I have a thing for horns. Especially vintage-ish horns. They’re kind of hard to find these days, though you see a few here and there. Like Classic Audio Loudspeakers.
The designer, John Wolfe, has been making some reproduction-style loudspeakers for far longer than I’ve been out of school (I’m just going to leave that lie there, without any dates that will incriminate either of us). The T1.5 Reference, an incredible (and incredibly massively monstrously enormous) loudspeaker is his usual gig at an audio show — and that sucker is every bit the heirloom quality speaker it looks like. Unbelievably powerful and effortlessly dynamic — “they” seriously, truly and simply do not make speakers like this anymore. It’s a favorite of mine, I’ll just admit that here so we can move on to my new favorite, the Hartsfield.
The Hartsfield is a 16Ω speaker that can do 30Hz up past 20kHz in it’s 106dB corner-shaped front-loaded horn frame. The “weird” thing to us new-audio-dudes is the lens — it looks like someone slapped some bent blinds in front of the 2″ compression driver that handles everything between 800Hz and the “super tweeters”. Coherence from this speaker was astonishing — set up as they were, some 30′ apart and nowhere near a side wall, the images they threw were big and tactile. No “she’s there in your room” shenanigans here, no — the Hartsfield took me to the venue, and Elvis and Lyn Stanley were up on stage, spot-lit, and eerily present. I got goosebumps. No, really.
John played back-to-back recordings of “Fever”, first by Elvis (an excellent-sounding LP that I didn’t catch the cover of), and then by Stanley from Lost in Romance. I was flabbergasted. These things are $27k/pair? Oh, really …. [insert a “bwahahahaha” here].
Driven by some refurbed Novacrons from Atma-Sphere, this was shockingly great and another Best-In-Show contender.