A Visit to Audio Consulting CH

28.11.2014 // Jürgen Saile

We finally arrived and are greeted by a visibly good natured Serge Schmidlin. After a quick look around in the garden - of course with swimming pool – we go right to the basement, where the equipment prototypes were developed and are still found. Also still down there, we find an old model of a coil winding machine. The manufacturing of transformers is, however, carried out in a separate transformer winding plant in Geneva. In 1972, here in this basement, the first transformer was developed. It was an output transformer wound with silver wire for a 300B tube amplifier. We are walking on historic ground. The transformer is still built exactly the same way as it is seen sitting on the table down here. Also on display are individual toroidal cores, some made ​​of ferrite and some out of grain-oriented silicon steel. Schmidlin works together with various sub-contractors from the area who manufacture parts for his equipment. In Switzerland, there are numerous small companies doing excellent work; the term "Swiss precision workmanship" must indeed come from somewhere.

The pill-shaped wooden enclosures are made ​​by a specialist in the Bernese Oberland using CNC lathes and then finished in a one day manual production. Since the lathe there can now also work on relatively large wooden blocks, the company has started a new area of expertise: the production of life-size, lifelike reproductions of politicians. It was not divulged whether or not Ms. Merkel is also already in the works. Anyway, there are UFOs (not Ms. Merkel) made out of different types of wood. Next to the collection of different transformers you see in the background a rough model of the turntable platter and the associated bearing. This is a direct drive platter, whose motor is made by Technics in Japan. Do I have to bother mentioning that this is then additionally wound with silver wire?
The pill-shaped wooden enclosures are made ​​by a specialist in the Bernese Oberland using CNC lathes and then finished in a one day manual production. Since the lathe there can now also work on relatively large wooden blocks, the company has started a new area of expertise: the production of life-size, lifelike reproductions of politicians. It was not divulged whether or not Ms. Merkel is also already in the works. Anyway, there are UFOs (not Ms. Merkel) made out of different types of wood. Next to the collection of different transformers you see in the background a rough model of the turntable platter and the associated bearing. This is a direct drive platter, whose motor is made by Technics in Japan. Do I have to bother mentioning that this is then additionally wound with silver wire?

It was never the original intention of Schmidlin to develop complete equipment to later sell. He simply lived out his passion. The idea came much later, when a few people had listened to his equipment and asked if they would be able to purchase such a unit. It took until 2005 for the first production series of complete equipment to arrive. Only then did Schmidlin give up his secure job as a chemist. As the name Audio Consulting suggests, Schmidlin not only manufactures hifi equipment, but also advises other big name manufacturers regarding concepts for transformers. One-third of his business is dedicated to the production of equipment for the DIY industry. Individual items are also sold to the home kit builder.

Quiz prize-question: What could this be? Well then - loudspeaker terminals are also made in-house and of course out of wood. With this clamping mechanism, the wire going to the driver is directly connected to the speaker cables. The RCA connectors produced by another manufacturer for Audio Consulting are also quite interesting. In addition to the cabinet, the front part of the terminals is also ​​now being made out of wood, which requires extreme precision in the manufacturing process. On display was also an 880 ohm cathode resistor for a 300B. Of course wound as a wire resistor and the size of an ordinary dog bone.
Quiz prize-question: What could this be? Well then - loudspeaker terminals are also made in-house and of course out of wood. With this clamping mechanism, the wire going to the driver is directly connected to the speaker cables. The RCA connectors produced by another manufacturer for Audio Consulting are also quite interesting. In addition to the cabinet, the front part of the terminals is also ​​now being made out of wood, which requires extreme precision in the manufacturing process. On display was also an 880 ohm cathode resistor for a 300B. Of course wound as a wire resistor and the size of an ordinary dog bone.

After a short tea break in the garden, we are finally led into the inner sanctum, under the attic, namely to the in-house hifi setup. The room is not even that gigantic, at least in view of the relatively large speakers. “In Switzerland, there are not such large rooms,” Schmidlin says, grinning. After taking a second glance around the room, I notice that here that not a single machine was purchased in addition - all are his own developments. Several basic principles in the design of Schmidlin's equipment are also evident: The use of wood as a component, whenever possible, and a complete power supply via batteries. Meanwhile, there were further improvements through the use of huge capacitor banks. And of course cryogenic silver cable everywhere you look.

he loudspeaker is called Rubanoïde Dvaijnoy and has nothing at all to do with any new Ukrainian vodka brand, as one may believe. More likely with an American speaker called Linaeum in which this ribbon principle was first realized. However, these have been out of production for a long time. Schmidlin has now refined this principle. In other words, he has now merely brought them up and running in this size. It was a huge challenge just finding the appropriate paper for the diaphragms, that wouldn’t  immediately give out at the next downpour of rain. The lower cut-off frequency is 125Hz! This means that almost the entire frequency range is reproduced by only one driver! The modified AMT tweeter serves here only as a super tweeter. Of course run by a specially custom built transformer. Two bass units are found between the ribbons, where Verdi and Mozart pay meticulous attention to the fact that everything is well under control. The air conditioner in the background seems to be the only non-tuned piece of equipment in this room. Or maybe so?
he loudspeaker is called Rubanoïde Dvaijnoy and has nothing at all to do with any new Ukrainian vodka brand, as one may believe. More likely with an American speaker called Linaeum in which this ribbon principle was first realized. However, these have been out of production for a long time. Schmidlin has now refined this principle. In other words, he has now merely brought them up and running in this size. It was a huge challenge just finding the appropriate paper for the diaphragms, that wouldn’t immediately give out at the next downpour of rain. The lower cut-off frequency is 125Hz! This means that almost the entire frequency range is reproduced by only one driver! The modified AMT tweeter serves here only as a super tweeter. Of course run by a specially custom built transformer. Two bass units are found between the ribbons, where Verdi and Mozart pay meticulous attention to the fact that everything is well under control. The air conditioner in the background seems to be the only non-tuned piece of equipment in this room. Or maybe so?


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