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Thread: I am pleased to announce [tour of Westlake]

  1. #1
    RIP 2014 Ken Pachkowsky's Avatar
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    I am pleased to announce [tour of Westlake]

    We have been invited to tour and photograph the Westlake manufacturing facility in Newberry Park, California. This is a wonderful opportunity as they don't make a habit of granting access to the factory. I am most grateful to Sherwood Davies (VP of Manufacturing) for making this possible. This tour will take place after CES, Probably around the middle of January. They want to make sure there is a pair of SM-1's going through final listening tests when we are there.

    I am told Glen Phoenix has agreed to an interview. His reputation is that of a hard core perfectionist. For those that don't know, Westlake Audio was arguably the most influential / successful studio design engineering and consulting companies during the 70's and 80's.

    I know from my conversations with Sherwood, Glen has some interesting opinions on the direction (or lack there of) Commercial Audio, specifically studio mains. Their main market is now the far East which I am sure comes as no surprise. During a visit last month they had no less than 3 pair of SM-1's in the construction stage for shipment to Hong Kong and Japan. I also noticed a pair of BBSM15's in the final assembly stage as well.

    The tour will include all aspects of the design and manufacturing of these esoteric monitors. Steve Schell, I and at least one other member will represent the Lansing Heritage site.

    May I suggest to the moderators that a thread be started with members being able to post questions that they would like answered by the people at Westlake?


    Should be a great learning experience and a wonderful opportunity to gain some insite into a facinating company.

    Ken

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Pachkowsky
    We have been invited to tour and photograph the Westlake manufacturing facility in Newberry Park, California. This is a wonderful opportunity as they don't make a habit of granting access to the factory. I am most grateful to Sherwood Davies (VP of Manufacturing) for making this possible. This tour will take place after CES, Probably around the middle of January. They want to make sure there is a pair of SM-1's going through final listening tests when we are there.

    I am told Glen Phoenix has agreed to an interview. His reputation is that of a hard core perfectionist. For those that don't know, Westlake was arguably the most influential / successful studio design engineering and consulting companies during the 70's and 80's.

    I know from my conversations with Sherwood, Glen has some interesting opinions on the direction (or lack there of) Commercial Audio, specifically studio mains. Their main market is now the far East which I am sure comes as no surprise. During a visit last month they had no less than 3 pair of SM-1's in the construction stage for shipment to Hong Kong and Japan. I also noticed a pair of BBSM15's in the final assembly stage as well.

    The tour will include all aspects of the design and manufacturing of these esoteric monitors. Steve Schell, I and at least one other member will represent the Lansing Heritage site.

    May I suggest to the moderators that a thread be started with members being able to post questions that they would like answered by the people at Westlake?


    Should be a great learning experience and a wonderful opportunity to gain some insite into a facinating company.

    Ken
    Would this be open to all forum members to attend? I would make the trip (about 1-1/2 hrs each way for me).

  3. #3
    norealtalent
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    I wanna go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who put California way over there? Two progressive states such as NY an Ca should have been side by side!

  4. #4
    RIP 2014 Ken Pachkowsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin
    Would this be open to all forum members to attend? I would make the trip (about 1-1/2 hrs each way for me).
    Perhaps, lets see what we can do. I want some of the senior moderators to step in and make some suggestions. Perhaps Don will be able to submit some remarks as well?

    Ken

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    A couple of odd ideas to pre empt the main event and culturally adjust the forumites:

    1. Seems to me you want a Westlake Forum or Westies Club thingy.We already have a 4343 club and a charge-coupled club so why not.

    2. What about a tour the Pachkowsky maufacturing facility...when is the open day and how about an exclusive interview with Julie? Q's Like how do you put up with it all could prove interesting to the readership?

  6. #6
    RIP 2014 Ken Pachkowsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Mackenzie
    2. What about a tour the Pachkowsky maufacturing facility...when is the open day and how about an exclusive interview with Julie? Q's Like how do you put up with it all could prove interesting to the readership?
    To say the least. I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you!

    Merry Christmas Ian.

    Ken

  7. #7
    norealtalent
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Pachkowsky
    To say the least. I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you!

    Merry Christmas Ian.

    Ken
    Hey Ken, Can you hold off on that kill part for a while? I'd like to ask Ian for help with my x's before you do that part please.
    Thanks, Dave

  8. #8
    Senior Member andresohc's Avatar
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    Sounds like quite an adventure.
    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin
    Would this be open to all forum members to attend? I would make the trip (about 1-1/2 hrs each way for me).

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Pachkowsky
    To say the least. I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you!

    Merry Christmas Ian.

    Ken
    Merry Christmas Ken

    Ian


  10. #10
    RIP 2014 Ken Pachkowsky's Avatar
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    No Promises

    But I am sure we could take up to 5 people. I would have to clear this with Sherwood of course.

    Will keep you posted.

    Ken

  11. #11
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    Westlake

    I can imagine that will be really cool to see all that goes on at the Westlake company. I know they use a lot of TAD and JBL stuff, god bless 'em.

    I'd be curious to see all that does go on there... so maybe I could appreciate it a little more. I do think there stuff is overpriced. I know it's good stuff... However, I can also say... on a bit of a tangent... that BMW 7-series automobiles are not worth $250k apiece. 80-100k? maybe... It seems like that's the scoop with Westlake. They're selling 7-series bimmers for a quarter of million bucks.

    Will

  12. #12
    lfh
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    Questions!

    Hi Ken,

    thanks for sharing this with the forum!


    Here are some questions already:

    1. When did (company founder and studio design pioneer) Tom Hidley leave?

    2. When did series production of monitors (as opposed to custom built ones) begin?

    3. Did they manufacture the Smith-horns for (Tom Hidley's new company in Europe) Eastlake's custom monitors (or did Hidley setup a new production)?

    4. Are there any ties between Westlake, Eastlake and Hidley Design today?

    5. Are they still in the studio design business?

    (6. What's Glen Phoenix' view on 5.1 in general and 5.1 monitoring in particular?)

    More specific 5.1 questions:

    6a. Are most new control rooms built with 5.1 in mind and are people converting old ones on a larger scale?

    6b. How do they typically go about it, as proven two-channel designs such as LEDE and (Hidley invention) Non-Environment rooms likely don't work "out of the box" with surround speakers added?

    6c. Will the business make a serious attempt at moving to 5.1 for music - and will the consumers embrace it (or will it fail like the four-channel systems did in the 70:s)?

    7. Do they expect (hope for) a revival of big studios (after people possibly get tired of tracking in their bedrooms and project studios) any time soon (and what can the business do to get their customers back)?

    Regards,
    Fredrik

    PS
    I have fun story to tell - will post as soon as I have some pics.

  13. #13
    lfh
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    Further questions

    8. What was the recipe (at least driver sizes, horn type and baffle layout) for the "original Westlake / Sierra / Eastlake" monitor being referred to here?

    9. When did they start to sell their Smith-type horns?

    Fredrik

  14. #14
    RIP 2014 Ken Pachkowsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lfh
    8. What was the recipe (at least driver sizes, horn type and baffle layout) for the "original Westlake / Sierra / Eastlake" monitor being referred to here?

    9. When did they start to sell their Smith-type horns?

    Fredrik

    Fredrik

    Thanks for your input. I would be happy to have these questions asked during the tour process.

    Ken

  15. #15
    RIP 2014 Ken Pachkowsky's Avatar
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    Westlake Tour This Thursday or Friday

    Hi All

    I just spoke with Westlake and we are setting up the tour for this week. I will confirm what day as soon as I hear from Steve Schell.

    For those wanting to join us, please contact me by phone at 760-574-8786 and I will explain how we will select the individuals who will come along. At this short notice perhaps none of you will be available? I am rushing this tour because of moving away in 2 weeks.

    Ken

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