New! Effects Pedal Building Workshop Open Now

 Register here.

November 25th, 2017 | no comments

2017 Holiday Sale

Every once in a while I lose my mind and offer my most precious creations for sale at incredible savings. Take advantage of my lunacy while the holiday cheer is still fresh in my heart. 

 

Take home a one of a kind showroom piece or historic horn speakers from the Andrew Bird & Ian Schneller Sonic Arboretum museum shows. Very few of the serialized museum pieces are still available.  

 

All items are signed and numbered.  – Ian

Phone Orders ~ Private showings

Call 773-489-4830

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Natural ~ Hornlet ~ Speakers

M C A Chicago – Museum piece

Sale Price: $2,100 

Regular Price: $2,400    Save: $300

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Green  ~ Hornlet ~ Speakers

 I C A  Boston – Museum piece

Sale Price: $2100

Regular Price: $2400  Save: $300

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Natural/White Opaque ~ Hornlet ~ Speakers

Special Finish – Rare

rnlet HI Fi Audio Speakers in White

Sale Price: $2,300

Regular Price: $3,000      Save: $700

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Gold/Black ~ Liederhorn ~ Speakers

Hard Rock Hotel – Special Showpiece

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Sale Price: $3,700

Regular Price: $4,900      Save: $1,200

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Orange ~ Hornling ~ Speakers


Sale Price: $2,400

Regular Price: $3,200   Save: $800

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Natural/Red ~ Hornling  ~ Speakers

Self Powered with Bluetooth

Sale Price: $2,800

Regular Price: $3,600   Save: $800

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Natural/Yellow ~ Little Horn Mini ~  Speakers

Sale Price: $2,900

Regular Price: $3700   Save: $800

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Natural  ~ Little Horn Mini ~ Speakers

Little Horn Mini Hi Fi Audio Speakers Natural

Sale Price: $2900

Regular Price: $3700  Save: $800

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Walnut ~ Little Horn Mini ~ Speakers

Sale Price: $2,900.    

Regular Price: $3,700.    Save: $800.

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Walnut~ Little Horn Mini + Sat/Subwoofer ~

 Hi-Fi Stereo System

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Sale Price: $3,800 

Regular Price: $5,279   Save: $1,479

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Birch/White ~  Calla Horn ~ Speakers

Prototype – Rare

Sale Price: $3,900

Regular Price: $6,000   Save: $2,100

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Red ~ Calla Horn ~ Speakers

Rare

Sale Price: $3,200

Regular Price: $3,800   Save: $800

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Crimson  ~ Plumb Horn ~ Speakers  +

Single Ended Hi-Fi Tube Amplifier

Hi-Fi Stereo System

Prototype

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System – Sale Price: $9,800

System – Regular Price:  $12,900   ($4,900 Tube Amp + $8,000. Speakers)     Save: $3,100

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Natural/Red  ~ Birch XL Plumb Horn ~ Speakers

Single Ended Stereo Hi-Fi Tube Amplifier

Hi-Fi Stereo System

Prototype

Sale Price: $12,480

System Regular Price: $15,900  ($4,900 Tube Amp + $11,000 Speakers )      Save: $3420

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Opaque White ~ Plumb Horn ~ Speakers

Prototype

   

I developed the high-fidelity horn speaker for audio playback in 1998 and after pairing them with sensitive full-range drivers discovered that an unusual spatial effect is achieved wherein the sound source becomes elusive and music playback is stunningly realistic.

My horn speakers with their smaller diameter drivers achieve a larger-than-life soundstage providing excellent high frequency detail and no crossover distortion.

I’m pleased to offer the Plumb horn speakers as a new product in the SPECIMEN Audio Line this year. They provide an exquisite sound arena and a visual treat. Their shapley profile beguiles the eye and tickles the spirit. I hope you will take an opportunity to visit my studio soon to hear and see them for yourself.  – Ian

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M C A  Chicago

I C A  Boston

Guggenheim   New York

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September 9th, 2017 | no comments

Fretting

March 29th, 2016 | no comments

CHIRP Record Fair

CHIRP_logo

Join us at the 2016 Chirp Record Fair! We’ll be showcasing two 9ft Specimen XL horns along with our horn speakers, hifi tube amps and guitars. We’ll have a table right in front of the stage. Click here to RSVP and get more info. See you there!

CHIRP Record Fair
Saturday, April 9th
8am – 6pm

Plumbers Hall

1340 W Washington Blvd
Chicago, IL 60607

January 5th, 2016 | no comments

Make: Magazine

Make Vol.49 Feb.March 2016 1

Photo by David Kindler

Photo by David Kindler

Making Waves – By: Sophia Smith

Specimen Products featured in Make: Magazine Vol. 49 February/March 2016

December 22nd, 2015 | no comments

Chicago Tribune

Scan 5

Ian Schneller is founder of Specimen Products, his music and instrument-making endeavor. (E. Jason Wambsgans, Blue Sky / Nov. 18, 2015)

Ian Schneller is founder of Specimen Products, his music and instrument-making endeavor. (E. Jason Wambsgans, Blue Sky / Nov. 18, 2015)

By: John Carpenter

Ian Schneller is no stranger to the Chicago maker movement. His guitars, tube amplifiers and artful, retroish horned speakers have been turning heads for years, earning him an A-list clientele from Andrew Bird to Jack White.

Now he’s looking to scale sales of his handmade amps by offering a do-it-yourself kit aimed at hi-fi-loving tinkerersBuyers will get all the components and instructions they need to build a tube amplifier that, while looking rather steam-punkish with its wooden body and exposed glass tubes, can play music from turntables as well as Bluetooth-enabled smartphones.

Schneller-built amps usually sell for $4,900. The kits will sell for $1,200 to $1,400, and should be available early next year. Schneller said he needs to complete the step-by-step instructions for the kits before he can offer them for sale. The typical buyer should be able to assemble an amp in “a long weekend,” he said.

“This is primordial electronics,” he said of the simple units, which he believes deliver far better sound than microchip-laden sound gear most people are used to.

He picked up one of the amps and held it upside down, showing the exposed electronic array inside.

“There are no chips or transistors,” he said. “Just tubes, transformer, capacitors, resistor and some hardware. Everything is traceable.”

Although the unit only generates eight watts per channel, compared with high-tech amplifiers that typically boast 100 watts of power, he said the tube amp’s efficiency allows it to produce comparable sound.

Part sculptor, part luthier, part electronic tinkerer, Schneller said he’s been happily riding the wave of the so-called maker movement for more than 10 years.

“It’s very in vogue to make things with your hands,” he said. “We’ve gotten so far away from that feeling. A lot of it has to do with planned obsolescence. People are yearning for a better understanding of how things work.”

That’s what he likes about the tube amps: Even someone with limited knowledge of electronics can see how they work and tweak the sound.

“You can change one thing and see how it sounds, then change something else and see how that sounds,” he said.

Schneller will sell the tube amps under his Specimen Products brand. He also runs the Chicago School of Guitar Making out of his Humboldt Park studio, where students learn guitar making and repair, as well as tube amp-making.

Check out the entire photo gallery from the interview here.

chi-bsi-school-of-guitar-ct0032435837-20151118 chi-bsi-school-of-guitar-ct0032435859-20151118

 

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New Specimen Luddite Bass Guitar

We’ve added our new Tube Amplifier Diagnostics & Repair Seminar and Tube Amp Building to our Summer Workshops 2015. This year you can combine the two and save in our Combined: Tube Amp Diagnostics & Tube Amp Building.  Now you can come away with a superior hand wired tweed style guitar tube amp or a hi-fi stereo tube amp and an thorough understanding of tube amp diagnostics and repair in just two short weeks.

In addition to our summer schedule of intensive guitar building workshops, we are offering  Set-up and Maintenance,  Guitar Finishing & Relicing, Guitar Electronics UpgradesEffects Pedal Making and Ukelele Building.

All of our workshops are hands-on and closely guided by your instructor.  Enrollment is limited.

Register early for significant savings on tuition.  Early registration ends 5/2/2015.

I invite you to peruse the summer menu and call our school with questions.  Now is your chance to take Chicago School of Guitar Making courses and come away with your handmade guitar, ukelele, tube amp and knowledge of tube amp repair!

Sincerely,

Ian Schneller

Combined: Tube Amp Building + Tube Amp Diagnostics & Repair – 2 weeks

An exceptional opportunity to learn the principles and practices of tube amp diagnostics and repair and then hand build either a Tweed Style guitar tube amp or a Hi-Fi Stereo tube amplifier. In addition to a hand-built point-to-point amplifier ready for a custom finish, students will leave with the knowledge and ability to service the amp themselves.

For complete details and to register online click here> Combined: Tube Amp Building + Diagnostics & Repair

July 14 – 24, weeknights 7pm – 9:30pm

$1233 tuition. Amp materials cost is additional and varies according to kit choice.

Take $100 off for registering before May 2, 2015.

Acoustic Guitar Building – 2 Weeks

Construct your very own Martin 000 style steel string acoustic guitar of either Rosewood or Mahogony from an excellent kit under the watchful eye of the instructor. The Stewart- MacDonald kit uses top quality woods and can produce instruments which rival even the greatest luthier builds. Students will have a complete guitar ready to play and ready for custom surface finishing.

For complete details and to register online click here> Martin 000 Summer Workshop

July 13 – 24, Monday through Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Course fee: $3615 for Mahogany, $3665 for Rosewood includes tuition, instruction and all materials.

Take $100 off for registering before May 2, 2015.

Electric Guitar Building – 3 Weeks

Build a sonically superior, high quality traditional style electric guitar to your personal specs this summer. This slab body electric guitar build will feature a non-adjustable steel reinforcement in the neck, yielding a guitar with superior longevity, stability and tonality. Daily lecture/demonstrations will cover the instrument’s design theory and construction principles and students will be guided through the skills and methodologies required at each stage of the construction. Students will have a complete guitar ready for custom surface finishing.

For complete details and to register online click here> EGB Summer Workshop

July 6 – 24. Monday through Friday, 9am – 5pm.

Course fee: $3990 includes tuition, instruction and all materials.

Take $100 off for registering before May 2, 2015

Download the Calendar CSGM 2015

 

February 18th, 2015 | no comments

The Daily Free Press

ICA_Sonic_Arboretum 18

The Daily Free Press

Review:  Canyon sounds captivate in ICA’s “Sonic Arboretum”

Author: Steve Friedman

Most artists don’t record in canyons.

But Andrew Bird did, and it can be heard being played through over 30 colorful, Dr. Seuss-like speakers at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The exhibition, Sonic Arboretum, on which he collaborated with sculptor and instrument-maker Ian Schneller, opened Wednesday.

Bird, a primarily indie-folk musician, recorded himself playing the violin, along with the occasional whistling and sound of flowing water in the Coyote Gulch canyons of Utah.

Deviating from Bird’s usual singer-songwriter material, the recording is a 50-minute-long nonstop experience. If you had to slap a genre label or two on “Echolocations: Canyon,” as it’s called, you would have to call it avant-garde. It’s melodious, but the bouncing, reverberate echo effect of the exhibition makes it just as much about stylized ambiance as it is about composition.

But one genre doesn’t quite do it justice. The piece often breaks into segments that feel more like the score to a Hayao Miyazaki film than anything else. (I’d like to quickly take a step back from this piece to formally request a Miyazaki-Bird collaboration.) The oscillation between the feels of scientific exploration of echoes and the visceral, driving nature of the arrangement gives the piece a depth worth talking about.

Schneller’s role in the exhibition is not to be shoved aside, however. He was the one to meticulously place each of the 30-plus speakers made from recycled newsprint, dryer lint, baking soda and more on all four sides of the museum room.

The smaller details too, make what he accomplished technically impressive. To get all of the speakers to play the track at the same exact time, a multitude of iPod nanos have to be synchronized at a level of precision that is beyond human capability. To work around this, Schneller took the route that only a sculptor-instrument-maker would take: he created a device that hits play on up to ten iPods at a time, at the exact same moment. It’s called the Nano Sync, and it wouldn’t be art if it wasn’t as colorful and visually stunning as the rest of the audio equipment in the room, would it?

All together, the sonic and visual components come together to form a surreal experience. Whatever you’re thinking about when you walk into the exhibition, your mind will probably entirely lose sight of it in the process of calibration.

How much you get out of Sonic Arboretum also depends on how much time and attention you give it. Because there’s more art outside both entrances to the room, it’s easy to walk in, listen for a minute or two, and then continue on with your museum tour. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that approach. You have enough time to appreciate the visual aesthetic of Schneller’s artful speakers and get a general sense of Bird’s music, even if it’s on a relatively superficial level of understanding.

But if you want to stop, sit down on the bench in the center of the room and close your eyes, you can do that too. (And you won’t be alone, chances are). You can try to picture yourself sitting down cross-legged in a solitary canyon in Utah while a renowned musician plays his violin not too far away, if you’d like. Or you can let your mind wander and let Bird’s music be a backdrop to your thoughts.

As is the nature of modern art, there is no one expected outcome, as cliché as it sounds. There’s no specific way you’re supposed to think or feel when you walk out. It’s considerably liberating in a sense.

The installation, Sonic Arboretum, has been around since 2010, but it previously featured Bird performing live through the sound system. The pre-recorded “Echolocations: Canyon,” is the first of its kind in an “Echolocations” series. To follow in the upcoming years are “River,” “City,” “Lake” and “Forest.”

You can guess where he will record each one, but not where each one will take you when you hear it.

Sonic Arboretum is on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art through May 10.

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Tags: Andrew Bird, Art, avant-garde, contemporary art, Coyote Gulch, Echolocations: Canyon, Hayao Miyazaki, Ian Schneller, ICA, Institute of Contemporary Art, modern art, muse, music, review, Sonic Arboretum, Steve Friedman, Utah

Nano Sync Apparatus by Ian Schneller

 

Here is a video made by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago surrounding the 2011 Sonic Arboretum at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

chicagoreader-logo_poster
Artist on Artist: Buke & Gase talk to Ian Schneller of Specimen Products

 

Buke And Gase

Aron Sanchez and Arone Dyer, aka Buke & Gase
Photo: Grant Cornett

Interviewing Buke & Gase for this weekend’s Artist on Artist is Specimen Products mastermind Ian Schneller. A few decades back, this sculptor and musician (formerly of Shrimp Boat and Falstaff) combined those pursuits and began building his own instruments; he made his first guitar in 1987. Since then he’s turned Specimen into a formidable institution, emphasizing nuts-and-bolts, hands-on techniques and beautifully whimsical but ruthlessly functional design (see Andrew Bird’s live setup for proof). Buke & Gase play Lincoln Hall on Fri 2/8, and Specimen is open every Monday through Saturday. – Kevin Warwick

Read full interview here.

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