I remember well my first encounter with the Infinity IRS speaker system – it was an experience filled with awe both at the size and presence of this massive system as well as the magnificence of the performance. That first event took place at Harry Pearson’s home in Sea Cliff New York and it lives with me to this day.
I think perhaps what impressed me most was not the system’s total mastery of the room it played in, nor its ability to render a lifelike orchestra or large group perfectly. Rather it was its uncanny ability to playback a single instrument or small group better than anything I had ever heard before. This, the first and finest example of the line source loudspeaker.
In later years Infinity founder and my partner in Genesis Loudspeakers, Arnie Nudell and I built a more modern version of the original IRS called the Genesis 1. 1.2 tons in system weight, the setup included 4 floor to ceiling towers: two midrange treble wings and two woofer columns and here again was another implementation of what is known as the line source.
A line source loudspeaker is simple. You need only built it with speaker drivers covering every inch of space from floor to ceiling to have it qualify as such. And here’s the thing – there is perhaps nothing in the loudspeaker world that more accurately reproduces a single perfect point in space than this floor to ceiling approach – which looks about as counter intuitive as anything I have ever seen. The biggest loudspeaker system you can imagine reproducing more perfectly a single performer on acoustic guitar with perfect image size, specificity and reproduction – it just doesn’t make sense to you visually as you sit in awe of what you’re hearing.
Of any regrets I have over my 40 years in this field it’s that I did not acquire and still have a pair of these magnificent line source loudspeakers. I miss them.