A Visit to Audio Consulting CH

28.11.2014 // Jürgen Saile

I’ve had various machines from Schmidlin to review, all having excellent characteristics. Here we see once again that it ultimately comes down to the right combination and how well they sound with each other. However, one would first have to come up with the ideas that have been implemented here. For example, the speaker cable is made out of 0.15 mm(!) silver wire, attached to the transformers at the beginning and end of the wire in a special way. If anyone thinks that the dynamics could suffer due to the considerable number of components in the signal path, they should listen to this system. However, I have a totally different thought after the third look around: This doesn’t have anything to do with plug and play. I could also imagine that the “pearl of the house” - the one with the feather duster – better not come anywhere near this system. And probably also does not at all wish to.

The CD player still seems a bit unfinished and Schmidlin is considering whether he should continue it’s development. Maybe he already has other ideas.
The CD player still seems a bit unfinished and Schmidlin is considering whether he should continue it’s development. Maybe he already has other ideas.

The equipment reflects a bit of Schmidlin’s attitude towards life. For example, the batteries are charged by solar panels on the balcony. Switched-on cell phones are completely taboo, shoes may be kept on. Schmidlin has also taken an intense interest in the findings of the 70’s French magazine L'Audiophile. For example, the negative influence of thermal distortion on transistors reported in detail by a French rocket scientist of those days. Therefore, Schmidlin’s machines remain relatively cold, even after operating a long time. And because of this, of course, they consume less power. This resulted in the fact that while using my highly sensitive loudspeakers when reviewing the MIPA amplifier, I was able to listen to the system for almost an entire week on a single charge. In the development of his products, Schmidlin has taken the difficult path of a road less traveled. Many of his findings are in contrast to what is generally accepted in the hifi world. In spite of that, in this context I think: He who hails is right.

A great deal of idealism is of course required to start such a company. For the "cheapskate" faction, I would say that these machines are rather inappropriate. The mass market is based more and more on well-known brands, there is no widespread advertising. Who would buy his machines now? The oil sheik for his harem? A Russian mobster? The stock market speculator? Certainly not. None of them have time to listen to music and probably don’t know anything about it. The customers are all music lovers who have heard the system in Commugny. Obviously, word of mouth is enough. The customers are from all over the world.

We now come to the second highlight of the day: Dinner! This takes us to the Château de Divonne, a castle situated on the French side. After what felt like 25 loops around a roundabout, we finally arrive at an absolutely beautiful little castle, just like I remember from the Loire. It’s situated on a small hill with a magnificent view of Lake Geneva! On the horizon, I can just about see the “Spritzbrunnen” fountain, uh, the Jet d'Eau, with a bit of imagination and without glasses!

I don’t need to say much about the excellent French cuisine. That was again quite impressively confirmed here. The readers of company reviews from the very old days are now perhaps excitedly waiting to hear about the dessert. Unfortunately, I have to disappoint you. I disgracefully left the dessert menu lying on the table. I'm just not a dessert fan.

The maestro himself at the historic winding machine. It’s probably still quite good for winding a simple coil. However, more modern equipment is needed for more complex designs. Or good old manual labor.
The maestro himself at the historic winding machine. It’s probably still quite good for winding a simple coil. However, more modern equipment is needed for more complex designs. Or good old manual labor.

The next day we planned on visiting the transformer winding plant in Geneva. Unfortunately, it turned out that the employee there was ill. Therefore, the Maestro personally sat down at the historic winding machine in the basement and demonstrated the simple coil winding process. However, I could see from some of the finished toroidal transformers, how delicate and complicated the whole thing is with more complex products. It was about time we had to get back. Strangely enough, I'm always the spoilsport, who pushes to go. In conclusion, one thing has really impressed us during the whole stay: Audio Consulting is a one man show. For me, it is always fascinating to see with what creativity the work is done. There will never be a completed machine. That would be totally boring.

The Michelin Guide says this 3-star restaurant
The Michelin Guide says this 3-star restaurant

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