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The Beatnik Pet Peeves Part One: Continued

Just because it is old, but not vintage doesn’t make it any less good. “Lowther Loudspeakers”

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Description

Teresonic speakers, right down to the varnish, look more like musical instruments than high-end audio speakers. Mike of Teresonic, says that the shape, woods, and even the varnishes are part of the design. Mentioning Mike, I should mention he has a lifelong love for music – not just audio. You only have to be with Mike for a little while to know this. He told me that through research and trial and error, he has come to believe that speaker cabinets should be built like musical instruments. He and his colleagues do not believe that speaker cabinets should be built as dead and damped as possible. They feel that a dead cabinet does not produce a natural and alive sound. That is why their enclosures are built by fine musical instrument craftsmen and shaped somewhat like fine musical instruments. Teresonic speakers are so much more than cabinets, they are beautiful works of art.

The Ingeniums could be described as a not-so-simple single-driver, crossover-less speaker. They can use almost any of the Lowther eight inch drivers. Mine has the DX4 drivers with silver wound voice coils. The Lowther driver is mounted in what Teresonic calls an Enhanced Tapered Quarter Wave Tube (ETQWT). This is basically a special transmission line and it is a key design priority for Teresonic speakers. They say this is what enables the extremely clean and accurate midrange, the widest range of sound audible to our ears, along with extended low frequency response.

The cabinet is 73” tall, 10” wide by 20” deep at the bass but 8” wide by 4” deep at the top. Their shape is that of a very gentle “S.” The transmission line opening is a 2” by 9” opening in the front at bass of the speaker. At first look you might think they are simply a fancy looking Voigt pipe, but there is more in this design than meets the eye. The sides of the cabinets are constructed from ¾ inch MDF. The front, rear, and top of the cabinets are curved and thus are built out of laminated layers of wood that are built up to also be ¾ of an inch thick and grooved on the inside to help with air flow and proper resonance. There are internal braces used to help achieve the desired cabinet resonances. There is also a back brace behind the driver designed to eliminate basket vibrations and to keep the weight of the magnet from pulling down on the surround and paper cone. This helps with one of the traditional problems with Lowthers; keeping the magnets from pulling down on the driver and getting it out of alignment. The Ingenium’s transmission line goes up from the driver and all the way back down the 73 inch enclosure resulting in by far the best bass I have ever heard from a Lowther; though I should note it take several hundred hours before you really hear how incredible the bass can be. As I said, it’s more than a simple single driver speaker.

Their Magical Sound

When I reviewed the Ingeniums seven years ago I did almost all of my listening with the Wavac EC300B with Western Electric tubes, a Shindo Masseto preamp, Clearaudio Anniversary AMG Wood CMB turntable, Benz Ebony TR in a Clearaudio Satisfy Carbon Fiber tonearm. What digital listening I did was with the Slim Devices Transporter with and without the Audio Note DAC 5 Special I had in for review. All the cabling was with Teresonic’s cables. I did get to hear the speakers with Teresonic’s own 2A3 amp while I had it in for review and they sounded wonderful with it, but in the end I’m a WE 300B kind of guy.

The system has gone through a lot of different equipment in that time. The one thing that has not changed is the WAVAC EC300B amp. Regardless of the equipment these speakers have maintained qualities that I love. Over 95% of my listening is vinyl and I have settled on the AMG V12 turntable and tonearm. For the little bit of digital listening I do I use the 47 Labs Midnight Blue CD Player; quite a little wonder by the way. I’m using the SoundSmith strain gauge cartridge with David Slagle’s Emia Remote Silver Autoformer. All my cabling and power cords are by High Fidelity Cable. The power cords are plugged into the HB Cable Design’s Marble PowerSlave.

I’m not saying that I haven’t had equipment in that didn’t sound good with these speakers, but for nearly 8 years I have not been able to find another speaker/amp combo that I prefer though the DeVore Orangutans came very, very close. What is it that has continually kept the Ingenium XR Silvers as my speakers for the last eight years?

First and far most is that the Ingeniums XR Silvers sound alive like no other speaker I have heard. The only speaker that came close was the DeVore Fidelity Orangutans. This aliveness is something you will really miss once you have heard it. This aliveness has to do with immediacy, micro-dynamics, macro-dynamics, and clarity.

Second, is the purity of the sound. The beginnings and endings of notes are never obscured or over damped by the cabinet. Voices sound so in the room with you, never sounding the least bit boxy. This purity let’s you enjoy the natural timbre of instruments. Nothing illustrates the effect of this purity like the sound of guitars, basses, harps, and the like. Plucked strings — and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a blues guitar, a standup bass in a jazz group, or a harp in classical ensemble — sound alive and full of beautiful musical tone. On these instruments you first hear the leading edge fast, quick, and dynamic. Then you hear the tonal colors of the strings and after that they allow you to hear the decay and air inside and around the instrument.

Third, it’s the power with which they play music. You need to hear a big pipe organ on these speakers; it is really a transforming experience. I love to hear a really big pipe organ played live, but I’ve most often found it to be such a letdown in my home. I think we misunderstand what it takes to reproduce a pipe organ. Who cares if your system can play down into the low 20Hz range? That’s not what organ music is all about. It’s about power. It’s about air, lots of moving air. It’s about dynamics. It’s about hearing the hall the organ is being played in. It is an emotional, auditory, and tactile experience; and that’s exactly what I experience with the Ingenium XR Silver’s playing well recorded organ music.

By the way, I have never seen a used pair of Teresonic Ingeniums for sale. What speakers can you say that about? I don’t think my pair will be the first. As much as I loved the DeVore Fidelity Orangutans, when I put the Teresonics back in I knew I already owned the speaker that makes music for me. Just because they have been on the market unchanged for nearly ten years in no way means you should overlook them. They are still my favorite speaker I have heard in my room and while they cost a lot I have had speakers in for review that cost three and four times as much that in no way made me want to part with the Teresonics.

7 Responses to The Beatnik Pet Peeves Part One: Continued


  1. Mike says:

    Hi Jack,
    Of all the writers out there you and Jeff Day are two who have found what you were looking for and shout it from the rooftops. The Ingeniums have allowed you a much simpler less expensive route. Jeff’s Westminster Royal SEs come dear and then he discovered the Dueland external crossover adventure which ultimately cost as much as the Ingeniums.
    I for one really enjoy you guys enthusiasm for your systems.

    One thing that you touched on that I find relevant to my search is revisiting older speaker models that have stood the test of time. Now apparently all to be compared and contrasted to the O/96.
    (btw, I just saw where Art Dudley bought a pair. Apparently the test results and ensuing argument didn’t outweigh what a wonderful speaker it is. Writing a check being the ultimate vote of approval.)
    The Silverback is another speaker that interests me that hasn’t been reviewed since 06. I read somewhere that it is being upgraded.

    On another note, Whetstone in Austin is now a dealer for Thoress, the word is that Reinhard is the “Shindo of Germany”. This bears looking into Mr. Reviewer!

    As always it’s a joy reading your work.
    Thanks,
    Mike

    • Jack Roberts says:

      Mike, Thanks for continuing to read my audio ramblings. I also enjoy reading Jeff’s great blog. Yes the Teresonics cost less than the Westminster Royal SEs, but still at the current price of $20,000 they are surely very expensive speakers by most people’s standards. I was lucky to buy mine nearly 8 years ago. I’m afraid why I thankfully can’t be tempted to use the Dueland caps, I have fallen to the equally expensive temptation of the incredible High Fidelity magnetic cables.

      None of what I wrote in this column should take anything away from what I said about the Orangutan O/96 speakers. They are simply incredible and will hold there own with either the Teresonics or the Westminster Royal SEs. I have not heard the Silverbacks in several years so I have no comment and do not own the right amps to review them. I have heard the Thoress electronics at shows, they sounded great, maybe I’ll check them out for review, but that depends on the importer and our publisher. Thanks again for reading Dagogo.

  2. alan trahern says:

    Okay, we’re two installments in on this “pet peeves” thing and, so far, all I’m seeing is a review of the writer’s own system. Are there actually any peeves on the horizon that we may one day catch up to ?

    • Jack Roberts says:

      Fair enough, thanks for reading them. The first two were the same pet peeve and I have to admit that I did indulge a bit, but I do think they are two products that shouldn’t be forgotten just because they aren’t the newest thing. Promise this is the last pet peeve that is about my equipment. The next one will be titled; “Pet Peeves #2 Any System Can Play That”.

  3. Bob says:

    Jack
    Does the infamous Lowther shout really occur at 12,000Hz? I thought it was much lower. At that frequency not many would be able to hear it, especially anyone over 50.
    As a side issue for those who don’t want (have) $20k to spend, will the Teresonic Magus work in large rooms?

    Thanks

  4. Rod Venning says:

    Hi Jack.
    Thanks for the great article. Just one point (or one zero ). The Lowther “shout” should be 2000Hz…2150 is about the peak. Depending on the speaker model, peaks also occur in the highs.
    8000Hz and 10000Hz affect the DX series. My OB DX4/Slot-loaded open baffle bass system uses parametric DSP to achieve a reasonably flat response 17Hz to 12000Hz with great dynamics.
    A very easy and relatively cheap build. Cheers. Rod.

    • Jack Roberts says:

      Bob and Rod you are both correct. 12,000 was a typo that should have said 2,000 and should have been caught. The difference between 12,000 and 2,000 is very important sonically, but not very obvious to a proof reader. Sorry I didn’t catch it and thanks for pointing it out. This changes nothing about the way Teresonic so successfully dealt with this infamous “shout.”

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