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Friday, December 18, 2009

Goto from Japan: drivers and horns - a lifelong passion, in the name of music or The German Way.







Many, MANY thanks to Reinhard, Klaus and - as always - in this case for unveiling this european horns beauty - to Roman and his superb site & forum for sharing this:

"These are the results of 30 years (in words: thirty) of research and development in bass horns. Nowadays nearly everybody is talking about horns, and especially bass horns, Tractrix, exponential, hyperbolic... But the discussion seems always very isolated and concentrated on only one type of horn at the time without any possibilities of listening comparison in reality, and hardly anybody seems to really concentrate and nail it down on the last two octaves from 16 - 32 and 32 - 64 cycles which very severely determine the mid and high range reproduction, they think they have a horn and that's it. No, unfortunately it is not...

We have been "through" all sorts of horns, i.e. we have built them all. Yes, and we have started with the first straight 40 cycle horn with some 4 m in length and 2,70 mouth diameter back in 1983 with the first ever available Goto Bass Compression Driver SG146LD. Since then we are in HiFi-heaven. And since then we have built and listened to all the other types of bass horns because we just wanted to know for ourselves. And because at the time we did not know anybody with practical listening experiences regarding this specific theme we did it all by ourselves. So we built all different types of horns up to a length of 6,50 m and 3,20 m in opening mouth diameter. And over the years we have visited and listened to all "big" systems in Europe to hear what it is all about with horns in general and specific. The only ones missing in our "collection", i.e. we have not yet listened to till today, is the Western Electric WE15 with the original drivers from the 1920ies, which we will "do" rather shortly.

I don't want to use the word "better". It doesn't say that much. It is the same with vinyl and/or CD. With a "good" system you will always listen to "music". And that's what we do: listening to music and nothing but music, no more system - and hardly any source - evident in reproduction. And we get the right "pressure" for the sound, we "get" the organ in a church in reproduction, down to 30 cycles precise in some 11 m distance from the mouth of the bass horns, clearly and without any boom-boom... The horns are only "big tailored" in the sense of practicing precisely physical laws, of precisely working out what they "get" from the amps, not more, but also not less.

But not only the horns. As well the amplification. Been through all highest end: Mark Levinson, Macintosh, Audio Research... no amplification really did what we wanted to have rsp. hear. And what we wanted (and what we have now) was : input = output, without any add ones and without any deduction. And we wanted all Class A. Because the sound of Class A was so spectacular. And at that time Jean Hiraga had just developed his "Le Monstre" 7 Watt mono Class A, which we took as a model and then optimized during time. So we now have all Class A, 10 Amps, one for each driver, two 4 resp. 5 channel crossovers, and one pre-amp. And during the last years we have all amplification extended to separate controlled power supply for each unit. That was a huge step forward. It made the whole sound not only crystal clear but really stable down to the lowest frequencies, and the boom-boom was completely gone. And at that time we had already listened extensively to all highest end systems in Europe. And it was immediately clear what we didn't want to have and what we wanted to have. So we continuously worked on it.

By the way, we never ever followed any "new horn fashion". We wanted to check them all out. One after another. And we did. To get our own impression. And it was and still is just the sound that we are interested in. And nothing but the sound. And after all self-experiences we keep with the Goto philosophy: Kugelwellen-horn. We knew (at least we had a deep feel inside) what we wanted to hear, and so we developed, and developed, and developed... In hundreds of small and bigger steps. Over thirty years. Till we were "there" where we always wanted to be, but nobody had or could offer for sale. And "there" we are now in a sense that we have a platform where nothing in music is disturbing, no matter what source or music you play or what loudness. But one thing we wanted urgently was playing at highest levels and "feel" the music live with the natural sound pressure on the stomach. But not "loud", we wanted it "naturally loud", that is something different. That is to adjust a voice in playback at that level as if someone is singing in front of you, or playing an instrument or...

Crossover: Yes, we neither were content with available crossovers with phase shifting and so on... So we let build crossovers without phase shifting, because we wanted to have that and because we realized that the industry does have no interest in generating products like this... and the frequencies are cut according to the Goto recommendations: natural octaves, and I have to admit: that works for me. 4 resp. five way.

During all our constructions and research and developments regarding the horns (we did not build the amps ourselves that made a physician according to our proposals) we found one thing to be the quintessence in reproduction: the squares. No matter at all what source you are listening to. The more we optimized the squares horizontally and vertically in amplification (and within the sources of course, i.e. Vinyl- and CD-players) the more natural the sound came out of the horns. Result: what you do not put in, you cannot get out.

While Klaus is using some "older" Goto drivers (which have nothing lost regarding their magic), I use all highest end Goto beryllium drivers, i.e. SG188BL, SG3880BL, SG5880BL and SG146LD for the bass (30 - 200 cycles). Expensive? Yes. But cheap as well. Because they bring me - whenever I want - into paradise without dying. The throat diametre mid range is 75 cm (200 - 1000 cycles), the highs 21 cm (1000 - 5000 cycles) and super high 3 cm (5.000 - open end).

For me the most important thing was the Goto SG146LD. Klaus started with a straight 10 leafs 40 cycle horn in 1983. And it was awesome. SG146LD is the only compression bass driver which does not produce boom-boom if fed right. The SG146LD contrarily is on first impression not to be heard as bass, first you think, hey it is wrong, it is not connected, but then you realize, what they are doing, they integrate completely homogeneously into the sound, totally natural, like a royal soufflé, no more "cuts" between bass and mid-range (especially in the voices), just "one" sound. Marvellous. Really marvelous. And they make the right pressure. 113 db/watt/m... and you can put some 35 watts in there... and you get volume like on stage... and nothing disturbing...

Perhaps one has to get used to that sound a little at first, because it is so "unspectacular" without boom-boom, but then there is no way back... nearly exactly the same is with their membrane basses...But, please keep in mind, we are exploring new territory ... nobody was able to advise us so far... and we are still learning... deeply learning...the adjustment of all those horns is not yet finished... and now comes the next big revolution: high resolution digital stream...

I read: "...no one talk about the SOUND of Goto drivers, neither the driver owners nor the driver’s salers. I still hope to hear from someone who has a direct experience with Gotos about the sound of those drivers…" if it is like that then let me try.

1. As is with all drivers and horns: they only sound as good as with what they are fed; if the amplification is good, i.e. squares, the sound is good; if the amplification is weak or bad, the sound is like that (and that begins within the vinyl-system and the error correction in CD-players; so, wherever we start, we start "bad", exception: reproduction from computer files). The horns in itself are "neutral", but it is obviously very hard to reach that aim...

2. The drivers of Goto. Well it is like cars from Daimler Benz Mercedes. You have a range from A 180 to 560 SLC and on top formula 1 racing cars. They all drive fine. And there are lots of cars from other societies, which are comparable and which drive fine as well. But at the absolute top it is getting otherwordly unique... with the material beryllium... (but that material is not easy to implement; although not bad, the TADs beryllium have no chance in direct comparion to Goto beryllium!) the sound gets that light, that easy, that uncomplicated, that natural, it is on the border of no more being sound, the differences between an original and reproduction are really neglectable, nothing disturbing, you can listen for hours and hours and hours, and you scream for "More, More, More..."

3. The Gotos could not at all "open" as we are used to and show what they are capable of. The sound was steril. Like kissing your aunt and nothing happens. Get me right: there were no mistakes, not at all, one can easily live with that, it is just that we did not like the outcoming sound, the sterilness, the lifelessness, there was no "breathing"...

4. So what are the Gotos capable of?
4.1. Although they measure badly, they sound best. We do not understand why, but it is like that. But when you listen to their sound, you are not really interested in measurements, although we do that of course: Goto says: "You shall not measure, you shall listen!" I have to admit: Yes, it is like that. Although I like measurement controls. They are necessary, but I had to learn, that they practically say nothing about the "sound", as to be seen with the totally flat curves at Jean-Yves.
4.2. Their sound pressure brings you to life atmosphere, exactly there where other drivers are off limits, not that they are not able to play loud, but you are not willing to crank them up to that level because there will come up things you will not listen to and which with Gotos simply are not there...
4.3. The neutrality of the reproduction - well I repeat: if amplified correct - is jaw dropping, awesome
4.4. The mode of reproduction is not only natural, it is easy as well; when you reach a natural reproduction level, i.e. a voice is like a voice, a guitar like a guitar, you feel no need to crank futher up because of the lack of dynamics...
4.5. The preciseness of reproduction (well, again depending on the squares of the amplification)
4.6. The "easiness" with which they do it: 113 db/Watt/m, respectively 116db/Watt/m, it is like riding 60 miles/hour and you don't realize that you are driving
4.7. The dynamics, the capability of transferring loudest impulses out of nothing and that easy - makes you shiver
4.8. Closest to reality what I have heard in my life
4.9. You will realize most what Goto really is, when you remove the drivers one by one out of your system and put in others...
4.10. for me the best description of the impression of the sound is: the modesty, the unspectacularness, you are missing things, exactly those things that other drivers do wrong and/or are not capable of...

For Klaus and me it is "it". Not to say that other systems do not sound good or very good. But there are certain things only Goto is capable of. One has to hear this to believe. And the result is: nodding with your head. That's the sound of Goto. You will never go back..

P.S. I am totally aware of the fact that in reproduction all things are more or less compromises. The only aim we can follow is to minimize the impression of listening to something coming out of a conserve..."

Only a user, a passionate one, can share his findings, enthusiasm and heartfelty proselitism - I know myself, too... - as per above essay.

The above prose is much more valuable as it's not written by the importer of Goto's products or someone who wish or need to sell some Goto's, so abusing in empty hypes and the like: it's PURE, sincere satisfaction for a - I'm sure - great final result.

Clever.

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