Wes Phillips

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
It is Friday, after all. I met this suave French kitty in my hotel's rooftop garden in Lyon. Even French cats have a certain je ne sais qua.
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
Jean-Paul Guy's office contains his electronics test bench and a variety of classic French hi-fi. He's definitely one of us.
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
Here's another example of how Guy.HF combines hand processes with modern technology. The finish room is state-of-the-art, combining heat with super-sophisticated polymer finish formulations. "Yet," Jean-Paul Guy told me, "there is always some orange peel. Machines can't detect it and they can't correct what they can't sense, so a human being carefully checks each piece and makes it perfect."
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
Lyon, I was told, has an extensive network of underground tunnels, which helped its citizens hide Jews during the Occupation. As I walked by this wine shop, I snapped a photo of its stairs to underground Lyon.
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
Focal combines high-tech work stations with a phenomenal amount of hand labor. Metal drivers and inexpensive dome tweeters are heavily automated, but many drivers are assembled by hand, especially Focal's "W" composite cones.
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
One of Focal's core technologies is its use of "multi-ferrites," Mahul having realized that it was more precise to use multiple magnets in big drivers than it was to rely upon finding enough truly huge, uniform magnets.
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
This carved detail from a house in Bourbon-Lancy sort of snuck up on me. I walked past it, got about five steps down the street and did a classic double take.
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
Fewer loudspeaker companies have anechoic chambers than you realize. They take up an awful lot of space, for one thing. Focal has one, and it has a twist—rather than have a suspended floor, the company puts its speakers on a hydraulic jack and suspends it 30' above the floor. This makes getting massive speakers into and out of the chamber a lot easier and safer.
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
It seems as though there's a QC employee for every assembly employee at Guy.HF. Not exactly, Jean-Paul Guy explained. Every G.HF employee is responsible for the work that comes to him or her—so after each employee signs off on a product as good to go, the next, um, guy inspects it before accepting it. "Mistakes get made," M. Guy told me, "but we try not to perpetuate them."
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
A Guy.HF craftsman uses a precision machined winding stick to establish that a cabinet is true.
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
Lyon Cathedral. I'm a sucker for shots like this.
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 2 comments
Back in April, Daniel Jacques of Audio Plus, Focal's North American distributor, invited me to visit Focal's factory in St. Etienne. Since I'd never reviewed any Focal loudspeakers, I didn't know a lot about the company, but I have spent many happy hours in Jonathan Scull's ribbon chair, listening to his Grand Utopias, so I was eager to go—and to learn more.
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
Another hand process is stretching and fitting various layers of adhesive-impregnated glass-fiber material to the front and back of the foam center. Again, depending on the driver's purpose, different amounts of glass fiber layers are employed. Since Focal controls the flare, drive system, and crossover, the company has massive amounts of control over elements like mass and Q.
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
A shop sign in Bourbon-Lancy. A Hallmark moment if ever there was one.
Filed under
Wes Phillips Posted: May 30, 2008 0 comments
Of Focal's 200 employees, only 15 are "allowed" to build the Utopia line of loudspeakers. "Utopia, to Jacques Mahul's way of thinking, represents the finest expression of Focal—so only the most experienced employees can build Utopia products. They are also the most critical employees and we do not push them to produce mass numbers—we push them to produce perfect products," said Gérard Chrétien, Focal's managing director (and former editor of L'Audiophile.

Pages

X
Enter your Stereophile.com username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading