|From go-to gals and guys who get things done to Goto Units - HighEnd audio indeed is a veritable cornucopia of offerings. From central mainstream wares to ultra-exotic esoterica, there are designers and parts to cater to every taste and pocket book. One look at the compression horn driver and high-efficiency woofer above and you know. These aren't the usual go-to drivers if you want to slap together your ordinary two-way speaker.
In fact, you'll need to add horns for the midrange drivers and build your own bass cabinet seeing that Goto doesn't offer finished speakers. All of this -- getting your hands on these 98-100dB Japanese woofers, spherical horns and 110dB+ raw compression drivers in the first place -- has thus far been virtually impossible in the US. With Goto Unit, you're far removed from everyday gravity and deep into the asymmetrically orbiting outer worlds of ALE and TAD - cost-no-object compression drivers for advanced DIY horn-loaded loudspeaker applications. To even know about this particular company has always taken some nosing and resourcefulness. To actually acquire its very expensive drivers? It's fair to say that probably less than a handful of Goto-fitted speakers reside in the US today. If Mr. Ming Su has anything to say on the subject, that's about to change in 2006 when he will take on formal importation for our continent. This involves the creation of a website, formal reviews -- challenging when one is dealing with raw drivers -- and translation of Japanese source material into English.
On the latter front, Mr. Su has already submitted the following by way of a brief introduction: "In 1960, Mr. Yoshimura invited Seiya Goto to join YL Yoshimura Laboratory and design hornloaded drivers. While Yoshimura-San endeavored to shrink physical size by curving his horns, Goto-San insisted on straight horns for what he believed was higher performance. In 1965, he left YL to establish Goto Unit and focus on his personal design theories.
1969 proved to become a pivotal year for Goto when Takajo-San joined his firm. Takajo was a famous music and equipment critic and insisted that reproduced sound had to be identical to the original sound. He had already asked many equipment manufacturers to improve their products and raise the transfer quality of recorded sound to storage media -- tape and vinyl records -- by improving microphones, tape recorders, amplifier and loudspeakers. Takajo-San was always on the lookout for genuine inventions that would further the art of music playback.
How should one evaluate an audio system? Generally, most audiophiles make the following mistakes:
1) Frequency response is significant but when measured with a signal sweep, the results don't indicate speaker linearity (compression) vs input level. Takajo-San emphasized that it's human hearing and not test equipment that must ultimately be relied upon to become the final arbiter of sound quality.
2) The listener evaluates a system by playing back a CD while comparing the reproduced sound with what he imagines the original session to have sounded like. Unfortunately, multi-tracking and subsequent mix-downs often bear no resemblance to what is imagined as the original natural sound in the recording studio.
Takajo's evaluation method began with personally recording a pianist or cello player in his listening room, then playing back the recording while the musicians were still present to compare the results in situ. This practice formed the backbone of driver development at Goto and led to a change from the original aluminum diaphragms to titanium units, specifically for the SG570, SG160 and SG370 transducers.
When Takajo-San ran into problems with a TAD-designed woofer whose designer had passed on, he approached Goto-San to repair or even rebuild this discontinued woofer. This kicked off Goto's eventual manufacture of custom woofers, beginning with 4 units that weighed in at 40kg/ea. due to their massive magnets scrounged from Takajo's personal parts arsenal.
During their first evaluation of these prototype drivers, Takajo and Goto placed them on the backs of their bass horns without bolts, possible during this test because of the woofers' enormous weight inertia. To the surprise of both men, the previous bass boominess of this room -- which Takajo had blamed on standing waves and attempted to suppress with big Chinese alcohol bottles in his corners -- disappeared and the high-frequency performance of the system improved. These observations committed Goto to the design and manufacture of extremely powerful woofers, including a special driver dedicated to work with the high rear pressures of bass-horn loading.
But Takajo-San wasn't satisfied yet. Recording natural sounds like insects chirping or glass bottles breaking, he insisted Goto-San further improve his drivers to reproduce such pure sounds more accurately. This led to experiments with different magnets and diaphragms and eventually replaced titanium with Beryllium for the SG188S and SG3880S units.
Changes in political climates and Pakistan's and Korea's eventual interest in atomic bombs then impacted Japanese legislation and exportation of Beryllium -- used for atomic bomb switches -- became prohibited. This led to Goto's duralumin diaphragms to replace Beryllium while approaching its performance. As of 2005, Mr. Seiya Goto has turned 78. To protect his intellectual property and assure continuation of the Goto legacy, his two sons and grandson have become his successors."
We wish Mr. Ming Su the best of success with his imminent business launch which, incidentally, will include tube amplification from French legend J.C. Verdier. Parties interested in either products should contact Ming Su via e-mail until his formal website is available for perusal.
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