Bastanis speakers in retro perspective, and why we do the things we do.

Here is a loosely translated version of the Bastani manifesto written by Robert Bastani in November, 2014:

When you listen to professional cinema speakers from the first decades of the 20th century, you will note that these speakers offer superior transient response, micro- detail and maximum dynamics in comparison to common modern home hifi- speakers. The old masters of these times had a clean slate in the pre WWII era there was heavy competition in technological leadership among continents. Large investments were put into science causing an acceleration in speaker design.


The low wattage tubed amps of these days required highly efficient speakers with huge bass- horns and horns for the midrange and upper frequencies. In small theaters there were open baffle wideband driver- based systems available, with some help from medium sized bass horns and horn tweeters. During the post WWII- period a radio at home was common and serious home hifi was introduced but financially out of reach for the masses. This first period of home hifi still showed an extremely high quality level. However this was quickly going to change. With the introduction of affordable high wattage transistor amps during the 1970's came small, inexpensive and  inefficient bookshelf speakers  and so stereo found its path to the mass- market. The total quality downgraded constantly  driven by technology and by marketers of large growing electronic companies. Not only speakers and amps showed downgraded quality but also formats: best was reel- tape, then followed phono with downgraded dynamics and in a last step the quality- reduced digital formats. 
Today stereo is nothing special at all, it`s affordable and compatible for all digital sources. The young generation wears earphones and the daily listening time is much longer compared to a few decades ago. Today music is everywhere, in elevators, in cars, in shops, restaurants etc… listening to music has become like fast food. In today’s consumption society everything seems to be fine but there is a big change going to happen in culture.
There are moments in life that even elevator music can be very nice and relaxing but music has a much more important meaning. Music is a universal language for all humans worldwide and can be found in any human culture. Music can influence us and we are able to surf on a music wave to the stars and beyond! An elevator can`t lead us to the stars, elevator- music is a tranquilizer only. 
However, people start to realize that most of the times music from a poor system, like music from poorly designed speakers, does not have the positive emotional impact one is looking for. Slowly awareness among people arises that a high quality format can have a more positive impact on someone’s emotions when listening to music.
Back to the technical side of the story. 
There are legions of inefficient multiway “Reference” speakers available for the price of a car or even the price of a house. However, compared to the historical speakers from the first decades of the 20th century most of them sound like how fast food tastes. Even for the best and most expensive high efficient drivers of today it`s hard to compete with the drivers of the old master- designers. The old Klangfilm and Western Electric gear isn`t available anymore, most of it was exported to Asia during the years when the old Odeon theatres closed down. Today there are companies copying the high quality historical drivers as closely as possible but it`s difficult to reach the same quality like in the past times. Speakers built from these drivers are very big but they justify the size and price in comparison to most of the low efficient “Reference” speakers.
The Bastanis approach however is different. By using the insights and possibilities of today, and by extensive research of the old Masters designs, Bastanis has created new designs of absolute quality speakers that are smaller and more acceptably sized for living rooms with normal dimensions. 
All Bastanis speaker designs therefore follow a few design principles:

  • Highest possible efficiency.
  • Crossover-less wideband drivers.
  • Simplified designs, reduced as much as possible
  • Reduction of distortions – even the dynamic non-linearities – to a minimum.
  • Taking care that all parameters are optimized, not just a few of them.
  • When the existing methods aren`t sufficient search for new methods but don`t compromise the design.

The central part of all Bastanis speaker- designs are the wideband drivers which are always crossover-less. When a driver behaves appropriately with a proper self roll- off there is no need to use crossover parts for correction. Crossover parts show energy storage effects and even the best and most 
expensive parts can only downgrade the sound quality and never increase the quality of the signal.
Some of the Bastanis speakers have large diameter wideband drivers and they produce a very natural midrange without “beaming” effects. Large diameter drivers don`t need to move a lot for even very high spl- output and so the sound stays relaxed. The transient response is superior because the highly efficient large diameter drivers and the resulting huge radiating surface offers dynamic headroom far above what`s required for home hifi.
The high efficiency, the dynamic headroom and the crossover-less direct 
coupling to the amps is responsible for the amount of fine details even at lowest listening levels. The amount of fine details and structures let the music become “alive” and the listening- experience is intense.
The Bastanis speaker designs use wideband drivers which reproduce the musical content up to 7Khz or 8Khz depending on the model from the line. This frequency- band contains nearly all musical information. The Bastanis wideband drivers behave as a single point of source causing the sound imaging to be big and natural, much like full range speakers. The large diameter Bastanis wideband drivers show bending wave- behaviour into the higher frequencies and show controlled resonance- behaviour in the full frequency- band they work on. The resonances stay far below a disturbing level and the self roll- off to higher frequencies also is free from disturbing resonances. To achieve this unique behavior it was required to discover some new methods of cone- treatments to make the paper- cones more elastic. Additional treatments follow using a variety of home-made lacquers and minerals which dampen and de- dampen different small areas of the cones depending on their behavior over the frequency- band.

The bigger sized Bastanis 12″ and 15″ wideband- drivers are extremely efficient and equal the most efficient fullhorn- speakers. The tweeters need to show matching efficiency and only horn- tweeters match. The Bastanis horn- tweeters easily could play down to 2,5Khz on but the wideband drivers reach much higher and the tweeters are crossed over at about 8Khz. This guarantees that they work free from distortions and dynamic compression. The Bastanis Gemini tweeters work as horn dipole- tweeters and so they are free of resonances from the back- chamber. The pure sound and the dipole characteristics is a benefit for imaging and so the Bastanis Gemini tweeters are in the league of highly efficient horn- tweeters. The caps for the tweeter`s crossover are made in- house to achieve the best possible sound quality. 

The Bastanis speakers are designed to the maximum of what`s possible technically without any marketing- compromise. There are many experienced audiophiles who are used to the common “buy and sell” of stereo- components and speakers.  Some of them have invested significant amounts of money and never were satisfied before they experienced the Bastanis line of speakers. Most customers keep their Bastanis speakers for a very long time and don`t look for other speakers anymore, I thank them a lot!

Robert Bastani

Inspiration - Pakistan

This company is kind of a continuation of a project I started in the late 90s.    I started to make field recordings in Pakistan and India...mostly folk music recordings.   the music from that part of the world just blew my mind and the folk stuff is just incredible.   nothing really came out of it but I do think about how music can change people, much like what Robert Bastani talked about in the short essay.