It’s one thing to geek out about speakers. It’s another to handcraft your own.
What came out of Patrick Casabuena aka Local Sun and his friends’ vision is one Hi-Fi sound system that could easily be dubbed as quintessentially Filipino. Fatima Sound Practice is their brand of handmade speakers marrying distinct Philippine raw materials with above-the-line sound engineering, which features their first floor-standing statement piece: the Jacinta.
“The product is an extension of me. Iconography in Christian art and the names associated with it plays a big role as it’s something prominent with my creativity,” Casabuena explains. “Then the knowledge of old and recent hi-fi brands used in parties like Tannoy and Klipsch; understanding why people look at these brands with such reverence, and with it, some basic knowledge on do’s and don’ts of sound engineering. Put all those together and the product begins to manifest itself.”
Each unit utilizes a 12" subwoofer, a horn-loaded midrange, and a horn-loaded tweeter. The woofer, along with the unit’s body-integrated front port, provides great bass output and extension at 40Hz. The midrange and tweeter horns, which reach up to 20kHz, provide wider and more realistic sound. Working closely with Filipino craftsmen and furniture makers led by Marcial Gajo, the drivers are housed and sealed in PH Agusan™ Marine Plywood and its tweeter and woofer are protected by a woven grill made of ½” solihiya rattan, ideal for indoor use and covered when used outdoors.
The Jacinta doesn’t fall short of electric intricacy, as Fatima Sound Practice founders constructed it with locally seasoned sound maestro Noly Dy, who is responsible for other custom-made speakers in the country, including the central pieces of listening room/selector space, OTO —a place that inspired Casabuena.
“OTO was my first real exposure to hi-fi speakers. I didn’t realize that they could look beautiful and sound just as,” Casabuena shares. “So it’s pretty cool that we got to have Noly on board.”
It undoubtedly takes the ideal team to undertake Hi-Fi artistry, and the young team behind Fatima Sound Practice has taken their time and is tirelessly learning the tools of the trade and collaborating with hardened virtuosos.
“I first made my Sound Rooms Instagram account to be a content dump for my scribbles of my dream speakers and clubrooms. I’d read about places like The Loft, Beauty and the Beat, Giant Steps, Nowadays, Brilliant Corners, Cedar Room, Plastic People, Precious Hall—the list goes on for these sound-centric clubs,” Casabuena opens up. “Things that we’re just drawings started turning into something tangible as I was talking to Matt San Pedro and Brian Ver. Matt is a long-time friend I’ve been working within transitrecords. He specializes in product design. Brian’s an architect by practice but is currently a furniture designer. Matt would see the drawings in my posts and is the one who pushed it into being a possibility.”
Casabuena adds: “I’m fairly confident that our sound system will sound subjectively good, and up to a certain level, all Hi-Fi speakers do. It’s all preference as to who’s listening in front of them. My intent is for the sound to be immersive and to not be fatiguing to the ears—as if you were inside the space recorded, around all the musicians gleefully tuning in.”
[Images via Patrick Casabuena]