The Hartsfield from Classic Audio Loudspeakers

Take a look at this beauty, the Hartsfield from Classic Audio Loudspeakers, a tribute to the original Hartsfield, introduced in 1954 by the James B. Lansing Sound Company. In John Wolff’s version, a 15” low-frequency driver couples to a long exponential horn; above 500Hz, a 2” midrange unit couples to a horn-lens assembly, designed to provide wide dispersion and uniform high-frequency sound distribution.

Something about this speaker gets people feeling all romantic. When I walked into the room, I sat down behind a couple whose hands were joined and whose arms swung in the space between their separate chairs, happily and slowly, in time to the music. After they departed, their places were taken by a second couple. This time, however, the woman simply moved her seat as close as possible to her companion’s, creating a virtual love seat, so that the two could hold each other while the music played.

What the hell? Was this a hi-fi show or some sort of love fest?

I couldn’t blame them, though. The system was playing some extremely gorgeous, palm-in-eye-socket piece of violin music, and it sounded sweet, inviting, and nearly rapturous, with delicate, extended highs and easy, voluptuous mids.

Designer John Wolff said something about field-coils and 106dB.

But one of my favorite moments of the entire Axpona weekend came when Wolff asked a second group of guests what we’d like to hear.

“What’dya got?” asked one attendee.

“Classical, jazz, popular…Pick your poison,” replied Wolff.

I found this charming. It was as if, in Wolff’s world, classical, jazz, and something called “popular” were the only types of music available. I thought for a moment that such an old-fashioned perspective could be refreshing, even liberating.

The attendee admitted that he’d like to hear some classic rock.

“We’ve got classic rock,” Wolff replied.

And then Wolff asked me, directly, what I’d like to hear.

“Well, any sort of rock would be fine with me, too,” I said.

He looked at me, smiled, and said, “How about the new Massive Attack album?”

Wolff cued it up and proceeded to blow my mind with deep, taut bass; natural, extended highs; an assertive sense of momentum; and a completely room-filling sound that was compelling, physical, and way too much fun for a hi-fi show.

roscoeiii's picture

What amp and associated gear was driving these beauties? Romance does come from speakers alone...

sebab22's picture

We started Sunday with "Paranoid", Black Sabbath. Ow-yeah. My heart still beats faster when I recall that morning. Pure magic (Black Magic...I'm guessing)