Saturday, January 3, 2015

A Life that Benefited Us All

David Graebener Rest in Peace
All Audiophiles throughout the world have been touched by David Graebener whether they ever knew it or not. David had been designing speakers since the early 1970s for the company he helped create, SpeakerLab. He was a speaker genius with a gentle soul.

Our owner met David sometime in the late 1970s when he began helping create SpeakerLab's advertising. He talked about being very, very nervous (and too young to drink to calm those nerves) and took the first ad to David for approval. He went to the door of David's studio which was named "The Pit". David opened the door in a bathrobe, looked at our owner, showed him the table, then went to the refrigerator and opened the freezer. Then he looked at our owner for a few moments and said, "Tequila?"

David was not only a genius but had the driest sense of humor west of the Thames. He frequently spoke in cadences only experienced in R. Cumb or S Clay Wilson comics.

In another instance, our owner was interested in car stereo and David quietly escorted him to his Datsun 1600. They climbed in the Datsun sport car and David turned on the stereo. Within the first couple notes, it seemed like the car was speeding down a virtual highway even though it didn't move. After a messmerizing 20 minutes David turned the key and the music went silent. He casually showed our owner the home amp that was built into the firewall and the extra alternator it took to run the system which was all SpeakerLab components including a pair of large horns for the highs.

After SpeakerLab David went onto amass probably more speaker patents that any speaker designer in the world. He was commissioned by Boeing to design a sound chamber like a wind tunnel. To do this David invented the continuous ribbons that eventually became Bohlender/Graebener.

David was always freelancing and his feats included holographic sound in the 80s. Again, our owner went to visit David who at this time was working behind his house in a small garage turned into a speaker/sound studio. David showed him in and said he was going to do a demonstration of what he was working on. As David was still talking our owner heard someone knocking on the door and mentioned perhaps David's wife needed him. David looked at the door and walked over. Then turned to our owner and smiled. The demo had already begun and it was shocking.

Eventually David landed at Wisdom Audio and perfected the planar magnetic panel that he had been toying with since the 1970s. This final achievement allowed the panels to be 99-100dB efficient and stackable. Naturally, they came with subs that went lower than anyone had heard and tighter and more accurate.

All of us in audio owe a debt to David. If he never existed we wouldn't have many of the speaker technologies we take for granted and many others couldn't have been developed using his ideas as a spring board.

We will all miss you David. Thank you for wonderful audio life. David passed today at his home in the arms of his wife. His long fight with cancer over.

David Graebener 2007

1 comment:

  1. Thanx Gary for your wonderful words. He was a true original. We were together for 37 years and he made me laugh almost every day. Best to you always. Love, Carolyn