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Finally - conclusive proof that American audio is overrated!

Those yanks have always been good at bigging themselves up. Sometimes however, their bluff is called...

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Perhaps I should start with a joke or two about the value of the US dollar these days (two to the UK pound, almost!). But since Audio Masterclass trades in US dollars we wouldn't be seeing the funny side either.

But a couple of days ago I came upon a startling discovery. I was carrying an old loudspeaker cabinet when the back fell off. It's OK, it missed my foot by a European centimeter or so.

It wasn't exactly a new cabinet. It looked home-made, but the sound quality was pleasant and it came in handy for the odd job here and there.

It wasn't a major worry that the back fell off - a couple of new screws would fix that. But curiosity impelled me to take a look inside.

My first thought was horror that the drive units were partially wired with orange cable - orange is normally reserved for mains cable.

But wow... look at the drive units! Classic Goodmans Axiom 301's. I can't imagine how much they would sell for on eBay, but a lot more than they cost, that's for sure. And in real terms too.

Then I took a closer look at the label - 20 watts rating.

Hmm, 20 watts doesn't sound like a lot, but driven by a tube amplifier it can sound a lot more than you expect it to. You could make a lovely little guitar cabinet with these.

But then I looked closer - this is what it says on the label in brackets...

"40 watts U.S.A." !!

Yes, 20 good old-fashioned UK watts are worth 40 US watts. Unlike the dollar, which is merely close, this is an exact 2:1 ratio - one US watt is only worth half a UK watt. Or put it another way, half a UK watt can manage what it takes a whole US watt to do.

Conclusive proof that US audio is overrated!

By David Mellor Monday December 11, 2006
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