Just at close of business I passed a room with a couple of man-sized electrostatic speakers (Photo 6). The man who designed them turned out to be no other than Roger Sanders, who pioneered DIY electrostatic construction as long ago as the 1970s. His Electrostatic Loudspeaker Design Cookbook, published by Old Colony Sound Lab, is a musthave classic for the serious DIYer. I own electrostatics myself (Martin Logan), and I know how good they can sound. But Roger’s systems added something to the silky-smooth electrostatic sound: very high power levels. True, this was a hybrid system with a conventional woofer, but still it played louder—and completely controlled—than any other electrostatic I ever heard. Impressive. I asked Roger whether he still used direct-drive high-voltage amps for the panels. “No,” he said. “They can sound excellent, and would allow you to forego the traditional step-up transformer. But it is very difficult and costly to build them as reliable and safe as a good solidstate amp. My own amplifiers are now as good-
PHOTO 6: Roger Sanders’s system plays very loud while maintaining the silky- smooth sound of a good electrostatic.