I am Patrick Schrack, the designer behind Birch Acoustics. I wanted to give you a little history about myself and a feeling of how I crafted my vision as an engineer.
It all started with a boombox. It was the girls state softball championship game and my school was playing our cross town rivals; they were a softball powerhouse that had won the state championships for ten years in a row. The previous year we had split the town in two and built a new high school on the south side of town. We had stolen a few of their girls during the split and tensions were high. These girls had tirelessly practiced to perfect their play and were very evenly matched. So naturally I knew that this game would be won or lost on crowd support alone. I realized they needed the one thing that every great team from Rocky to Chariots of Fire had: a theme song.
I built the loudest boombox I could muster; putting together high efficiency drivers with atv batteries and car amplifiers. This monster was loud, big, and heavy. It was a wonder I got into the game with it, but the head to toe squirrel fur coat I wore was able to disguise it past the people working the gate.
We got to our seats and the student sections were heated; the volley of hateful chants had started well before the game. Then as our team started to walk out on the field in their crisp black and blue jerseys; AC/DC Back in Black was blazing through my boombox. For a moment the entire stadium was silenced and then it happened; our student section broke out into mayhem. The mosh pit that insued last for a minute or so but left the student body totally disordered and ended up breaking the front bleacher as kids jumped, screamed, and mashed together.
The principal immediately rushed over and scolded the student section, demanding that the boombox be turned over. Luckily the administration had not seen me with it and the game began. It was a very tight game of 1-1 till the fourth inning when one of the our girls knocked a three run homer out of the park. I knew what had to be done; I played Rolling Stone Paint It Black at full volume as the girls strutted around the bases. At this time four police officers and all the school administrators rushed into the stands! I took off my regal looking full length squirrel fur coat and gave it to my friend telling him to put it on and run as fast as he could. He took it and ran across the bleachers; drawing the police as I shimmied underneath the stands with the boombox. I was able to get away that day but I learned two things 1. a boombox is not a toy, and 2. I absolutely love the affect of music.
I continued building boomboxes and other audio equipment through high school and college; using only some of it to get into more trouble. I ended up transfering my interest to home audio in college when I worked a job selling high end equipment. This job opened my eyes to what was possible in audio with the esoteric and exotic. I ended up owning every type of gear; turntables, cd players, tape decks, horns, planars, electrostats, dynamic transmission lines, push-push arc welder powered transistors, push-pull vintage tube amplifiers, modern tube preamplifiers, and even some of the better studio gear. All of this was very interesting and often quite good, but it always left me wanting. It was all supposed to be technically excellent according to the authorities but in reality just did not seem to really connect. I was constantly trying to perfect the sound; even tried some of the crazier priced multi-thousand dollar wires and tweaks. It was not until I had a chance encounter with a local audiophile that I saw my path to audio nirvana.
I was buying a very rare Smashing Pumpkins record from a gentlemen one day and when I went to pick it up he offered to play it for me on his system. He had a nice older turntable, a single ended tube amplifier, and a pair of odd speakers with only one driver. I politely sat down thinking I would bear through a song or two and be on my way. I knew that a little speaker like this running only 3 watts would sound puny compared to my setup with speakers that could hit 20Hz with their 15 inch woofers and 800 watts of power. What happened next I was not prepared for; an almost holographic Billy Corgan was singing in front of me. I was in utter disbelief that this was being played through a system; it was seamless, life like, and almost eerily real. Everything had a natural tone and vibrance to it and seemed to occupy a real space; like I was sitting on stage and could stick my hand through where they were performing.
Well needless to say I was hooked. I was ruined for other stereo equipment that did not do what this did. I dove into the world of single driver speakers and built every design possible to capture the magic they have and overcome the shortfalls that so often plague the genre. What I came out on the other side with after years of intense study, practice, and prototypes is something I am truly proud to own, make, and listen to on a daily basis.
Omaha | Nebraska | U.S.A.
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