Waveform Research

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Equipment[add model]

Waveform Research manufactures or has manufactured the following equipment (click to expand models list):

Dynamic Speakers
 

General information [contribute]

Jan van Erp (June 30, 2000): Waveform has long been one of the best-kept secrets in Canada's collection of high-end-loudspeaker companies. Waveform was officially registered in 1985 and debuted its first product at the Summer CES in 1986. Although the company's strategies for distribution and pricing of its products have changed dramatically since its inception, its overriding goals have not. John's, Waveform's president and sole owner, has a plaque on the wall at the entrance to the manufacturing portion of his facility that reads: On value the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten -- Unknown

History[contribute]

Waveform Research web site (November 23, 2000): The original Waveform Loudspeaker (there was no model designation because at the time there was only one product) was designed by Paul Barton. Back then and today, Barton is one of the world' most-respected speaker designers. He is, of course, synonymous with the name PSB. The Waveform was an all-out design that went far beyond anything being done at PSB in terms of technology and quality. It was a massive, beautifully built loudspeaker with some five drivers, including a ribbon tweeter and 15" woofer. It needed to be bi-amplified. Today X's describes it as an exercise in "woodworking and engineering."

Barton's work is legendary alongside that of Dr. Floyd Toole at Canada' National Research Council (NRC). Toole' work spanned many years and involved many of today' best designers. Barton and Toole had managed to do what few others even attempt to do -- correlate objective loudspeaker measurements with subjective listening. This groundbreaking research formed the basis for some of Canada' most-respected loudspeaker manufacturers, including Barton' own PSB as well as Paradigm and Audio Products International. The summary of this work can be found in Subjective and Objective Measurements of Loudspeaker Performance, a booklet published by the NRC. While that work is far too involved to go into here, three important speaker criteria arose and are worth mentioning because Waveform adheres strictly to them. A speaker should have: wide bandwidth, low distortion, wide and even dispersion. (For a more in-depth look at the NRC and Barton, see our article called "A Day at the NRC With Paul Barton of PSB Speakers.")

X's'job, then and now, is building the actual loudspeakers, although this is a gross understatement because he runs the entire company. He is a master craftsman capable of building products of great quality, reliability and beauty. This skill extends far beyond just audio products. He built his own house and the Waveform factory too. X's is also no slouch when it comes to the technicalities of loudspeaker design. Get him talking about his favorite passion and he can go on for hours about what he believes makes for a superior loudspeaker.

That first Waveform speaker was priced at $20,000 per pair and weighed in at 250 pounds each. It was a beautiful, triangular-shaped loudspeaker made from 2"-thick solid cherry. At the time, it was one of the most expensive speakers in the world and was designed to give cost-no-object performance. There were very few speakers as large or expensive. Sales of that original speaker were through the traditional method of storefront retailers.

In 1991, Waveform produced the second version of that speaker, which they called the Mach 7. The "7" signified seven visits to the NRC in seven years. At that time, X's also decided to go factory-direct, and he hasn't gone back. Selling straight from the manufacturer to the consumer resulted in a whopping price reduction. Waveform ended up selling the Mach 7 for $8000 per pair.

The Mach 13 came out in 1995 and was the last speaker of the design series. Afterwards X's decided it was time for a totally new design that would extend the art and science even further. With Barton increasingly involved in PSB, X's turned to Dr. Claude Fortier, who holds a doctorate in physics and is an expert in acoustics and speaker design. Fortier works as an acoustical consultant and also designs loudspeakers for the pro market -- his own companies are State-of-the-Art Electronik and State-of-the-Art Acoustik.

Fortier works in Ottawa and also has plenty of experience at the NRC. As a result, the existing NRC doctrine that helped produce the first series of loudspeakers fit perfectly into Fortier' approach. In fact, Fortier performed all final measurements of the new line of Waveform products right at the NRC. These facilities include a state-of-the-art anechoic chamber for precise measurements, and few companies in the world have access to this. (Incidentally, SoundStage! uses these same facilities to measure loudspeakers for review.)

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