Gallery: Specimen’s Hand-Crafted Horn Speakers Are Made from Recycled N...

Schneller says that at Specimen, "We are teaching the vanishing art of hand tool use." Using manual tools instead of electric gives the craftsman a closer connection with the material. They can gain much more tactile feedback when cutting into a material, for example. As a result of this promotion of man power over machine power, the shop, which has a half dozen staff in addition to several interns and apprentices, has a very low electric bill.

Not only are Specimen’s horn speakers visually intriguing with their flared newsprint protrusion, but they project larger-than-life sound using only 3 watts of power. The technology employed was common in old movie theaters when speakers were placed behind the movie screen to give bold, room filling sound with very little energy usage. Today, performers will use a handful of horn speakers to greatly reduce their energy usage as compared with PA systems typical of today’s clubs and concert venues — these easily use 5,000 watts.

With a background in art, Ian Schneller began Specimen Products in 1981. Combining a love of handmade art with the practicality of building and repairing instruments for his friends and members of his own band, the business grew to become a manufacturer of specialized music equipment.


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