Publisher Profile

Gary Lea Interviews Albert Von Schweikert

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Albert Von Schweikert and here Wednesday night with one of his main dealers who came to listen to my system. It was a good night and they really enjoyed themselves. Manny was blown away by the sound and Albert had been raving about my system to him since December. I have to admit that it is nice to get that validation that you have put together a decent sounding system. We had a grand time. I may be reviewing the Anniversay 5s at some point as a follow up to the Unifield 3s.

If you have never listened to a Von Schweikert speaker, silly you. If you have never spoken to the man, well that is a real shame. Albert is one of those people who can spew endless amounts of information of such a scientific nature that he leaves you behind in the wake of spent rocket fuel and then turn around and marvel at something with all the wide eyed innocence of a child! That much intelligence and that much natural curiosity and wonderment makes for an endearing combination.

GL – How long have you been involved with HIFI on a serious level?
AVS – Since 1957, when my dad bought an Eico integrated amp kit and talked me into assembling it for him. I was 12 and was able to solder better than my dad, who had bad eyesight. Later he made me build a Heathkit speaker made by University. It had a 15” woofer and horn tweeter, which sounded like “boom and sizzle.” I stuffed cotton inside the horn to reduce the “glare” and filled the woofer box with my pillow to get rid of the “boom” that I heard on piano notes.

GL – When did it become a true passion?
AVS – When I improved the Heathkit speaker.

GL – At which point did you realize a desire to make it a profession?
AVS – When I couldn’t get into aerospace due to the layoffs in the late 1970’s.

GL – What is it that you like best about what you are doing now?
AVS – I get to hear music every day!

GL – Boxers / Briefs?
AVS – Boxers – briefs are for swimming champs who want to show off.

GL – Who influenced you along the way to do what you are doing? Mentors?
AVS – Dr. Richard C. Heyser, who worked at JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) across the street from Cal Tech. He wrote two books about sound and measurement which affected my research. He also gave me a few tips on how to improve my designs.

GL – Any regrets about the business along the way? If so What?
AVS – I wish I was as good at marketing as I am at designing. Although my speakers are considered to be “slightly” better than Bose models, I don’t sell quite as many as they do!

GL – What is your favorite item that you have designed, sold, or written about?
AVS – My discovery of Acoustic Inverse Replication has affected the thoughts of all speaker designers. A.I.R. is my concept of the recording mic being an “encoder” so the speaker has to be an exact “inverse” in order to “decode” the actual dimensionality of the original performance. This means a correctly designed speaker must be designed like a mic in reverse. See my website for further details.

GL – Why is that? What makes it so special and above the rest?
AVS – A.I.R. enables my speakers to have a more realistic sound stage image than conventional designs.

GL – Conservative / Liberal?
AVS – A bit of both, actually.

GL – What do you do better than most anyone you know?
AVS – Don’t know……eating, perhaps?

GL – What piece of equipment, that you have not designed, sold, or wrote about, captivates you?
AVS – Koetsu phono cartridges – they’re incredible!

GL – Do you have a holy grail within audio that you find yourself still searching for?
AVS – I would like to design the first recording/playback system that would make you believe you were hearing actual live music. The recording end of the chain is quite the most difficult part……

GL – If you were not doing this, what do you think you would be doing?
AVS – Designing rocket ships at JPL.

GL – What have you not done that you really want to do before you check out?
AVS – Drive a Ferrari at 200 MPH at a great F1 track. (Or any F1 car for that matter – GL)

GL – What pushes your buttons? Pet peeve so to speak.
AVS – Audiophiles who don’t listen to live music, just stereo equipment. They are the most opinionated, but with no reference!

GL – Favorite color? What does it emote for you?
AVS – Green. Makes me think of the woods, meadows, fields, peace and harmony….

GL – What are your hobbies since audio is your vocation?
AVS – I play guitar, piano, and bass. I have a small recording studio with 24/96 Digidesign 002 recording desk, so I like to record songs I’ve been writing for an album. In the ‘6o’s I played with Sonny and Cher, then later Neil Diamond. (Albert, I don’t know if I would admit those last two – GL)

GL – Beatles or Stones?
AVS – Do I really have to choose? They’re both great bands!

GL – Hendrix or Eddie Van Halen?
AVS – Can’t choose, they’re both innovators who changed the world of guitar playing. Van Halen is the most proficient player, but Hendrix started it all…..

GL – Do you own an iPod? Thoughts?
AVS – Nope….sound sucks too bad to enjoy.

GL – What do you listen to when you are listening purely for pleasure? Recommendations?
AVS – I like any and all guitar player albums, no matter how bad the recording. I like the inspiration for my own playing. I also love long, romantic symphonies where I can fall asleep and dream of beautiful things…. Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, etc.

GL – What advice do you have for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
AVS – Don’t! There are already too many speakers on the market now!

GL – Words of wisdom for the masses?
AVS – Listen to more music, make love, not war. (Can I get an amen? – GL)

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