The man behind it all, Hans Kortenbach
Hans was born in 1939 in the Netherlands in a small village near The Haque. His earliest audio experience was at the age of 12 when he made a portable radio. The transistors were not invented at the time so the radio was equipped with tubes. It was portable but rather heavy because as Hans’s radio had two big batteries inside. Hans was very proud of the looks and the sound. Above all, his radio proved to be very helpful in impressing the girls! So, he thought at least.
At 14, the young Hans Kortenbach finally collected enough money to buy all necessary parts to build his own mono audio system. He made a loudspeaker using the Philips 9710 full-range driver unit mounted in a kind of bass reflex enclosure and a simple mono EL84 push/pull tube amplifier. The sound was incredible and he loved it so much!
In the beginning of the transistor era the tube gear disappeared. Hans still wonders why. Since then he owned various “modern” transistor amplifiers and loudspeakers; worked very hard for my own consulting bureau and forgot all about tube amps and full-range loudspeakers. In 1997 Hans was invited by a friend to visit Bernard Salabert, the owner of PHY-HP for the first time. After listening for a while to his 8 inch full-range driver unit, mounted on an open baffle and connected to a simple tube amplifier, Hans was totally impressed with the sound and the musicality he heard. This took him back to his earliest musical emotions, immediately deciding to take a pair back home.
From that moment on again Hans Kortenbach was totally fascinated by these PHY-HP driver units and tube amplifiers. They opened a new world for him. After searching around, various experiments with different enclosure designs, discussions with Bernard, Hans came to the conclusion a resonant “folded baffle” enclosure should be the optimal solution. It took him another four years to find out how this should be done.