Yes, Lowther loudspeakers are vintage, but the only time I see reviews of them is when someone tries a new method of using the drivers. So, I’m going to include them and especially the Teresonic Ingenium XR Silvers in my Pet Peeve #1. The Teresonic Ingenium has been around for around 10 years and the last review I’ve seen of this speaker was in 2008. So, it seems to me to fall between that area of the hottest new stuff and vintage.
Paul Voight released the “Domestic Corner Horn” in 1934. It is said to have set a new benchmark for high quality sound reproduction for it’s time and in someways until this day. His unique design gave an extremely alive sounding presentation. It was also in 1934 Paul Voigt met O. P. Lowther from the Lowther Manufacturing Company Ltd., and as they say the rest is history.
Together they were able to combine a low-mass paper cone with incredibly powerful magnets to produce a driver that had a voltage sensitivity over 100dB. Lowther did a lot of work on magnets, and after WWII released the new PM1 driver. It retained the same performance as the original Voigt but was easier to manufacture and use. This was an era of real success for Lowther. By the late 1950s, people began to want stereo and the search was on in most of the world to build smaller loudspeakers. Thank goodness, Lowther has continued to refine and produce their wonderful drivers to this day despite the fact they are most often used in fairly large cabinets.
As incredible as the eight inch Lowthers are they are still far from perfect; they have what is called the “Lowther Shout” which is a peak around 2,000 Hz. There have been lots of attempts at dealing with this problem. Back when the New York Mets were a new expansion team they had a pitcher one year who lost 19 games. My father said, “you have to be a really good pitcher to lose 19 games.” I asked him why and he said isn’t it obvious, no one would keep letting him pitch if he wasn’t really good. Well, the same principle is true here. There has to be and there surely is something about a speaker that audio enthusiast have continued to try to overcome that shout for 80 years.
The trend nowadays by Lowther lovers is to give up on taming the Lowther eight inch driver’s shout. Instead they try using or making a different driver that they hope will give all the glory of the Lowther without the shout. A few examples that come to mind are Voxativ, Rethm, and Feastrex. The problem is I haven’t heard one except for the $80,000 Feastrix and the $100,000 Voxativ that keeps the magic of the Lowther. Even then the Feastrix has no bass and will not play very loud. Then there are those who attempt to add woofers and tweeters, but with these attempts you lose the magical coherency of a single driver speaker.
Then there is the problem of reviewing speakers with Lowther drivers. The stories about how long Lowther drivers take to break in are true. I promise you the Teresonic Ingenium speakers I reviewed seven years ago sound very different today. Now I didn’t say they have improved the design or I have discovered the magical way to place them; truth is I still use them with the same amp as well. No, I simply mean they continued to improve for at least four years. They are also extremely revealing of the source you feed them. They are so revealing that small changes in front of them has significant effects on their sound. I will be honest with you, I have tuned my system around my Wavac EC-300B and my Teresonic Ingenium XR speakers with Lowther’s DX4 drives using silver wound voice coils. The Teresonic take on the Lowther is a speaker that is very chameleon-like, sound very much like what is front of them. Now I have heard Lowther speakers that aren’t like this. If the speaker designer doesn’t take care of the shout they very much have a sound of their own.
The Teresonic Team
The guys at Teresonic have strong pedigrees as musicians and engineers. Mike Zivkovic, CEO, co-founder, and all around great guy, has more than ten years of training in classical piano and clarinet. He graduated in acoustical engineering, and design. He worked for over 25 years in the high technology industry working for some of the world best known companies like Hewlett-Packard and Apple. Then he decide to focus on bringing out a speaker that would share with us his love for music.
His partner is Miles Dabic; Teresonic’s Chief Scientist is an accomplished engineer and has been designing speaker systems, audio cables and electronics since 1969. His research and ideas are behind advanced design of Teresonic speakers and cables. He has a degree in electrical engineering and an M.Sc. working in areas of logic arrays and signal processing in Manchester, England. Miles always found time for music and singing as a talented tenor performing works of old baroque masters, Scarlatti and Correlli, as well as works from Mendelssohn, Schubert, Mozart, Cherrubini, and Puccini. By the way Mile’s is a 300B lover like myself whereas Mike prefers the sound of 2A3s.
Sash Cerne is Teresonic’s master cabinetmaker. He has been designing and making loudspeakers and fine cabinetry for more than 20 years. He developed the process for making Teresonic speakers following centuries old and proven techniques used in making the finest music instruments combined with latest materials and technology. He personally oversees production of every single Teresonic cabinet to assure superb quality he has passion for.
They choose to deal with the Lowther shout not by electronics or modifying the driver; instead they use the cabinet and Helmholtz resonators in the cabinet to control the shout. Teresonic’s use of Helmholtz resonators as acoustically active elements to tame that famous shout is unique as far as I can find out. It is also highly successful in taming the shout. A Helmholtz resonator is a container of air with an open neck which lets a volume of air in and near the open hole it creates vibrations. There is much more on their website including mathematical formulas for those of you who want to explore such things.
These resonators are designed to “pick out” particular frequencies from a complex sound. They eliminate undesired “peaks and valleys” in the frequency spectrum produced by the drivers. Purely acoustical, rather than electronic elements, they are responsible for the exceptionally smooth sound of the Teresonic speakers without losing the magical aliveness of the Lowther drivers.
They are also designed to be as phase accurate and as coherent as possible. Our hearing is quite sensitive to phase accuracy. This lack of coherency is most easily heard heard in the reproduction of musical instruments and vocals. The fundamental problem created by lack of phase accuracy is that it leads to lost and corrupted harmonics, spatial and localization information, and micro-dynamics. This is especially hard to achieve in multi-driver speakers. To me phase accurate, very coherent, and highly efficient speakers, such as the Teresonics sound more alive, more musical, more dynamic, and more transparent than most speakers. This results in a more realistic and emotionally involving listening experience.
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