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Some Interesting Comments about Edgar Villchur

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Quite an "interesting" opinion by someone called Herb Reichert as part of a review of the Harbeth Monitor 30.2 40th Anniversary Edition loudspeaker over at Stereophile.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/harbeth-monitor-302-40th-anniversary-edition-loudspeaker

"Everything sounds like what it's made of.

I'm known for saying that, and to me, it's obvious: box speakers with dome tweeters sound like box speakers with dome tweeters. I can hear their tweeters calling to me when I'm in the next room, making a phone call. I can hear their boxes hissing and groaning even after I turn off the stereo. Many a day, I think Edgar Villchur, inventor of the acoustic-suspension loudspeaker and the dome tweeter, ruined audio, and that audiophiles will never stop denying how artificially colored the sounds of domes and cones in boxes really are."

What say you?  As far as I'm concerned the guy is a bullsh*t artist.

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48 minutes ago, der said:

As far as I'm concerned the guy is a bullsh*t artist.

First what does the * stand  for?

Second you are correct.  He gets paid either way and his opinion does not matter to his paymaster so long as he gets clicks.

Adams

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Not a fan.

Reichert's hyperbole reads like an affectation, and it's unfortunate that Stereophile not infrequently tasks him with reviewing some of the less-stratospherically-priced equipment that makes it way into the magazine's pages. It's not necessarily a bad thing when personality shows through in a reviewer's work - I really enjoy Art Dudley's asides, for instance - but Reichert's style is both grating, and uninformative.

As a counterpoint, here's a column regarding Edgar Villchur by Audio Magazine's Edward Tatnall Canby, from the July, 1976 edition:

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$6500 for these Harbeth speakers with 8" woofers plus another $1500 for the stands?   God bless them if they can get it.   With ears that platinum, then why doesn't the reviewer simply spend the $8 grand on live classical music concerts?   So box speakers are "colored?"   Well the whole audio chain is "colored."   Even concert halls have their own coloration.   Sheesh.   Thanks for sharing the link der.  

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All speakers sound like speakers. You only have to go to a few live concerts for it to be obvious that speakers can't reproduce the sound of real instruments.

In fact, go to a few amplified concerts, and you'll realize that most speakers can't even reproduce the sound of other speakers.

 

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12 minutes ago, genek said:

In fact, go to a few amplified concerts, and you'll realize that most speakers can't even reproduce the sound of other speakers.

 

Exactly!  Was watching Hans Zimmer in Prague concert recently where even the orchestral instruments were wired and digitized and wondering if my little system was really conveying the power of  those immense line arrays as heard by the live audience.

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Just think how much better these 2 way ported boxes with 8 inch woofers would sound if they cost $65,000 a pair instead of a measly $6,500? A man would need to invent new superlatives!

My "favorite" line in the trashing of Edgar Villchur  -

"I can hear their tweeters calling to me when I'm in the next room, making a phone call. I can hear their boxes hissing and groaning even after I turn off the stereo."

Villchur's AR speakers initiated me into the world of high fidelity over 50 years ago now.  For the scope of his life's work he stands as a personal hero to me.
And the "*" stands for the letter i as in bullshit artist, which this reviewer most certainly is.

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11 minutes ago, der said:

And the "*" stands for the letter i as in bullshit artist, which this reviewer most certainly is.

Simple and direct with a stamp of authority lent by the sophistication of a portmanteau word.

Adams

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22 hours ago, der said:

Quite an "interesting" opinion by someone called Herb Reichert as part of a review of the Harbeth Monitor 30.2 40th Anniversary Edition loudspeaker over at Stereophile.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/harbeth-monitor-302-40th-anniversary-edition-loudspeaker

"Everything sounds like what it's made of.

I'm known for saying that, and to me, it's obvious: box speakers with dome tweeters sound like box speakers with dome tweeters. I can hear their tweeters calling to me when I'm in the next room, making a phone call. I can hear their boxes hissing and groaning even after I turn off the stereo. Many a day, I think Edgar Villchur, inventor of the acoustic-suspension loudspeaker and the dome tweeter, ruined audio, and that audiophiles will never stop denying how artificially colored the sounds of domes and cones in boxes really are."

What say you?  As far as I'm concerned the guy is a bullsh*t artist.

Yes, complete BS.

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I'm with you guys. It is hard to imagine how many people have been duped by this publication over the years. Expensive nonsense...

Roy

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StereoPILE is a ridiculous semi-literary publication that exists only to serve as the marketing arm of an inane industry gone insane.  The "editor", one John Atkinson,  assuming such a second rate scurrilous rag actually requires any editing, is a raving anglophile who pushes all things English - no matter how constipated, shelved and dull those offerings actually are.    English speaker sound - for the deaf and dumb.

Recently I had an opportunity to do a shoot out between some classic Spendor 3 way - dating from the eighties.   Versus my set of AR-91s, arguably the BEST of the AR three way offerings.   It was NO CONTEST.  The English sheet box came across as mechanical, dull, lacking any articulation or clarity, lumpy in the extreme and lacking any real bass - other than the sound of air whooshing out the port.  In short?  A speaker that would never have been able to compete against ANY AR offering - at least from the period between 1960 and 1985.

Always remember that the "high end" (or is it high colonic?) industry exists to sell second rate junk at absurd prices.  Part of their mission to accomplish this goal is to instill in soft minded and uncertain readers the feeling that price can somehow be equated to quality of sound.  Which is absurd on the surface and ridiculous upon any reasonable investigation.   The rags work by intimidating their goofy readers with the self-anointed and self-appointed "golden ears" of their so called "reviewers".  In other words, the filthy rag and their high school scribblers will do all thinking FOR YOU.   As such the diminution of classic American products from the seventies and eighties is de riguer to achieving their aims - to sell more modern crap at ridiculous prices.

I have heard Wilson AudioAlexia, driven by Momentum electronics, sourced by an MSB DAC and positioned by a master setup person, one Peter McGrath.  Was it good?  Oh my goodness - it made for a magnificent sound.  Simply awesome.  But the ticket for that rig was $100,000+.  Was the sound worth the price of admission?  NO - that is an ludicrous amount of money to spend for reproduction kit.  Point being that SOME of the modern gear is really quite capable.  But the affordable modern offerings, such as Harbeth speakers feature performance that is in no way are commensurate with the price being charged.

We need to ask ourselves - who is Herb Reichert and who appointed him to be any kind of arbiter concerning what constitutes truth and beauty in sound reproduction?  Can we see Mr. Reichert's hearing tests?  Can we hear his room?  Do we know anything about this golden eared critic?  NO - nothing at all.  Other than JA hired him to write the party line at StereoPILE.

Bunch of envious lies designed to lead folks away from some of the best available sound in the hear and now.  Diminish in any way possible the considerable accomplishments of the American sound reproduction industry - less somebody discover that the current uber expensive gear is actually somewhat ordinary - at best.

Edited by valkyrie
grammar

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A fool and his money are soon parted. 

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2 hours ago, der said:

A fool and his money are soon parted. 

My wife uses a "boom box" type of CD player with about 5 inch "full range" speakers when she listens to music.   She does not see the need for anything more costly or complex.  I am jealous!  LOL

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I have been exposed to industry shill rags ever since I was first lured into this hobby.

That was when Julian Hirsch held sway at Stereo Review in the early 70's.

I recall many reviewers gushing about gear that sounded like dung to my teenaged ears ( which I believe were more attuned to musical nuances than my old tin auditory receptors are now )....

Any time there is a pot 'o gold in sight the charlatans will rush to behold it's beauty.

As I see it, the only ones less deserving of one's trust in regards to opinions of product are the schmucks inhabiting the audio showrooms.

OK, my soapbox ride just ran out of time for this dime.

 

I think I can safely state that anyone who has found their way to this site has a pretty darn good sense of musical reproduction, colored or not.

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On 3/22/2018 at 1:56 PM, der said:

"Everything sounds like what it's made of.

I'm known for saying that, and to me, it's obvious: box speakers with dome tweeters sound like box speakers with dome tweeters. I can hear their tweeters calling to me when I'm in the next room, making a phone call. I can hear their boxes hissing and groaning even after I turn off the stereo. Many a day, I think Edgar Villchur, inventor of the acoustic-suspension loudspeaker and the dome tweeter, ruined audio, and that audiophiles will never stop denying how artificially colored the sounds of domes and cones in boxes really are."

Reichert concludes with;

Quote

Harbeth Audio's Monitor 30.2 40th Anniversary Edition demonstrated that the best way to make a reference-quality loudspeaker might be the simplest: use cones and domes and boxes that minimize the aforementioned material colorations. 

So everything sounds like what it's made of EXCEPT the Harbeth which adds a port to the boxes and domes and cones and somehow magically eradicates the artificial coloration.

Let's face it: Everything in the path from the original source instrument to the listener's ear has something to do with the perceived sound. Microphones, mixing boards, phono cartridges and speakers may be the biggest factors but then electronics and room acoustics are also part of the mix.

Villchur "ruined" audio? I'd say he invented hi-fi audio and made it available to the average person. What were the "best" speakers prior to the AS? Refrigerator-size Bozaks? Klipsch corner horns?

Of course we're all "preaching to the choir" here because we're all AR fans. There are other technologies that sound good (I remember being very impressed with Carver Amazing speakers during a brief audition) but the AR speaker (and its progeny) put true high fidelity in the homes of average people.

And everyone knows who Edgar Villchur and Henry Kloss were. Who's ever heard or Herb Reichert? ;)

-Kent

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I never put much stock in subjective listening tests, even back in the days when there were publications with real tests. I used the measurements and specs to determine if I was interested in listening. 

The only subjective listening impressions that matter to me are my own.

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13 hours ago, genek said:

I never put much stock in subjective listening tests, even back in the days when there were publications with real tests. I used the measurements and specs to determine if I was interested in listening. 

The only subjective listening impressions that matter to me are my own.

I couldn't agree more. Back when I was getting into serious high fidelity, I had the good fortune to be directed to a high quality establishment with good, honest sales people that knew their stuff. They made recommendations based on your listening preferences and your budget. They had a good listening room and there was an option for home audition of speakers (especially) I listened to the AR3a in my home before I bought my pair.

I've always loved that "boxy" sound that "moans" and "squeals" at you even after the power is turned off.  Actually, I guess what we have today are self appointed gurus that opine on the merits of equipment pretty much based on the price tag.  The Stereo store that I describe is long extinct - at least in my area.

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Another overpaid hack......irony of ironies is one of his reference speakers is a later version of the BBC LS3/5a....probably one of the most famous "box speakers with a dome tweeter".

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Sadly, the November, 2019 issue of Stereophile contains an article by Art Dudley that's dismissive of Edgar Villchur's best-known accomplishments: the practical application of the acoustic suspension loudspeaker and the suspended subchassis turntable design. 

Part of a larger piece, Dudley's history of the era includes a critical comment by Paul Klipsch toward Villchur, an observation that there are virtually no current loudspeakers that utilize the acoustic suspension design, and the question "Since when is wastefulness considered a hallmark of good engineering?" in regard to the relative inefficiency of acoustic suspension speakers and their power requirements. 

Noting that Villchur's degrees were in art history and education, Dudley writes "word has it" that the claims regarding acoustic suspension were challenged by Klipsch, "whose degree was in electrical engineering". 

It's uncertain what stirred up Dudley, but to be dismissive of these accomplishments is to deny history. That modern listeners are OK with expensive vented loudspeakers that huff & chuff and must be supported by external kilowatt subwoofers for true low frequency extension says more about the state of listening than the validity of the acoustic suspension speaker. That so many current-design turntables are essentially a low-torque motor glued to a painted sheet of MDF is just sad, and not comparable at all to the effect that Villchur's design had on the entire turntable market of the 1960s and '70s.

In closing his article, Dudley considers acoustic suspension to be "under certain conditions, (a) useful cul de sac, but not a path toward reliably greater things."

As a point of reference, Dudley owns a pair of Altec Flamenco loudspeakers that he had fitted into his former home, replaced by Devore Fidelity Orangutan systems in his new, smaller listening space, subsequently replaced by the Altecs, and driven by low-powered amplification of one sort or another. The photos show both locations.

One could imagine that a properly set-up system using the AR-9, LST, or any of the 12-inch 3-way AR bookshelf speakers could easily demonstrate the fallacy of his "cul de sac" statement. 

 

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21 minutes ago, ar_pro said:

One could imagine that a properly set-up system using the AR-9, LST, or any of the 12-inch 3-way AR bookshelf speakers could easily demonstrate the fallacy of his "cul de sac" statement.

I was a JBL fan in the 70s and wanted to build a house for Khorns.  I thought efficiency was a primary attribute.  I am over it thank God.  You are correct and Dudley is in an audio hell of his own making.  The ARs you mention smoke almost any JBL of that era and any Klipsch up to today. 

Adams

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51 minutes ago, ar_pro said:

Sadly, the November, 2019 issue of Stereophile contains an article by Art Dudley....

Coincidentally, I just happened to see this article yesterday, too, and I cringed while reading through one dismissive comment after another. The article was titled "The Third Rail", and was touted with "This issue: Art Dudley says six things that audio reviewers aren't supposed to say. Ever." Dudley's most glowing remarks were when he allowed himself to state that Villchur sounds "like a pretty good guy" and "a pretty smart guy". Even the table of contents attempts to fan the flames with this lure: "Art Dudley says some things he probably shouldn't."

The summary posted by ar_pro is very good, and if this article cannot be located online, I could possibly scan a cobbled-together print version to post here.  

Infrequently, a friend of mine drops off a copy of this rag for me and it usually cannot make it to the recycling bin fast enough. I don't know anyone who travels in this world ($3200 cartridges, $37K speakers, $170K/pair mono amps....), but the attack on acoustic suspension speakers definitely caught my eye and I immediately thought about this forum.

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I attended a guest lecture given by Paul Klipsch back when I was in college.  He was in his seventies by then.  He started out his lecture with an impressive discussion of the engineering principles of the folded horn in the Klipschhorn.  Then after a brief discussion of the design of Klipsch’s other speakers, his lecture took a bizarre turn.  He went into a near tirade bashing acoustic suspension, Edgar Villchur, AR and Advent.  He came across as a bitter old man that was envious of AR’s and Advent’s success.

 

His and others inference that Edgar Villchur was unqualified because he did not have an engineering degree is ludicrous.  Many significant inventions have been created by individuals who lacked a college degree in their chosen field.  Let’s not forget that a couple brothers with no formal engineering training went from manufacturing bicycles to inventing the airplane.  Villchur, like the Wright Brothers, was not only extremely creative, but he was obsessed with solving something that alluded others.  He researched their work, attended pertinent engineering lectures and experimented religiously until he perfected his inventions.

 

Now, are there speakers that have surpassed my AR-11’s?  My AR-98Lsi’s? My AR-9Lsi’s?  Of course there are.  I have auditioned a few of them, but I can guarantee that the Harbeth Monitor 30.2 and many of the other extremely overpriced speakers praised by Stereophile are not in that group.   

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