Mondie

Mondie's speaker endgame: Lenard Audio 4-way active, high efficiency horn system development

Recommended Posts

My first set of speakers were purchased at the ripe old age of 12 after saving months of paper round money. You could say I was bitten by a love of music and audio quite early, influenced as I was by my father's audio system purchased with the windfall from a horse bet! Since that time I have been fortunate to own a varied and eclectic range of speakers in the pursuit of my audio nirvana over the last three decades. Everything from stacked active Quad ESL57's, Tannoy D700's, a TAD based 2-way system, Magneplanar IIb, Equinox Jupiters, VAF I-93 and most recently, ADAM Alpha 5-way actives. I have been fortunate to live with speakers of a wide range of characteristics and capabilities and heard many other systems in between, and so have developed a rather discerning ear as a result.

 In 2006 I was fortunate to meet and spend an evening with a legend of the Australian Audio Industry, John Burnett of Lenard Audio. I sat quietly in Johns garden shed in awe at the sound of his 4-way active Sarabandes. The power, the immediacy, and realism was something that totally belied their humble looks and relative cost. I knew I was in the company of a true expert of audio design. Time spent reading Johns website and its education pages and learning about his various designs reaffirmed the impact the Sarabandes made on me that evening. This Experience inspired me in 2008, to build up a passive 2-way MTM system using TAD 1601a/4001, this gave me a real taste of what an endgame speaker was potentially capable of. The immediacy and realism that those 15" cones and a 4" compression driver could generate was exciting & intoxicating, but my meagre DIY skills were unable to address the many crossover related SQ issues that plagued the sound and so I eventually sold them on for something more conventional.

 As I learnt more about Johns designs and his origins in valve amplifiers and high-efficiency systems and his schooling in classical audio science from the 60's, back before marketing took precedence over SQ, I knew that I had to re-visit my unfinished business with high efficiency and TAD. Recently John and I discussed my requirements - superlative realism, uncompromising dynamic range and world class bass capability being three attributes I could not live with out. However, I wanted something that was relatively compact ie under 1.5m and 100kg as I wanted to live with these for decades to come. John told me about a design concept that he had been waiting to realise which had been bubbling away in the back of his mind for at least the last ten years that embodied the accumulation of his lifetime's knowledge. A system that had the attributes I was seeking and the makings of being my endgame system which brings me to the point where I can finally step off the audio merry go round.

So, speakerless and determined to own a system approaching the very best, I have commissioned John to build me a 4-way active system based on this concept utilising TAD drivers and dubbed the Symphony. It will utilise 4 x 12" compound cavity loaded bass per side, TAD 1601a for mid bass, a TAD TD-4001 compression driver and the TAD ET-703 horn loaded tweeter. Amplification will be four channels of Johns hand built AB design with active crossovers. I was fortunate to hear an early prototype this last weekend whilst back in Australia and to state the SQ was astounding would barely be doing what I heard justice. I lack the vocabulary to describe the prototypes sound without slipping into the usual audio jargon but it goes without saying, I am super excited at the prospect of owning a system that is truly my endgame. The bass energy was huge and incredibly resolving, John explained that the Symphony bass system was equivalent to 2 x 15" drivers in a sealed 16 cuft box per side.

I will keep this thread updated as development work progresses but for now, here's a few pics of the concept to date and some of Johns less WAF friendly work.

Cheers,

Simon

 

 

The concept:

 

36952663266_b70abd50d8_o.jpgCAD (Medium)

 

A very rough proto sandwiched between a pair of active, full valve powered White Opals to one side, and Lenard Saranbandes on the other

 

36952604716_20d3820299_o.jpg20170901_191923 (Large)

 

An example of Johns more extreme work :)

 

36305695834_21a97786f9_o.jpgCanberra opals

Edited by Mondie
  • Like 3
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer

Wow, thanks for posting the story and the commissioning punchline: you must be so excited! Good luck, and do keep us posted on progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yes , thanks for update , was wondering how the project was going 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer

That looks truly amazing. Well done for having the will to commision such work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have every confidence in Johns design expertise yoda so it wasn't much of a leap of faith. All going to plan these will be at Scalford. Fingers crossed I get allocated a room that will let them show a little of what they can do :)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Super Wammer
I have every confidence in Johns design expertise yoda so it wasn't much of a leap of faith. All going to plan these will be at Scalford. Fingers crossed I get allocated a room that will let them show a little of what they can do

Scalford? That would be awesome! Let us know when confirmed and I'll start negotiating for a roomsitter for my own room as I have to hear these...
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See you there Nigel! This will be my first time, now that we live in a more civilised part of the country and not in the deep dark North, Scalford is doable :)

18 hours ago, hifinutt said:

yes , thanks for update , was wondering how the project was going 

Will you be at Scalford Phil, be nice to finally meet?

Edited by Mondie
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hopefully simon , that will be great 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All sounds great Simon (well, apart from the deep dark North bit!!) and well done for pursuing your dream. They almost look room friendly compared with the Adams which I can assure folks delivered a mighty, mighty sound!

If you are going to Scalford then can you reserve me a seat somewhere in your room? I've a few tracks on my list.....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dont believe so but I can see why you might ask that. The system uses a compression driver that covers fq's to 6k, perhaps even higher, so optimum placement of it is more important than the tweeter.

20 hours ago, wino2020 said:

All sounds great Simon (well, apart from the deep dark North bit!!) and well done for pursuing your dream. They almost look room friendly compared with the Adams which I can assure folks delivered a mighty, mighty sound!

If you are going to Scalford then can you reserve me a seat somewhere in your room? I've a few tracks on my list.....

Will do Peter. It would be great to see you there, we need to get Colin and Russell onboard too. Hopefully, my room is large enough to have seats 9_9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Judging from his website, Mr Lenard has an excellent grasp of large speaker theory. In particular the essays on line array PA systems and horns are vg. (I'm reminded of the essays to be found on the Elliot Sound site and I went back to that because I think Mr Lenard and Rod Elliot have collaborated in the past. They are both Australian, like yourself, Simon. If you want thumbnail sketches on these topics take a look.

I really wish you well with this project and look forward to hearing your system and meeting you at Scalford. Transporting this kind of system is a nightmare as I found out when bringing my 5 way active horn system to Scalford a few years back. Installation can be fun too as Speedysteve found out when he had to saw in half his bass horn to get it through the door. (The selfsame horns I now own.)

In the light of this Simon be clear with the organisers that your bins will go through the doors of the venue.

Jack NSM

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking good, hats off to anyone who spend thier hard earned commissioning someone to make a pair of speakers for them.

It's things like this at Scalford that make it worth going year on year.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jack,

Great to hear that you read some of John's educational material on his site, he has spent a massive amount of time writing and editing it over the past decade. It really is a valuable resource written by someone who was schooled in classic audio theory during the 60's, and who has spent his entire lifes work in audio. I don't know if you read Johns audio reference standards? He is very passionate about trying to move the industry towards adopting standards on sound. This is, of course, a massive and daunting goal with so many vested interests at play but it is admirable all the same and desperately needed. John is very open with his knowledge and his life's ambition has simply to being first-class sound to the masses.

John and Rod Elliot do know each other and have collaborated in the past. I don't believe Rod is up to much these days in the audio world.

Thanks for the well wishes and advice on Scalford. The speakers will only be 500mm wide, the tweeters will be removable and they should weigh in at <80kg. So while not a trivial task to move them, it should be pretty straightforward with a helper. I am just hoping to be allocated a room that gives them enough space to show even a hint of their formidable capabilities.

Cheers Simon

13 hours ago, Non-Smoking Man said:

Judging from his website, Mr Lenard has an excellent grasp of large speaker theory. In particular the essays on line array PA systems and horns are vg. (I'm reminded of the essays to be found on the Elliot Sound site and I went back to that because I think Mr Lenard and Rod Elliot have collaborated in the past. They are both Australian, like yourself, Simon. If you want thumbnail sketches on these topics take a look.

I really wish you well with this project and look forward to hearing your system and meeting you at Scalford. Transporting this kind of system is a nightmare as I found out when bringing my 5 way active horn system to Scalford a few years back. Installation can be fun too as Speedysteve found out when he had to saw in half his bass horn to get it through the door. (The selfsame horns I now own.)

In the light of this Simon be clear with the organisers that your bins will go through the doors of the venue.

Jack NSM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Moderator
14 minutes ago, Mondie said:

Hi Jack,

Great to hear that you read some of John's educational material on his site, he has spent a massive amount of time writing and editing it over the past decade. It really is a valuable resource written by someone who was schooled in classic audio theory during the 60's, and who has spent his entire lifes work in audio. I don't know if you read Johns audio reference standards? He is very passionate about trying to move the industry towards adopting standards on sound. This is, of course, a massive and daunting goal with so many vested interests at play but it is admirable all the same and desperately needed. John is very open with his knowledge and his life's ambition has simply to being first-class sound to the masses.

John and Rod Elliot do know each other and have collaborated in the past. I don't believe Rod is up to much these days in the audio world.

Thanks for the well wishes and advice on Scalford. The speakers will only be 500mm wide, the tweeters will be removable and they should weigh in at <80kg. So while not a trivial task to move them, it should be pretty straightforward with a helper. I am just hoping to be allocated a room that gives them enough space to show even a hint of their formidable capabilities.

Cheers Simon

If you're bringing that setup, than I'll be in your Scalford room most of the day.

I have neither the time nor funds to devote to a proper active system, but from what I've heard to date, it is probably the end game. Best of luck!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.