Ask an expert: PD150 speakers in the mid to late 80s

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Hello Howard. I came across your very good blog whilst looking for Linn Sara information. I wonder if you have any knowledge of another Speaker Manufacture? I purchased a set of Principal Design PD150 speakers in the mid to late 80s. One drive unit has developed a fault so I have been looking for information about the manufacturer

They operated from Roper Lane London Bridge and then Stockwell Road London. I seem to remember the PD150 having an Audax driver with a Scan Speak tweeter, but it was a long time ago, I have contacted Audax but get no reply. I have managed to get a pair of the better PD300, these appear to have a Kef B200 driver, both models are identical in size to Linn Saras, some one did tell me the PD300 was a blatant copy of the Sara but who knows?

I have been told and do remember a Christian Thomas working there and both my speakers are signed by CT? Also a Dr Penfold was the designer. I don’t suppose you have heard of them? I have toyed with the idea of making a few sets and selling them. Any info would be appreciated

Best regards

DS

Hello Dave, and thank you.

I've been think about this. Yes, all too long ago I do recall such a manufacturer. I had no direct personal dealings with them nor indeed their products. I've looked up my notes from the Subjective Audio era (1976 > 1988) and can find nothing about them. All I have is a very vague memory of some distaste about either the people or the products. Possibly totally unfair on my part. What follows re this might but only might be a possible cause for my vague memory.

As a retailer, we were bombarded with every Tom, Dick and Harry and yes the their bloody dog too to try their new groundbreaking speakers. They were ALL groundbreaking! The pitch was always the same. It went along the lines of this – “Linn really are it. We are not worthy. We can never beat them – but we love and respect them. They are more like Gods than humans. So what we are offering you is a unique opportunity to invest in our tribute product. We’ve used the Linn a, b, or c (you insert) design as our benchmark. Our isn’t as good ‘cos we are mere mortals – but ours is cheaper!” And so on, and so on.

I loathe the Saras then and still do. I felt that the sound on classical music was a travesty. And still do. The basic principle was fine I think but their implementation of it was way off the mark in my view. As an example of the design principal “done right” then look no further than what Totem are doing!

As for building a few sets of your own, well great – if you want to expose yourself to heartache, deceit, moral corruption from some hi-fi mags, sniping from self-appointed know-it-all ‘experts’ on some forums, sub-contractors who’ll not quite deliver on their promise - ever, driver makers who’ll treat you with contempt while taking your money, and more? Do you really want all that? What, really?

And on top of that, any love, by which I mean real love of music will in this dying and merciless ‘industry’ be beaten out of you.

Embark on being an audiophile entrepreneur and the likelihood is that you’ll sooner or later only be able to listen to music to check your designs are in-phase or out of phase. Peer group pressure will cause you to embrace the sheer diversionary nonsense of PRaT and sadly your hitherto appreciation of the wonder and joy of any music will irreversible be submerged by the imperative to check that your designs produce everything that true music isn’t.

Save your money.

Spend it on downloads, CDs, vinyl or whatever.

If it were my money (rather than yours), given all that I have known, experienced first-hand and observed during 35 years in an industry littered with the broken dreams of decent folk, I’d give the money to charity. You’ll get more personal satisfaction in so doing. Truly.

Sincerely

Howard Popeck hp@no-alibi.demon.co.uk

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