Acoustic Guitar Building ~ Summer Camp – On Sale Until DEC 26

An immersive experience in a fully equipped guitar building workshop… Build a beautiful acoustic guitar under the watchful eye of an experienced instructor. No experience necessary.   Questions? Please call us! 773-489-4830

Andrew Bird156

Photos by Katie Hovland

Andrew Bird ushered in the holiday season in this majestic setting at Fourth Presbyterian Church in downtown Chicago. The shows debuted our brand new version of the Extra Large Specimen Horn. Towering at nine-feet tall, they are capable of producing thunderous low-end and crispy high frequency detail for lush, spacial concert sound. It really was cozy, Andrew.

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March 17th, 2015 | no comments

The Boston Globe

 

Andrew Bird will appear at gala with Ian Schneller together to celebrate the ICA's Sonic Arboretum May 16 2015

Andrew Bird and Ian Schneller will celebrate the Sonic Arboretum at Boston’s ICA gala, May 16 2015

The Boston Globe

The Institute of Contemporary Art has announced that singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Andrew Bird — whose music is featured with sculptor Ian Schneller’s horn speakers in the show “Sonic Arboretum” — will appear with Schneller at the ICA’s annual gala on May 16.

Read the full article here.

March 11th, 2015 | no comments

Monocle 24

Monocle 24

Monocle’s weekly tour of the most inspiring people, companies and ideas in global business, meets with artist/entrepreneur Ian Schneller of Chicago-based audio company Specimen Products.

Click here to check out the radio broadcast about Ian Schneller and Specimen Products.

February 18th, 2015 | no comments

styleboston.tv

SonicArboretum

Newsflash: your hobby is boring. Because with all due respect, it probably doesn’t compare to the long, arduous hours that sculptor Ian Schneller put into this project, an installation of over 30 colorful horn speakers he made from strange odds and ends like dryer lint and baking soda. What do they play? Why, composer Andrew Bird’s 50-minute whistle- and violin-driven composition “Echolocations,” originally recorded in a canyon to capture unique reverberations.   – http://blog.styleboston.tv/tag/ian-schneller/

February 4th, 2015 | no comments

Calla Horn Speakers

Specimen Red Calla Horn SpeakersSpecimen Calla Natural Horn Speaker

 

This one-of-a-kind system features two Calla Horn speakers, along with a matching sat sub, that were featured at the ICA Boston.

This one-of-a-kind system features two Calla Horn speakers, along with a matching sat sub, that were featured at the ICA Boston.

The ICA "Calla" a new special edition Specimen audio horn & sat sub woofer

The ICA “Calla” a new special edition Specimen audio horn & sat sub woofer

From the ICA website:

Sculptor/instrument-maker Ian Schneller and composer/violinist Andrew Bird share a fascination with sound and its interaction with the natural world.

Since 2010, the duo has collaboratively produced Sonic Arboretum, an installation of up to 70 colorful horn speakers made from recycled newsprint, dryer lint, baking soda, and shellac and powered by custom-made tube amplifiers. Through the speakers, Andrew Bird plays an original, 50-minute composition, Echolocations: Canyon, which he recorded by whistling and playing his violin in a canyon to experiment with the site’s reverberations. Echolocations: Canyon written by Andrew Bird, published by Muffet Music Co. (ASCAP) © 2014 Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unique SPECIMEN audio horns at Garfield Conservatory, Show Room. Protea, Hornlets, Hornling, Eremurus, Liatris, Calla, Liederhorn designed by Ian Schneller, produced by Specimen Products. 2014

Unique SPECIMEN audio horns at Garfield Conservatory, Show Room, 2014. Protea, Hornlets, Hornling, Eremurus, Liatris, Calla, Liederhorn designed by Ian Schneller and produced by Specimen Products

An assortment of different Specimen horns seen in the Show Room, Garfield  Conservatory, Chicago. Among them are Ian Schneller’s new singular new horns, which featured the premier of new music by composer Glenn Kotche at the Packer Schopf Gallery, Chicago.

“Eremurus” and “Calla” Specimen Audio Horns graced the Mosaic Fountain, Horticulture Hall, Garfield Conservatory, Chicago

 

“Calla”, “Protea” and “Eremurus” Specimen Audio Horns, Show House, Garfield Conservatory, 2014

 

This new combo amp in the works is for amplifying stringed instruments. The cabinet follows the construction details of both the Specimen Tube Amps and Horn Speaker bases. It also uses the engine turned sub-plates for convection cooling found on Specimen’s Octoblock and the slotted side panels that were first used on Specimen’s Fifty-watt Tube Amp. You could say it’s a clever combination of several Specimen innovations all rolled into one beautiful package.

This project stemmed from a request to revisit the original Horn Amp Combo I made about fifteen years ago. This model will use the splendid Eminence 8-inch guitar speaker rear-loaded with a vertical horn. The obvious follow up to this project will be a symmetrical pair of hi-fi mono blocks with a 6 1/2″ Fostex speaker.

All that’s left to do is apply the finish to the amp and horn, wire up the amp and machine the back panel. More pics soon!

Since the Gimbal Horns are going to be hanging from the ceiling, utmost care is required for the design of the support mechanisms. Its mounting hardware is machined from aluminum rod stock. Simple details like this contribute to the structural fortitude of the final product.

In order for the mounting hardware to be flush fit to the cylinder, I created a special fixture that cuts the matching radius of the cylindrical compression chamber, ensuring a perfect fit. An indexing plate is attached to one side of the cylinder so that a hardened steel pin can fit through a press-fit bushing in the yoke and determine the horizontal orientation of the horn. Holes are transferred from a template and drilled into their respective parts.

Below is a slideshow of photos taken during the building process. Check our my other Blog posts for more information and photos about this newest Specimen.
Gimbal Audio Horn Speakers taking shape, part 2
Gimbal Audio Horn Speakers taking shape, part 1

The Gimbal Horns are so named because they are adjustable on two axes. They are ceiling mounted and this exploits a part of interior architecture that is often overlooked.

These horns are being made in our usual fashion – bending recycled newsprint over a steaming iron using a mandrel. The panels are then glued together and reinforced with dryer lint. Special alignment fixtures assure correct orientation of the mounting flanges. The cylindrical compression chambers are laminated together using birch wood wrapped inside a jig using an inflatable ball as a clamp. This forms an extremely rigid platform for the driver and horn.

Here is a slideshow of photos taken during the building process. More info and photos about this project can be found in my other Blog posts:
Gimbal Audio Horn Speakers taking shape, part 3
Gimbal Audio Horn Speakers taking shape, part 1

The Gimbal Horn is Specimen’s newest horn speaker. This speaker will be mounted on the ceiling and suspended using a yoke so that it can ‘gimbal’ (or rotate up and down and side to side). It seemed to me that the space near the ceiling is underutilized real estate in many architectural interiors. The Specimen Gimbal horn will bring beauty and utility to a part of the room that is often overlooked.

This horn speaker is front loaded and therefore will project in a more direct way than the more spacial sound stage of our Specimen rear-loaded horns like the Little Horn Speakers and Liederhorns. This makes these Gimbal Horn Speakers aptly suited to front of house or PA applications.

The horn will be mounted to an aluminum yoke that suspends the cylindrical compression chamber from the ceiling. The horn can be positioned at any angle or rotated to suit the application of the room. We decided to utilize the wonderful and recently rejuvenated foundry facility at the Memphis Metals Museum. Located right on the Mississippi river bluff, it is the perfect setting for creating something using the age old technology of sand casting.

After making a wooden pattern to mount on either side of a backing board, runners and gates are added to allow the metal to flow and shrink. Sand is then packed into both sides of a two-part flask to prepare the mold for casting. Metal is then melted in a crucible inside a furnace and poured into the mold. Voila! Beautiful aluminum yokes for the newest Specimen Horns.

Below are some photos taken while I was at the Foundry casting the first yokes. Thanks to Doug Barton and Holly Fisher and everyone at the Metals Museum for all their help taking on this special project.

Below is a slideshow of photos taken during the building process. Check our my other Blog posts for more information and photos about this newest Specimen.

Gimbal Audio Horn Speakers taking shape, part 2
Gimbal Audio Horn Speakers taking shape, part 3