Publisher Profile

An Interview with Daniel Khesin of Polymer Audio Research

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Daniel Khesin of Polymer Audio Research

Laurence Borden: Dan, welcome to dagogo. Please begin by telling us a bit about your background, including your introduction to audio.

Daniel Khesin: Thanks Larry, I am very excited to share our story and to be included in your coverage. I have been in the audio industry in one form or another for nearly 20 years and speaker design in particular is a total obsession for me. It’s pretty much all I think about, whether I am at the beach or lying in bed in the middle of the night I am always thinking of new concepts and challenges in loudspeaker design. It is a remarkably complex discipline with opposing variables, meaning that as you optimize one parameter inevitably you degrade another and the “art” of loudspeaker design is finding that golden middle where as many things as possible fall into place. It is also a complex science that includes mechanical engineering, acoustics, and filter theory not to mention electro-magnetism and signal transmission and other branches of science. The more you learn the more you realize how little you know. I have never met a loudspeaker engineer who has mastered all these principles, even among the most brilliant people in the world. So this is what keeps me up at night.

I have always been fascinated with sound systems (the idea that a device in the home can reproduce a previously played event with some measure of accuracy is simply mind blowing; it’s really a form of time travel) but my first real exposure to speaker building happened when I was 14 years old and went to visit my uncle for the first time in Los Angeles who was very active in the speaker building community and had giant horn speakers and a wall of tube amps. I didn’t want to do anything else since.

LB: Other than your uncle’s horns, were there any other speakers that had a particularly strong influence on you during your “formative years”?

DK: I was particularly impressed with Goldmund Mimesis speakers in the 90s and I was very impressed with the low frequency response of the first Wilson Grand Slamm around the same time, these were truly revolutionary designs when they came out and changed the high-end audio landscape in significant ways. Later on I was extremely impressed with some of the flagship designs from Von Schweikert. However, I can’t say that I was influenced by any commercially available speakers in my own designs. There are many different paths that can lead to sonic nirvana and I was primarily fascinated with solving design challenges with a form-follows-function approach.

Polymer Audio Research  MKS speaker modeling

Polymer Audio Research MKS speaker modeling

LB: When did you first try your hand in speaker-building? What were your earliest designs like?

DK: My earliest designs were a complete disaster and even after several years of trying I was still only producing one disaster after another.

LB: Over the years, have you built all or most of your own speakers?

DK: I have always built loudspeakers, the obsession never stopped. I have no aversion to owning a commercial design from a competitor but I simply would never have much time to listen to it as there is always some experiment to conduct in my own work.

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