Buying home speakers…

Posted on May 21st, 2006 in Opinion by Julian Edgar

For once this column doesn’t talk much about cars. But the process I went through was eerily similar to sorting the wheat from the chaff that occupies much of my time when testing new cars…

My elderly father had decided he wanted some new stereo speakers. None of this new-fangled home 6-speaker theatre nonsense; what he wanted was a pair of speakers capable of reproducing the full normal listening spectrum – say from 40 – 20,000Hz. Of course, at 84, he wasn’t going to be hearing too many 20,000Hz notes (and nor would I be!), but he wanted to replace the near 30-year-old 10 inch 3-ways that had been serving duty in the lounge room all that time.

His knowledge may be out of date but it’s certainly not lacking in depth: over the very long time that he’s been interested in sound engineering he’s built amplifiers and speakers and has followed the transition from 78s, to 33s, from mono to stereo and thence to CD and DVD. So when I was invited along to participate in the listening tests, I was very much conscious of being a background adviser, rather than any kind of dictator of outcome.

When he’d broached the subject of speakers, I’d reflected over the web discussions I’d been browsing, over the newspaper and magazine accounts of speakers I’d casually read, and thought that a pair of speakers produced by an Australian manufacturer would provide the best value for money. I don’t think any Australian company manufactures loudspeaker drivers per se (Etone excepted), but while many denigrate the companies producing speaker systems as mere ‘box-stuffers’, the matching of woofers, midranges and tweeters to each other and an enclosure is as much an art as a science. And if the locals can get it right, the saving represented by Australian assembly (and so the lack of need to transport bulky and heavy furniture items internationally) is considerable.

Modifications on three wheels

Posted on May 7th, 2006 in Opinion by Julian Edgar


You’ll have to indulge me, to pander to my obsession. A few months ago I wrote about my newly purchased Greenspeed pedal trike (see Driving Emotion ) and in the time since, I been both pedalling it a lot – and modifying it. True, the modifications aren’t fundamental, but they’ve added to the riding enjoyment.

But first, if you haven’t read that previous column, what’s this about a trike? The Greenspeeds are recumbent machines, ones where you lie back at a steep angle on a hammock-like seat. The pedals are way out front and the trike uses two front steerable wheels and a single rear chain-driven wheel. My trike has 63 gears, front drum brakes and zero scrub radius steering.