The new float
Jürg Jecklin brings the Float QA
Hans Jürg Baum spoke with Jürg Jecklin at the Klangschloss 2012. Topic:
The "new" Float QA, which could not only be seen but also heard.
Article from AVGuide
28 May 2012
Jürg Jecklin was born in Chur in 1938. He worked as a sound engineer at Radio DRS for about 30 years before he was appointed professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. As an author, he has published around 400 specialist articles in various domestic and foreign journals, as well as three books: das Lautsprecherbuch, Musikaufnahmen, Mono-Stereo-Quadro.
For his work as a sound engineer, Jürg Jecklin developed the OSS recording technique with the so-called Jecklin disc, the Transdyn sound processor and the Jecklin Float electrostatic headphones, of which he has now presented a new version. avguide.ch asked him about it.
"Jürg Jecklin, you once said that the float was a solution to a problem. What was your problem?"
"I would like to quote myself: "The aim of the development was above all a better monitoring of the director's manipulations during recordings than is possible with monitoring controls with loudspeakers in acoustically suboptimal control rooms. (quote from fono forum special edition 9/1971)
"So in the 60s, your dream machine was not available on the market. What criteria did you use to design your tool?"
"Uncompromising in every respect. That is, in terms of playback quality and wearing
Why an electrostat?
"Why did you choose the electrostatic principle?"
"For quality reasons. With an electrostatic transducer, the theoretically possible properties can really be realised in practice. In addition, I would not have been able to build a dynamic transducer myself. I didn't have the necessary tools."
"How was it with the film procurement? Wasn't there something like a Coop-Migros-Saran film connection when the very first prototype was produced in 1971 on your kitchen table?"
"I was dependent on using commercially available and easily obtainable films. The Saran household film from Migros was ideal for the membrane. For the cover foils, I used the thinner ones from Coop. The whole development of the transducers was based on the mechanical properties of these household foils (which, by the way, still exist today)."
"How did you make the foil permanently conductive on the prototypes?"
"First with lock fit from a tube, a graphite-molybdenum mixture used in those days to prevent car door locks from freezing."
"Are the first float systems still running, or have there been some signs of fatigue over the years?"
"In my "private" reference float, there are still systems installed that I built myself in 1972. So they have been running for about 40 years without any problems and with unchanged properties."
"Was the Float really the first open headphone?"
"Shortly after the release of your "open" float, other manufacturers came out with open headphones. Who stole what from whom?"
"Nobody stole it. The idea was in the air, and I just happened to realise it a little earlier than others."
"Sennheiser patented their first open headphones. Why didn't you do the same and why didn't you have to pay royalties to Sennheiser as a result?"
"I simply didn't have the money to be able to legally defend such a patent. So I simply associated the float with my name and registered the name and the design as a trade mark. At the time, that cost about a hundred francs for worldwide protection at the OMPI in Geneva. Sennheiser's patent specification was written in such a way that the Float did not infringe the patent. In addition, I could have challenged the patent at the time, as I had already published substantial articles about open headphones in specialist journals. So Sennheiser had the patent, and I had my uncontested Float."
"How, where and when was the float really publicised?"
"1971, on the occasion of the radio exhibition in Berlin".
Developed as a working tool
"Your employer was less enthusiastic about a Spiegel article that someone posted on the notice board in the Basel radio studio. The director of Radio Basel at the time accused you of shamelessly exploiting the fact that you worked at Radio Basel. What do you think about that today?"
"Well, the idea that Basel was the navel of the world and that the Basel radio studio was at least known throughout Europe came through. But the Spiegel editor didn't even know that there was a radio studio in Basel. Nor had he ever heard of the Basel Radio Symphony Orchestra, whose sound engineer I was at the time. The fact that I told the director at the time didn't make the situation any better for me. The consequence of this story was that I then left the SRG and only returned after the director's retirement."
"Why did your working device become the cult listener for very many audiophiles?"
"I really don't know."
"Yes, yes... Modesty is an adornment.. We both know it! The reason lies is that the Float simply sounds uniquely good and is very comfortable to wear. But now let's continue with the text: Why did certain Float models come onto the market over time that were equipped with dynamic systems? Were they better, or just cheaper?"
"Only cheaper. Thanks to the much higher quantities, the expensive injection mould for the bracket could be amortised."
"We have a "new" Float today, the Float QA. What is there really "new" and what has remained the same?"
"The basic idea and the realised concept (completely open, large-area transducers), the electrostatic systems and the sound reproduction have remained the same. What is new is the bracket and, above all, the feeder. For reasons of weight, the power supply has always been the weak point limiting the quality. The new transformers are hugely oversized, large and heavy. The new feeder weighs about 10 kg. The Float only shows what it is capable of in terms of quality with the new power supply unit."
Made in Germany
"Is it possible to run the old floats with the new feeder and what would that do?"
"Yes, without any problems. When connected to the new feeder, an old Float also shows the same, significantly improved playback quality of the new handset."
"Who is making the new Float QA?"
"The company Quad Musikwiedergabe GmbH. This company builds the Quad
electrostats and has also repaired and serviced the Float for years. The addition QA
means Quad Atelier."
"Why don't you drive the Float directly, i.e. without the annoying, expensive and heavy transformers, from a tube or transistor amplifier?"
"The combination of electrostats with uncompromising transformers forms an ideal system that cannot be topped, even by high-voltage amplifiers. In addition, every owner can use "his" power amplifier. But it's not the end of the day yet..."
"What else can be expected in this relationship in the future?"
"Thank you very much for this highly interesting information."