Ocellia First Meeting



Author: Leo Fung - yohifi.com - Hong Kong

I received a telephone call from Mr. Leung asking me whether I had heard a French make speaker Ocellia. I might be interested to know more as he used the Lundahl the power amplifier as reference which I praised it highly some two years ago.

Although the name Ocellia is new to me, however French make has never disappointed me. Besides, using Lundahl as reference is really rare. I must spare some time to visit Mr. Leung’s showroom in Central.

This is a new company in Room 405 Commercial House, No.35 Queen’s Road Central, just next door to Elite Hifi. The area is not very big, about 200 ft. odd. The demonstration equipment is not many. But the two floor standing speakers which I have never seen are the most eye catching.

The larger ones are Coaxial and the smaller ones are two-way. The design of the cabinet appears to be traditional but on careful examination, the front is a bit narrower and slants at an angle of 12 degrees. Another eye catching is the varnish of the front panel.

At that time, the composition consisted of a power amplifier which name I have never heard of, the Audiomat. I have heard the name of the preamplifier Shindo but I have never heard how it sounded.

This agent chooses quite another line of direction. Then Mr. Leung and a foreigner returned after lunch to the showroom. That foreigner is the designer and owner of Ocellia.

Samuel Furon looks like a musician. After an interview with him and Mr. Leung, a number of queries were resolved. The explanation of Furon has made my temperament shot up. The result of listening was very satisfying and the interview lasted for 5 hours long, including dinner.

Mr. Leung is a lawyer. He has a history of 20 years playing hifi and has owned many equipment but none really satisfied him. He requires hifi equipment that could bring realism and sensation.

A few months ago, he spotted the Ocellia’s information and design and bought a pair. Having connected to appropriate gears, he got what he dreamed of over the past 20 years the first time. In October last year, he introduced the Ocellia to Hong Kong to let local hifi nuts the opportunity to hear them. Then he decided to set up La Musica Audio to represent only one brand for the time being. I asked “You are afraid of running at as loss?

“Loss is expected that’s why I chose a small place. But I really want to share this kind of ultimate hifi with more people. That’s why I set the price low and do not want to spend more money on advertisement. Anyhow, the setting up of La Musica is my desire.”

The best meets the best

Furon was brought up in a vineyard in France. He was a member of a choir and had learnt flute and piano. He is also a hifi enthusiast and self study hifi.

About the year 1997, he met Bernard Salabert. I did not know who was BS. Mr Furon told me BS is the manufacturer of PHY drivers.

Bernard Salabert was the special guy of the legend. As early as 10 years odd ago, many of my predecessors who played active crossover wished to buy PHY but very few could get. I have only seen once. No wonder when I first saw the Ocellia speakers it appeared to me that I had met sometime before. Furon not only used this special guy’s great make but also the best of the two meet together to make 25 prototypes and finally settled with this design to the market about 2 years ago.

What special about Furon’s cabinet design? After I heard the explanations of Furon, I submitted wholeheartedly.

Lost Ancient Method

The method that he used had “lost” for quite sometime. In the mono era, many hifi nuts bought driver to make their own sound box. The most difficult one is “Thin Wall” speaker.

Over 90% chose think, heavy, sand filled and even concrete to “fight hard against the hard” and “heavy weight for damping” methods. A small minority would use “Open Baffle” without colouration method. A even minor intelligent group would use method such as guitar and violin to make the sound box making it sound like an instrument. This is the highest ideal “using the soft to curb the hard” method. The older generation called the “Thin Wall” speaker.

Only one in a hundred could succeed. If the method of making the cabinet is not ideal, the sound quality will be so bad to listen. However, if successful, you will feel that all are perfect with life in music. Those were, however, hearsay. In my 20 odd years of hifi experience, I had never experienced it. Could I have such experience today?

Music Life

That was Saturday. In the first hour odd, there were noises from renovation works outside and we had to raise our voice to talk. Then suddenly, it became quiet. We then took the opportunity to listen. The Tilias were connected. Furon chose two pieces of Baroque music by Accent. Flute and strings mixed together harmoniously and made me felt agitated. I recall that this composition is one of the 3 bests in my 20 years.

I continued to listen and felt more and more involved. Usually beautiful sounds must accompany some sort of coloration. At the end of one cut, I did not feel the music decay was coloration. Cello was the main instrument in those two recordings. I was really astonished. I gradually realised how sound box could become an instrument. The livelihood of music really brought life and it was different from general situation. Using this system to reproduce music could make one indulge in music until one forgot oneself.

When I “woke” up, I chose a piano sonata to see how the Tilias were. Were the Tilias more all rounder than my beloved Lowther?

After one minute, change of heart came to the fore.

Tilia has the charm of Lowther, better realism and not having the shortcoming of thinness. The main reason that made me change of heart is that it is much more dynamic with much better low frequencies and deepness than the Lowther. It is the same as normal speakers but it is more transparent but without the fatal shortcomings of thin wall speakers.

In other words, for hifi nuts who love music, it is perfect!

Then listened to operas and other sort of music and came to realise its heart moving energy.

Synonymous of Perfection

The grades of violin have direct connection with the “aging period” and works of the makers. The former is the time the varnish seeped into the wood. It was said it required about hundred years for perfect seepage to fill up the pores of the wood. The temperature and humidity would not affect the instrument much and the tones would be much better. The most important is the art works of the maker. Masters like Stradivari and Guarneri could master the skills of making the harmonic of the enclosures.

Tilia could reproduce the beautiful harmonic endlessly.

Then I an important question came to my mind.

Furon, what varnish you used for these speakers?

“I used special varnish is the same for violin”.

Oh, my god! These must sound much and much better as days gone by?

I was agitated and curious. I requested to listen to the coaxial Kedros.

I have discussed the design of coaxial and its virtues and shortcomings in Sound Mechanic <M7>. Are Kedros having greater breakthrough?

According to Furon, the Kedros have frequency range of 30Hz to 30 KHz!

I thought I did hear correctly the English of Furon has strong French assent. I asked him to repeat again: [30Hz to 30,000 Hz!].

Only one coaxial unit?

Of course!

Oh, my god! I have never heard such a coaxial speaker.

The sound of the Kedros is more pure, more dynamic and sense of presence but the analytical power is not weaker than the Tilia. These have in brief summarized the difference between the two. In fact, the characteristics of these speakers are very similar.

The listening environment of La Musica is not ideal. The virtues of these speakers might not be fully exposed but the combination of the amplification system is superb. The CD used by Furon was very special. At that time, I was fully engaged in the music and did not have time to enquire about the CD.

Hand Made New Product

This is the prototype CD of Furon. The heart is Philips but other parts are his own made including the wood box. For the time being, it can only be used for CD. As regards SACD or DVD audio, we have to wait and see.

Super Cables

I then noticed a set of special cables. Furon had the following introductions.

PHY also produced a series of cables, RCA male and female sockets, banana plugs. As Furon, Bernard Salabert also believed that only natural materials could produce good sound. The cables and the wires inside the drivers are made of silver. The mains plugs are ebonite.

The price is very reasonable. The interconnect is about HK$2,000.00; 2 metres mains cable about HK$1,600.00; 3 Metres speak about HK$3,300.00.

The list price for the Kedros and the Tilia are respectively HK$66,000.00 and HK$46,000.00. The net prices respectively are about forty odd thousand and thirty odd thousand only.

For this type of hand made speakers, the price is unbelievably low.

Regardless the speakers and cables, I used to have a chance to review. Mr. Leung agreed without hesitation.

Ocellia are for music lovers or those who respect music. If one’s first choice is “blowing the speakers”, they may not satisfy you fully.