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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
Item: Lenard Audio Opal Class System Location: Sale Victoria 3850. Auditions welcome. Will help with shipping to any location. Price: $65,000 please read description Item Condition: Fully refurbished as new condition Reason for selling: Needs a new home Payment Method: Pickup - Cash, Paypal, COD. Extra Info: This Lenard white Opal system was commissioned in 1988. The charter was for the system to be (a) of the highest fidelity (b) the best JBL classic speaker components and (c) be capable of giving an experience of actually being at a real concert. The original commission budget for this this system in 1988 was $65,000. Lenard systems are brought into the world by those with the means to do so. It is difficult to put a value on something that is virtually never sold in the secondhand market. The true valuation can only be set by the new owner and will be respected. Anyone who knows Lenard systems will tell you their owners keep them for life. The person who charted this system also had his music room acoustically designed by the late Richard Priddle. The passage of time and an unforeseen change in circumstances has resulted in this system looking for its new home. The new owner will immediately recognise this system and will have an environment that is perfectly suited. Most of all he/she will be passionate about music and been longing for a system that transcends all limitations. This Lenard white Opal system is 4-way active. Each speaker stack has two x 15", a 12", a compression-driver horn and a slot radiator. Beside each speaker stack are the amplifier towers. Each amplifier tower has five 100 Watt valve amplifers. Each amplifier is Ultra-Linear, Class AB push-pull. All twenty KT88 valves have been renewed and the system is in as new perfect working order. Each amplifier tower also has solid-state amps. The towers can be switched between valve amps and solid-state amps in real time. As yet no one has been able to pick the difference between the valve and solid-state amps. This being one of the many astounding achievements of Lenard design. The cabinets were originally diamond white. The system had been moved and stored and now resprayed satin white. This decision was made so the new owner could change the color to suit his environment or return it to its original diamond white with minimal extra cost. The system is being looked after and located in Sale Victoria. One cannot speculate as to how this system performs, it must be experienced and will be made available for audition to all interested parties. This system belongs to a dear friend of mine, I am listing here on his behalf. Please PM me if interested and I will put you in direct contact with the owner. Pictures: There are only 4 of these valve towers in existence. 2 with the Canberra Opals, and these two. Built to last a lifetime and infinitely serviceable. System when it was originally commissioned.