Ray Kimber For King of the Universe!

I always enjoy Ray Kimber's IsoMike demos more than almost any other HE Show demo. It's not the room full of pedigreed high-end gear, although he always has that. This time he demoed with four B&W 800d loudspeakers, two pairs of Pass Labs X350.5 power amplifiers, Genex Audio GX9000/DSD-BNC interface, and four channels of EMM Labs DAC8 MkIV DSD feeding EMM Labs Switchman (four channels worth, natch), not to mention a whole bunch of Kimber KableD-60, Kimber Select KS-3038, and Word Clock D-60 cables. Nor is it the meticulously recorded music that Ray has captured with his IsoMike process.

Well, actually, it is, but it's not just the music.

Kimber's room literally transported me into the hall at Weber State University in a way that no other multichannel presentation has ever done. The music existed in the hall and I was in the hall, but it was a very subtle effect. Except that when the tenor sax and drums backing up Joe McQueen hit certain resonances, the whole hall energized—not the hall I was in, here in LA, but the one Ray recorded it in in Ogden, UT. It was U-R-There audio at its finest.

Yes, Ray demonstrates that surround can be done right and I wish that not only could every audiophile hear Kimber's four-channel demoes, but that every record executive could hear them and finally get what surround truly could be, rather than the gimmicky crap they so frequently try to foist on us.

Jon Iverson and I am convinced that Ray Kimber could change the hi-fi world, if we could only get the studios and labels to hear what he's done in a college in the Utah mountains.

And that's why I nominate Kimber for King of the Universe: If Ray were king, the universe would work right and recorded music would come from where it's supposed to—in front of you, but enveloping you at the same time.

In the meantime, check out IsoMike's webpage.

Jon Iverson's picture

I should add that what is remarkable about Ray's demo and recordings is the microphone technique he has developed. Or I should say the lack of technique. Recording in a large venue always requires the engineer to sort through the trade-offs to find the mic arrangement that works best. To my ears, Ray's IsoMike system is the first that doesn't sound like a trade-off or technique, it just sounds like the performers in the room. I can't emphasize enough how hard that is to achieve for a recording engineer. And Ray told Wes and I that he purposely unveiled his technology and approach to the world in a way that allows it to remain in the public domain from now on. Free to all those who wish to use or develop it further. I love this man.

Wes Phillips's picture

Yes, Jon is right. Ray intentionally published his IsoMike specs so that neither he nor anyone else could make it exclusive. That's how cool ray is, he didn't make a mistake when he out his idea into the public domain, he did it so everyone could benefit. He'd make a benevolent king—and the biggest clue that he's worthy is that he doesn't even want the job!

Norman Liu's picture

King of the Universe," indeed! A couple of years back I acquired Ray Kimber's two CD-R demo set that was mentioned by Wes in Stereophile as being available for a check ""in any amount"" made out to Weber State University. While I was blown away", and I listened several times through, it really amounted to one of those oddities that only us true believers will ever put in the CD tray. However," I was drawn repeatedly to the tracks cryptically named ""string quartet"". I had never been so swept into the art of music making since sitting in a quartet myself. Well", now that quartet has a name, and it is the Fry Street Quartet. Of course," I bought all the IsoMike SACDs on exiting the demo and Sunday night I played the FSQ's ""Hayden"" disc (2 channel SACD layer", on the McCormack UDP-1)and after being nailed to the listening chair for the duration," spontaneously murmered ""Bravo!"" when it ended. I have never played the like on my system previously. Everyone reading this should get it and its companion (2)discs-NOW. Norman

Beto's picture

Absolutely agreed Wes. Ray Kimber's definitely on to something with his Isomike experiments. All other rooms'sound just paled in terms of comparison when dealing with absolute," uncompromised realism and sense of scale devoid of everything that gives ""digital"" a bad name among many audiophiles. Just because you can play it loud does not mean it scales accurately or can sound real enough", seems to be the lesson that Mr. Kimber was giving us all here.I'm a diehard analog nut, but after attending Ray's demonstration, if I ever hear a digital source that brings me the closest to that kind of experience, that will definitely be money well spent. Best sound of the show, hands down.

alessandro mol luce's picture

RAY KIMBER is a God of the Gods