Tuesday, July 5, 2011
A Visit to the Joseph Audio factory
After attending the AXPONA NYC show, I was invited to spend a couple of days out on Long Island to visit Joseph Audio's factory and hear more of his upcoming Perspective loudspeaker. Jeff Joseph lives and works out in Melville, NY, creating some of the finest loudspeakers in high end audio. I've been a big fan of his Pulsar monitor, a smaller version of the floorstanding perspective, and I feel that no other small loudspeaker projects quite a big, beefy and refined sound.
The first pair of Perspectives I encountered at Joseph had perhaps the most beautiful wood veneer of any speaker I've seen for quite some time. Here they are, in a brilliant, uniquely grained rosewood.
I was able to compare the Perspectives to the Pearl, Joseph Audio's flagship speaker. The Pearls projected an unbelievably deep soundstage and offered very impressive bass performance in Jeff's large testing room. On LP after LP (Jeff uses a VPI TNT turntable with a Cardas cartridge, mated to Bel Canto amplification), I was treated to an amazingly fine-tuned presentation that was easily one of the best I've heard.
Once the much smaller Perspectives were placed into the system, the sound was remarkably similar, albeit with slightly less bass (the Perspectives reach down to the low 30s while the Pearls hit 25Hz) and a slightly smaller soundstage. Jeff told me that he has strived to maintain a family resemblance in terms of sonic for the Pearl, Perspective and stand-mounted Pulsars. The Perspectives are scheduled to retail for between $11,000 and $12,000 a pair, and they provide a very compelling combination of performance and appearance at that price point.
The Pulsar, in the meantime, seems to be a huge hit. Much of the factory floor space was devoted to outgoing stock, as you can see here. I saw a veritable wall of Pulsar boxes with all types of wood veneers ready to be shipped out.
Here's an unfortunate Pulsar that was shipped back to Jeff after the customer dropped it. You can see the damage to the cabinet on the top right side. While it's heartbreaking to see a beautiful speaker like this damaged, Jeff was confident that it could be repaired. I included this photo to show that even in piano gloss black, the Pulsar is a stunning speaker. (I always prefer wood veneers, and Jeff offers some of the most lustrous and opulent cabinets around.)
Jeff is also an avid collector of vintage audio. He's always looking for the big bargains, the pieces that seem beyond repair, and then he repairs them. I saw at least one of everything from a Linn LP-12 'table to Fisher and Scott receivers to a wealth of open-reel tape decks. At one point Jeff and I discussed all the components we've owned in our life, a popular audiophile pasttime.
Perhaps my favorite of Jeff's vintage pieces were a pair of classic Bozak Bard outdoor speakers that he had set up on the back patio of his home. As we ate delicious burgers (the beef was ground by Jeff in his kitchen just minutes before he placed them on his BBQ grill), he treated me to a series of classic rock cuts. I was completely surprised by the warmth and immediacy of the Bozaks. I think I'm going to have to find a pair on eBay.
I had a great time; it was actually the first time I've ever been to Long Island and I was impressed with how beautiful it was. Thanks, Jeff, for the hospitality!