Nov 072015

With its cooler temperatures and wetter weather, Autumn in the Pacific Northwest is a time when life starts to shift indoors. It means kicking off new audio projects, getting the fireplace going, getting out a good book, with the muse of music stirring thoughts of the past as well as dreams for the future.

An Autumn for music

Autumn is a time for audio projects, fires in the fireplace, and music with friends.

So it is also with my friend my friend and kindred spirit, Frank, in Canada. Frank was intrigued by what I related to you as I described trying the Western Electric WE16GA as speaker cables, and as internal & crossover wiring in my Duelund-ized Tannoy Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers, and was inspired to embark on a cable project he had been wanting to try with his own Duelund-ized Westminsters.

However, instead of the Western Electric, Frank had been wanting to try the exotic Duelund Coherent Audio pure silver foil wire that is insulated with a silk jacket, and is impregnated with a mineral oil.  Here’s a link to the Duelund web page describing their wire offerings.

Here is Frank’s account of his Duelund rewire project for his Tannoy Westminster Royal SE loudspeakers with external Duelund crossovers:

Frank's silver foil Duelund wire

Duelund Coherent Audio 2.0 and 1.0 silver foil wire.

“Your recent changes to the Duelund crossover wiring from the Neotech to the Western Electric wire, and your positive musical results, pushed me to think about changing the Neotech wire running through my Duelund CAST crossovers. To me the word that came immediately to my mind was the synergy of combining the parts to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. ”

“With that in mind I turned to Duelund again and their hook-up wire, the 2.0 and the 1.0. The Duelund wire is pure silver foil, is a flat ribbon, and is insulated with a silk jacket and impregnated with a mineral oil. In the photo you can see that one end of the 2.0 is not flat. That is because the 2.0 wire was too wide to go through the McMaster-Carr copper lugs within the crossover, so I rounded it to fit. The Duelund silver wire is relatively soft, so it was easy to make it roundish to fit through the MCMaster-Carr lugs. This worked well, because once rounded, the wire is very rigid for pushing through the lugs crowded with the other wires.”

Frank's silver foil Duelund wire in the Duelund-WRSE crossover

Duelund silver foil wire in Frank’s Duelund-WRSE crossover.

“In addition to rewiring the low-frequency section of the Duelund-WRSE crossovers with Duelund 2.0 wire, and the high-frequency section of the crossover with Duelund 1.0 wire, I also replaced my Sablon Audio Panatela cables that go from the crossovers to the Tannoy Dual Concentric drivers with the Duelund 1.0 and 2.0 foil wire, and the results are breathtaking and phenomenal! (I am still using the Salon Audio Panatela component speaker cables from my monaural amplifiers to the Duelund crossover.)”

Frank's silver foil Duelund wire coming out of the WRSE

Frank’s Westminsters internally rewired with Duelund silver foil wire.

“The music is now so coherent ascending into the high-frequencies, and as it descends into the low-frequencies,  that the music – including operatic voices – is simply more beautiful, totally satisfying, and sweet in a very complete way.”

Frank's listening room

Frank’s listening room with “The Lark Ascending”.

Frank shared with me that the theme of his listening room is from the poem The Lark Ascending by English poet George Meredith, a tribute to the song of the skylark.

He rises and begins to round,
He drops the silver chain of sound,
Of many links without a break,
In chirrup, whistle, slur and shake.

English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams wrote a tribute to The Lark Ascending for violin and piano, which was later re-scored for solo violin and orchestra.

Frank told me as he sat listening to the music, memories of  his friend and listening buddy, Helmer Biermann, came back to him.

Biermann's Column

Helmer Biermann’s Column, where he wrote about his passion for opera.

Helmer wrote about his passion for opera and classical music for the Telegraph-Journal, and the Evening Times Globe, from where he eventually retired as the Editor of Arts and Entertainment.

Frank told me, “Recently, when the Duelund wire went into the system, and glorious music flooded into the room, at about the same time I came across my tribute I wrote about Helmer when he passed away in 2005. I thought about how much Helmer enjoyed listening to music, and how he enjoyed listening to music here with me, where he introduced me to some great music.”

“Helmer came to Canada with his parents as a young boy from Denmark. Unfortunately, Helmer passed away before hearing  my system in its “completed” state. As I listen to the music now with my Duelund-Westminsters, with the new Duelund wire in the speakers & crossovers, I think of Helmer because he is the only person I’m acquainted with who would have been as overwhelmed with the beautiful sound and music as I am right now.”

Frank’s tribute to friend and music lover, Helmer Biermann:

“Any tribute to Helmer Biermann and his recent passing to a musical celestial shore must recognize the truth of an important musical trinity.  The three in one of the composer, the performer, and the listener.  A few years ago Helmer told me that early in his life he dedicated himself to that part of the musical triad, the listener, because he believed that meaningful music demands one’s undivided attention.  Thus, instead of many hours struggling with the creation of music, or the practice for performing, he chose to become part of the musical trinity as an enlightened listener. ”

“I believe that Helmer thought, and he was probably right, that the human ear is the first musical instrument of all.  That is, the ear and mind make music by organizing oncoming tones.  If you can recognize or remember a piece of music, it is because it was composed by someone whose ear and mind organized tones with the same idea you use.  In other words, listeners make music.  But music goes out of existence with every performance, and must be recreated at every hearing.  Helmer told me recently that Tosca was at the top of his list, hearing it forty six times, Verdi’s most listened to opera by Helmer, Il Trovatore came in at twenty-one times.  Helmer could never be too closely acquainted with the greatest music.  Its meaning to him was as infinite and unfathomable as the works of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Euripides, Shakespeare, or Goethe.  At each repetition you may understand more of it.  So it was with Helmer and the musical masterpieces, for he knew that the ear must be trained to the beauties of the music by a great deal of listening.”

“To see Helmer in his final days, as he continued to listen, you knew that the music he was making,  resonated with harmony, beauty and meaning, taking him on a path to inner peace and contentment.  Music in all its splendor is that powerful.  Plato said it best.  “Music gives a soul to the Universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.””


I would like to say a big “Thank you!” to Frank for sharing his adventure about the Duelund re-wire of his Westminsters and Duelund crossovers with us, and particularly for sharing his memories of his friend and listening buddy, Helmer Biermann, which quite literally brought tears to my eyes.

The power of music to bring back memories and stimulate our emotions never ceases to amaze me, and I’m thankful for that, as I am for my friends and fellow music lovers that share their passion of audio & music with me.

Thank you Frank, and Godspeed Mr. Biermann!

 Posted by at 7:19 am

  4 Responses to “Frank Checking In: Westminsters, Duelund, The Lark Ascending, and an Old Friend”

  1. Jeff, Frank,
    As you know I have Tannoy Westminster Royal HEs completely re-wired internally with mainly Duelund components similar to Jeffs exterrnal crossovers. I have tried the Duelund silver wire in the treble circuit and found that the sound was good but with a definite roll off in treble frequency and a lack of sparkle. I am now using a self constructed litz wire consisting of several strands of Mundorf high purity silver (with a touch of Gold) wire with a low loss outer jacket. Comparing with the Duelund there is a treble lift and increase of sparkle and resolution and a beautiful sound overall IMHO.
    This configuration suits the rest of my system components and set up perfectly. In my opinion cables and components have to be matched in each individual system – items that work in one system are not always good for all. The Duelund wire would be excellent in a system that is a little too bright.
    Best Wishes from South coast of England

    • Hi Howard,

      It’s amazing how much wire can affect the overall voicing, and copper, tinned copper, silver, and gold all sound very different. The composition of the outer jacket seems to make a large difference too. I’m a bit intrigued that the Duelund jacket is soaked in mineral oil, presumably to damp it and/or minimize oxidation of the silver.

      It’s nice to have the flexibility in voicing the different wires provide to dial in a system.

      Thanks for stopping by!



  2. Hello Frank!

    Sorry for my late reaction! For days now you are in my mind…….don’t forget to write to Frank! My great friend also from the other side of the big see! Same as Jeff. Perhaps we must meet each other! Three big Westminster lovers together! Wow! That would be nice! Even other Westminster lovers could join in.

    What a lovely story about your next big step with your filter and the Duelund cables. I really do like the cables. Duelund makes them in certain way we do. With a silk jacket and that the mantel is treated with a mineral oil. My cables are made in the same way! Only the jacket is made form very old cotton, but also the jacket is treated with a very special kind of oil. And the inner cable is made from copper/gold.

    You ‘tribute’ to Helmer Biermann made me emotional! Very nice to read and feel the emotions in your story. It brought tears to my eyes. He must be very special for you!

    Lovely & musical greetings from the Netherlands,


  3. Hi Siedy:

    Thanks for your kind comments. I have sent a couple of emails and wondered if lost in cyber space. I will try this contact route and see what happens. I’m still waiting for your visit to Canada. I’m in the middle of you and Jeff.


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