Jean Claude Gaberel is one of the most reputed sound engineers in Switzerland. He won both a César and a Golden Globe in 1995 for his ground-breaking work on the film Farinelli where the sound of the famous castrato was recreated by mixing together the voices of both a female and a male vocalist. He has nonetheless always shunned the limelight and quietly goes about his business of trying to achieve audio perfection in his recordings.
Gaberel is a prestigious partner for Stenheim and has collaborated on the Stenheim sessions, recordings of breaking artists that are sponsored by the loudspeaker brand. These have taken place in the auditorium that he built with Lionel Monnet the pianist, especially to provide an intimate sound where soloists or small groups of musicians can be heard to their best advantage.
Recently, Gaberel provided a retrospective of his work in the newly refurbished Salle de Musique at La Chaux de Fonds in the canton of Neuchâtel, Switzerland. It is a venue that has featured in over a hundred of his one thousand-odd recordings. Now with improved acoustics, where high notes in particular are more closely defined, the reopened concert hall is being celebrated in the year of its 60th anniversary.
Exceptional recordings in an exceptional location also demanded exceptional equipment to do them justice. Stenheim was proud that prototypes of its forthcoming Five speakers were chosen for this task. If audience reaction was anything to go by, these loudspeakers will prove to be yet another notable step in the journey towards total musical fidelity. They were hooked up to two of the Swiss high-end manufacturer Nagra’s new Classic Amps, one for each speaker. These power amps are typical of Nagra’s extreme attention to detail and ensured that the Stenheim Fives could give of their very best. A truly musical set-up for some of the world’s best recorded music.