ElectroVoice Georgian

ElectroVoice is one of the audio icons of the 50’s and 60’s that is a little lesser known, and is certainly underappreciated in today’s vintage hifi market. ElectroVoice began around 1930 making low cost but high quality microphones, eventually expanding to phono pickups, early TV boosters and loudspeakers. Over the years they made some seriously sophisticated speakers, and were an OEM supplier for other brands, most famously the early Klipsch speakers. Long active in both the consumer and commercial spaces, with audio products aimed at both home and professional settings, at some point ElectroVoice seems to have shifted focus solely to the pro audio market, and their wares are now most often associated with studio or stage gear. But they made so many nice consumer speaker drivers in their golden years; the 12TRXB, the Wolverine series (I liked the LT-12), and the SP-12 and SP-15 just to name a few of the more renowned. Today, vintage ElectroVoice offers the audio enthusiast real quality for comparatively bargain prices.

Here we have one of the most illustrious, top-tier ElecroVoice speakers of all time, the Georgian. Near the top of EV’s premium tier horn lineup in the early 1950’s, when stereo was still years away and everyone listened to a single speaker source (which most of the time was an old tube radio in the corner of the living room), the Georgian came in just below the literally-ginormous Patrician and its 30 inch woofer. The Georgian is basically ElectroVoice’s version of Paul Klipsch’s Kilpschorn corner speaker. ElectroVoice was an OEM supplier of the famous T-35 tweeter and other components used in the early Klipschorns, and EV apparently decided to license and make their own version of the speaker. Some feel the Georgian used higher quality components than Klipsch could afford for his horn, while others feel that the Klipschorn is superior. At any rate, they are both destination speakers of their day. In this context, the early 50’s Georgian was a near ultimate music reproducer, and was the kind of speaker you might find in the home of a millionaire or movie star. And in fact, after having it in my room and basking in its mono glory, I believe one would be quite hard pressed to outperform this speaker today at any price.

This is a big speaker. The word big doesn't quite do it justice; this is a shockingly big speaker. It’s also an extremely beautiful and classy looking work of vintage audio art. Physical size is not the only thing that is big about the Georgian though; it sounds huge. Arriving in the middle of my mono immersion experiment with the Altec 755a (and others), my ears were primed and ready to appreciate what single speaker mono had to offer, and this speaker makes them all sound tiny. This one is a mono speaker! It fills the room without any effort and sounds spacious and relaxed. But at the same time, wow this is a dynamic speaker, throwing it’s presence out into the room with palpability and immediacy that I don't think a paper cone driver is ever going to get to.

Compression horns have their sound, and this one has all of the immediacy and the startlingly direct quality that you expect from such a driver array, but…it doesn't bother me. This is a quality that is somewhat unique in horns for me so far. I’ve had a few big horns in my room over the years and have just never gelled with their presentation. Eventually, I always feel like I’m being screamed at. And in fairness, listening in single speaker mono has shown me that its likely the horns I’ve used in the past have simply overwhelmed my room. Whatever the case, I don’t want to generalize too much about something I don't have extensive experience with. Suffice to say that although I do agree that horns can have a very realistic and invigorating engagement, and they are so amazingly super sensitive, they have always just ended up being fatiguing to me.

One of the reasons I’m attracted to the single driver experience is because of the simplicity. Horns by their nature require some crossover and tuning, which is entirely absent with a good wide band paper driver. But the Georgian somehow gets past this and I don't have any objections to it even after 12 or 15 hours of it in play. Things jump out of this speaker into reality. It's a magic box! At the same time, there is something so natural about this speaker as a mono projector. After so many years of quite literally top-tier stereo imaging, I’m telling you that I could be happy going forward with this speaker’s mono presentation filling my life with warm and emotionally charged music.

I also feel like I needed to mature into this sort of setup. I’m 52 years old at this writing and have heard a hundred tube amps and dozens of full range drivers and speakers. A giant 70-year-old mono speaker in the corner is probably harder to appreciate as a young person. If I had been presented with this in my early years of hifi, I probably wouldn't have been able to appreciate what I had in front of me. I feel like I probably wouldn’t have gotten it. I needed to hear so much to know that what I was hearing here was actually magic.

The ElectroVoice Georgian is a speaker that I never thought I would own. They are rare. And predating stereo, they more often than not are found only as a single. At 56 inches tall (mine is on wheels) and approaching 200 pounds, the Georgian really needs corner placement to works its magic. This is not a speaker that just fits in anywhere. But it has immediately become one of my most coveted possessions. What an incredible piece of hifi history this speaker is. And 70 years after it was crafted it still sounds superb, and relevant. I’ve thought of finding a match to this one, but at the same time my small room is not ideal for two, whereas the single works so well from the corner to effortlessly fill my room with music. Perhaps I’ll recreate the crossover and see what modern components do to the sound. As I eventually find a second or third WE / Altec 755a to make a stereo pair, I think this monumental horn will continue to anchor my mono system from its corner. Good luck everyone, and enjoy!

Humungous is how it was described in the ad. And in person it's the size of a refrigerator. I think it is magnificent in every way, and sounds stunningly good. It’s mono presentation is so big and wide from the corner of the room that it really sounds like stereo. What a speaker!

The heavy but elegant wood paneled front and sides, the stiff fabric mesh grills, and the overall feeling of solidity and gravitas that this speaker has in abundance is easy to see in person. It is really superb. This does feel like a 1950’s era millionaire’s speaker.

This was sold to me as being a home-built kit speaker. Whoever completed this project back in 1954 or so sure was a skilled woodworker. What a pleasure to own something with so much Karma built in.

Here is a 3 foot yardstick for reference. The size of the speaker is startling in person, and I expect there will be some faces of disbelief. I had one myself.

This has an ease and sense of grand space that is just breathtaking. All alone it fills my room, projecting the program material right out into the middle, its very pleasing to sit in front of. This speaker has been waiting a long time for me to arrive. I could listen to this one all day and night and still be on my feet!