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 Interview for a Polish online HiFi-Magazine

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Anmeldungsdatum: 26.12.2002
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Wohnort: Heidelberg


BeitragVerfasst am: Fr März 28, 2003 1:45 pm    Interview for a Polish online HiFi-Magazine Antworten mit ZitatNach oben

here is an excerpt from this interview, between me and chiefeditor of


It is almost seven years since we had our first interview. In the meantime a lot has changed in audio.
So I would like to start with questions about evolution of your activities since 1996.

Q: Seven years ago you imported hi-fi equipment and drive units to Germany and you manufactured some hi-fi loudspeakers under your own brand name.
You are still in the loudspeaker business, but you also sell media PCs, recently you produced a dts encoded CD.
Could you tell about the evolution of your business activity? How did the various segments of your business change their relative importance over the years?
What is the importance of your traditional business in comparison with those new kinds of products?

A: I stopped my own company (Zoller HiF Design GmbH) some years ago. Distribution and Manufacturing of Metropolis is now done by a very good friend of mine, A.Brusberg (AUDIO VIDEO FORUM).
I needed more time to develop the facilities and possibilities of DTS sounddesign, which ended up in 24/7 job.
We invented what we call "Native DTS!" - meaning the whole production AND especially the arrangement of the music was done for 5.1 purpose
and NOT like nearly all other 5.1 records a later remix of a STEREO production.
One important reason for me to enter into the frontend concept of 5.1 Music because there was and is no need for new speakers because my known designs are already perfect...;-]

but the source material in 5.1 was very weak and as you know we always perefered to show at High End in Frankfurt (reference speakers) perfect multichannel music
So the only record we really appreciated was Alan Parsons "On Air" DTS Record, and we ran it day and night at those shows.
I still think there is a new definition in High End Audio:
Stereo was Yesterday!
surround could be done properly today...
and will be everything tomorrow.

Q: Do you have any further plans for production of multichannel music?

A:yes we intended to do 3 samplers (Edition 1-3) and then start the real music label… I wish I could do 4 records per year. This year Edition 2 will follow at Berlin Funkausstellung 2003. We are already working on it.

Q: What about the technical part of your job? What about the nature of engineering problems that you encounter and the tools you use to solve them?
How much have they changed?

A: Everything is "TRIAL AND ERROR" speakerdesign for now 30 years DTS mixing now 3 years. The first version of DTS record was ready in April 2001.
But then I decided to get involved in the mixingprocess and everything stared new from scratch

Q: Your speaker line-up looks very much the same as several years ago - same model names, same looking cabinets. How often do you change the internal design?

A: I don’t change often, do you know anything sounding better? Perfect speaker design is EVOLUTION not REVOLUTION.
The perfect speaker design exist for very long time now, what you can do is adapting to music, and taste of listener, room environments
and sometimes new technologies in driver design.
And BTW some bigger speakercompanies only develop how to produce cheaper and cheaper and still looking expensive...you know what I mean?

Q: The offer of Focal drive units available on the DIY market has changed substantially over the last two years.
You also use many Focal drive units in your designs.
Have you ever been forced (especially over the last two years) to change the drive units because they went out of production and were no longer available to you?

A: FOCAL doesn’t produce the same drivers I used in the beginning of METROPOLIS 1995. I am not THAT happy with their latest inventions.
So I will change to our own driver designs step by step. Fortunatly I had a big stock of drive units until 2002.
My plan is to redesign Imagination this year but I dont know yet, if I could find anything better than FOCAL.
Maybe I stay with them lets see what happens...
I have good contacts since lots of years to Italien speaker designers and some french and a new zealand company for driveunits.. or cone designs.

Q: I haven't had a chance to listen to your top models. But whenever I listened to your less expensive speakers like Impression or Imagination
the bass was always very tight, controlled and articulate. What is your approach to tuning of bass-reflex enclosures?
Do you use the standard tunings like QB3, BB4 or do you design them in some other way?

A: Most important Information: I am a Bass Player so my Passion was alway BASS and I know how it should sound!
Everything is done evolutionary (no computer simulation cause after more than 10 years I knwo the best enclsoure design for FOCAL drivers).
f.i. impression started in 1984 as KIT100 so this design is now nearly 20 years under development(Imagination started 1991).
I always adapt enclosure and vent design to drivers.....so if any new driver is much better in quality..I`ll adapt BR tuning and Volume.
1000s of user feedback and critics helped me to evolve to the actual sounddesign. So experience is everything which is important for speaker design.
If you read in our new www.audiovideoforum.de the threads of users of my old speakers from the middle 80s you find lots of satisfied customers.
Thats my goal..

Q: So when you try a new driver for your speakers you work without computer simulation?

A: yes… I measure driver in box and intend crossover by judging the result.
I work under real-life conditions.

Q: I would like to ask several questions concerning your Media PCs. Are your old customers surprised to see such a product in your offer?

A: Yes in the beginning I was attacked by ignorant, especially high End HiFi, people:
why are you proposing Computers for Video and as Audio source (only for 5.1!) these "flat earth" people always attack everything they don’t understand.
It is important to know I started everything already in Jan 1998! There was no better solution for progressive scan DVD Player until 2001 than our HT-PC.
Last month I tested a 150 Euro no-name standalone DVD player with VGA/YUV out and it is perfect.
So at once I stopped the production of HT PC because there is no need anymore.
I don’t care about design and in what "box" is my electronics-interface from recorded music+films and my speakers as long as there is no "Distortion" or any other drawback.

I always said:
electronics dont change sound that much than any speaker and any room environment does.
So I care for important things first. Tweaking can be done later step by step in home of the user only by himself...

Q: How did you start making Media PCs? How did the idea of Media PC come to your mind?

A: In 1998 with Creative Labs and in May 1998 with MPACT MPEG2 Decoder Hardware in a brand new Intel 200 and the media one Mpact with a revolutionary AMD K5-300. It was very expensive stuff and I was very proud to use one of the first interesting AMD processor which started to be an INTEL Killer...lol

In 1999 we had already DTS+AC3 digital output, codefree DVD ROM Players, perfect progressive scan at 72 (or 75 Hz for PAL) refresh rate @800x600 or 1024x768 resolution which is important due to special MPEG ENCODING procedures cuz Films are in 24 fps (3x24=72HZ) and we know more about sound and video than every computershop-nerd in that time. This is a very similar situation to the DTS nowadays production..
My crossover philosophie to know about Audio AND computers AND musicmaking AND musicproduction equipment AND the marketing problems of selling all this underground stuff because i was always AVANTGARDE...
so I often invented things before they became successful in the broader market.
This is the main reason I never made real money...lol.
Its a big game for me and the older I am the more I am relaxed and dont expect too much.

Q: So can we say that you built your first media PC in order to get better video quality than that available from DVD players?


Q: Did you use computerized audio workstations in the production of your dts-encoded record?

A: 90% is done in Computer. We had 2 setups 1 conventional in Studio of my partner Pat Pangea (YAMAHA digital mixers, ADAT stuff, digital TASCAM machines, etc.. etc..)
For final mix we used 3 computers + RME 24/96 Hardware and a full High End 5.1 setup fore listening (Reference, Imagination) in my home.
I lived within that setup and so I could try out things again and again hours for hours.....learning by doing, because I am not an educated soundengineer..
but I am sure this is a major key why we could do that record, not talking about what is complicated and wrong with multi-channel mix... just doing it and see what happens

Q: Did you have many problems specifically related to computers? I think about such things as high levels of electromagnetic noise inside computers, high levels of noise in power supplies, high clock jitter, and so on. These things are common in computers and they are also potentially dangerous for quality of audio and video signals.

A: no, some parts are outside in a 19” rack. Afaik there is not one noiseproblem or similare negative effects on the record…
And I did some Audio-Computers before, so I know what is important. Only Problem was WINXP, cuz some drivers existed only in WIN98SE versions.
So I switched very often from 98 to XP and sometime rebooted the hanged-up PC… u know this problem … lol

Q: What do you think about possible application of technologies used in professional audio workstations by the users of domestic hi-fi?

A: Today we have had a big revolution in hard and software. 5 years ago you could do such record without equipment of maybe 200000 Euro.
Today with easier Software you end up with maximum 20000 Euro. You can start nowadays with 2000 Euro for Computer with 8 track soundcard + Software like Cubase SX!
24bit 96khz is a new standard now so we again enter a new area and multichannel records (on DVD) will be standard in some years.
Imagine the new possibilities of MS Mediaplayer 9 and their new multichannel codecs which are free for everyone and actually license free for musicmakers!
As I always told all "old fashioned" HiFi guys:
Computer is THE future source of MUSIC and Video.... and there are already motherboards with TUBE output stages for HiFi Tube - FREAKS...no joke!

Q: Do you use computer to play ordinary CDs in your everyday life?

A: yes… I also use MP3 files from Harddisk while I am working or surfing…
I love MUSIC….. not equipment![url][/url]

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