Israel Blume, President, Coincident Speaker Technology

Israel Blume, President, Coincident Speaker Technology

What ignited your passion for the high end? Did it come from the music side or the electronics side?
My passion was ignited when, during my first year at university in 1972, I started working at an audio store. I came across an amp and a preamp and had no clue why two components were necessary when a receiver performed the same task. I listened to the separates playing Bad Company, an LP I had heard numerous times. But never like this. That was it. My passion for audio was transformed to a virtual obsession. That experience changed my life forever. It has always been about the music. The hardware became its harbinger to deliver the musical message more convincingly and at a much higher level. I quickly became fascinated by the components and knew my future would be inextricably interconnected to the creation of components that would be responsible for enhancing the musical experience

What was your first high-end system? What year was this?
1973. Luxman M75 power amp, Luxman CL 35 preamp, Acoustique 3A Master Control speakers, Micro Seiki turntable.

When did audio develop from a hobby to a career?
From 1972–76, I continued to work part-time and summers at that audio store, gradually being responsible for transforming it from a purveyor of mid-fi gear to high end. We started selling Acoustat X speakers, Luxman separates, etc. Afterwards I began importing high-end gear into Canada and began to build and modify components on a special order basis. I started Coincident Speaker Technology in 1993 for the sole purpose of creating the finest loudspeakers in the world, which eventually blossomed into the creation of the entire audio chain except for a source component.

What education did you receive?
Undergraduate and Master’s degrees in science and a Doctor of Laws degree. 

How do you find the time to design electronics, loudspeakers, and cables?
Music and the creation of audio components are my obsession. It literally is a seven-days-per-week preoccupation fueled by the insatiable desire to create the most musically satisfying audio system possible. Being meticulously organized and efficient has proved to be invaluable.

How do you define the difference between hi-fi and high-end audio?
My definition of a high-end audio system is one that has the capability of making the listener forget the hardware and become totally and completely immersed in the musical experience. Hi-fi involves those who use music to listen to and evaluate their systems. The music must always be the end, not the means to the end.

Analog or digital—what is your preference and why? Do you still enjoy LPs?
No doubt, it is analog. Digital has come a long way and has reached the point where the enjoyment of music is achievable. I listen to the best digital and my reaction is positive until I put a great LP on my reference turntable. Digital as well as solid-state electronics share the same deficiency when it comes to replicating the live musical event in a home. Namely, the inability to render harmonics accurately and to capture low-level detail. Both media do very well in transmitting musical fundamentals but when the proportion of fundamentals to harmonics is skewed, the end result is music reproduction that never sounds real. The finest analog and tube technologies both possess this quality. Even non-audiophiles can clearly hear the greater sense of realism presented by the LP.

Are you surprised at the resiliency of high-end two-channel?
It does not surprise me, since for those who love music, a two-channel audio system will simply pull one into the magic that is music.

How will high-end systems change in the next ten years or so? 
Analog and high-performance two-channel music systems will continue to exist albeit in declining numbers. The future will see the overwhelming majority either not have any form of audio system at all or gravitate to more convenient, very simple forms of audio reproduction.

What are the greatest challenges confronting the high end?
The new generations are weaned on multitasking and sensory overload. High-end audio depends on those who derive tremendous satisfaction and joy through focusing on listening to music devoid of distraction. The new generation does not appear to embrace this most rewarding of human experiences.

Outside of audio, what do you do for fun? 
I am a car nut and love driving high-performance sport cars and caring for them. Working out every day is also a life’s mission from which I do not deviate.

What still inspires you about your work?
The love of music and creating components that enhance the musical experience not only for me but also for all other music lovers. Nothing gratifies me more than a Coincident buyer who tells me that my gear has enhanced his life.