Acoustic Sounds
Joe Lovano at RVG's
By: Michael Fremer

July 1st, 2024


Editor's Choice

Joe Lovano Records at Van Gelder Studio and You Are Invited to Attend—A Tracking Angle Exclusive!

well, I was and here's the video

Would you like to attend a recording session at Rudy Van Gelder's legendary Englewood Cliffs studio featuring saxophone great Joe Lovano? Of course you would! I was lucky enough to attend one—the only invited journalist—last May 19th, four days after returning from Switzerland following High End 2024. Here's the story.

The old audiophile riddle "How do you make $1,000,000 in the audio business? Answer: "start with $2,000,000" didn't concern Danish entrepreneur Ole Siig, who explains early in this video that for years he made his considerable living in the Danish banking industry but now is pursuing his audio dream with loudspeaker company Treble Clef Audio.

Siig has designed and is manufacturing a unique "baffle-free" powered loudspeaker, the TCA-M that resembles a treble clef, hence the company name. The midrange and tweeter, each enclosed in its own sculpted wooden pod sit on a stalk below which is a larger pod containing a pair of opposing facing woofers terminate in a front firing slot. In this video he provides the details.

You can literally give the speaker a "spin" here

To help promote the speakers, Siig hired Joe Lovano to play in a trio with Danish drummer Kresten Osgood and American keyboardist Sam Yahel. Lovano suggested recording at Van Gelder Studio and Osgood and Siig agreed. The recorded results prove it was a wise decision.

I was given carte blanche access to the recording session and was even allowed to enter the hallowed space of RVG's control room. This video contains a short studio tour, then footage recorded during the performances, and then the next day's coverage at a New York City apartment-like space where the quickly mixed hour of recorded music was played back on the Treble Clef loudspeakers with Lovano, Osgood and Yahel in attendance along with invited guests, who filled the room.

With the air conditioner turned off to improve S/N ratio, things heated up rather quickly but the cool jazz moderated the temperature. Lovano describes the song selection, that included compositions by Wayne Shorter and Dizzy Gillespie. The three, who had never before met, got together, got Lovano's instructions and off they went! Hearing Lovano's saxophone live in this hallowed studio space was a thrill not soon or ever to be forgotten. You'll hear it in this video two ways: once live in the room (though picked up by a pair of Røde wireless microphones and then by the same microphones picking up playback through the speakers.

Built-in Class D amps (which have come a very long way in a very short time frame) power the speakers so all you have to do is plug in your preamp and away you go. No room correction DSP is used, though there are "pre-sets" for various basic room conditions.

The space in which Sunday's music was played the next day following a fast mixing session was completely untreated and not exactly an "audiophile" sonic paradise, but having heard the sound live in the familiar-sounding Van Gelder studio and then through these speakers, this was a very good facsimile especially in terms of the venue's spaciousness and tall ceiling. The speaker produced an enormous ambient stage with to-the-ceiling height and an overall seamlessness that didn't identify where the speakers sat in the room. As you'll hear in the video, the designer claims 16Hz low end performance.

It was a promising first listen under less than ideal circumstances. The price in Danish Krona translates to around $90,000 U.S. dollars so I expect the price here will be in excess of $100,000 but considering that they are powered, that's not too high for this end of the high performance market. And you will have to like the looks, but that's true of any loudspeaker. This baffle-less speaker does not take up a great deal of space. It just produces it!

Joe Lovano responds to hearing the recording played back through the Treble Clef speakers.

Note: because Joe is signed to ECM Records, special permission had to be granted for this recording, which will only be made available via Apple Music through the Treble Clef website.


  • 2024-07-01 11:57:20 PM

    Zaphod wrote:

    Clever looking speakers but not my cup of tea. That is the amazing thing about audio, the vast array of different approaches to design, theories and philosophies, plus execution, proof that there is more than one way to skin a cat (Mark Twain).