What they say about us

Dear Roy,

It is sixteen years since I last wrote a letter to you so I hope you will forgive me for addressing you ‘Dear Roy’ as I used to.

I understand from Diane that you are keeping well, are still involved with Lowther and that you remember me – I hope she is right! What has prompted this letter is that when I checked with ParcelForce that the pair of EX4s I sent for re-building last September had arrived, who should have signed the receipt but your good self – unless there is another R. Hopps working for Lowther!?

I thought you might be interested in an update as to how the sound of my Audiovectors has changed with the new EX4 drivers you sent, now that they are well run in. The speaker cabinets look different now as a few years ago I veneered the fronts with mahogany because the original surface was getting a bit untidy. I’ve enclosed a couple of photos of them in situ.

Now that I have retired my wife and I have `downsized’ and they now reside in a room about fifteen feet square with a ceiling height of eight feet. They are still driven by the excellent Affordable Valve Company KT88 amplifier I was using when I last wrote, though that company unfortunately no longer exists. The CD player is now a `Consonance Droplet’. I have an inexpensive Mitchell record deck (Mycro), an Audionote cartridge and the interconnects and speaker cable are of single strand copper wire made by dnm. The speakers are always used ‘naked’ with their covers removed.

Unfortunately, my hearing has deteriorated over the past few years and I now wear hearing aids to help with the affected frequencies (>2000Hz). They have a ‘musical’ setting however which, after much experimentation with the audiologist, I was able to get adjusted so that they now greatly enhance the sound rather than horribly distort it! I understand that many hearing aid wearers remove them when listening to music, which is obviously unsatisfactory, so I hope the settings we arrived at will have been noted and used to help other people.

Despite the deterioration in my hearing I am still well able to hear differences and these are certainly considerable between the new EX4s and my old ones. I do not know how much of this is explained by modifications to the units or just due to the age of the old ones (-16 years) but I suspect mostly the former. The new ones have much better definition right across the frequency range. The bass is both cleaner and stronger (especially in the mid-bass) and has lower extension — there is now an easily audible response to a 31.5Hz signal at normal volume. The improvement in definition

has not led to any loss of coherence and has in fact increased musicality. There is also, an even more spacious sound-stage. I always felt that there was a very slight tizziness in the sound of the old EX4s, most noticeable in reproduction of high notes on violins and female vocals which was never present in the old PM series drivers that I had in the Acousta cabinets I used before I built the Audiovectors. This has completely gone.

In every. way these new drivers are superior to the old and everyone in our little ‘hi-fi group’ agrees that they have taken the sound of my system to a higher level. The sense of realism is sometimes astonishing. I’ve had Lowther speakers for forty-five years now but none have ever approached the sound of the Audiovectors with these drivers.

Although my old EX4s were returned for refurbishment it appears that I was sent completely new units as they have a different chassis. I am very pleased about this and thank you very much for doing so. I asked for ‘bullet’ centres to be fitted as I understand that they reduce treble output slightly and I wanted to experiment with that. I have done so and not surprisingly I prefer them with the phase equalisers, so the bullets have gone into the rear speakers of my cinema system. I have delayed writing until the drivers were fully run in for obvious reasons. I thought you might like to have a report of a direct comparison between new and old, hence this letter.

If you manage to find the time to reply I would love to know a little about the history of the Audiovector. Were you responsible for or involved in its design?

I hope you do not mind me writing to you again after such a long interval. I am forever in your debt for all the help and advice you gave me in both the building of and in getting my Audiovectors to sound the way I wanted (they still have DX55s as forward facing drivers).

Kind regards,

S. Shepherd