Now those are speakers!

Looking at the ginormous horn speakers in the Silbatone room, all I could think was "how did they get them through the door?" The speakers were a hybrid, the lower half being vintage Western Electric with field-coil–energized 18" woofers, and the midrange and highs being modern recreations from GIP in Japan.

I hadn't been aware of the Silbatone brand before this CES. Their website says that "The goal of Silbatone Acoustics is to recreate the musical enjoyment of the great theater systems in the home, creating practical realizations for today's serious music listeners." Okay. It turns out that their beautifully constructed power amplifiers ($150,000, depending on tube choice) are vehicles for unusual and rare tubes. The amplifier seen in front of the speakers, for example, used square-base Marconi DA100 broadcast modulation tubes (around $5000 each) for the outputs, with pre-WWII Siemens ED red-base tubes as the drivers. The audiophile air in this room was rarefied, indeed.

Erick Lichte's picture
What's with the doll-child lying in the corner? Creepy!
Buddha's picture

Those babies were a treat....but the real treat lurked behind door number two to the left. Did you take the blue pill and hear it?

When I was 20, I met a honest to gosh princess from Aruba and we shared love for a weekend before her duties swept her out of my part of thast Venn Diagram called life, but her eternal sweet beauty lives inside me. She is worthy of two Henry Miller novels.
Thirty years later...Same damn thing with those damn vixens one rooom over from the big rig....I can't get them out of my sonic memory. It was made even better when I met the principles - "Hey, dude, I remember you from last night!"

That room was a beautiful sonic Buddhist sand gone, but saved in my special brain nooks and crannies forever.

'God bless Silbatone.

Bill Leebens's picture

Erick, didja see the mysterious Mr. Oh with the flashing pinback button randomly taking pics around the room? Oh, well.

My understanding of the system is that the woofer is a GIP update of the WE 4181, likewise the mid an update of the WE 555. The horn is an authentic WE 24A, and the tweeter an authentic 597-- a rare driver I never saw in my years of pillaging old theaters.

It's hard to think of Silbatone as a brand--it's more like a public service performed by a wealthy collector. No way you'd ever see a system like this(or the wonderful, ridiculously rare WE 757A broadcast monitors in the other room) under ordinary, rational circumstances. Check the Silbatone collection of vintage gear on their website, if you don't believe me.

Given that this funhouse was hosted by Joe Roberts (publisher of the late, lamented Sound Practices magazine), the electronics were designed by j.c. morrison, and hangers-on included Frank Schroder, Jeffrey Jackson and Dave Slagle, there was practically the entire '90's SET revival in one room. Had AD and the ghost of Gizmo been present, the cast would've been complete....and I suspect that Gizmo might've been around, perhaps guiding Mr. Oh. Sorry you missed it, Art!

Fun, lovely stuff. Needs a much bigger room--but so did half the exhibits at CES!