reportedly one of PWK's favorite amplifiers. He talks about it in his interview with vacuum tube valley at the age of 94. The last time I was in Hope, AR I got a good pic of PWK's actual Brook 12A23KI and preamp. It is still in his office. Here is the pic.
* SORRY guys I seem to have screwed up on this one. This is not the PWK mod but a different schematic from the archives. Can anyone identify what critter this is from?  *

This schematic is supposed to be of just the modifications of the Brook 12A to the 12A3KI. If anyone can shed light on this and what it actually does please please comment on this post. Here it is

Here is a schematic I've found on the electroweb.

Here are some great Brook preamp and 12A pics and a stereo pair. My ears crave this setup.

A couple of links.
An interesting post on Brook click here.
A TubeCad article on the Brook by John Broskie click here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rek-O-Kut Rondine turntable or record changer ?

Rek-O-Kut explains why you don't want a record changer to play your valuable vinyl. Great marketing and it is true. I found a Rondine Jr at a flea market but it was in such bad shape not even I would buy it for $5.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Brook Electronics Since 1934

First in the High-Quality Audio Field Since 1934

Brook was among the first consumer Hi-Fi audio companies. Born out of the glory days of the triodes.

Model 22A Integrated

Here is a very detailed 22A schematic.

Model 7 Preamp

Documentation on the Brook models is rare. I have scavenged for what I have posted here and some I haven't but what isn't posted is mostly schematics. That is except the next post which will have an ultra rare PWK mod of the Brook 12A schematic specifically for the Klipschorns.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Novachord 1938 Polyphonic Synthesizer Predates Moog and Scott

This may be one the earliest synth ever built.

Visit the Novachord website to listen to music being played and for more detailed information.

Restored Nocachord..

Comment from an ex-employee.
"The Novachord made beautiful music if played well, but it was not well adapted either to either an organists style or a pianists style. Thus it required development of a specific style, which not many musicians were prepared to do. it also had technical problems, requiring frequency adjustments to keep it operating cheifly because the frequency dividers and electronic components before the war were not nearly as good as those available in later years. The hammond Organ Company could have revivied it after the war, and could have made it better in light of available technology at the time, but sales had been disapointing ad so it was not considered a good commercial product"

Sony Lo-Fi Advert

This ad confuses me. The only person in the sweet spot is the guy. Candles are on the speakers which is a big no no. The girls seem impressed but I thought girls were only interested in large horns?

Mullard The Master Valve - Advert