Lowther and First Watt

The sound in this room blew me away. When I walked in, Dr. John's "In a Sentimental Mood" was sounding as lovely and mellow as can be. Switching gears 180°, Reference Recordings' LP issue of Stravinsky's Firebird had absolutely amazing bass. "Amazing," I wrote twice in my notes.

Then I learned that the system—Lowther America Field-Coil EXR open-baffle loudspeaker (estimated cost $15,000/pair), First Watt J2 amplifiers ($3595/each), First Watt B5 electronic crossover ($1600), Pass Labs XP20 preamp ($8600), a computer-based digital front end using Foobar and other software, and the Falibier Design Gavia-I turntable ($8750) with Schröder Reference tonearm ($5700) and Myabi phono cartridge—has bass that descends down to at least 16Hz. No wonder it was able to fill a 25' x 40' room at a recent demo for the Chicago Audio Society..

True, the sound in the small hotel room was a little harsh on just a few passages. (Harsh highs were a commonly encountered problem in these standard-size rooms). Regardless, Satchmo sounded so incredible that I was smitten. Smitten, I tell you, smitten.

Stephen Mejias's picture

Man, this is another room I wish I could have heard! Looks awesome.

Mike Mudge's picture

I was as blown away as Jason and I worked that suite all 3 days. I was, in a small way, representing First Watt, along with Jon Ver Halen of Lowther-America. I met some incredible pros, Frank Schroder, Dave Slagle and a few other names I've misplaced in my memory. When I had a moment I would cruise the suites catching a tune here and there. I had not heard these particular Lowther speakers before and I was only able to come up with two other rooms that closely matched our sound. When you look at the simplicity of Jon's set up how do you justify an enclosure bursting at the seams with 5 or 6 drivers that can't touch 3? The First Watt J2 with 25 wpc, and associatedpreamps and power supplies stepped right up to the task. Frank Schroders mastery of tone arm tweaks....like a surgeon! Dave Slagels expertise in the Lowther electro-magnetic speakers was majestic. Now I understand!! I am audiophile!!!

alan m. kafton/audioexcellenceaz's picture

Galibier Design, my dear....and Miyabi. You'll probably smack me at the next show, but I don't have your e-mail address. :--(

alan m. kafton/audioexcellenceaz's picture

Of course, if more exhibitors put together a simple handout listing all components, cabling, and accessories (including correct pricing, of course), it would make life so much easier for all visitors, especially reviewers and bloggers reporting on the show. My 3 cents.

Mike Mudge's picture

Hi Alan. Thanks for filling in the blanks about the turntable and cartridge. I have a ways to go before I'm up to speed with you Big Dawgs. WHen I met Bill Leebens, of Audiogon, he indicated that the less techno-speak I had, the better off I'd be. I did have a good laugh at myself on Saturday. I was playing a Count Basie cut with 5 or 6 people in the room when Jon, of Lowther, came in and asked what I was listening to. I told him and he replied, "That's a 45 not a 33!" Nobody in the room had mentioned anything and I thought it sounded great! Needless to say the tempo picked up considerably. Oh....and I will not smack you. ;) Maybe later after I learn more! LOL

Fred's picture

Who makes the speakers?

alan m. kafton/audioexcellenceaz's picture

Nah, Mike....every show you do you become a bigger Dawg. :--) When you prepare a thorough handout, you both inform every visitor and save your voice. Reviewers especially like having a complete list....it saves them time later, and jogs their memory about a particular piece, especially when noting prices. Seeing perhaps thousands of separate items in a show is daunting, and it's so easy to forget what went with what.

Mke Mudge's picture

I agree that a more concise product and price list would be helpful for the consumer and the presenters. My instructions from Nelson were to show up, meet people and gain knowledge. Jon, of Lowther, had the rest in his hands and I don't envy him. He has two other work commitments and is a very busy guy. Maybe next time I'll be able to get more involved. Next stop....BURNING AMP!!MikeFRED..Lowther makes the speaker. The original designer is David Slagle.