Stereo Speaker Systems #2
Sonus Faber Electa
The Sonus Faber (pronounced Fah-bear) Electa was originally released in 1990 at a cost of $2000/pair (the Ironwood stands were a separate price at $600/pair).
The combination of Brazilian hardwood and Italian refined light rosewood adds to the overall beauty of functional design. When mounted on the optional Ironwood stands, each assembly weighs about 95 lbs.
Conveniently designed at 8ohms with a 6dB slope, they are able to handle loads up to 250 watts each.
At first glance, the Sonus Faber Electa appears to be a typical mini-monitor: a small vented box with two drivers. The speaker is significantly better-looking than Franco Serblin's first speaker system, the Snail (a subwoofer with two satellites attached via arms.)
And, like the Oracle Delphi turntable or Goldmund Apologue speakers (the latter also an Italian design), the Electa's appearance has received at least as much attention as its performance.
The Sonus Faber Electa system is stunning. The woodworking reminds a great deal of the inlaid artwork found around Sorrento, in the Electa's native Italy. A custom grained leather baffling is built into the front of the enclosures...rapping the cabinets yields only a very dull thud.
Inside each cabinet are two heavy Dynaudio drivers built exclusively for Sonus Faber. The drivers are very rare and, as of this writing, there are only 3 new ones available from Sonus Faber and are priced at $400 each + shipping from Italy.
The tweeter, a 1" soft dome said to be capable of handling 600W of continuous power, is the same Esotar 330 described in detail by Martin Colloms in his June 1992 review of the marvelous Sonus Faber Extrema. Each tweeter is protected by a metal-wire tripod.
The midrange/woofer, which handles the signal below 2.8kHz, is a 7" long-throw cone unit. The crossover is said to feature true 6dB/octave slopes. (The use of 6dB slopes has been a Sonus Faber feature since the release of the Parva FM2 minimonitor in 1984.)
The interior finish is just as fine as that on the exterior, to minimize disruptive laminar air flow. The back plate is finished off with two sets of binding posts to facilitate bi-wiring or bi-amping.
The heavy Ironwood stands are essential for proper height adjustment of the Electas. The woofer, not the tweeter, should be located at ear level.
Once optimally positioned, the Electas have a very extended, relatively neutral tonal balance to well up beyond the limits of human hearing.
About Sonus Faber (pronounced "Fah-Bear")...
Sonus Faber is an Italian manufacturer of handcrafted speakers, headphones, and other high-end audio equipment based in Arcugnano, Veneto, Italy.
The company was founded in 1983 by Franco Serblin. Sonus Faber is one of several audio brands owned by Fine Sounds Group which also owns McIntosh, Wadia, Sumiko and Audio Research.
Sonus Faber's well respected products include Chameleon-T floor-standing tower speakers, Venere floor speakers, Electa & Electa Amator bookshelf / floor series, Aida tower speakers, and others. The Aida line of speakers sells for approximately $120,000.
In 2015, Sonus Faber introduced its portable headphone range Pryma. There is the Pryma 0/1, which comes with six variations of headbands and seven variations of earcups. In 2016, they released the Pryma Aria, a wireless version of the 0/1.
Linn Tukan (Passive)
The 2-way bass reflex Linn Tukans are an accurate, compact loudspeaker notable for their high power handling, neutrality, bass extension and efficiency.
Similar to the Majik amp, the concept of a universal component with exceptional flexibility was also the spark behind the Linn Tukan system. Small enough to suit any environment, the Tukan offers extraordinary performance and can be easily reconfigured for different modes of operation as your requirements change. They are single wire, bi-wire, bi-amp or bi-wire (active) capable.
The 3/4" ceramic tweeter was originally developed for Linn's top-of-the-range Keltik Aktiv loudspeaker and provides smooth and detailed performance over the upper octaves. The 5.2" mid/bass driver was designed specifically for use in the Tukan. It employs a die-cast chassis which provides strength advantages over a typical pressed steel design. The copper voice coil is wound on an aluminium former. This, coupled with a vented pole piece, provides high power handling capabilities. The cone is carbon-loaded polypropylene. The bass unit's massive magnet was limited in size only by the need for it to fit through the hole in the front of the baffle! A second magnet mounted directly behind the primary unit focuses the magnetic field, increasing the strength of the field around the voice coil. This not only improves performance, it reduces extraneous magnetic emissions and allows the Tukan to be placed near a video monitor without causing color distortions.
Linn-developed, state-of-the-art computer techniques were used in the design of the Tukan's passive crossover network. Instead of acting as a simple high pass and low pass filter, the internal mounted Tukan crossover actually allows for the specific electrical and mechanical characteristics of the bass and treble units, in effect using them as part of the crossover network. The result is an unusually accurate frequency and phase response.
Obtaining the required high levels of performance from a speaker of this size places extreme demands on both cabinet and drive units. As is the case with all Linn speakers, extreme care was taken to ensure the mechanical integrity of all components. Ku-stone ceramic panels inside the cabinet provide additional mass and control cabinet resonances. Unlike conventional damping materials, Ku-stone remains stable over time and is not affected by changes in pressure or humidity. The unusually thick front panel provides a mechanically sound mounting surface for the Linn designed drive units. Flush mounting of the drivers ensure wide, even dispersion. Considerable attention was also applied to the design of the Tukan's rear bass port to ensure no spurious output. Dimensions/Specs: Amp power: minimum 30/W @ 8 ohms or minimum 60/W @ 4 ohmsImpedance: 4 ohms (passive)Sensitivity: 87dB12" (H) x 7.4" (W) x 7.2" (D) Weight: 12 lbs each Finish: Rosenut
Note: Linn's unique, vibration-free frame-less grills and wall-mount "Brakkits" are not included but are readily available online. The time-consuming application of the Linn flush-mount grills and their dark fabric may deter from the overall beauty of the exposed drivers so, instead, we fabricated some unique semi-transparent grills that can be removed if so desired.
Rather than go into a lengthy history, it's suggested to click on this link instead: https://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?7806-A-true-synopsis-of-Linn-s-history-and-status-or-not
Hartley Zodiac Jr
(1978) $225 (very rare, pristine)
We were fortunate to come across these very, very rare, matched pair (mirror-imaged) of late 70s Hartley Zodiac Jr speakers.
They are a 2-way system with 8" mid-bass drivers (treated cloth surrounds) and 2" tweeters. The minimum power of 5 watts & maximum of 50 watts makes these very efficient @ 8 ohms.
The original Zodiac lineup included the 300A, 1A, 77, and the Juniors. Later on, they added the 1B, 76 and 78 models.
Hartley was famous for designing excellent driver combinations of very good quality and assembling the components into beautiful enclosures. Even though these are 40 yrs.old, they still sound very good. The heavy cabinets (25 lbs each) have 3/4" thick baffles boards and are high grade furniture quality with a beautiful wood veneer. Even the original brown cloth framed grills are also pristine. Simply put, furniture quality veneered cabinets like these are NOT made like this any more.
There was once an Englishman named H.A. Hartley who was a capable designer, and audio theorist, not to mention a gifted lecturer and writer. He's often credited with coining the expression "high fidelity."
In his 1958 Audio Design Handbook, H.A. Hartley stated, "I invented the phrase 'high fidelity' in 1927 to denote a type of sound reproduction that might be taken rather seriously by a music lover. In those days the average radio or phonograph equipment sounded pretty horrible but, as I was really interested in music, it occurred to me that something might be done about it....A high-fidelity sound system should not add to nor take away from the musical signal put into it. As the years went by, the arrival of new techniques in recording provided a much better source of raw material for high-fidelity installation..."
Most important of all, in 1928 H.A. Hartley teamed up with a fellow named P.K. Turner to create an audio manufacturing company known as Hartley Products, Ltd. The Hartley company made electronics and loudspeakers, the latter of which included full-range coaxial drivers using energized field coils and, later on, quite powerful permanent magnets.
Hartley's loudspeakers met with success over the years, and distribution arrangements were made with specialist companies around the globe—including a contract with a New Yorker named Robert Schmetterer, who became Hartley's US distributor in 1949.
It wasn't until 1953 when Schmetterer eventually took over the company. Hartley Products Ltd. became Hartley Products Inc., and control of one of the most interesting domestic audio companies in history passed not into the hands of a multinational corporation, but from one family to another.
That's when things got interesting: In 1956, just a few years after moving his company from England to New York, Schmetterer hired an engineer named Harold Luth, who came to Hartley after spending a number of years developing naval weapons for the RAND Corporation. Luth would be to the Hartley company what Gordon Gow was to McIntosh and Bill Miller is to Linn: a hired gun who contributed even more ingenuity to a company than its founder.
The Hartley Company is still in business today that concentrates on speaker components.
The Technics SB-P1000 is a 2-way linear phase bass-reflex system and one of the smaller models in the extensive line-up from Technics in the late 70's.
They were designed to be a more affordable speaker for the mass consumer market as opposed to the much higher priced higher end models. They achieved modest success, and today, the SB-P1000 models are pretty rare.
The linear phase design technology began in 1975 with the respected Technics Model 7 (SB-7000) and had to do with the spatial imaging...this is one of their most striking performance features, offering a slightly discernable degree of body and openness to program material. The whole idea was to address phase issues in multi-way speakers.
In the SB-P1000, the 2.5" tweeters are "hiding" behind a diffuser directly above the 8' main drivers. The idea was to spread out the higher frequencies while keeping the drivers in a vertically straight design.
The handsome walnut veneer cabinets and the stretched faux-silk grills are all in great shape.
About TECHNICS / MATSUSHITA / PANASONIC
Founded in the 1920's, the huge Japanese conglomerate Matsushita had interests in many electronics companies. The most well known would be Technics and Panasonic. Technics was introduced as a brand name for premium loudspeakers marketed domestically by Matsushita in 1965. Eventually, Technics became a premium brand bringing classics like the SL-1200mkii turntable and the absolute monster receiver at the top of the list: Technics SA-1000 (330 watts per channel)
Bose 301 Series II
('83-'91) $200 (includes stands shown in photos)
This one-owner, mint condition (as new) pair of Bose 301 Series II, with their handsome two-tone light/dark brown grills and walnut veneer cabinets, are generally considered to be the "best" of the many different 301 models developed by Bose over the last 40+ years.
The handsome walnut accent speaker stands and wall brackets are included.
Treated gently by the original owner, this pair is in absolutely excellent cosmetic and working condition. With the right placement, they will suit most of those familiar with the "direct/reflect" purposed design of the Bose 301s.
The best suggested placement of these in the listening room is in the middle, between the L/R side walls to take advantage of the rear firing tweeters.
The spatial sound comes from the unique placement of the twin 3" high sensitivity tweeters in each enclosure (with one facing forward and one facing back) and the 8" woofers facing straight ahead. These have a nominal impedance of 8 ohms with a rated 89 dB sensitivity.
We had the distinct pleasure to have met Dr Amar Bose, in person, during the late 60's at a Pacific Stereo store demo in Walnut Creek CA. It was one of the first public demonstrations of the now famous Bose 901s. When asked about his philosophy towards speaker design, he replied "I want to build speakers the way people want to hear them". So, there's nothing more we can say that hasn't already been said before about Bose. You either like them or you don't. Bear in mind, that in the last 50 years, nobody, and we mean nobody, has sold more speakers worldwide than Bose. End of story.
custom speaker stands
Did you know that most speakers sound much better when they are placed on the correct size speaker stands? The improvement in the sound is sometimes astounding!
We are currently stocking custom speaker stands made by the Crocker© Company. The Crocker© "Steampunk" stands are custom-built, heavy duty and built one pair at a time to YOUR specs.
"The Clayton" $225/pr
A detailed, well constructed, labor intensive pair with a mix of poplar, cherry and pine woods with a heavy dose of industrial design iron bolts and caps
"The Watson" $225/pr
Another detailed, well constructed, labor intensive pair with a mix of poplar, cherry and pine woods with a layered "sandwiched" curved design.
"Tall Boy" $125/pr
stands made of poplar, cherry or stained pine and come with either slate anodized pipe or satin black anodized pipe. (Different heights and woods are available)
"Small Boy" $75/pr
angled (9 degrees) floor stands made of polar and cherry wood with glue-welded joints.
All stands are custom made with your choice of woods and colors...the Crocker© stands are made to last a lifetime.
They are on display and available for purchase at our Greenville store...
All the stands are built to hold the heaviest of speakers with no worries...ever!
There are NO middleman fees, you will be dealing directly with the designer.
Contact us for further information.
Based in Easley SC, Crocker© woodworking has many years of experience in design and construction of beautiful wood and metal creations. A love of all things relating to vintage stereo equipment has convinced Crocker© to now offer these unique speaker stands. They will listen to your input and deliver a finished pair of stands that will allow your speakers to perform the way they were meant to.