by Paul Elliott
Lou Hinkley’s musical epiphany came at the young age of 12. When he heard some Booker T recordings, he just knew his path had to involve music. Lou became a musician and then started building speaker boxes for bands. He developed his skills as a speaker builder and as a cabinet maker, developing quite a reputation as providing the best sounding speakers for music venues.
In 1992 he transitioned into the home audio genre, aiming to build to the highest standards. This meant furniture-grade hardwood, and dovetail joinery for the strongest possible boxes. (Most speakers are built using MDF and veneers. To match the stiffness of hardwoods, you need much thicker MDF or the boxes would weigh three times as much). Lou’s boxes truly are heirloom products that will last a lifetime.
From DaedalusAudio.com website: “These speakers are among the finest in the world at any price and are essentially artisan-made. commissioned works. Every pair is unique and made for that individual, much like the experience of having an instrument custom built by a world-class luthier”
His speakers are all very high efficiency in the upper 90’s. He designed the woofers, which are custom made for him. The other unique feature is the offset tweeter. The Apollo is an MTM design, two midranges bracketing two tweeters. One tweeter is on a slightly different plane than the other. This does a few things: it keeps the tweeters from interfering with each other, widens the sound stage, and widens the sweet spot.
Lou has customers that drive his speakers with SET amps as low as a few watts. He feels the speakers need at least 11 watts, but they can handle just about anything you throw at them. His specially designed crossovers present an impedance curve that is essentially flat as a response curve.
Lou had two rooms at AXPONA, both with the fine Lampizator DAC. One room had LTA electronics, the other with VAC. WyWires made all the connections. I chose the VAC room because of my personal preference for the warm tube sound and the Apollo 11. Daedalus is promoting heavily this year, after all, it is the 50 year anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch. This promotion includes a hefty discount of the Apollo 11 speaker with grills and inlay for $19,600 (regularly $23,850).
In the room
- Daedalus Apollo 11
- Single 10” with MTM design
- Figured Baked Maple Full range loudspeakers
- 51.5 ” tall
- 96 DB 1 @ 1 m
- 6-ohm flat
- VAC Signature SE Preamplifier Transformer coupled Class A triode $ 19,990
- VAC Signature 200 iQ Power Amp $14,500
- Lampizator Golden Gate 2 $16,995
- Lampizator Super Komputer Music Server starting at $8,000
- WyWires cabling
- Diamond Series Interconnects starting at $4,495
- Platinum Series power cords starting at $999
- Diamond Series power cords starting at $2,995
- Diamond Series Speaker cables $7,999
- WyWires/Daedalus Power Broker AC dist. $2,495
- Diamond Series Digital Cables starting at $1,699
Lou is a big believer in-room treatment and using sound panels from GIK Acoustics. He wants to strike a balance of professionally treating the room while keeping it as minimal as possible. I was in the room early on Friday and he was still tweaking the placement of the first reflection point. I got a real lesson on the effectiveness of this combo diffusion/absorption from GIK Acoustics. Adjusting these panels just inches, either way, tamed a tweeter that was just a hair too bright (for me).
I have always enjoyed the Daedalus sound, its real, impactful, and musical in a way one could spend the whole day listening to, but sadly I had to move on to keep my editor happy.