Easter Friday was cold and gloomy which made a good excuse to visit John Howes (above right) for the launch of Howes Acoustics, his new listening room and museum near Heathfield in East Sussex. This is where John and Mike Blackmore demonstrate many advantages of high efficiency loudspeakers and tube amplifiers with single figure outputs, these include both the Howes Acoustics horn loudspeakers and the Voxativ range from Berlin. I had expected to see some of the Howes PX4 amplifiers in action as well but instead the system was being driven by a Yamamato Soundcraft A-08S single ended amp that's superbly finished and runs a 45 triode output tube that delivers a mere two watts, but this was clearly sufficient for the speaker in use.
Voxativ's Inés Adler (above left) had brought over her latest loudspeaker for its UK launch, the Pi as it's been dubbed is a full range Voxativ horn at a price that's considerably lower than the existing models. Innes has been able to reach an £8,000 ($12,500) price point by building a 1.5 version of the Voxativ full range paper driver with a ferrite magnet rather than the neodymium motor system found on the bigger models.
Pi has a matte white cabinet machined from MDF with a short 35cm horn and is designed for stand mounting on a relatively short stand, the one being used was around 16inches high. Sensitivity is a very healthy 99dB and the cabinet uses what Innes calls acoustic stealth technology (AST) to produce maximum bandwidth for what is a very compact horn speaker.
The rest of the system used for the dem included an AMR CD-77 disc spinner, SME Model 20/2 turntable with Koetsu cartridge, AMR PH-77 phono stage and a Yamamoto preamp to run with the aforementioned two watt amplifier. Cables were cotton wound which suggests Japanese origin but I couldn't say which. This system produced miraculous midrange transparency, real hear through resolution right down to the finest detail, we listened to tracks from Lambchop's Is A Woman and Ry Cooder's Paradise and Lunch, both sounded highly entertaining and full scale, the soundstage with this speaker is something to behold. The more we listened the better it got and when Mike put on a Speakers Corner pressing of La Folia we were having a lot of fun.
I plan to go back to Howes Acoustics to hear the bigger Voxativs which they have on permanent dem and also looking forward to seeing the rest of his fascinating collection of vintage audio equipment when the new Lowther Voigt museum is finished.
Lowther Voigt museum