"The story with Danny and I is that whenever I'm in doubt about any voicing issues, he knows exactly what's best. He's an amazing listener. In his Ventura shop about ten years ago, he worked on something away from me and my speakers. He had his back towards me on the computer. We played some Dr. John. I decided to have some fun with a parametric EQ. I wanted  to see how the speakers would respond. I brought 500Hz down by 2dB with a Q factor of about 2. I didn't say a thing. There was no way for him to see what I'd done. It took him maybe 5 seconds to yell from back there: "Hey, get those 500 cycles back up 2dB!"

"You can imagine my astonishment. The man really can hear. He's aware of everything even during a casual listening session. But when he concentrates and tries to dissect the matter, you can be absolutely certain that you'll get the correct diagnostics for any problem. I was so impressed by his ability that I started honing my own skills ever since, trying to reach that same level. I might even have succeeded because when I designed his SR-57 monitors, Danny had zero objections to how I'd voiced them on my end. He simply didn't need to use any of the final voicing options I'd left him in the crossover.

"When it comes to his involvement in the SR1a's development, our deal was that I'd set them up as best I could. If there was anything funny, he'd help nail down the sonic issue and I'd work out how to fix it. For that to work, I had to find ways and means to control every single aspect of the sound of the headphones. This I did, being limited only to the basic operational principle of an open-baffle type. I spent maybe six months measuring and listening to various changes in the acoustic design and my mechanical execution thereof. That led me to also use electrical means to control the response linearity because you don't want to do it exclusively by mechanical means. That pays a price. I continually reported to Danny how certain acoustical tools sounded. Once ready, I took the headphones to him for a listening evaluation.

With certain cosmetic and mechanical refinements between earlier show units and final production, here we see how the leather head band  adjusts to suit different skulls; and how  the branding on the ribbon cartridge became a clean engraving rather than label. The branding on the interface box changed too by eliminating the earlier white background. Photo credit Zhanming057

"He put them on. I expected comments to pour forth but he was quiet for about 30 minutes. I now thought that there was so much wrong that he didn't know where to start. However, he was just getting used to their presentation and later on explored some very densely mixed sections. Finally he put them down and said: "They are flawless. I could hear things I never could hear before and I could listen to them for hours!" Suffice to say that a heavy burden fell off my chest. I was happy that my long work was done. Not that I mind redoing anything. We pursue perfection in musical presentation. Should anything stand in the way of understanding music in the correct way, the work wouldn't be done yet. Anyhow, there were some minor sonic issues with my original cable topology and wire choice so Danny took it upon himself to sort out those issues and design a cable that suits the SR1a better. He knows far more than many about cables and now our cables are manufactured in Ventura."

The above contained a key phrase: understanding music in the correct way. Our sheer enjoyment of listening to musical playback is no more predicated upon understanding than savoring a dish relies on knowing how it was made. That's what we pay chef for. Which is exactly what a recording/mastering engineer is for recorded music.