The Early Years...

Pearl Acoustics Ltd. is a privately owned British loudspeaker enclosure manufacturer, specialized in designing extremely high quality loudspeakers for the high end, domestic HiFi market. It was the brainchild of Harley Lovegrove a business man and entrepreneur who has been designing loudspeaker enclosures since the age of nine. Brought up in south east England (the centre of the world’s loudspeaker design in the 1960’s) Harley's passion for loudspeaker building was cemented by regular visits to the famous ‘Lowther’ loudspeaker company factory which was conveniently located on the way home from his primary school in Bromley. 

Today, Pearl Acoustics is run by his daughter Summer but Harley is still very active supervising stringent quality control, customizations, testing and meeting specific customer needs

Harley grew up in an artistic family where music and art dominated the home. Always fascinated with radios and record players his life ambition was to design and build a pair of loudspeakers that would sound exactly like the musical instruments he played, namely the piano, viola and guitar, As a teenager and into his early twenties Harley mostly focused on systems utilizing multiple drive units from KEF and Son Audax. Both he and his younger brother Damien (now a world famous photographer) never allowed budget or cabinet construction complexity to ever stand in their way. The goal was simple - to out perform the mainstream manufacturers at their own game.

"For me speaker building is more like instrument making. It's a passion and a craft all at once. Sure there is science too but not many Luthiers know much about science, they don't need to test their cellos, violins or classical guitars in anechoic chambers to know if they are any good or not.  All I have done over these last few decades is to find a really great driver, one that can cover the full range effortlessly and then build it the best cabinet possible - nothing more. 

Apparently the world renowned speaker designer and builder John Bowers of Bowers & Wilkins famously once said

"The very best speaker design only needs one drive unit but if you cannot build it with one then use two. If you cannot build it with two then use three. If you need more than three then change your design". 

Well John, sadly you are not around any more to hear it, but if you were, I would have loved to have demonstrated The Sibelius to you. RIP

In the early 90's Harley came up with his ultimate enclosure design which was a complete reversal on his previous designs - moving away form highly complex crossovers and electronic filters. His new design was based upon the principles of the legendary work of Paul Voight in 1939. The result was a quarter wave, exponential, front loaded horn with a single drive plus tweeter for the last three octaves. It utilized a very unfashionable (at the time) simple two component 6db per octave crossover. Although it was a great success, Harley knew that it would be even better if it were driven by a single drive unit but one of sufficient quality that could truly handle the upper and lower octaves simply did not exist. Not even Fostex or Lowther could produce a suitable drive unit that would comfortably go up to and beyond 20KHz.

In 2012 two important things happened: Firstly; Harley discovered the drive units manufactured by Mark Audio, especially the Alpair 7 and Alpair 10.2 These drive units were what he had been waiting for all these years; Purity, power handling and incredible sound stage dynamics. Secondly Harley met Chris Cabergs the owner of a bespoke joinery business, specialized in working with high quality natural timber, especially Oak and Beech.

Chris, like Harley was a perfectionist. He understood construction and could take Harley's designs and give them the rigidity that he was looking for, without the need for internal bracing (which causes too many acoustical problems. Chris, an engineer from training was also extremely interested in Hi-Fi and acoustics and after successfully building Harley a pair of Frugel-Horn Mk3's utliizing the Alpair 7's, he set about building Harley's classic enclosure design for the brand new Alpair 10.2, generation 2. He used three centimetre thick, slow grown, slow aged French Oak. After several false starts and much hard work and perseverance, Chris delivered the perfect result and Harley had the driver cabinet combination he had always dreamt of. A cabinet that could accurately reproduce the full ten octaves of the musical instruments he had always wanted to reproduce.

After several months of fine tuning and experimenting with a wide range of acoustic damping materials, the first production specification Sibelius (the name of the composer that Harley dedicated his design to) was produced and introduced to a waiting public.

The rest they say is history...