"Axial Triphonic Speakers" from Lys Audio

One of the more controversial products at this year's SSI was the demo of "Axial Triphonic Speakers" by Lys Audio. According to company president Jacques Gérin-Lajois (given a running translation from French by one of his associates), this is based on a patent that was obtained 65 years ago, but has not been put into practice until now. As I understand it, it involves starting with a monophonic source, obtained by summing the stereo channels (or multiple channels), and then splitting the mono signal into bass, midrange, and treble, sending these to the appropriate speakers. Depending on the impedances, you can use just one amp to drive all three speakers, or (as was the case with the SSI demo), one amp for the midrange and treble, and another for the bass.

The demo was conducted with the speakers behind a curtain, and consisted of a recording that included nature sounds as well as music. The sound was certainly dynamic, the bass particularly powerful, and the imaging was—well, strange. According to Gérin-Lajois, that's because we're used to the artificial "stereo" imaging of conventional sound systems, and once you listen to his system for a while it will seem natural and conventional stereo will sound wrong. Although I was not allowed to take pictures of the speakers behind the curtain, but Gérin-Lajois did show them to me; they consisted of a ribbon tweeter, horn midrange, and a large box woofer, side by side. The price of the system is expected to be about $30k, and the placement of speaker components can be flexible to suit the environment. Time will tell whether audiophiles will come to accept this radical departure from two-channel and multichannel sound reproduction.

corrective_unconscious's picture

I am left wondering what they say the rationale for what seems like tri amplified mono could be over tri amplified stereo. I mean, that appears to be the very premise for this, yet totally unremarked upon.

rschryer's picture

the way I understood it is that since stereo requires two not perfectly identical sources of sound to create one (to portray a piano, say), anomolies in imaging (and tone and pitch, I assume) will occur. The brain is thus required to work harder, by joining a left and right sound, to convince itself of a realistic image in space. What this system purports to do is use well-integrated mono signals to create a specific sound source, wherein bass notes are complete and undivided (by two speakers), as are those from the mids and treble.

I thought the sound wasn't bad in realistic terms, but it seemed to be dynamically constrained, as well as lacking depth and, especially, width. The sound really seemed stuck in a very narrow vertical area, with no sound to the left or right of it, as if music was coming out of a column. But the images were quite stable, so in that regard they may have suceeded.

To each his own.

rschryer's picture

The crowd gasped when Jacques Gérin-Lajois floated two violons in mid-air. Never seen anything like it, sober.