Wes Phillips

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Wes Phillips  |  May 30, 2008  |  0 comments
Stiff, extremely light "aircraft" foam is stretched over a mold by hand and gently heated to maintain "dimensional stability," according to Dominic Baker, Focal's export sales director. The molds have different flares, depending on the driver's purpose—and they are produced in-house by Opus 42.
Wes Phillips  |  May 30, 2008  |  0 comments
This carved detail from a house in Bourbon-Lancy reminded me of the marginals Sergio Aragonés drew for Mad.
Wes Phillips  |  May 30, 2008  |  1 comments
Focal allowed me to visit the Be facility in which it manufactures its beryllium tweeters in a HazMat room. They would not, however, allow me to take photographs within it—saying that some of the machines were secret. So they gave me this factory authorized image of their technician examining a completed tweeter.
Wes Phillips  |  May 30, 2008  |  0 comments
It is Friday, after all. I met this suave French kitty in my hotel's rooftop garden in Lyon. Even French cats have a certain je ne sais qua.
Wes Phillips  |  May 30, 2008  |  0 comments
Jean-Paul Guy's office contains his electronics test bench and a variety of classic French hi-fi. He's definitely one of us.
Wes Phillips  |  May 30, 2008  |  0 comments
Here's another example of how Guy.HF combines hand processes with modern technology. The finish room is state-of-the-art, combining heat with super-sophisticated polymer finish formulations. "Yet," Jean-Paul Guy told me, "there is always some orange peel. Machines can't detect it and they can't correct what they can't sense, so a human being carefully checks each piece and makes it perfect."
Wes Phillips  |  May 30, 2008  |  0 comments
Lyon, I was told, has an extensive network of underground tunnels, which helped its citizens hide Jews during the Occupation. As I walked by this wine shop, I snapped a photo of its stairs to underground Lyon.
Wes Phillips  |  May 30, 2008  |  0 comments
Focal combines high-tech work stations with a phenomenal amount of hand labor. Metal drivers and inexpensive dome tweeters are heavily automated, but many drivers are assembled by hand, especially Focal's "W" composite cones.
Wes Phillips  |  May 30, 2008  |  0 comments
This carved detail from a house in Bourbon-Lancy sort of snuck up on me. I walked past it, got about five steps down the street and did a classic double take.
Wes Phillips  |  May 30, 2008  |  0 comments
One of Focal's core technologies is its use of "multi-ferrites," Mahul having realized that it was more precise to use multiple magnets in big drivers than it was to rely upon finding enough truly huge, uniform magnets.

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