My Cat died...
My professor left the Country... and all I got were these lousy solder
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.
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
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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