Gavin Thomas and his Ibex Loudspeakers

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reunitedGavin found the website and was no doubt surprised to find Pres Speakers so easily. I mean could they still exist? Of course. I told your Dad that they would last 30 years didn't I?! So, that insures that we will exist until at least 2021. I promise.

The Ballad of Gavin Thomas

Gavin is the proud owner of a pair of 1982 Pres Ibex Loudspeakers. He came to own them in the best possible way. They were a gift. Gavin happens to be a gifted songwriter and musician.

The Gavin Thomas Story

I was in my second year of college, visiting a musician friend who lived off campus.  My buddy shared the house with a bunch of other people who I didn't really know, and as I came through the front door one of his housemates had set up an experiment of sorts in the middle of their living room floor.  He'd put three sets of speakers in a tight little line: in the middle, maybe a foot or two apart, were a pair of Very Large Speakers; right next to them on either side he'd set up some more reasonably sized speakers; and then on the outside were some cute little bookshelf speakers.  He was sitting in a chair a few feet away and looking very focused and intent on his project.

As I came through the door he stopped me (which was maybe the first time we'd ever spoken), turned the music up, and asked me to tell him which pair of speakers were playing.  The music, as I remember, was sweet and clear... and very loud, but not distorted.  I listened for a few seconds and told him that it was obviously the huge Stonehenge speakers since nothing else could make that kind of sound without blowing up or sounding like it was about to.

He was pleased, that’s what he thought I’d say, and he told me that no, it was the little bookshelf speakers that were playing.  It took him a couple more minutes to convince me of this and then I left to find my friend.

His demo made an impression though, because talking to my dad on the phone a little later I mentioned in passing these amazing speakers I'd heard.  My dad was a complicated man, could be very difficult actually, but he loved music and we bonded over this as best we could... On the phone my dad asked a bunch of casual questions about the speakers and where I 'd heard them, and he was really slick about it because I was completely surprised when I got them as a gift on my birthday soon after.

That was twenty-five years ago.  Thirteen years ago my father died unexpectedly and I ended up going on an extended walkabout, and the speakers went into storage...  Recently my life has become less nomadic and I pulled the speakers back out of storage, despite the fact that they were now looking kind of rough, with the bass drivers in tatters. All the same, when I plugged them in they still sounded ridiculously good, even with little bits of the woofers flying off with every low note...  

This was kind of a fun effect, actually, though probably not sustainable in the long run…

I'd gone into the studio to record my first CD shortly before my dad's death.  The project got set aside after he died, but I've been in and out of some excellent studios since then and the time is (finally) coming to mix and release the final CD.  I was really pleased to find that you - Pres - were here in Western Massachusetts, and that you were willing to fix the speakers for short money...  More than willing actually.  Thank you so much for that.

I got the speakers back from you, better than new, on the thirteenth anniversary of my father's heart attack, which is nice symbolism I think. Full circle.  I look forward to mixing my CD through your excellent speakers, they're clean and transparent enough for the job.  Without them the expectation would’ve been to shell out thousands of dollars for professional monitor speakers, which might not be half as good. I’m also fine with the possibility of having your speakers be the only real pair of speakers I’ll ever own in this lifetime, hoping for 80 years or so of good listening… We may need to arrange another tune-up in another 25 years.

Very glad the rough mix of the CD put you in a good mood (it does sound good on your speakers) and thanks so much.

Gavin's Tunes