Cosmostatic Omnidirectional

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General information[contribute]

The Cosmostatic Omnidirectional is an electrostatic speaker. In 1980 its price was $3800.

Mike Roe (January 11, 2000): Attached is the original brochure for the Cosmostatic Omnidirectional Speaker. Cosmos Ltd made only a few of these (I believe 50 or less) and went out of business after just two years. The person that designed them passed away three years ago and the main distributor, Russell at Harmony House in Manhattan, died last year.

I can not find the schematics but would pay any price to have them. The people that designed the bass/woofers, Shahinian Acoustics, are still around and make the infamous "Diapason" system. I have found replacements for the 4 woofers and 37mm transfer dome. I have rebuilt the built-in buffer amps but for the power source which I can not find a suitable replacement. I am having a problem finding a resource to refurbish the 11 electrostatic driver elements on each speaker which have diminished in response due to chemical elements in the air over time. I am trying to find a company capable of refurbishing them but without the schematics it is difficult.

I have 4 of these magnificent speakers and have yet to find ANY speaker that can reproduce sound as good as these. Like the other members of your circuit this has become a passion and I look forward to the day when I can make them brand new again. I'd like to speak with anyone that has these as I have a treasure trove of spare parts that are impossible to get and might be of help to anyone that needs them. Regards

Joerg Baar (May 10, 2001): I found the following information on Ebay: Each amp has two pair 2SD425 and two pair 2SB555, all Toshiba output devices on large heatsinks, and a large pair of 200V 750 MFD fliter caps, as well as many good parts. Each of the cabinets houses 4 Polydax 6-1/2" woofers, 2 10" passive radiators, one on the back and one on the bottom and 1 polydax 1-3/4" midrange.

Mike Roe (May 23, 2001): I have successfully repaired the Cosmostatics by isolating the problem of no electrostatic sound from the panels by reading several books on electrostatic speakers and power supplies/transformers. I have completely rewired and reconfigured the 11 electrostatic drivers, found the original manufacturer of the two transformers in the built-in buffer amp (these were custom made for Cosmo Industries only) and had a few rewound. I've rebuilt much of the amp with new parts.

The result is astounding - the speakers are working as good as the day I got them (1987). I have also replaced the 10" passive radiators which I found at Shahinian Acoustics who designed the woofer system for the Cosmos. They made an excellent speaker, the Diapason, which is an Omnidirectional speaker using elliptical horns configured for a 360 equal dispersion of sound instead of electrostatic panels.

Although I've yet to meet anyone that has these speakers, I have purchased another pair of them to bring my total to 4 as well as a treasure trove of spare parts. If anyone needs assistance or parts, I have become well educated, better resourced, and capable of repairing them. One person who is undoubtedly an expert in electrostatic design and technical understanding is Jim Power, Head Technician, at Martin Logan. He is a very nice guy who will help you with any problem (he is a comprehensive encyclopedia on the subject) despite his heavy work load at Martin Logan.

I'd like to thank Barry Waldron who is undoubtedly an expert in the electrostatic arena. He has been extremely helpful in assisting me with an assessment of the problems I had with these speakers. He is well connected, really knows his stuff, and knows how and who can best help. He has provided me with information that made the overview and resulting success in repairing these speakers easier. Thanks Barry.

Mike Roe (October 2001): I have successfully repaired the Cosmostatics to "as new" condition. The last part and hardest part to overcome was the failure of the built-in matching buffer amps (transistorized) and no schematic available. I found Ben Jacoby at Vintage Audio in Brooklyn, NY, USA (718) 377-7282, who was able to reverse engineer some of it and found the problems. They included:

Ben is TRULY a genuis and now, after two years of effort, these (4) speakers are like new. I have yet to find any other cosmostatic omnidirectional that sounds this good ( 3 dimensional quad if you will) despite many people ("experts") in the electrostatic world who told me they are not worth fixing. They most definately are worth it and cost a total of $1000 each to repair (includes new passives, drivers (panels), woofers, amp). Add $200 to refinish cabinet if necessary. If anyone has these speakers and does not know what to do please email me and I can direct you to the resources I have to make them new again.

Jerry Mack (March 25, 2007): No, it's not a robot, it's a loudspeaker! That's right, it's the Cosmostatic! This speaker was designed and built by Richard Shahinian in the early 1980's, and sold for $3800.00 when introduced.

Mr. Shahinian was kind enough to tell me about these speakers when I called him, so here are a few facts. (He called them an "Omnidirectional Umbrella".) It took three and a half years to develop these speakers. There are four custom made 6" woofers, two 10" passive radiators, a 1 1/2" dome and ten custom-made electrostatic drivers. (Not RTR or Janszen, as some people have said.) There is a large power supply to drive the tweeters. Each speaker weighs over 150 lbs, but they are on casters and are easy to move. They measure 21" on each side, and stand 60" tall with the cover on.

Mr. Shahinian said that they can reproduce a 25 hz organ pedal. I don't remember if he mentioned the upper limit, but it's probably safe to say it's a lot higher than you can hear.

Mr. Shahinian's design philosophy (omnidirectionality) is different from that of most mainstream manufacturers. As is his business philosophy. He doesn't advertise in the audio magazines, and has never paid for a review. One could say he has never sold out. Naturally, he and his speakers are marginalized by the audio community. Yet he is backlogged with orders from all over the world, all of which are from word-of-mouth. So he must be doing something right.

Somehow, I had never heard of this speaker. I was aware of the Obelisks and Diapasons, but not the Cosmostatic. This pair was purchased from the original owner's estate. The original owner had the largest collection of choral LPs I have ever seen. Talk about obscure - composers I've never heard of, labels I've never heard of and groups I've never heard of. (And I get to see a lot of classical records.) So that's what these speakers were primarily used for, the reproduction of mostly large choral works.

How do they sound, you want to know. Before I tell you how they sound, let me just say that one phase of my "career" was in selling high-end audio. I worked with Mark Levinson at Cello, and as a salesman at some of NY's most notorious high-end shops. I have either sold or at least heard just about every high-end speaker product out there, including Cello, Wilson Audio, JMLab, Audio Physic, Martin Logan, Quad and Bowers and Wilkins. (Until a few years ago. Lately I haven't kept up. ) And I am familiar with the sound of most of the vintage speakers - Altec Lansing, JBL, Klipsch, Quad ESL, Tannoy, Electro-Voice, and a lot of really bad speakers too. Of course, like most audio fanatics, I even built speakers for a while, so I do know a little about speaker design. Even with such a large knowledge base, I was unprepared for what I heard when I fired up the Cosmostatics. I hooked them up to my test amp in the garage, which is a 35 watt JVC integrated from the 1970's. Definitely lower mid-fi. I put in a Grateful Dead disc and thought "that's different". It didn't knock me out. Then I grabbed "The Best of Simon and Garfunkel" (hey, it's what I had lying around) and put that on. It was when I heard the beginning of "Mrs. Robinson" that I thought "holy spit, these are really good". (A friend later told me that Paul Simon owns a pair of these speakers.) But it was after that, when I heard Angela Gheorghiu sing "Plaisir d'amour" that I realized I had one of the best speakers I had ever heard on my hands. It's scary to think how good these could sound, set up in the right room with good electronics and some killer vinyl.

Are they perfect? No, no speaker is. Do they play rock n roll? Yes, but if you're a head banger these are not for you. Do they "image"? I would answer that with this question - what does imaging have to do with listening to music? Nothing. If you're into pin-point imaging, you've been had, you're a victim of the high-end establishment. What about the human voice, and stringed instruments? Aha! For that, these are absolutely, unequivocally, one of the finest speakers ever made.

I only listened for a little while more and then shut them off. Mr. Shahinian was pleased that they were taken care of and are still working. He told me I was crazy to sell them, and that if he were to make them today they would cost tens of thousands of dollars. (He still has two pair himself.) As much as I'd love to keep these, they won't fit in my room and they have to go.

These speakers are working, but they have not been checked by a technician. They are sold "As Is". They must be picked up. If you need them shipped you have to make all arrangements. Your shipper has to pick them up and take them away. Any emails inquiring about shipping costs will not be answered.



Bear (February 2002): Interestingly, I was at the auction in Long Island City for the Cosmostatic company... many years ago. I bought and still have a *large* roll of the original coated Mylar that they used. I'd be happy to supply some to anyone who needs it. Keep in mind that is *silvered* and conductive. The usual technique is to use high-Z coatings on the diaphragm to keep the potential for arcing through to a minimum. Please contact me through my website called Bearlabs

Mike Roe (January 2000): I have found two excellent resources for the reapair of electrostatic speakers, amplifiers, and electrsotatic drivers. In addition I have found the perfect replacement coated Mylar which I am using in the 88 electrostatic panels for the Cosmos and it works better that the original Mylar (this for those who find rubbing graphite on Mylar cumbersome, time consuming, with uneven results, and a short-lived replacement life (as from Barry Waldron and Roger Sanders). Here they are:

  1. Space Age Electronics - located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this company, run by a PhD in Electrical Engineering, who repairs any complex problem for audio components, speakers, and/or systems. They are certified for McIntosh, Yamaha, Denon, Band & Olufsen, Proton, Nackamichi, and Yamaha. He also sells refurbished components with a full 1 year warranty. Contact: (matt)
  2. Edward Smith - located in Diamond Springs, California, this private individual is an electrical genuis with 30 years experience who can figure out any problem and repair it. Contact:
  3. Coated Mylar - these products have limited availability and must be purchased through me. The company does not sell to individuals (I purchase the Mylar through my own company). Thye have superb heavy coated aluminum Mylar in 3 different thicknesses (50/75/100) and this stuff works best for electrostatic elements. Contact:

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