Model 8s, looking from my listening chair at the back wall, 12 by 24' room

As you can see, I like big planar speakers.  These are the rare and incredible Acoustat Model 8s.  The Model 8 is the largest speaker Acoustat made.  It is one of the largest commercial electrostatic loudspeakers in existence, save for the new Soundlab Pristine.  These Acoustats stand 7'10" tall, and are 36" wide.  They use 8 panels, thus their name.  The panels vary in width from 8 to 9 " wide in order to avoid common bass resonance.  I run these with Acoustat's excellent direct drive servo amps.  The speakers are ran full range on all parts of the panels.  The sound is much better that way.  Below are some close up shots of how I ran the wires through the floor to the basement below.  This allows me to keep the amps out of harm's way.

The interface boxes are empty. The wires are connected inside.

I run two servo amps per channel, to allow for enough current handling to get decent high frequency response from these beasts.  Once I'm in the basement, the wife does not have to look at the amps.  The picture bleow shows the mess I have down there.  I have since removed the covers on the amps, so they look even more domestically unfriendly.

Two pair of servo amps in basement below--the shelf is more sturdy than it looks.




Monitor 4, viewed from the listening position, 12 by 18' room.

This is where I do all my serious listening.  As much as I love the 8s pictured at the top of the page, I really don’t have a proper room for them to sound their best.  The speakers above are in a dedicated audio room.  They are the highly sought after Acoustat Monitor 4s.  Basically these speakers are the bottom half of a pair of Model 8s.  These came from the factory with the direct drive servo amps.  Acoustat was one of only a couple of companies to successfully market a directly driven full range electrostatic loudspeaker.  These particular speakers were made in the early 1980’s.  As with all Acoustat speakers, the panels that make the sound are made of plastic.  They are completely unable to be harmed in any way by over or under driving them, and they do not break down over time.  Basically these speakers will last a lifetime and more.

Monitor 4 from the side with integrated direct drive amplifier.

Here are a couple pictures of the servo amps.  As you can see, they are not very complex.  They do, however, use some very specialized parts and can get pretty expensive to build to modern specifications.  As good as these amps sounded from the factory, the parts quality for the audio components inside the amps just wasn’t at the same level that it is today.  By updating the parts inside these amps with 25 years of technology on our side, these amps can be brought into world-class sonic territory.  Notice the custom Auricap capacitors and Caddock resistors used throughout.  These parts and service for these wonderful amplifiers are available from the always friendly and helpful Mike Savuto at Analogue Associates.  These are as good as it gets!  Also notice the custom operational amplifier built with Burr-Brown components.  Good stuff!

The Incomparable Acoustat Servo Amplifier


The Source Components

The Venerable LP12 and the Incredible Alta Vista Audio Modded SA5000

I listen to a fully loaded Linn LP12.  It is a newer model with the Cirkus bearing, Lingo Power supply, and Ekos tonearm.  This is one of the best source components I’ve ever heard.  I’m not going to get into the whole analog versus digital argument here but let’s just say I haven’t heard any source component that I like better than my LP12.  I play this through a fully modified SA5000, which got the full treatment from Mike Elliott at Alta Vista Audio.  I have step-up transformers from Lulndahl and Sowter installed for use with different cartridges, and the entire signal path has no solid state components.  This is quite simply one of the best sounding preamps in the world.

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