Other than being known as a virtuoso guitarist and constant tinkerer, Les Paul also had a consuming passion for sonic excellence. Of course, his name graces the headstock of a certain iconic guitar that's carved its way into the rock history books, too. Gibson brought pre-production versions of some new high-end speakers to IFA 2014 that sport the great man's signature, and Gizmag stopped by for a look and listen.
The Les Paul Reference Series will come in three flavors when released later this year. They all feature a great-looking wood veneer front that's modeled off the various burst flavors of vintage Les Paul guitars. There's a 1-inch diamond composite dome tweeter front and top, and a woofer below. Each driver is powered by its own Class-D amplifier and guitar-inspired bass porting is also to the front.
The naming convention used for each model reveals the size of each unit's low end thumper. The baby of the bunch is the LP4, which sports a 4-inch woofer. The volume dial to the rear of this speaker is joined by low, mid and high EQ knobs. There's an unbalanced RCA input and a balanced XLR/TRS input, and a power switch and a standby button. This model will carry a suggested retail price of US$599 per speaker.
The mid-sized LP6, as you might now be able to determine, packs a 6-inch woofer. The front is a honey burst rather than cherry and there are only low and high EQ knobs to the rear, otherwise this unit is pretty much just a bigger brother to the LP4. As such, the price rises to $799 each.
The Reference Series has been designed to bring out subtle performance nuances of source music with studio clarity, but perhaps adding a little more zing to the audio than a studio monitor could muster.
The acoustic guitar of the chosen track for the short demo managed to cut through the background rumblings of a busy IFA with ease, with the help of the TEAC power amp they were attached to. Though the song was unfamiliar and I'd need to get these into a much quieter environment, the experience was a rather pleasant one and I admit to being eager for release.
The daddy of the new Les Paul Series wasn't on show at IFA, but it will include an 8-inch woofer and therefore be known as the LP8. This model will cost $999 per speaker.
As the speakers on display were pre-production, some specs may be subject to change before they hit the market so Gibson is remaining tight-lipped on detailed audio specs.