Tip #27 (May 2001)
by Dick Olsher

  My thought for the month of May is this: Money cannot buy audio happiness. Having at one's disposal even as much as a $100K budget is no guarantee of satisfaction. Although I have access to far more expensive loudspeakers, including the Sound Lab A-1  electrostatics, I find myself gravitating time and time again toward the BassZilla loudspeaker. It is what I enjoy the music with these days. Therefore, it is with pleasure that I accept the Silver Bagel Award from compadre Dr.  Gizmo (aka Harvey Rosenberg), the Triode Guild's esteemed Guildmeister, for the BassZilla kit project. The full text of the award follows below.













Many of your are probably aghast, wondering what kind  of major breakthrough Dick Olsher has made to deserve such a prestigious Triode Guild Award. Others, mostly those who have never read the Old Testament in its original Hebrew..written on goatskins, are probably confused. Let me clarify.

As you know the stories of the Old Testament have been corrupted over time, which is why biblical scholars work so hard to correct our misunderstanding. For example: there were no apples in the Garden of Eden. In fact  Eve offered Adam a prune, a very exotic Hebrew fruit. And now we know what really happened when David did battle with Goliath.

The morning before the battle David's mother served him breakfast, and when David tried to eat the  dried bagel his mother gave him, he almost broke his tooth. Instead of hurting his mother's feelings he put the dried bagel in his pouch.

Seeing Goliath for the first time, David almost shit in his tunic. Goliath was huge; much  bigger than David imagined. David realized that no polished river stone was going to kill this giant. He got a genius type flash, and reached into his pouch and took out the dried bagel, and put it into his slingshot. The rest is history.

The moral of the story? If you want to be a hero and kill a giant orthodoxy, use a powerful weapon…like a bagel…or a really cool escalation of The One Way Way.


The Giant American speaker orthodoxy of low flux density/low impedance/low efficiency speakers is being attacked on many fronts. Why is Dick's Basszilla project such a big deal?

All across our great land I hear the lamentation of our tribal brothers…"Where can I find the right speaker for my single-ended triode amplifier"?  In my articles I have suggested with a very large CAVEAT that you should look at both the Lowther and Fostex drivers. With all of their glory, they have some serious limitations: (1) very complex speaker cabinet design, and (2) resonate peaks that are endemic to the driver design.

 Your prayers have been answered….by Dick.

They have been answered, not by America's speaker orthodoxy, which is deaf, dumb and blind to the triode revolution in America….. because it is concentrating on home theater. Along comes  Dick Olsher, a rebel American audio savant, who shares and feels our pain and he does the right thing: he takes the whole One Way Way, one step higher, making it more enjoyable and practical. In other words he is the first, to my knowledge, to deal with the real challenges of One Way Speakers.

This is a big deal, and why Dick deserves the Silver Bagel Award.

Here's what you get for $20:

    1. A book that explains how to build notch filters for the Lowther and Fostex drivers so they no longer burn holes in your ears.

    2. Plans on how to build a "hybrid" enclosure which mounts either of these drivers on an open baffle and then mounts this baffle on top of a woofer cabinet/driver that is designed for optimal interface with these drivers. This includes plans for the crossover network.

     3. Carpentry plans for building all of the enclosures.

It is much easier to build Dick's Basszilla speaker project than a horn enclosure.

To make this even easier for you Dick has arranged with Madisound to supply all of the notch filter  and woofer printed circuit boards, and the parts…including the woofers and Fostex driver.

What is the top-secret coolosity of Dick's plan? The One Way Way virtues, which means NO CROSSOVERS is maintained. These speakers are relieved of producing low  frequencies and naturally roll off at the low end because of the design of the open baffle.

I HAVE NOT HEARD THESE SPEAKERS..but suggest that this is a very righteous strategy for these drivers, who are not happy trying to reproduce the low frequencies…especially in a horn type cabinet. I speculate that the open baffle design also goes a long way to enhance their already given clarity and openness.

These  drivers are then operated in parallel with the woofer, which does have a crossover. This preserves the clarity and advantages of NO PASSIVE CROSSOVERS.

Here's even more good news: The Fostex version of Basszilla, including all of the drivers, crossovers, notch filters, BUT EXCLUDING THE CABINETRY is about $1,200 in parts cost, making it the most cost effective short path to single-ended triode epiphany. The Lowther version represents about $2,800 worth of parts, excluding the cabinetry.


FOLLOW MY INSTRUCTIONS:BUY DICK'S BOOK FOR $20, which is what I usually spend on one good cigar, Take it into the potty and study it. Then decide if you are ready to slay the Giant.

MADISOUND: www.madisound.com

BUY DICK'S BOOK: www.blackdahlia.com