Sep 192015

Most of you probably know Chad Kassem as the founder of Acoustic Sounds, Inc., the superb Analogue Productions record label, the Blue Heaven Studios recording studio, and most recently the Quality Record Pressings record pressing facility (there’s a nice overview on Wikipedia)

Acoustic Sounds in Salinas Kansas

Acoustic Sounds

Blue Heaven Studios

Blue Heaven Studios

Record press at Quality Record Pressings

Record press at Quality Record Pressings

Thursday, when I went back to my office after a meeting, the light was blinking on my phone indicating that someone had called.

Tannoy Westminster Royal Special Edition Loudspeakers

Tannoy Westminster Royal Special Edition Loudspeakers

It turns out that Chad Kassem had left me a message, telling me that he wanted to talk to me about my Tannoy Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers, as he had been reading the content here at Jeff’s Place, was thinking about buying a pair of WRSEs, and wanted to set up a system similar to the one I have.

WE16GA connecting to the MC30

Vintage McIntosh MC30 monaural amplifier.

So I called Chad back and we had a really nice discussion about Westminster Royals, music, vintage McIntosh amplifiers (Chad already has a pair of MC30s ready to go!), my Garrard Project 2015 turntable, and some really special new record albums he’s working on (more about that in a moment).

Garrard Project 2015

Garrard Project 2015

I also told Chad how much fun I’ve been having doing ‘Real Sound’ modifications with Yazaki-san & Ron, and Chad said he’d like to stop in and visit with Yazaki-san at the upcoming Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, and bring along some “really special vinyl”. Very cool!

That reminds me, if you get to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest (it’s just two weeks away now), be sure to stop in and visit Chad at the Acoustic Sounds room, and Yazaki-san at the Tone Imports Room, and be sure to tell them “Hi!” from me!

Nirvana Live at Reading

Crank up Nirvana Live at Reading and watch your windows bulge!

I liked Chad immediately while we were talking music & audio, what a cool guy! Chad’s absolutely passionate about music!

Chad: “Will the Westminsters rock out?” Me: Yeah, man, you can blow the windows out with live rock levels, and they’re still articulate with jazz & classical!”

We had a lot of fun talking music & audio, and Chad is definitely a passionate music lover!

60 Masterpieces-by-Ellington-front

Masterpieces by Ellington on the Analogue Productions label is magnificent!

What I was really impressed with was Chad’s heart for music, musicians, music lovers, audio, and how he’s rolling his earnings back into Acoustic Sounds, Analogue Productions, Blue Heaven Studios, and Quality Recording Pressings, to make our audio & music world a better place.

It’s not just a business, it’s a passion for the world of music that drives Chad!

Chad’s passionate about making a difference in the fields of music & audio in ways that we can all benefit from, so know that when you buy records from Acoustic Sounds you are contributing directly to the cause of putting better records on your turntable, which I happen to think is a really great thing.

Oh, you know that comment I just made about that “really special vinyl”? Well Chad said he’s got some really special music on vinyl cookin’, and in a couple of weeks I hope to have more to tell you about it!

Acoustic Sounds

Acoustic Sounds

As always, thanks for stopping by, and from my home to yours, may the music playing make you happy!

 Posted by at 7:36 pm

  8 Responses to “Chad Kassem checking in … Westminster Royal SEs and more!”

  1. Hi Jeff,

    I’ll be at RMAF for The Audio Traveler and will be reviewing the Tone Imports room.
    I’d love to connect with Yazaki-san there, looking forward to meeting him in person.
    Another great series of posts Jeff, they really make my Sunday mornings (any morning, actually!). Thanks!

    • Hi Rafe,

      That’s awesome that you’ll be attending RMAF! Be sure to say “Hi!” to Yazaki-san and Chad for me! (and let me know how you like the Tone Imports room)

      I’ll look forward to reading your report at TAT, and when you get it written up, please post the link if you would.

      Kind regards,


  2. Awesome, thanks for sharing, Jeff!

  3. Hi Jeff,

    I took the plunge and bought a pair of westminster royal se. They just arrived last night.
    Truly impressive speakers but im missing dynamics and bass — compared to my 15″ mg yorks.
    They sound as if they need running in. I think these speakers have been in storage for
    a long time, and may not have been used much either (the papers say they were produced
    in 2013).

    What is your experience with running in?



    • Hi Jesper,

      Congrats on the WRSE’s, they are wonderful loudspeakers! Hmmm … missing bass & dynamics is definitely an unusual situation with Westminsters, in my experience. Usually people end up trying to tame the bass & dynamics with them.

      I didn’t notice anything unusual with break-in on my WRSE’s, other than they kept getting better over the course of a year.

      I would tend to suspect the WRSE setup in the room and the amplification more than I would it being a break-in issue.

      For WRSE setup, I recommend following Jim Smith’s strategy as outlined in his books & videos. One way to think about it is to consider the WRSE’s like they’re mini-monitors and get them well out into the room with plenty of space around them. Most of the time I see WRSE’s placed too close to the front walls in listening rooms, which really compromises their performance. They need to be 6-9 feet out from the front wall in a larger space to work well.

      For amplification, the WRSE’s benefit from additional power. Even though their sensitivity rating is high, I think they do best with more powerful amplifiers. I’ve tried various SETs with mine, and while they can sound good, the WRSE’s just don’t come to life unless your using 25+ watts and up. Also, WRSEs aren’t good speakers for background listening at low levels, at least in my opinion. They are at there considerable best when you crank the volume up to near live levels, then all their good points, including dynamics and bass, spring to life.

      Keep me posted on how things work out with the WRSEs.

      Kind regards,


  4. Hi Jeff,

    you nailed it: they need volume.

    So do my mg’s but the wrse’s are 5-6 db more efficient so the good things dont come out before you get to 5-6 db louder levels.

    Wrt amps: you’re also spot on. Tannoys like push-pull valves. I dont think it so much a question of watts as output impedance.
    I tried feeding the wrse with a lcopland hybrid but it spat it out and asked for my radford (with mullard valves).

    Wrt placement, youre probably also right. But this is europe and i dont decide everything in this household.

    Still I think those cone surrounds need a bit of exercise to get in shape. And all the guts of those big cabs need to heat up
    to room temperature.

    Its getting a lot better now. Dolly, beatles and now miles sound pretty awesome. I think this could be the start of a meaningful relationship.

    If you like I can send you some pics of my tannoy and lenco collection.


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