Audiophile Cabinet Circa 1979

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Audiophile Cabinet Circa 1979

Postby John » Tue Oct 20, 2009 5:22 pm

This was one of the most fascinating commissions of my short career--

I was contacted by a doctor who was (in my opinion) over-the-top with his interest in music reproduction. He subscribed to an audiophile magazine that had less than 200 subscribers and these guys spared no expense on their stereo gear. (This was the 1970's disco era!)

One of the issues described the negative effects of road noise on turntable tone arms--according to the author, road noise up to two miles away could affect the quality of the music--and this customer lived in the woods--I suggest woodpeckers should have been a bigger concern--but what do I know...

It was suggested that in order to combat this, the turntable should be mounted in a cabinet that is "one with the floor". The solution was to "harpoon" the cabinet to the floor. (Not my idea.).

This cabinet has four stainless steel spikes and we literally dropped it into four, undersized pilot holes in the floor and worked all four corners flush. I wish that were all...

The next issue came out and it was determined that this was only a partial solution. The author suggested that the floor needs to be "one with the earth" and recommended a concrete post under the floor into a footing. I don't do construction work, so I asked;

"Are you really going to do this?" And after a long pause, he retorted;
"No. I have got to draw the line somewhere."

I also noticed his wife was listening in the kitchen so I assume there might have been a bit of discord in the house....

My slides for the inside of the cabinet are moldy beyond use, sad to say. The carcass is hand dovetailed (mitered dovetail corners) and sits upon a curved toe kick, which is an important theme picked up from the curves in the raised panels.

The door panels (two bi-fold doors) each have unmatched grain on purpose. I didn't/still don't necessarily subscribe to the doctrine: feather up, book matched panels. I think this works beautifully with the maple inlay borders.

It always amazes me how a form so basic can have such a rich presence and it is primarily the proportions--I did spend a day or two working on the proportions of this piece. The doors are 2:1 and so is the height to width of the front view (sans toe kick).


Last edited by John on Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby PFranks » Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:39 am

That's lovely, John. But it's the curved toe kick and door frame moulding that really brings it all together. It could have come out just looking like a big box. But the little curved accents make it much more graceful.
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Postby John » Wed Oct 21, 2009 10:52 am

I neglected to mention one important detail regarding the carcass--the front edges are crowned--this detail, in conjunction with the curves in the raised panels and the curve in the toe kick form a minor theme that help offset the rectilinear portions of the piece.

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