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- Dr. Jean-Francois

Meet Dr. Jean-Francois:
Jean-francois Lessard - It's ok, Cats don't pay rent...
My Cat died... My professor left the Country... and all I got were these lousy solder burns...

If Jean-Francois Lessard knew I was writing this bit, he would place one of his late night phone calls from Quebec City down to lowly coastal NC, preferably after 11, and in the sorriest broken French-Quebecian English with an accent to scare the eavesdropping operator, would commence to verbally harangue me akin to beating a gong.... But what he doesn't know won't hurt him.

A few years ago, my wife Audrey and I made the trek up to Montreal and Quebec City with the plan of stopping by Nancy and Sir Lessard's abode, hopefully after he had a sufficient stock of fine French wine waiting.
We weren't disappointed. While I love Montreal with a passion, the feast that Jean-Francois and Nancy set out on their rooftop terrace in the heart of Old Quebec-City was something I will not forget. Yes, it was approximately 105F in his living room, a fact that was not aided by his two custom, MQ COBALT powered 300B SET Monoblocks, which were functioning as two mini furnaces, something that struck me as a bit problematic, especially since AC was a foreign entity in Quebec City(and Sir Lessard's windows would not open). It was the hottest summer in 200 years, perfect for a trip in August. So the seven course dinner on the rooftop terrace as the sun set was a welcome aside and quite possibly the highlight of the entire trip.

Jean-Francois Lessard's systemTo cut to the chase, Jean-Francois had some super nice gear, all custom made from top to bottom, at least in the amplification stages. I have to say, he is one of the few DIY fiends that does beautiful work inside and out. While many take pride in the breadboard "I am an engineer; who cares what it looks like" aesthetic, Jean-Francois cares. His stuff is pleasing to the eye and senses. Lessard is meticulous in his build and layout - I was more than impressed with the build of his gear; indeed, the Loesch Preamp is a work of art inside. But beyond this, he makes some damn find sounding components with excellent sonics which manage to integrate it into a system that PLAYS MUSIC and not just the sounds of fingers on thy fretboard or spittle into the mic, something that many Audio Loons have long forgotten, tubes or not (If there was ever a hobby that failed to see the forest for the trees, this is it). Thankfully, Jeff has a nice selection of tunes, both vinyl and digital, ranging from Thelonious Monk to Iggy Pop. Heat be damned, we had some great music sessions in his furnace...

Jeff, as Americans like to call him, has built his system around a pair of 102dB RL Acoustique 1.8 Lamhorns featuring AER Mk II drivers. These are extremely coherent speakers that are amazingly fast with no smearing. Jeff has come to rue the crossover after living with the Lamhorns for the last few years. Still, he just acquired a pair of immaculately refinished 104dB Klipschorns that he is attempting to integrate into his room, no small feat considering his new digs with a central staircase and layout more befitting a Miró mural.

JFL has built a number of SET alternatives his favorite still being the Horus 2A3 Cobalt Parafeed Monos. His preamp is the DIY customized Loesch that is a beauty in and of itself. Jean-Francois has recently admitted that the 2A3 SETH PP Mono is the first amp he has really fallen for right off the bat since the Horus(also featured in the DIY section of this site). While I thought I heard some grumbling about having to worry about tube matching again, it seems this latest foray into Push-Pull has not been too painful. The last thing I heard ole Jean-Francois say was, "These thing are quite good...Damn good.... they play music and are close to SET-like with even more heft - And I don't have the 3 meter wide mouth or room sized sax; instruments and voice retain realistic size without that larger than life affliction that some SET amp bring. This is a natural sounding amplifier."

Not bad for a French Quebec Loon.

Jean-Francois just survived his Ph.D. in Mine Engineering despite his Dissertation Professor fleeing to Australia. And the cat? According to Jeff, "we have another...and she do not piss on my copy of Miles Davis and John Coltrane in Stockholm."

- Kelly Holsten

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