The end of the road!?

My inital article about the custom designed Yamamura six way horn loudspeakers system, that Be Yamamura designed from ground up for Marco raised a lot of attention.

Many emails came in asking about more info and photos so I’ve tried to speed things up with a mighty 130+ photo set and some further descriptions and insights…

First and foremost and based on the reactions… This system is not for everyone. Its out of the reach for most of us and at any moment this refined ultra high-end gear galore was not designed to please the particular audiophile attributes, but a true mad scientist quest for the holly grail of musical reproduction.

Even from the design stand, the “archaic” looks can be too quickly a total overkill for many. For me, as a fan of Western Electric and horn designs in general, I actually love the mysterious appearance. More importantly, I was more then just hooked with the sound coming out of these surreal loudspeakers.

Let me look into few of the highlights connected with full blown  Be Yamamura Ale horn speaker system. Imagine the project that took of in 2005 and ended in 2014. Nine years! Marco literary left Be Yamamura an endless playground in making of what he considered ultimate, but along the way always pushed for even more difficult challenges and uber exotic materials being implemented.

Beryllium dome

It was designed from ground up as full blown six way horn system, that uses custom made ALE compression drivers. Each driver diaphragm is made out of special beryllium dome. Knowing how prices of “typical” ALE driver can easily reach 40-50k, you can imagine where this leads. Each driver can weight up to 200 kgs, depending on the band being implemented and its made from different exotic metals like AQ gunmetal special alloy similar to tungsten and rest of the enclosures are made out of weathering - COR-TEN steel with special anti resonance coating, used in other high-tech industries.

System is driven with six, custom designed Class A 40 watts amplifiers per driver with only two active stages and one output transistor (Sanken). Everything included with the amps is taken up to the extreme. Enclosures are made out of violin maple wood,  volume knobs machined out ebony being used for clarinets etc. Amplifiers are stacked on special floating rack, that implements tungsten, special anti resonance alloys and unique absorber system. For the volume attenuation Be Yamamura hand-woven resistors are being used and I’ve could spot Nichicon capacitor Wisahy resistors etc.

On the back there are Supatron custom made pure copper binding posts and special copper plates are taken care of RFI interferences. Whole system uses more then 300 meters of custom cable allowy, made in Japan out of the mixture of platinum, silver and copper.

At the heart of the system operates a custom programed software that offers a propriety six way digital crossover with delay compensation, room acoustic fine tuning and not less then 33 EQ curves for the vinyl playback. Custom Yamamaura Crowley AD converter servers not only as analog to digital converter for measuring tasks, but also as the analog input ready to rip the vinyl into the high-resolution files. This unique digital software was designed, especially for this system by one of the renowned Sony engineers/programmers. I don’t even want to guess how much programming alone costed…

Main preampfification duties are performed in digital domain along with separate analog volume for each compression driver at the front of the amplifiers.

Its not easy to aligned all six drives and project balanced sound projection without time delays and frequency bumps/holes in a setup that comes with 128db impact and weights almost a ton and half.

Yet. Seamless transition of sound, with the bass that can be both feather and thunder like was something beyond fresh. This was vividly projected with the live recordings of church organ, where you can literary felt the base immersing into the body.

Considering that this Yamamura system can go down to 10hz flat and we’re talking about submarine depths rather then typical lower register bass impact.

Any subwoofer or boxed woofer (in the bigger speakers) and even full dipole system simply cannot fully escape the sense of captured bass effect. Under 35hz one starts to loose the pinpoint, location sourcing of the bass, yet with non horn based designs you can still perceive this altered sense of the bass.

Within this particular horn system, bass travels as energy rather then so called perfect sound wave. Its difficult to transcribe this phenomena into the words, but best compliment I can give is the most seamless earthliness. So far, in my book of ultra high end audio conclusions, Yamamura system reflected the bass most life alike and most stressless.

I’ve done my travelings and listened to many official demo and private, extreme, crazy, exotic and out of the box systems, but so far Marco’s system pushed the bar far beyond of what I’ve expected and experienced so far.

This exploration of the ultimate sound reproduction is not cheap by any means. Its exuberantly, filthy expensive :), but as noted above it was so far and by far the most “heavenly” experience that yours truly ever experienced having nothing to do with the typical audiophile norms and expectations.

Most importantly, I’ve got my impressions deeply stored and will return to Marco’s system to audition the analog/vinyl setup as well to listen to more music material as our daydream trip was still limited.

On the utmost plane of high-end audio reproduction, the being there factor certainly takes the throne. With some tracks, especially with Keith Jarret piano and cembalo recordings, that Marco seems to hold very dearly my inner clock shifted into some unfamiliar, but hitherto ticking.

This was even more evident with the male choir singing, that transported me back into my times of my singing with the choir/orchestra and traveling around to perform in large churches, natural spaces and concert halls. Something just clicked right and ignited the familiar, green “warning” lights.

The biggest challenge for any horn speakers ability to render instruments and performers with life like size size. Actually, this is demanding task for any speaker design. What Marco’s Yamamura full blown system managed to achieve lay down a ground plane that is hard to follow up by any speaker design approach. It was not only about the scale being portrayed realistically. The subtleness of micro and gaze of macro dynamics layered the luminous drama that still lingers on.

Even if the system wouldn’t perform the way it was, I would give a strong handshake of appreciation to Marco just for pursuing such quest. Nine years enormous investing, fine tweaking, searching for the perfect materials from tungsten, Beryllium, special alloys of gun metal, maple wood used for instruments, alloys of silver/platinum/copper for cables etc. culminated into something so extraordinary

I would like to thank Marco for being such a wonderful host and Hari for arranging this unique listening.

And Marco, at soon!

Matej Isak

Info: Hari - email/phone: +386 40 800 754