A few months ago I was invited to a factory tour by David Janszen the son of Arthur Janszen. Arthur Janszen first patented the electrostatic high frequency speaker in 1953. I first became aware of Jansen speakers in 2013 at AXPONA in Chicago. As I recall I listened to the speakers on day one and was not impressed. On day two my friend Will from this forum encouraged me to listen to them again. They were good, but I still quickly forgot them. I heard the Janszen speakers again at AXPONA in 2014, 2015 and 2016 each time I seemed to like them a little more, but would forget about them after I returned home.
I contacted David after being reminded about his speakers and his father in PS Audio’s Copper Magazine. David turned out to be a real nice guy with an interesting eclectic taste in music. During the factory tour David mentioned he started learning the unpublished secrets of making electrostatic speakers from his father in his teens. He demonstrated how the electrostatic panels and speakers were made, how he is restoring his father’s speakers, and a few other R&D projects he is working on. I then had an opportunity to listen to the passive Valentina’s in his factory showroom / office and the active Valentina floor standing speakers in David’s home. At both locations I liked the speakers, but was not moved by them in any spectacular way.
Fast forward to this week and David calls me. He has some free time and asks if I would like to audition the Carmelita stand mounted speakers in my home. We set them up in my dedicated audio room with my PSA P10, PSA Transport, Aria Server, PSA DAC through, Belden Iconoclast RCA interconnects, into my PrimaLuna Monoblock 7’s, with Belden Iconoclast Speaker cables.
It took me one track to be blown away by how natural the music sounded. I have never heard vocals sound sweeter, fuller and completely effortless. The same positive musical qualities were obviously noticeable for piano and brass. However, there was a little less plat from the horns and shimmer from symbols then I would prefer even with the side firing tweeters. The optional and adjustable side firing tweeters did nicely increase the dimensions of the soundstage. With the Janszens I felt my brain and ears relax more than ever. I needed to work less to differentiate notes. I went from forgetting about the Janszen’s, to now thinking about them all the time.
April AXPONA in Chicago has always been my Christmas. To all the dealers and manufactures out there, Audio Shows do matter. I have purchased multiple items at every AXPONA. 2017 is going to be tough, do I buy the Directstream Memory Player, the BHK Preamplifier, or the Janszens?
Has any one else had any experience with either the Carmelita or the Valentina Speakers?