A 'by appointment only' high-end audio dealership in Cleveland Ohio.

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Auditorium 23 Hommage 755

Just arrive is the magnificent And 23 Hommage 755. The sheer beauty of sound can only be matched by the remarkable craftsmanship!

The design of the Hommage 755 is based on the esthetics of the Western Electric 753 loudspeaker, the sole speaker of Western Electric, which was offered for private use. Like as the Hommage à Ken speaker, the Hommage 755 is fitted with the LM 755 Alncio driver. All parameters of driver were carefully tuned to the dimensions of the cabinet. The development and realisation of the concept – supplemented by further insights that derived from the manufacturing of other speakers by Auditorium 23 – led to a result that gives a strong signal in the segment of full-range speakers. The physical properties of the LM 755 driver are perfectly maintained in all parameters by LineMagnetic Audio. The extreme complex and costly Alnico-structure, the thin pole plate, the ‘overhanging’ wound voice coil (manufactured for the first time by Western Electric and a feature of the 7 series), the accurate and well considered large conception of the spider in a wisely produced basket with little windows, the flat shape of the membrane, built as a one piece dome-construction out of the cellulose-pulp – properties which Western Electric elaborated in the 1940s. More than a few consider the WE 755 driver to be the best full-range driver in general. With a height of roughly 35 inches the Hommage 755 loudspeaker is the *Piccolo* in the product line of Auditorium 23. With its elegant, high-quality and lean design this speaker can be easily integrated into the personal living space – with sonic results only to be found with excellent full-range drivers.

The Great Headphone Giveaway

From November the 25th till December the 25th. Buy any new speaker with a value of over $2000.00 and we will include a pair of Focal Spirit Classic Headphones. These are valued at $450.00. Offer is good while supplies last!

 

This offer is only for new speakers and does not include used or demo products.

 

“Digital opponent sounds a new tune”

Digital opponent sounds a new tune
Cleveland Plain Dealer – Thursday, May 18th, 2006
Bill Lammers — Columnist

As the Digital Age marches on, many audiophiles remain true to their first loves: two-channel audio and vinyl long-playing albums. Surround sound and compact discs just don’t make it for this crowd. Too cold. Fake. Sterile. Harsh.

Flash! Here’s a headline for you: “Mr. Analog goes digital!”

A year ago, I wrote about Don Better, who sells high-end audio equipment from his Cleveland Heights home. A guitar teacher at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Music who once played with the pop group Pacific Gas & Electric, he has been a standard bearer for analog audio – vinyl records, turntables and cartridges, vacuum tube amplifiers and simple two-driver loudspeakers.

During an open house last week at his new listening room complete with angled ceilings and asymmetrical walls, Better confessed he has two new devices that have made him appreciate – if not totally embrace – digital recordings.

They are digital-to-analog converters from Wavelength Audio Ltd., a Cincinnati company that also makes amplifiers that boost a turntable’s fragile signal into one that can be used by the preamplifiers and amplifiers in a stereo system based on separate components.

Wavelength’s two digital-to- analog converters – the Cosecant sells for $3,500 and the Brick sells for $1,750 – combine with a lap top computer and outboard hard drive (together, less than $1,200) to deliver dig ital music to the amps. They do this job with better accuracy and handier features than many high-end CD players.

“This setup has replaced the $2,500 CD players – it’s absolutely killed them,” Better said. “For most people, the $1,750 product is so much better than they’ve ever heard before.”

The Wavelength devices connect between a computer’s Universal Serial Bus jacks – preferably the newer 2.0 version, but version 1.1 works as well – and the traditional stereo sound system. As you might imagine, a vacuum tube is involved in the process.

In addition to the quality of sound that the digital-to-analog converter delivers, Better said the convenience of a computer-based system makes this setup better than a traditional CD player.

“You can organize your CDs any way you want, and the sound is not going to be at the MP3 level,” he said. “It’s going to be the same as other CDs. You also can stream Internet radio and other Web-based sound sources in high definition.”

How did Mr. Analog stumble upon this combination of devices? It was music, of course.

“I was listening to the radio, a Charlie Haden song started playing, and I liked it,” he said. He bought the song by jazz bassist Haden and pianist Kenny Barron at iTunes – Apple Computer’s Internet-based music service – and was hooked on the immediacy of buying music online.

“I find myself using this not so much for serious listening – for that, I listen to records,” Better said. “But this doesn’t offend me.”

During Better’s open house, two guests showed how well their products worked with both digital and analog sources.

John DeVore, president and chief designer of DeVore Fidelity, showed his Silverback Reference speakers, which he said are designed to reproduce sounds at frequencies above and below most people’s ability to hear because those sounds still contribute to the listening experience.

“Our goal is to provide the most transparent window to everything upstream,” he said. “The difference is how big the window is. The Silverback offers the biggest window.”

DeVore explained how important it is to understand that the speakers combine with an amplifier to create a complete electrical circuit. Because of this, he designs speakers that do not return unwanted signals to the amplifier.

“Garbage comes back through the negative terminals,” he said. “Amplifier manufacturers buffer that, but it also isolates the amp from the speaker. Our goal is to get the speaker out of the way.”

The Silverback speakers sell for $15,000 a pair.

Jonathan Halpern, president of Tone Imports, described the line of Shindo Laboratory amplifiers that he distributes. Japanese designer Ken Shindo found a cache of new-old stock vacuum tubes in the 1970s and began designing an amplifier based on the design of an old Western Electric amp used mostly in commercial applications such as movie theaters.

Using those vintage tubes, his WE330B Limited amplifier was born, putting out 8 perfect watts of power. It sells for $28,000.

“The Japanese market is a very tough market because they’re not impressed by bells and whistles,” Halpern said.

As we listen to Johnny Cash sing “The Legend of John Henry’s Hammer” from his 1963 album “Blood, Sweat and Tears,” Cash’s distinctive voice transcends the occasionally corny arrangements and background vocals. When the clang of a sledge striking a spike rings out through the Cleveland Heights air and pierces our eardrums, we realize that clear, crisp stereo is as timeless as the singer himself.

Lammers is a Plain Dealer assistant news editor
blammers@plaind.com, 216-999-4162
© 2006 The Plain Dealer

“Passion for music drives audio expert”

Passion for music drives audio expert
Cleveland Plain Dealer – Thursday, February 10, 2005
Bill Lammers — Columnist

Robbie Robertson’s electric guitar, sounding as if it is being played underwater, warbles unpredictably as Richard Manuel strains to sing, lagging just behind what has not yet established itself as the beat. It’s “Tears of Rage,” the first song on the first album by the Band. The music was recorded in 1968, but it still sounds ancient and revolutionary more than 3½ decades later.

The record – yes, it’s a long-playing vinyl album! – is playing on a stereo – yes, just two loudspeakers! – in a bedroom-turned-listening room in Don Better’s Cleveland Heights townhouse. Better, 53, a guitar teacher at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Music by day and often a performing musician by night, sells high-end audio equipment by appointment from home.

The system that we are hearing this day includes a pair of Verity speakers, a Chord Electronics integrated amplifier, a Wavelength Audio phonograph amplifier and a Nottingham Analogue turntable with a platter so thick that it could double as the spare tire on a sport-utility vehicle.

“The Chord amplifier has two-hundred and twenty watts per channel, and they are the cleanest two-hundred twenty watts you will ever hear in your life,” Better says, “and if the speakers are efficient, that’s enough. These speakers can take 400 watts, and we’re listening to maybe a milliwatt.”

The Nottingham turntable has a motor so precise at maintaining exactly 33?revolutions per minute that the listener must give it a slight spin to get it started because a motor powerful enough to start from a stop would compromise its precision.

There is no doubt Better knows his audio technology, from how to control a speaker system that is too strong at 70 Hertz (in the high bass range) to why it is important to have tweeters placed slightly to the rear of the face on which the woofers are mounted. But he is not in the audio business to just talk technology.

“To me, it’s about the music,” he said. “If eventually I make money on this, it’s because of my passion.”

So, by request, we’re listening to the Band. This pressing of “Music From Big Pink” is a recent issue made of virgin vinyl. Many audiophiles prefer the warmth of vinyl records to what they hear as the harshness of compact discs, where music recorded by analog methods is forced to live in the digital world.

“Music is not meant for the background,” Better said, eschewing people who boast of distributed audio systems that can deliver soothing music anywhere in a house. “You need to pay attention. We have to slow down our lives a bit to enjoy it.”

It’s hard not to pay attention to Manuel’s singing. If ever there was an analog voice, it’s his.

“On a system like this, you can hear the difference between digital and analog,” Better said. “I would still rather listen to vinyl, and I don’t think it’s just because of my age.”

So it all comes back to the music, not the equipment.

“I’m really not trying to get the gearheads,” Better said of his clientele. “I want the people who love music.

“I like movies, but movies for me are a one-time experience,” he said. “Obviously, I have enough equipment here that I could have a tremendous home theater system. But audio for me is about recapturing the magic of the live recording.”

All this audiophile equipment with beautiful cabinetry and luxurious wood finishes does come at a cost. The system to which we are listening would run from $65,000 to $80,000; Better’s entry-level system runs about $2,000.

“Nobody would think anything about a guy who can afford it who goes out and buys a Porsche or Lamborghini,” he said. “You can spend a lot of money and not get superb sound. I simply have the best equipment in the world.”

The best equipment reproducing the best music – what could be more important than that? Perhaps our very civilization depends on it.

“The two things that human beings do well is music and literature,” Better said. “Those are the things that last from generation to generation. A hundred years from now, people may not be able to name the presidents of the United States. But they’ll be able to name Mozart, Bach and the Beatles.”

And, I hope, the Band, whose voices have now been silenced by the deaths of Manuel and Rick Danko and by Levon Helm’s throat cancer. If people in 2068 can hear “Tears of Rage” in the quality that I’m hearing on this winter day, they will never forget it.

Lammers is a Plain Dealer assistant news editor
blammers@plaind.com, 216-999-4162
© 2005 The Plain Dealer