Stop #9: Millersound. Unbeknownst to us, what lay in wait around the next bend was to become the absolute highlight of a trip rife with highlights. Before we proceed, I will tell you something that might sound odd or fantastic. Still, I truly believe it from experience: Not everyone in a human body is the same kind of being. By this I mean that not everyone who assumes a body comes from the same universal dimension. Meeting Bill LeGall and his lovely wife Loretta was unequivocal proof. Both Ivette and I sensed very quickly that we were in the company of truly extraordinary people. The images we received were of white light and huge wings. I'm not kidding. Surrounding them was clear evidence that they live a life blessed by the miraculous, the spontaneous, the warmly eccentric and the fundamentally free. None of it manifests in any grandiose way but a very real and down-to-earth fashion. This kind of 'ordinary' spiritual freedom moves through each day with curiosity, presence, mischief and a tacit sense of gratefulness, for being alive here & now. It embraces everything as a gift to share freely, without suffering undue attachments to any of it. Do angels take human form? You better believe it. Meeting Loretta and Billie sure seemed like incontrovertible proof.

Don't mistake these statements for holier-than-thou airs or saccharine New Ageism though. We're talking roll-up-your-sleeves, get-down-to-the-business-of-living shit, repairing speakers in the driveway on a Saturday afternoon, for a fella whose beloved boxes had flat-lined and were in need of cost-effective yet masterful vivification. You see, Bill is a speaker repair man par excellence. He stocks literally thousands of cones, domes, surrounds and voice coils in the basement and all of its crawl spaces. From a rare Ohm Walsh Model A to a Sonus Faber Guarneri Scanspeak driver, from electrostats to planars, Bill can fix anything that's got to do with loudspeakers. Just don't expect them to sound the same when you get 'em back. They'll invariably sound better than stock once Bill's through with them. For many high-profile dealers, Bill LeGall is the secret stone of eternal loudspeaker youth. It's gotten to the point where he's too busy to want any new business. Hence I won't divulge where he lives or give out his phone number or e-mail. If you're meant to find him, you will. That's plainly how things work around Billie and Loretta.

Their house is a trip. With white carpets throughout, everything's immaculately clean despite their very smart black poodle. There are systems galore, in rooms that seem too small to do them justice until you fire them up. While you're re-hinging your jaw, you notice that the electronics driving these various speakers are budget jobbies - Cambridge Audio and Music Hall stuff mostly which Bill used to sell. There are antique components too which Loretta finds at swap meets and garage sales, all perfectly restored. The local UPS guy is used to calling the LeGalls from the road when he sights speakers or audio components on a sidewalk. "It's dumpster luv, baby!" This fascination with the old has transformed one room into a veritable museum of all-original Americana though every audio system here contains elements of the museumesque as well. Meanwhile Bill, without any pretense whatsoever but seemingly a mite nervous -- about being in the presence of a presumably famous and bona fide golden ear -- kept reminding us that he knew nothing of HighEnd audio and was merely a humble speaker repair guy. You can take that to the bank. Just don't cash it.

Then the phone rang. Ivette picked up. "Hullah?" "Yeah, this is the man upstairs. Tell the billy goat to share the story about how he got serial # 2 of the Infinity IRS Reference Standard Series V." Now if I could just tell a story half as well as Bill, I'd give it a shot at retelling but I can't. Suffice to say that our man's filled to bursting with colorful anecdotes that'll make your own life seem terribly trite and boring by comparison. Again, I don't mean glamorous at all. Remember, it's the Divine Interferences of synchronicity which permeate perfectly mundane exploits to elevate them far beyond the mundane and into a life tangibly pervaded by Spirit - holy without the holiness.

Onward ho to my favorite system of the Forbidden Fruit Tour. While you stare and ogle and catch your breath, a few pointers. Each woofer has been expertly rebalanced. Think car tires. How out-of-true are they when you purchase them? They all require additions of shims in the rims to redistribute weight. Bill added small pieces of Dynamat to the backs of the woofer cones. This rebalances the cone to ensure precise alignment of the voice coil within the gap and throughout the entire range of excursion and rarefaction. Every IRS midrange ribbon -- notorious for failures -- has been rendered bullet-proof by the addition of silicon beads along the inside edges. This prevents hairline fractures of the Mylar diaphragm when driven by the super-powerful magnets. Every tweeter ribbon -- whose subtly varying impedances affect output and linearity -- has been sequenced by Loretta top-to-bottom. It's then been accurately matched to the other channel. Veneer discolorations from sun exposure proclaimed beyond repair have been fixed to better-than-new. Ditto for the lacquered bases, the crossovers. Every single minute detail has been addressed. Call it a wholesale restoration worthy of the Metropolitan. Many people have heard this pair. This includes the original owner of Lyric HiFi. He's depicted below on the magazine cover, with this very pair shown at the 1989 Stereophile Show in New York City. Mr. Kay told me in his store two days later that Bill's incarnation was significantly superior to the one he exhibited with and that it was now possibly one of the finest speakers ever made, period. It sure the hell sounded that way.

The associated equipment rack housed a salvaged $10 Technics direct-drive turntable, an ARC preamp, a Sansui 3-head tape deck and a Music Hall Maverick SACD/CD player. Driving the ribbon panels was my old blu-blooded buddy, the Mesa Baron. A 2000-watt on-board amp drove the woofer columns while the Infinity active crossover was sited dead-center.

Having burned my own Forbidden Fruit Tour compilation to CDR, with spares to give to my various hosts if they did digital, Bill and Loretta asked me to spin a tune. In went Luciano Pavarotti's "Il Gladiatore" from Ti Adoro. What can I say except that things scaled and swelled with the effortless force of a tidal storm, energizing the entire room without any overloading to raise hackles and goose bumps and deep-six the casual observer. "More!" demanded Billy when Luciano faded. And so it went, track after track. No words were uttered during the music, e.g. none of the usual and gratuitous audiophile commentary that proudly points at certain admirable attributes which invariably reflect back on the egoic owner. No, here we were in the presence of true music lovers. Their life lines were relinquished to drift blissfully in the oceanic feelings of the big blue. Heaven. But things didn't stop there. After all, Bill and Loretta were just warming up.