High End 2015 • TABlog

by Jason Kennedy | May 24, 2015

Silbatone brings a pair of Western Electric theatre speakers from its enviable collection to Munich every year, and this time it was the turn of a model from 1933. This largely wooden horn speaker was originally developed for triode amplifiers with a 2-watt output. . .

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. . . so Silbatone’s engineers built a suitably low-powered amp for the job. The RP-6900 (no pricing available) is a single-ended design that uses the scarce 6900 tube that was developed for intercontinental ballistic missiles in the 1950s, so quite a rugged piece of glass! This amplifier produces a mere 0.8-watts per channel, yet that proved to be sufficient to deliver a room-filling sound from the vintage horns. That said, when Silbatone moved up to a 5-watt single-ended amp, things got a whole lot more interesting. There was scale and grip; with a speaker that has over 100dB sensitivity, 5 watts are enough to deliver Led Zeppelin in goose-bump-inducing style.

The balance was not exactly even, but the effect was powerful indeed, even if the horn mouth is so large that the sound has little chance of fully escaping it in any venue smaller than a corn field.

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