Quite a Seal of Approval [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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04-13-2008, 04:03 AM
Not too long ago, I posted a thread stating that a good friend of mine, who is also a recording engineer and who won a Grammy for the best-engineered classical recording of 2003 ("St. Mattew's Passion" on Teldec), would be visiting my house to listen to my audio system, and provide his opinion. This fellow is an accomplished musician, singer and recording engineer, well acquainted with how a live orchestra sounds, and how a well engineered recording of that orchestra should sound. He's also not particularly enamored of the B&W 801's so many of the European studios he's worked with use as their monitors. It's not that the speaker colors the sound in any way (in fact, he feels that's the primary reason it's used so often - its total lack of coloration), but that it's a decidedly lackluster, lifeless sound when compared to "the real thing."

I own a set of B&W 802 F Specials which I like, but I prefer my 31 year-old Dahlquist DQ-10's due to their incredible detailing and spectacular imaging capabilities. My friend wasn't unfamiliar with the DQ-10's, but hadn't heard a set of them in someone's house for a long time.

After checking out all the associated equipment I have for my system, my friend took a seat in "the sweet spot," and I put on the third movement of Vaughan Williams,' "A Sea Symphony." He listed very carefully to the entire movement, obviously enthralled with the music itself, and very familiar with it too. He never once looked away from the speakers, and concentrated quite heavily on that to which he was listening.

When it was over, I asked, "Well, what do you think?" not knowing what he'd say, good, bad or indifferent. "Fantastic!" was his response. He felt that the clarity, depth, lack of harshness, and the seamless blending of the subwoofer with the DQ-10's was "perfect," He was also very impressed with the dynamic range, which is something DQ-10's haven't been especially noted for.

I played a few other classical pieces for him (his knowledge of classical music is so complete and extensive, I felt like a complete amateur compared to him!), and his enthusiasm only grew and grew. Overall, his "rating" of my system was very, very high.

Sometimes we just luck out on finding that "perfect" combination of matching components, and I might just have stumbled onto that. The Adcom GFA-5800 seems to be a perfect match for the DQ-10's, and the Monster Z-Series speaker cable does a marvelous job of sweetening up the high frequencies and providing a silky smooth midrange. The Definitive Technology SP-15F sub blends in perfectly, never drawing attention to itself, and providing deep, chest-pounding bass when necessary, and the bottom to the the music the DQ-10's alone just don't have.

And, of course, my newest toy, the Marantz SA-8001 SACD player, as the source of everything certainly makes a difference too. Some very old CD's of mine that weren't especially impressive sounding now are, and everything played on it comes across with renewed sparkle and detail.

So, while I've always enjoyed this system immensely, it's now nice to know that an "expert" in the field of acoustics feels the same way, if not, even more so.

Mr Peabody
04-13-2008, 01:18 PM
Good deal E. Not only is it a testimonial to synergy, to a good set up but I think also to what a good source component can do for a system.