BlowTorch Audio Werks, Russ Gates | Lone Star Audio Fest 2019


DALLAS (PTA) — Blowtorch Audio Werks founder and chief designer Russ Gates is showing one of the most impressive loudspeakers at the show. Completed only a dozen hours before the show, Russ Gate’s new four-driver (active), two-driver (passive) tower loudspeaker brings the fun, dynamics and mid-range clarity that round out one of the most fun and audiophile pleasing sounds of the show.


The Story

The concept for Russ’ loudspeaker reaches back a full three years. The cabinets were ready during that time, but only fully realized as a complete loudspeaker just weeks before the show with driver selection and crossover assembly completion in their final stages. In fact, the crossover is still in the tweak stages.


Driver complement is Dayton Audio’s Reference 4-inch mid-range (two), Dayton Audio’s 8-inch dual-voice-coil woofer, Dayton Audio’s 8-inch weighted passive radiators (two), and HiVi’s 1-inch silk-dome tweeter. Crossover points are 375hz at the low-end, and 3,300hz at the high-end. I Internal cabinet volume is around 3.5-cu/ft, with heavy bracing throughout the interior. Final loudspeaker impedance is rated at 5-ohms.


Amplification for the show was handled by Jolida’s 801 Integrated rated at 60-wpc, while digital content was sourced from a Parasound ZCD Player, and Jolida Glass FX DAC. Cabling was Kimber Kable Monocle XL throughout, except for one almost-vintage Tributaries Cable coax cable (yellow).


The Sound

Throughout the trial-history of this speaker, the bass profundity and detal has been the most spot-on characteristic of its sound signature. Over time however, the mid-range needed to become more pronounced, so Russ decided to double the number of mid-range drivers. Myself never having heard it before this upgrade, only after. I would say this was the right move as the mid-range clarity and balance was really quite good. Competing with such strong and deep bass as this speaker exhibits, the mid-range and frequencies higher still don’t get lost or separated too far from total integration.


Russ’ speaker is dynamic and rich with tone. At first listen you can’t help but wallow in it’s fun dynamics and punchy actions. But with time, you realize this loudspeaker carries with it more balance and refinement than you expected. During the weekend this speaker went through changes as it started the show with only two hours of break-in. As the show progressed, so did Russ’ speaker.