Bosnia becomes centre of Europe

Sead Lejlic's Bosnian Konus Audio Systems is the European arm of 47Labs. Sead is also the co-designer and fabricator of Kimura San's reference speaker. His Konus Essence is a single-driver transmission-line floorstander that became part of the CES 2002 launch of 47Lab's new Shigaraki system. Yoshi Segoshi of Sakura Systems -- Mr. 47Labs USA -- now represents the Essence to us Yanks.

Visegradska Cuprija, a famous bridge across the Drina river that today separates Serbia and Bosnia

The minuscule and complete Shigaraki system retails for $8,600. It includes a top-loading CD transport, a non-oversampling DAC, an integrated amplifier, outboard power supplies, a pair of speakers and all necessary cabling. Like the gossamer-thread spider web wiring, size and aesthetics of the actual components fly in the contorted face of he-man Americana and macho chutzpah. Rather, they whisper of Eastern Zen minimalism, a philosophy that values the innate suchness of things over their mere appearance.

However, published reactions to CES 2002 -- as well as much closer personal reconnaissance from trusted audiophile deep-cover spies -- suggest that sonic results from this system were anything but root-cut bonsai miniatures. Showgoers kept searching in vain for a hidden subwoofer. They scratched their prickling scalps in consternation. How could such tiny components create such room-filling and satisfying sound over such shallow petite speakers lacking proper tweeters or visible bass drivers? has these very Shigaraki electronics enroute for review. Alas, the speakers may or may not prove to be part of this eagerly awaited shipment. That's because they sell far faster than Sead can build them. Supply is outpaced by pre-orders, an enviable scenario in today's economy.

To review or not

And why should Sead attempt to sabre dance over prospective reviews?

A favourable one would frustrate inspired shoppers to no end when waiting times outstripped short-term patience. A bad one could put an avoidable crimp into the present and sputtering pipeline that delivers products without press grease just dandy. You see, no matter how you slice this bacon, opting for the Potomac two-step with those sabres will make you bleed.

Adding coals to this furnace, Sead is known to be uncompromisingly candid about the sorry state of the audiophile press. He recognizes how it derails us from the passionate enjoyment of music. He agonizes over how it elevates analytical dissection of sonic bytes over emotional participation. No doubt he realizes too that most of us reviewer shmucks shoulder a grave burden. We suggest to consumers that they listen to music with notebook and pencil like our sorry lot.

Opstina Centar, City Hall of Srajevo, photo by Bojan Rip

In short, Sead hands the crusader's mantle to Spiderman and follows his passion in the half-shadows of minimized publicity. He handcrafts speakers on a scale manageable and conducive to his personal life. He enjoys the good company and inspiration of his Japanese friends and Ted Jordan, the designer of his full-range driver of choice. He regards them all as mentors without whom he wouldn't be doing what he is.

Early contagion

My first question simply aimed at background.

"Sead, tell us about yourself. How did you become a loudspeaker designer in Bosnia? Pondering this from the far shores of America, one assumes that the market for High-End audio in your country would be limited, especially for a somewhat esoteric single-driver transmission-line design."
Halfway across the world and still exhausted from the Frankfurt show, a 37 year-old Sead types answers into a computer in Sarajevo.
"By vocation, I am an economist and happily married with one daughter. (Damn does this guy have his priorities straight or what? Marriage as part of one's vocation - what a concept!) Fortunately for me, my whole family adores music. In fact, my wife's one hell of an audiophile but won't admit it.

As younger brother to an audiophile, I got into this very early. You know the routine. The older brother turns role model. Since I always enjoyed a great relationship with him, sharing this interest was quite natural. Already at the age of ten or eleven, I crossed all over Sarajevo to set up cartridges for audiophile friends. Fortunately, our parents were supportive. We could afford nice gear. At 15 or so, I thought I knew everything about audio there was to know. Looking at the majority of audiophiles on the Net today, I'm reminded of my own crazy and immature follies of audiophilia. Of course back then we managed such silly excess without the Net.