We Ask 10 Questions For High-End
During Enjoy the Music.com's very special 25th Anniversary we're asking various high-end audio manufacturers to answer the same ten questions. Their answers may surprise you! This month we're featuring Israel Blume of Coincident Speaker Technology. Coincident Speaker Technology was established by Israel Blume in 1993 for the sole purpose of creating a superior loudspeaker. Mr. Blume was ultimately dissatisfied with every loudspeaker he had ever owned or listened to. From the Quad ESL 63 to the Martin Logans, to Wilson Watts and almost everything in between exhibited sonic weakness that proved to be in the long term unacceptable.
Blume put his over twenty five years of audio and music experience to work to conceptualize a loudspeaker that would reproduce music with no obvious or distracting perversions. He understood quite well the inherent limitations of electrostatic designs, i.e. the need for a signal contaminating high voltage step up transformer, its low sensitivity and large size et al. At the same time virtually all dynamic systems possessed their own set of compromises, namely, slow transient speed, small image size, etc.
The theoretically perfect audio component would sound like nothing. It would simply transmit the signal it is being fed with no alteration, enhancement, subtraction or distortion. Our goal with all Coincident models is for them to pass as much musical information with the least possible coloration. Coincident speakers do not editorialize or attempt to glamorize the sound. For example, there is no intentional boosting of the midbass to provide the illusion of more bass, nor the rolling off of the high frequencies to make the resultant sonics more pleasing. Coincident Speakers are designed to be as musically accurate as possible.
Q. What is your first memory of falling in love with music?
A. The day my parents purchased a Fleetwood all in one record player. It resembled a piece of luggage with the top portion opening up to reveal a record player. My older brother bought a few records. The first 45 he played was Dusty Springfield singing "I Only Want To Be With You," followed by "She Loves You". I was hopelessly hooked.
Q. How did you first get introduced to high-fidelity audio gear?
A. My passion for high end audio was ignited when during my first year of university in 1972; I started working in an audio store. I came across an amp and a preamp and I questioned why two components were necessary when a receiver performed the same function. I listened to these-separates playing Bad Company, an LP I had heard countless times. But never like this! That was it. My passion for audio was transformed to a virtual obsession. That revelatory experience changed my life forever. It was always about the love of music but now the hardware became its harbinger to deliver the musical message more convincingly and at a significantly enhanced level.
My first audio system purchased in 1973, consisted of Luxman M75 power amp, Luxman CL-35 preamplifier, Acoustique 3A Master Control speakers and a Micro Seiki turntable.
Q. What is your favorite piece of vintage hi-fi, and why?
A. The Luxman CL-35 preamp. Since it was my first high end component and it being tubes which convinced me that tubes reproduce the fundamental harmonic structure of music that solid-state, to this day, cannot replicate.
Q. When did you decide to start a high-end audio company?
A. During college and afterwards, high-end audio was my passion. I started to import some high end gear for distribution in Canada as well as offering system set up and component upgrades and modifications. I then had a customer who brought me a reference quality speaker that was very expensive and raved about by the reviewers and consumers alike. Yet he was disappointed in its performance and asked me to see if I could improve it. After removing the drivers and disassembling the crossover, I was shocked by the inexpensive, inferior drivers being used and the poorly designed overly complex crossover utilizing very cheap and poorly sounding components. I replaced all the drivers, and redesigned the crossover using state the art components. The end result was revelatory. The customer was so thrilled, word quickly spread and I became inundated with other owners requesting the same upgrade. That's when I decided to start my own speaker company.
Q. What, and when, was your company's first product?
A. Coincident Speaker Technology was born in 1994. Our first product was the Triumph speaker. It was a two-way bookshelf speaker conceptually very similar to the model I had so successfully modified yet at a fraction of the price.
Q. What challenges did you face during those early years?
A. Numerous. Being an unknown with a company and products that were new to the industry with very little marketing budget is a daunting endeavor ripe for failure. Audio stores were not willing to take on a speaker model that they would have to market in order to compete against well-known and established brands.
Q. How have your products evolved over the years?
A. From the initial model, a floorstanding version was introduced. Both speakers quickly carved out a niche in the audio market place due to superior build quality and performance at a fraction of the price of the competitors. Annually more models were introduced until we covered most price points and performance categories. Coincident cables followed and ultimately our own electronics completed the goal of a complete Coincident audio system.
Q. What is your company's most popular product(s)?
A. Our Statement Line Stage and Frankenstein M300B mono amplifiers which are a challenge in satisfying demand. However, the Statement Phono Stage and Dynamo MKIII amplifiers are still very popular.
Q. What is your next planned product offering and its' features?
A. At this time, there are no concrete plans for any new model introductions as keeping up with current demands is highly challenging.
Q. What advancements do you speculate high-end audio will offer ten years from now?
A. Components that are simple and convenient to use, that augment the decor of the environment in which they are placed. They will be wireless and highly intuitive.