6moons industryfeatures: Richard Bird of Rives Audio
During a recent visit by fellow scribe-cum-audiophile Jonathan Scull, Jacob's pride'n'joy Classé Omega amp had reacted adversely to a crossover parts swapping session when certain wires that shouldn't have crossed did and put out the otherwise imperturbable Omega. At the time of my stay, it had been dispatched back to Canada for a once-over. In its stead, I was greeted by a fresh pair of Parasound Halo monos delivering 400 watts per side into the towering panels and starting their protracted break-in process.
Jacob's $14,000/pr Maggie 20.1s had undergone serious crossover network upgrades by Bruce Wenger of BWS Consulting which, in a detour from traditional bread boarding, were subject instead to cigar casing or wine crating - i.e. housed in temporary enclosures tethered to the speakers via JenaLab leads.

With something approaching disdain, Jacob proceeded to retrieve the original crossover parts from storage for a show'n'tell comparison which, truth be told, did not reflect too highly on the quality of the stock parts.

Juice for the system was derived from multiple 20-amp lines in the boiler room and two 30-amp circuits in the main space.

With the electronic hardware handled, let's now inspect the acoustical hardware - the quads of broad-band Helmholtz resonators on the long walls, fortuitously mounted at the half-way point to double as diffusers, with the right set door-mounted to conceal an old electrical access panel. Fashioned from hardwood slats, the bandwidth and efficiency of these resonators is a function of gap width/depth and stuffing density. By virtue of being configured in semi arcs, their gaps sport varying depths to address not one specific frequency -- as you would for a notch filter to combat a room mode -- but to be operational over a frequency band. Though available in cloth cover, Jacob -- rightly says I -- enjoys the raw maple finish and had thus contracted for the aesthetic displayed.

The cloth-covered ceiling was hiding an elaborate patent-pending array of alternating diagonal slats while absorptive traps took center stage between the speakers, in the corners behind them, and in the staircase leading down into this basement space. A separate resonator was positioned into one of the rear corners in the stairwell.

Time to hunker down with Richard and learn, first, what his company was all about, and second, what the specific challenges and design parameters of this room had been.