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RGA
12-29-2011, 08:29 AM
Yes it doesn't happen all that often but it is nice to know that a competing review publication has finally come around to agreeing with me on the AN E. Maybe I'm not so crazy after all (who are we kidding right but still - a small victory is a small victory).

Back story.

Several years ago before I became a reviewer I was a subscriber to UHF magazine and I occasionally wrote in to them. Indeed, as forum regulars know I am a bit "goo-goo" for the Audio Note E/J/K AX Two loudspeakers and I wrote in to UHF asking them to review the speakers (since they loved the entry level out of date cd player over their own reference player). They poo-pooed me in their reply letter stating something along the lines of corners speakers don't work and no damping and even implied shady companies come out with speakers like that etc etc.

To their credit they finally auditioned them and what do you know -"There were some good, even great, rooms at TAVES. This speaker is from one of those rooms. It wasn't the looks of the speaker that won us over, but its sound. It's from Audio Note...the UK version..." "It's difficult to argue with Audio Note's design choices, because the sound was deliciously warm and natural. This was one of the best rooms." The 2011 Toronto show, UHF coverage (http://www.uhfmag.com/Toronto2011/index.html)

I have to say I am happy they set aside their preconceived view of the design (since they've written books on audio design including loudspeakers (one of their reviewers is an EE after all) - I can't blame them) and actually bothered to listen. Still wish they hadn't written them off without hearing them first when they replied to me all those years ago but they got it right in the end IMO.

Now I want them to try the Trenner and Freidl RA Box - I seem to be a little bit alone on this speaker as well - So I have a new cause to battle for - oh my I can feel a headache coming on.

manlystanley
01-06-2012, 07:17 AM
Yes it doesn't happen all that often ......

I'm sure it happens more then you know. I for one appreciate your authoritative comments!! The last one that was eye opening for me was, something like:

-- Good speakers are designed to sound good in a wide variety of rooms. Made me think.....


Best Regards,
Stan

GisleB
01-07-2012, 06:47 PM
Hi. ( First post on this forum ;) )

More people should get their eyes ( ears ) opened to this brand.

Here is my story ( short version )

I just got a pair of Audio Note AN-J/Spe speakers new from AN UK a couple of day's ago, and I must say they have completely blown me away.

Now running a full AN system and I have finally found a system that just does everything so right after 9 years of searching. I bought the OTO SE really by a coincidence ( wanting to try SET, or SEP ). Back then my speakers was Tannoy Prestige Glenair 15, and that amp blew away every other amps I have tried and it was a real "eye opener".

This, and all the writings+review's of Audio Note you have written RGA, made me take the chance and go for a full AN system, and it is just how you have described it. I just wanted to thank you for pointing me in this direction . So here is another one sharing your opinion :) .

Sorry for bad typing, Iam from Norway and not used to write English.

System : AN An-J/Spe
AN OTO phono SE
AN Dac 3.1x

GisleB

RGA
01-08-2012, 03:03 AM
Thanks guys.

I ran into Peter Qvortrup here in Hong Kong - I am reviewing Roksan gear currently and the same dealer sells Audio Note. Had an interesting conversation with him and the dealer. The dealer is an ex principal but has been running the store in downtown Hong Kong (Wanchai) for the last 30+ years). Quite interesting views of the hobby in general, the state of the industry, music etc. If you're at a show and you see him talk to him.

I am trying to figure out what it is that Peter and company are doing that really most of the rest of the industry just doesn't grasp. However this is a rather big name author writing a book on the audio industry according to Peter so we'll wait and see.

GisleB
01-08-2012, 06:01 PM
Thanks guys.

I ran into Peter Qvortrup here in Hong Kong - I am reviewing Roksan gear currently and the same dealer sells Audio Note. Had an interesting conversation with him and the dealer. The dealer is an ex principal but has been running the store in downtown Hong Kong (Wanchai) for the last 30+ years). Quite interesting views of the hobby in general, the state of the industry, music etc. If you're at a show and you see him talk to him.

I am trying to figure out what it is that Peter and company are doing that really most of the rest of the industry just doesn't grasp. However this is a rather big name author writing a book on the audio industry according to Peter so we'll wait and see.


When it comes to speakers I think the reason it sounds so "musical and real" is simply because it is built like an instrument.

It's not just the woofer that makes the sound but the whole cabinet/tree like a guitar.

This, plus perfection and synergies between tweeter/woofer and quality components all the way, but this goes with other good companies aswell. But most "high end" companies ( not all ) make speakers with almost "dead" cabinets trying to eliminate them from interfeering. This is my take on the big difference, but this u already know I guess :)

Worf101
01-09-2012, 05:39 AM
Nothing better than going from "prophet without honor" to "visionary" in one fell swoop. It's nice to be ahead of the curve and then have the last laugh when the curve "catches up". Don't know where I could find AN around here but as always I'm interested in hearing what some folks love.

Worf

RGA
01-11-2012, 06:58 AM
Well the difficulty will be finding the place to audition. Peter is a hands on guy - he is involved in it all so the company can only get so big and he has prevented it from getting larger passing on a number of sensible avenues - it would make more sense to drop a bunch of products and limit the number of offerings - that way you can make more numbers of fewer models. It would also help out dealers.

Talking to the guys at Soundhounds they don't love the "yeah it's the best stuff in the store but you have to wait 9 months to get one" routine. As a salesperson you do want to make a sale but you don't want the hassle of telling someone they have to wait for long periods of time. The last time I was in there they had a guy with a complete Linn system who was purchasing a complete Audio Note system. But they had to give him parts of the line and he had to wait for the other parts of the line. They have AN gear which is used as temporary fill in gear. They'll send an AN J as a loaner for someone waiting for an AN E. But this causes problems for the store as well since then they don't have a demo.

Few dealers want to put up with that stuff. And they roll their eyes when they hear Peter is going to make professional gear - they have mixers and mics and a new A to D converter. More time away from actually getting a Meishu or an AN E to an actual customer. They have opened two more plants - one dedicated to speakers - the other for smaller stuff. They went from 1 dealer in 2000 to 12 in 2011 and from 1 to 5 in Canada. They now have Audio Note only retailers as well. They make 700 components so it's amusing when they ask Peter what's in the system and he has to take a few minutes to figure out what the components are. Audio Note Paris Triode & Compagnie.mp4 - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2WEuUWFMnE)

I have to laugh that Peter Breuninger has become a bigger fanboy than me - The guy wrote for Stereophile, Listener, and the Absolute Sound and now owns his own review publication online company tours.

The guys who were debating over Michael Fremer's $4,000 comments may not like him describing this system as "affordable" but it's pretty close to entry level - man I need more money! Affordable Audio Note Top Audio Video Milan 2011 - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eevGxBiV8vE&feature=related)

RGA
01-11-2012, 07:35 AM
GisleB

Here is a link to your next AN system - LOL - it's a good demo because to me a great system has to play all kinds of music equally well and play all of them to a very high level - the first cut is also why I'll never own a panel loudspeaker as much as I like a lot of them. Audio Note Ongaku Kensei - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAuPIXXiWGE&feature=related)

GisleB
01-11-2012, 09:31 AM
Heh.

I have actually heard the Ongaku here in Norway in a hifi show, playing on some Rockport speakers if I remember correctly. Sounded good but I think it would be even better with some AN uk speakers.

Anyway I am so happy with my "level 2" AN system that I think I can live with this system for a very long time, and the Ongaku is a bit to expensive ;).

It took me about 6 months to get my AN J / Spe after ordering. A long wait but it was well worth it.

RGA
01-11-2012, 11:36 PM
Only 6 months - They must have hired more staff.

Level 2 is good enough to be an end of the road system. I could live with it for the rest of my days. Still the Jinro/AN E set-up and one of the new AN table/arms that will be coming down the pipeline eventually and any of their DACs 2.1 and up would do it for me. The entry level dacs have certain things I like about them but they seem to have a few more problems.

Jimmy C
01-12-2012, 03:02 PM
When it comes to speakers I think the reason it sounds so "musical and real" is simply because it is built like an instrument.

It's not just the woofer that makes the sound but the whole cabinet/tree like a guitar.

This, plus perfection and synergies between tweeter/woofer and quality components all the way, but this goes with other good companies aswell. But most "high end" companies ( not all ) make speakers with almost "dead" cabinets trying to eliminate them from interfeering. This is my take on the big difference, but this u already know I guess :)

...once into mid-higher-end audio, we are all conditioned to think that the cabinet must be absolutely dead - whether reading the rags, or talking to 99% of dealers. I have a pair of JMRs, and the cabinets talk to some degree. I can't say the sound in any way is "wooly" or whatever, but it does impart a certain "thickness" or warmth to the music that you don't usually get in the highly braced boxes.

I can remember someone saying the Twins overall sound is centered around the woofer, rather than the tweeter - I agree. I don't get tons of bass out of them, but on the other hand there's no Napoleon complex either - just sort of organic.... maybe that's how it is with the Audio Notes.

GisleB
01-12-2012, 03:31 PM
...once into mid-higher-end audio, we are all conditioned to think that the cabinet must be absolutely dead - whether reading the rags, or talking to 99% of dealers. I have a pair of JMRs, and the cabinets talk to some degree. I can't say the sound in any way is "wooly" or whatever, but it does impart a certain "thickness" or warmth to the music that you don't usually get in the highly braced boxes.

I can remember someone saying the Twins overall sound is centered around the woofer, rather than the tweeter - I agree. I don't get tons of bass out of them, but on the other hand there's no Napoleon complex either - just sort of organic.... maybe that's how it is with the Audio Notes.

Ye organic and just so tonally correct with everything you throw on them is good words that describes the sound of my speakers. All my previous speakers just sounded wrong in some genres. ( For me atleast, people are different and I can ofcourse understand that others prefer something else ) .

On the other hand. I do like the "typical" solid state, lots of power and "dead" cabinets sounds also. I actually have a decent second system that is pretty much like that ( Hegel H-200, Bladelius cd player/dac and some XTZ 99.26 speakers ). But notice that I write "like" and not love :). This system is not pulling me into the stage as the Audio Note system does.

Jimmy C
01-12-2012, 04:26 PM
...music, as well as less than perfect recordings helps for me too, especially compared to the last speakers I had.

As Bob Neill (he sells AN as well as JMR) said: "There's more than one way to skin a cat"...

Like you say, all different opinions on what sounds best, but I'm leaning...

Unfortunately for my audio buying, the condo has taken top billing for money spent... someday soon again... actually, I'm pretty happy with sound... unless Donald Trump adopts me as another trust fund baby, or my listening/living room gets REALLY big overnight...

Ajani
01-15-2012, 08:03 AM
Well the difficulty will be finding the place to audition. Peter is a hands on guy - he is involved in it all so the company can only get so big and he has prevented it from getting larger passing on a number of sensible avenues - it would make more sense to drop a bunch of products and limit the number of offerings - that way you can make more numbers of fewer models. It would also help out dealers.

Talking to the guys at Soundhounds they don't love the "yeah it's the best stuff in the store but you have to wait 9 months to get one" routine. As a salesperson you do want to make a sale but you don't want the hassle of telling someone they have to wait for long periods of time. The last time I was in there they had a guy with a complete Linn system who was purchasing a complete Audio Note system. But they had to give him parts of the line and he had to wait for the other parts of the line. They have AN gear which is used as temporary fill in gear. They'll send an AN J as a loaner for someone waiting for an AN E. But this causes problems for the store as well since then they don't have a demo.

Few dealers want to put up with that stuff. And they roll their eyes when they hear Peter is going to make professional gear - they have mixers and mics and a new A to D converter. More time away from actually getting a Meishu or an AN E to an actual customer. They have opened two more plants - one dedicated to speakers - the other for smaller stuff. They went from 1 dealer in 2000 to 12 in 2011 and from 1 to 5 in Canada. They now have Audio Note only retailers as well.

That's the real issue I have with Audio Note. They already have a strong fan base. So I see no point in trying to convert more audiophiles, since AN clearly has no interest in meeting consumer demand.

RGA
01-16-2012, 12:41 AM
That's the real issue I have with Audio Note. They already have a strong fan base. So I see no point in trying to convert more audiophiles, since AN clearly has no interest in meeting consumer demand.

I think every company wants to increase their fan base. This is why they bother with entry level products. Not that they really make much money on it but to get people into what it's all about. And AN does entry level (well entry level for them) exceedingly well. Audio Note Zero System review | from TechRadar's expert reviews of Audio systems (http://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/audio-systems/audio-note-zero-system-963545/review)

And they are growing to meet the demand - not as fast as some would like hence the 6-12 month wait lists. But there is only so much you can do when it's all hand built and 100% of the stuff is tested. It's not a we'll test 1 out of 2000 that roll off the assembly line and call that quality control. With the speakers every single driver is tested and every single one is matched to the other one.

There are a few advantages to the customer (completely aside of sound) to all of this.

1) Products stay in the company line-up for decades. The price of costly materials continues to rise and as such the prices of the gear goes up and up. And of course if it sounded great in the first place it would not need to be replaced in 2-3 years like clockwork.

Why is this advantageous? resale value is generally much much higher. In the case of my amp and speakers I can sell them for what I paid for them and even make a fair chunk of money on them. Basically I got a free amp and speakers by simply holding on to them for 5 years.

Warranties can help like those from Bryston - but I have seen 3BST with 15 years left on the warranty selling for $600 (asking) when the new price is $2k. They added an S to make it an SST which destroyed the resale value.

Once you change the model the product is a paperweight in resale value. And few companies keep the same name.

2) Service - you will be able to get the parts because the amp or speaker has not been replaced 3 times in the last decade. A person who bought an OTO in 1992 needs a part he can get it. Any part. This isn't the case with most of the rest of the companies out there - The guy who was on all of the forums about his PSB speakers that were only 1 model year old and still pretty new and under warranty had to go on forums to get them to do something because they no longer had the parts. Finally they did the right thing and gave him a new current replacement model - which is fine - but not everyone likes the newer replacement models better than the older models - I would rather a B&W Matrix any day over a Nautilus but I wonder how easy it will be to get a pair of Matrix tweeters circa 1985 from B&W - and if so what kind of nutty price will you have to pay since they're the only ones making their drivers.


PS - They have interest in meeting the demand - but some people have no interest in waiting. The old saying "good things are worth waiting for" is often true.

But consider someone who buys the speakers - you are going to pay say $7,000 for a set of speakers. And most companies have a few different appearance options - Audio Note has more than 20 - do you want the just wood option or the lacquer coating - which driver compliment do you want - the ones with Alnico woofers, Alnico Tweeters, external crossovers, Do you want the HE versions. One guy ordered the AN E in Racing car Green with gold driver mounts. You can't stock that stuff - the outlay in cash to have a bunch of ready made stock would tie up too much space and cost in materials.

So they have to wait until the customer says "I want the AN E with this driver with this wiring and this box." Then they get the order and put in the cue.

You can easily get the entry level stuff from Audio Note - probably walk out of the store with it. AX Two speakers come in 2 or maybe 3 choices - black and two woods. The amps up to the Meishue are easy to get as well. The OTO and Soro basically come in a line and phono version. Generally more affordable so dealers carry more of them.

This is not all that different from xoticpc which sells laptops but you get to basically build the thing from the ground up - you get exactly what you want the way you want it. You have to maybe wait 3 weeks - but for the same money it will blow away any old obsolete pile of doo-doo at Best Buy that is advertised as new but 3 generations behind what you can build at exoticpc.

Ajani
01-16-2012, 05:32 AM
I think every company wants to increase their fan base. This is why they bother with entry level products. Not that they really make much money on it but to get people into what it's all about. And AN does entry level (well entry level for them) exceedingly well. Audio Note Zero System review | from TechRadar's expert reviews of Audio systems (http://www.techradar.com/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/audio-systems/audio-note-zero-system-963545/review)

And they are growing to meet the demand - not as fast as some would like hence the 6-12 month wait lists. But there is only so much you can do when it's all hand built and 100% of the stuff is tested. It's not a we'll test 1 out of 2000 that roll off the assembly line and call that quality control. With the speakers every single driver is tested and every single one is matched to the other one.

There are a few advantages to the customer (completely aside of sound) to all of this.

1) Products stay in the company line-up for decades. The price of costly materials continues to rise and as such the prices of the gear goes up and up. And of course if it sounded great in the first place it would not need to be replaced in 2-3 years like clockwork.

Why is this advantageous? resale value is generally much much higher. In the case of my amp and speakers I can sell them for what I paid for them and even make a fair chunk of money on them. Basically I got a free amp and speakers by simply holding on to them for 5 years.

Warranties can help like those from Bryston - but I have seen 3BST with 15 years left on the warranty selling for $600 (asking) when the new price is $2k. They added an S to make it an SST which destroyed the resale value.

Once you change the model the product is a paperweight in resale value. And few companies keep the same name.

2) Service - you will be able to get the parts because the amp or speaker has not been replaced 3 times in the last decade. A person who bought an OTO in 1992 needs a part he can get it. Any part. This isn't the case with most of the rest of the companies out there - The guy who was on all of the forums about his PSB speakers that were only 1 model year old and still pretty new and under warranty had to go on forums to get them to do something because they no longer had the parts. Finally they did the right thing and gave him a new current replacement model - which is fine - but not everyone likes the newer replacement models better than the older models - I would rather a B&W Matrix any day over a Nautilus but I wonder how easy it will be to get a pair of Matrix tweeters circa 1985 from B&W - and if so what kind of nutty price will you have to pay since they're the only ones making their drivers.


PS - They have interest in meeting the demand - but some people have no interest in waiting. The old saying "good things are worth waiting for" is often true.

But consider someone who buys the speakers - you are going to pay say $7,000 for a set of speakers. And most companies have a few different appearance options - Audio Note has more than 20 - do you want the just wood option or the lacquer coating - which driver compliment do you want - the ones with Alnico woofers, Alnico Tweeters, external crossovers, Do you want the HE versions. One guy ordered the AN E in Racing car Green with gold driver mounts. You can't stock that stuff - the outlay in cash to have a bunch of ready made stock would tie up too much space and cost in materials.

So they have to wait until the customer says "I want the AN E with this driver with this wiring and this box." Then they get the order and put in the cue.

You can easily get the entry level stuff from Audio Note - probably walk out of the store with it. AX Two speakers come in 2 or maybe 3 choices - black and two woods. The amps up to the Meishue are easy to get as well. The OTO and Soro basically come in a line and phono version. Generally more affordable so dealers carry more of them.

This is not all that different from xoticpc which sells laptops but you get to basically build the thing from the ground up - you get exactly what you want the way you want it. You have to maybe wait 3 weeks - but for the same money it will blow away any old obsolete pile of doo-doo at Best Buy that is advertised as new but 3 generations behind what you can build at exoticpc.

All that is great EXCEPT the waiting list is still a complete joke. Audio Note is not a remotely new company, so the idea that the 6 - 12 months waiting list is just temporary as they expand is rubbish. They have been producing the same designs for a very long time, so they could easily have trained more people to put together their gear. The waiting line is their choice as they don't regard meeting demand as a priority. The very fact that Peter Q insists on going into other ventures, such as recording equipment, while unable to meet the demand for his existing products just proves my point.

So what is the point of trying to convert more persons? To increase the waiting time from 6 - 12 months to 1 - 2 years?

RGA
01-16-2012, 07:22 AM
When Kondo was around with Audio Note in the early 1990s it was taking him more than 6 months to build the Ongaku - you wanted one he started to build it and it took 6 months - he built the entire amp himself. Then a cue began.

Audio Note has had wait times for many years because the demand is very high and there is only so many you can make - this isn't Ford. This isn't made by robots or assembly lines where one girl puts in a screw and it rolls along a conveyer belt to the next girl who puts in the next screw. Peter is interested in quality not quantity and he knows he loses sales but umm that's the point - it's not all about the sale it's about making the best stuff and in every other kind of prestige product there is a wait list - you want a Bughatti - you are not getting one tomorrow unless you take the demo model in the colour you don't want.

Going into the pro side is really only the top guys at Audio Note - they're the ones doing the design work - they're not building OTOs. So not designing something new for the home user is fine since they already have enough stuff.

And it's not a joke - the customer can make the decision for themselves - When they go into Soundhounds and listen to the Magnepans/B&Ws/Harbeths/Paradigms/Dynaudios/Quads/Sonus Fabers/Meridian active/ and they ask themselves does it sound better than the competitors. And then is it better enough to wait 6 months.

It's a recession and AN can't keep up with the huge demand - a lot of their business is coming from Asia. They have the money and the population. AN is relatively small - there is no way they can keep up with the demand for their top level stuff let alone the midrange gear. The Roksan dealer here who also sells Audio Note sold three M10 preamps in one month. This is a $100,000 amplifier that takes significant time to build - and they had an order from California in the same month. That's 4 top shelf amps - they have to build the transformers from scratch - wind them, make the case work - then they have to have it built - 60 man hours at least - then they test it for several days - then it has to be shipped. And that's one model of one preamp.

I have no problem waiting for quality. Sure I can have the McAmplifier right away but big deal - nothing special about a nice case with internals you can buy for peanuts at Parts Express. What's worse is that many of those amps are the same damn price. Recently on this board people have compared speakers with kits you can buy for 1/10 the price - this is no different in amps or CD players.

Audio Note came to north America with only their top level stuff - for all the lore - Kondo-san only made 3 products for Audio Note - All three were over $50,000. So it's not like there is a big line. The big line starts in 2000 when the $5kish gear starts getting reviewed by American and British press. Then people take notice go listen and want one. Then the orders come flying in - when you have a 6 man shop and you have hundreds of orders you're in some trouble.

Studio Electric makes a very nice speaker - Benchmark likes them and brings them to shows. I met the owner - he is a two man outfit. Could you imagine if suddenly he was bombarded with 100s of people wanting his speakers. You can darn well bet you'd be put on a wait list. Since 2000 AN has opened two plants three if you count the Lithuania plant that only makes level zero.

In another thread on the general forum I posted the factory tour youtube video. That factory though doesn't even make speakers - that is just amps/cdplayers and parts of the turntable - they have Bosendorfer (the world's best piano maker) making the speaker cabinets. They've gone from one plant of 6 people to three plants the main one with over 20 and one with 6 and another one and none of those are making speakers! And they still can't keep up.

And the reason is and I have said this for 5 years on forums - the reason people will wait and they will pay is due to the sound quality at the price. I will wait when I know I pay $5-$8k for something that most competitors at $20k don't approach. I will wait in line to get $20k performance for $5k money any day of the week.

Ajani
01-16-2012, 08:26 AM
When Kondo was around with Audio Note in the early 1990s it was taking him more than 6 months to build the Ongaku - you wanted one he started to build it and it took 6 months - he built the entire amp himself. Then a cue began.

Audio Note has had wait times for many years because the demand is very high and there is only so many you can make - this isn't Ford. This isn't made by robots or assembly lines where one girl puts in a screw and it rolls along a conveyer belt to the next girl who puts in the next screw. Peter is interested in quality not quantity and he knows he loses sales but umm that's the point - it's not all about the sale it's about making the best stuff and in every other kind of prestige product there is a wait list - you want a Bughatti - you are not getting one tomorrow unless you take the demo model in the colour you don't want.

Going into the pro side is really only the top guys at Audio Note - they're the ones doing the design work - they're not building OTOs. So not designing something new for the home user is fine since they already have enough stuff.

And it's not a joke - the customer can make the decision for themselves - When they go into Soundhounds and listen to the Magnepans/B&Ws/Harbeths/Paradigms/Dynaudios/Quads/Sonus Fabers/Meridian active/ and they ask themselves does it sound better than the competitors. And then is it better enough to wait 6 months.

It's a recession and AN can't keep up with the huge demand - a lot of their business is coming from Asia. They have the money and the population. AN is relatively small - there is no way they can keep up with the demand for their top level stuff let alone the midrange gear. The Roksan dealer here who also sells Audio Note sold three M10 preamps in one month. This is a $100,000 amplifier that takes significant time to build - and they had an order from California in the same month. That's 4 top shelf amps - they have to build the transformers from scratch - wind them, make the case work - then they have to have it built - 60 man hours at least - then they test it for several days - then it has to be shipped. And that's one model of one preamp.

I have no problem waiting for quality. Sure I can have the McAmplifier right away but big deal - nothing special about a nice case with internals you can buy for peanuts at Parts Express. What's worse is that many of those amps are the same damn price. Recently on this board people have compared speakers with kits you can buy for 1/10 the price - this is no different in amps or CD players.

Audio Note came to north America with only their top level stuff - for all the lore - Kondo-san only made 3 products for Audio Note - All three were over $50,000. So it's not like there is a big line. The big line starts in 2000 when the $5kish gear starts getting reviewed by American and British press. Then people take notice go listen and want one. Then the orders come flying in - when you have a 6 man shop and you have hundreds of orders you're in some trouble.

Studio Electric makes a very nice speaker - Benchmark likes them and brings them to shows. I met the owner - he is a two man outfit. Could you imagine if suddenly he was bombarded with 100s of people wanting his speakers. You can darn well bet you'd be put on a wait list. Since 2000 AN has opened two plants three if you count the Lithuania plant that only makes level zero.

In another thread on the general forum I posted the factory tour youtube video. That factory though doesn't even make speakers - that is just amps/cdplayers and parts of the turntable - they have Bosendorfer (the world's best piano maker) making the speaker cabinets. They've gone from one plant of 6 people to three plants the main one with over 20 and one with 6 and another one and none of those are making speakers! And they still can't keep up.

And the reason is and I have said this for 5 years on forums - the reason people will wait and they will pay is due to the sound quality at the price. I will wait when I know I pay $5-$8k for something that most competitors at $20k don't approach. I will wait in line to get $20k performance for $5k money any day of the week.

I get all of that. And some persons maybe so in love with the product that they will wait as long as it takes to get them. However, the fact still remains that the long waiting time is by choice. There are many ways Audio Note could have eliminated the long waiting time (the simplest being to not have so many different products), but they have not chosen to do so. Why? Because customers like you will wait and wait and wait.

I see nothing wrong with waiting if you want a customized pair of AN-E's, but a base version should be available at the dealer with little or no waiting time. There is no rocket science involved in this.

Also, a longer wait is fine for products $50K and up. Very few persons just walk into a store and drop $50K on a product, so it makes little financial sense for a manufacturer/dealer to have a large inventory of such items (that would likely lead to bankruptcy).

RGA
01-16-2012, 05:12 PM
I see nothing wrong with waiting if you want a customized pair of AN-E's, but a base version should be available at the dealer with little or no waiting time. There is no rocket science involved in this.

Also, a longer wait is fine for products $50K and up. Very few persons just walk into a store and drop $50K on a product, so it makes little financial sense for a manufacturer/dealer to have a large inventory of such items (that would likely lead to bankruptcy).

There is no base version of the AN E because they're all custom - same with the AN J. An AN K and down are usually stocked by dealers so like I aid you can get those. The dealer in HK has the level zero series.

So yes you can buy entry level AN gear same day.

The AN E basic models come in 4 versions silver or copper wired AN E/SPE is silver - AN E/LX is copper. Both come in regular or HE drivers. And both come in over 20 different wood veneers. You want the dealer to carry the entry level that means they have to carry all four versions of the entry level AN E speakers each in 20 different venneers means they have to stock 80 pairs of loudspeakers to let the customer walk out with a pair that day in the colour choice they want. Add another 80 pairs if they want the High gloss finish and another 80 if they want the Piano Gloss versions for a bit extra cash - some will want it and some won't after all. And all of that goes for the AN J as well. Some people may like J as well due to room size so that's another 80 options +80 and +80 for the two different finish options. To carry the basic line then you're looking at 240 pairs of AN J and 240 pairs of AN Es. And then you'll have the guy who wants Racing Green which you don't stock. Dealer nightmare.

As an $8k budgeted audiophile You are getting the $50,000 budgeted audiophile treatment - and in some cases the same or better performance. So treat an AN E/Spe HE as a $20k speaker. Entry level at Audio Note is AX One and AX Two - you can get those entry level speakers no problem. I will probably buy the latter later in the year.

Most dealers do stock the entry AN J and E as well - Soundhounds stocks the AN E/LX HE and AN E/Spe HE and the AN J/ Spe and AN K/Spe. They have selected what they think will be the colour people will like "poplar burl" "apple" and Cherry wood darkish red in the AN K. So you can walk out with one today if you like their colour choice but to me for the same money why not wait and get one exactly the way you want. It's like eating a burger with pickles - I like pickles so no problem I'll buy it but if you hate them why not wait to get the one without them?

It would be no different than going to buy a Revel Salon 2 and the dealer only has black - but you want cherry wood. You can choose to wait or you can choose to take the black.

In my case I took the AN J/Spe in black which had some blemishes on the upper back corners. I choose a heavy discount over looks any day but many people won't.

But at the same price I would take the option to wait because check out the AN J/LX in this link (this is pretty much entry level AN J scroll down - then picture it in a regular boring matte black or the usual wood colours. Sorry but this finish is about as good as loudspeakers get and I would definitely wait a few months if it's the same money as the black one the store happens to have.

You get your choice Maple, Curly Maple, Palisander, Olive, Tulip, Alder, Oak, Apple, Cherry, Walnut, Black ash, Wenge, Birch Burl, Birds Eye Maple, Makassa-Ebony, Madrone burl, Indian Rosewood, Poplar Burl and Yew.

Deco Audio Speakers2 (http://www.decoaudio.com/deco_audio_speakers2.html)

Ajani
01-16-2012, 06:07 PM
There is no base version of the AN E because they're all custom - same with the AN J. An AN K and down are usually stocked by dealers so like I aid you can get those. The dealer in HK has the level zero series.

So yes you can buy entry level AN gear same day.

The AN E basic models come in 4 versions silver or copper wired AN E/SPE is silver - AN E/LX is copper. Both come in regular or HE drivers. And both come in over 20 different wood veneers. You want the dealer to carry the entry level that means they have to carry all four versions of the entry level AN E speakers each in 20 different venneers means they have to stock 80 pairs of loudspeakers to let the customer walk out with a pair that day in the colour choice they want. Add another 80 pairs if they want the High gloss finish and another 80 if they want the Piano Gloss versions for a bit extra cash - some will want it and some won't after all. And all of that goes for the AN J as well. Some people may like J as well due to room size so that's another 80 options +80 and +80 for the two different finish options. To carry the basic line then you're looking at 240 pairs of AN J and 240 pairs of AN Es. And then you'll have the guy who wants Racing Green which you don't stock. Dealer nightmare.

As an $8k budgeted audiophile You are getting the $50,000 budgeted audiophile treatment - and in some cases the same or better performance. So treat an AN E/Spe HE as a $20k speaker. Entry level at Audio Note is AX One and AX Two - you can get those entry level speakers no problem. I will probably buy the latter later in the year.

Most dealers do stock the entry AN J and E as well - Soundhounds stocks the AN E/LX HE and AN E/Spe HE and the AN J/ Spe and AN K/Spe. They have selected what they think will be the colour people will like "poplar burl" "apple" and Cherry wood darkish red in the AN K. So you can walk out with one today if you like their colour choice but to me for the same money why not wait and get one exactly the way you want. It's like eating a burger with pickles - I like pickles so no problem I'll buy it but if you hate them why not wait to get the one without them?

It would be no different than going to buy a Revel Salon 2 and the dealer only has black - but you want cherry wood. You can choose to wait or you can choose to take the black.

In my case I took the AN J/Spe in black which had some blemishes on the upper back corners. I choose a heavy discount over looks any day but many people won't.

But at the same price I would take the option to wait because check out the AN J/LX in this link (this is pretty much entry level AN J scroll down - then picture it in a regular boring matte black or the usual wood colours. Sorry but this finish is about as good as loudspeakers get and I would definitely wait a few months if it's the same money as the black one the store happens to have.

You get your choice Maple, Curly Maple, Palisander, Olive, Tulip, Alder, Oak, Apple, Cherry, Walnut, Black ash, Wenge, Birch Burl, Birds Eye Maple, Makassa-Ebony, Madrone burl, Indian Rosewood, Poplar Burl and Yew.

Deco Audio Speakers2 (http://www.decoaudio.com/deco_audio_speakers2.html)

That sounds like way too many options to make sense practically. No reason not to have a base AN-E with perhaps just 3 standard finish options. Everything else can be custom.

Also, with all those options on the AN-E (ignoring the finish options), what chance is there to actually audition these different models before deciding which to purchase? I doubt any dealers carry all the different options. So I guess you just have to audition whatever the dealer has and hope the cheaper or more expensive option you purchase sounds as good or better.

GisleB
01-16-2012, 06:24 PM
In Norway they had a couple of AN-J / Spe's and standard K's and also E's.

My problem was that my "better half" only permitted 2 color choices and that was either white or dark walnut. I chose Walnut cause I like speakers that have a "natural tree" finnish. This would probably be my choice of finnish no matter what. My point is that if this finnish was not available I would not have these speakers now. So Iam happy that they have lots of options here.

RGA, did you know you can get all AN-J's with hemp also ? I was offered that for a small amount more, but my GF didnt accept the blue color :), so went with paper. I do agree here though, blue woofer is not too pretty atleast with this finnish.

Here is a picture of one of my new speakers :

RGA
01-17-2012, 05:48 PM
GisleB

Nice - I wished I had the J in something other than black. Although it does make the paper woofer and foam surround look more "silver" so they look kind of cool. Maybe black will make a come back. As someone pointed out - it usually goes with everything.

Still I much prefer the real wood looks and the Poplar Burl one is a stunner. The dealer here carries many a fine speaker but that finish in the gloss looks like a piece of art. That's much better than the old days when your choice was black or that ugly wood they were using.

I am interested to audition Robert Lighton's speakers -he's a famed furniture maker and designer and now AN dealer in New York. He's made a floorstanding AN E of sorts - uses the alnico paper woofers (10 inch) and alnico tweeters in an undamped cabinet (the same instrument idea). And using AN caps - all designed around an AN 300B amp. They certainly look like what an AN E might look like if it was a floorstander. At $20k a pair it ain't happening for me but I'd be interested to hear the results. And being a furniture maker the wood choice would be tremendous. Robert Lighton New York Furniture (http://www.robertlighton.com/)

Ajani
01-17-2012, 07:15 PM
I am interested to audition Robert Lighton's speakers -he's a famed furniture maker and designer and now AN dealer in New York. He's made a floorstanding AN E of sorts - uses the alnico paper woofers (10 inch) and alnico tweeters in an undamped cabinet (the same instrument idea). And using AN caps - all designed around an AN 300B amp. They certainly look like what an AN E might look like if it was a floorstander. At $20k a pair it ain't happening for me but I'd be interested to hear the results. And being a furniture maker the wood choice would be tremendous. Robert Lighton New York Furniture (http://www.robertlighton.com/)

Cool... I was tempted to make a thread about those speakers when I saw them on 6moons News Room, as I suspected they might interest you... The look is quite nice...

RGA
01-17-2012, 07:49 PM
What's fascinating to me is that for all the years and going to dealers etc that you still come across stuff you've never even heard of. Lower down the six moons page they show a rather stunning looking set of tube amps from Trafomatic - who the hell is Trafomatic? Apparently been around since 1997. 15 years and never once read anything on them. They look nice.

Ajani
01-19-2012, 07:39 AM
Is it just me or does the Kondo Audio Note Buyura look very very similar to the Robert Lighton Audio's RL10?

Kondo Audio Note Buyura
http://www.avguide.com/sites/next-tech-guide/files/Kondo%20Audio%20Not%20Buyura.png

Robert Lighton Audio's RL10
http://www.6moons.com/news/january/2.jpg

Images from:
CES 2012 Report - Jonathan Valin on Loudspeakers $25K and Above | AVguide (http://www.avguide.com/blog/ces-2012-report-jonathan-valin-loudspeakers-25k-and-above?page=3)
6moons.com: News Room (http://www.6moons.com/news/news.html)

RGA
01-19-2012, 06:19 PM
Ah John Valin never ceases to amaze me that the guy has a job reviewing. AudioFederation.com has a yearly review of his show reports and quality (lack thereof) in reviewing gear.

First he doesn't even do his homework. I can forgive a few mistakes here and there because we all make them but lets look at this room

One: It's not Kondo

Two: It's Robert Lighton speakers - Kondo doesn't make speakers - they brought a prototype the previous year which is nothing like this speaker

Three: the price is $20k not $50k

Four: The speaker doesn't use a field coil.

Five: Kondo wasn't showing this room - and neither was AN UK the latter skipped it this year.

Six: Buyura? What?

He usually loves rooms that I think are total caca.

That says he might be right on these speakers but with so many obvious errors one wonders if his mind is going - and usually the ears go before the brain. Just saying

Audio Federation Blog Ľ Blog Archive Ľ Our Traditional Report on Jonanthan Valin’s RMAF 2001 Report - High-end Audio Blog (http://audiofederation.com/blog/archives/879)

Ajani
01-19-2012, 06:26 PM
Ah John Valin never ceases to amaze me that the guy has a job reviewing. AudioFederation.com has a yearly review of his show reports and quality (lack thereof) in reviewing gear.

First he doesn't even do his homework. I can forgive a few mistakes here and there because we all make them but lets look at this room

One: It's not Kondo

Two: It's Robert Lighton speakers - Kondo doesn't make speakers - they brought a prototype the previous year which is nothing like this speaker

Three: the price is $20k not $50k

Four: The speaker doesn't use a field coil.

Five: Kondo wasn't showing this room - and neither was AN UK the latter skipped it this year.

Six: Buyura? What?

He usually loves rooms that I think are total caca.

That says he might be right on these speakers but with so many obvious errors one wonders if his mind is going - and usually the ears go before the brain. Just saying

Audio Federation Blog Ľ Blog Archive Ľ Our Traditional Report on Jonanthan Valinís RMAF 2001 Report - High-end Audio Blog (http://audiofederation.com/blog/archives/879)

:eek6::eek6::eek6:

DWL!!!

I almost hope you're mistaken, because the thought that Valin could be writing such complete and utter nonsense is really worrying. How can anyone make that many blatant errors for a simple report on one room at a show?

RGA
01-20-2012, 01:50 AM
It's really simple - take a look at the picture - and then note what Robert Lighton brought to CES

Robert Lighton Audio will be showcasing their new RL10 95db efficient speakers along with:

Audio Note Meishu Silver Signature (9 watt Class A single-ended 300B line only integrated amplifier)
Audio Note M3 RIAA Phono Stage
Audio Note TT3 0.5 Reference turntable and/or Thorens turntable
Audio Note CD 4.1x CD Player

Robert is a long time fan/supporter of Audio Note gear, and these speakers are designed from the get-go to run off of low-powered tube equipment like Audio Note amplifiers. Should be very interesting. Audio Federation Blog Ľ Audio Note - High-end Audio Blog (http://audiofederation.com/blog/categories/high-end-audio/audio-note/)

Then look up Kondo's website. Do you see any product that looks anything even remotely the same? Products | AUDIO NOTE (http://www.audionote.co.jp/en/products/index.html)

I can''t see the picture too well - it's possible the Amp pictures is labelled Kondo but that certainly doesn't mean they showed - the room would have a giant Kondo sign or an AN UK sign.

I sat beside Valin in a room briefly at CES - He waxed poetic on rooms that I found to be in the ten worst - didn't cover rooms that were vastly better in every regard and seems to like bright irritating highly fatiguing crap. Granted I am maybe 30 years younger than him and don't need highly tipped up treble response but jeez - I don't get that entire magazine - too much history of borderline corrupt instances and IMO play favorites. Valin is the worst of the lot.

The guy reviews a set of cables. The cable company wants them back - oh wait he lost them - turns out they were cut up into smaller lengths and SOLD. Valin claims he didn't do it but lent it to a friend and said friend cut them up and sold them. Either way - to lend out something you have been given to review is IMO disgusting - especially to the kinds of people who would do that. That says something about the friends you keep as well.

Charlie Hanson of Ayre Audio has taken TAS to task on numerous occasions of serious factual issues that regularly occur there that border on the sly.

And then people will continually point to their reviews as some sort of gospel - WTF - the owner is a multi-millionaire who keeps the magazine afloat from personal wealth - it isn't due to sales.

Stereophile is actually the best of all the magazines simply because they have certain written practices for their staff to follow - so while people can grumble about certain aspects at least they do have a written policy and philosophy and stay true to it and they explain what they do and why. So even if I disagree with their views on the sound - and that will always happen - I can at least be surer that it comes from a place of honestly. In TAS' case they still have the guy working there - so that says much about the editor and it says something for the reviewers who didn't walk away.

After the Wilson thing I am always surprised anyone reads them. Placating the manufacturer over the welfare of the consumer is not the right approach.

Salvatore may be viewed as a bit of a conspiracy guy but it's right there in the print of those issues. Stereophile may have some logic faults but I don't think it is dishonest. TAS - I would sooner trust the 16 year old at the local Best-Buy.

Harry Pearson (http://www.high-endaudio.com/RR-TAS.html)

Lastly I think that in some cases reviewers while audiophiles are not professional journalists. I have a Lit degree but that merely means I can string some sentences together - sometimes without mistakes. I looked up the code of journalistic ethics and I go by that until Constantine finishes writing a simplified version. Society of Professional Journalists: SPJ Code of Ethics (http://spj.org/ethicscode.asp)

Ajani
01-20-2012, 08:05 PM
This is the Kondo Biyura prototype at CES:

http://www.ultrahighendforum.com/download/file.php?id=4217
Ultra High-End Audio and Home Theater Forum (http://www.ultrahighendforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=218&t=7134&start=56)

RGA
01-20-2012, 09:43 PM
So now what does that say about Valin - no one knows what comments go with what rooms. He doesn't bother to take notes - he has his favorites and has pat comments that will go with whatever he likes - and we don;t know if what he likes is because he likes them or if he likes them because he his making money from it.

And one wonders why when I am discussing products that when people post a link to TAS as confirmation that "well TAS liked it" that I don't put much or ANY stock into their reviews - because no one has any way to know if that review is coming from an ethical source.

One needs to be fair to the consumer I am sure we all agree that their needs come first - but it can be downright damaging to the manufacturer - the average audiophile doesn't know most of these smaller brands. So when he shows a picture of one room while commenting on the sound of another - then that hurts BOTH manufacturers who are trying to make a living - have employees who have jobs etc. Reviewers owe a duty of care to get this kind of thing right.

I would submit that there are a LOT of people who put a lot of weight on the views of what TAS says. I know because I've been on the critics forum of AA. And even on this site - how many times has some said - this product must be good because it got "product of the year" or is in a recommended list. The Wilson debacle is clearly there and that to me goes right to the ethics of the magazine.

Bit it's not just them - I read countless reviews of amps like Bryston's original 3B NRB and 3BST. All glowing reviews - then they review the newer SST and then start ripping the old model for bringing edgy and bright - but wait - they never even hinted at that in their original reviews. The perfect sound forever until next year when perfect was improved upon - huh? The way around that to a degree is to admit that they didn't realize their was a problem until they heard the new model - gear can lie by omission so you don't realize it can be better until you hear the better product - but that's not the way it's worded - it is worded in marketing speaker to suggest to the older amp owners that their amp is deficient and they need to dump it to buy the new one - helps sales for the manufacturer but what about the consumer?

The magazines giving out those plaques - I don't trust them. Something is highly suspicious about that to me.

Feanor
01-21-2012, 06:19 AM
Wow! AN EL34 kit on sale!

Speaking of AN stuff, if I weren't so broke I buy this Audio Note L1 EL34 tube integrated which is on sale at Parts ConneXion, (HERE (http://www.partsconnexion.com/audionote_kits_el84.html)), which is on sale for $1150 according to their email newsletter. Despite my skepticism about tube amps, I would nevertheless like to try one, as I've admitted on many occasions. (Although I think a 50-60 wpc design would be a better match for my present speakers.)

http://www.partsconnexion.com/media/product/finished/l1_el84_006.jpg

E-Stat
01-21-2012, 07:53 AM
All glowing reviews - then they review the newer SST and then start ripping the old model for bringing edgy and bright - but wait - they never even hinted at that in their original reviews.
Except of course for Harry Pearson. Commenting on the 28B:

"Need I say this is the most musical solid-state design Iíve heard, and from what I once would have considered the unlikeliest source?"

RGA
01-21-2012, 09:04 AM
Except of course for Harry Pearson. Commenting on the 28B:

"Need I say this is the most musical solid-state design Iíve heard, and from what I once would have considered the unlikeliest source?"

I wonder if at any time anyone at TAS reviewing any Bryston's ever mentioned that Bryston would be unlikely to make a great sounding (or musical) amplifier? I believe I remember seeing a number of recommended Bryston amps in TAS over the years - doubt they ever mentioned it.

Sounds like Wilson all over again!

I auditioned the 28bs on a set of speakers - then I heard the same speakers with a $6kish Integrated amp that sounded miles better. The reasons why I don't pay attention to TAS just mount up some more.

Ajani
01-21-2012, 09:41 AM
I wonder if at any time anyone at TAS reviewing any Bryston's ever mentioned that Bryston would be unlikely to make a great sounding (or musical) amplifier? I believe I remember seeing a number of recommended Bryston amps in TAS over the years - doubt they ever mentioned it.

Sounds like Wilson all over again!

I auditioned the 28bs on a set of speakers - then I heard the same speakers with a $6kish Integrated amp that sounded miles better. The reasons why I don't pay attention to TAS just mount up some more.

I'm not sure I really get the problem. If the same reviewer who initially raved about a product, later bashed it (when the new model came out) I could see an issue. But aren't we talking about separate reviewers? So one guy liked a product and others at the same mag didn't. I'm sure some of the reviewers at Stereophile hate the sound of gear recommended by Michael Fremmer or John Atkinson and Vice Versa, but that won't be published (unless those reviewers did a follow up to the same product - usually they wouldn't want to review that product).

I get the other issues such as Valin's legendary cable "mistake".

E-Stat
01-21-2012, 09:44 AM
I wonder if at any time anyone at TAS reviewing any Bryston's ever mentioned that Bryston would be unlikely to make a great sounding (or musical) amplifier?
Other than Harry? There was a lone review in issue 14 where the reviewer found it to be neither good nor bad, just boring. With some exceptions, HP chooses not to review what he doesn't like. How about you? Are you excited about taking the time to do in depth listening and review something you don't like? I'd rather not waste the time.

The 28B was quite a surprise to him having heard many earlier models over the years. Another brand he has chosen not to review is Halcro - despite the fact I've seen several of their products at Sea Cliff. He found them clinical and amusical.

RGA
01-21-2012, 07:13 PM
I'm not sure I really get the problem. If the same reviewer who initially raved about a product, later bashed it (when the new model came out) I could see an issue. But aren't we talking about separate reviewers? So one guy liked a product and others at the same mag didn't. I'm sure some of the reviewers at Stereophile hate the sound of gear recommended by Michael Fremmer or John Atkinson and Vice Versa, but that won't be published (unless those reviewers did a follow up to the same product - usually they wouldn't want to review that product).

I get the other issues such as Valin's legendary cable "mistake".

But then who is being protected - the manufacturer or the consumer?

"Miiller: Breakthrough, revolutionary.
Pearson: The Wilson sound was viewed with deeply mixed feelings. (For most of us at The Absolute Sound, the transmogrification of the Wilson sound was viewed with deeply mixed feelings)."

"Most of us (writers)" means that the majority of reviewers at TAS DID NOT LIKE THEM. Indeed pretty sure this is the magazine that gave an outright bad review of the speakers - the review was pulled in favor of the glowing review - that may have been a different magazine - I forget the poster on here who has the detailed information - might be Woochifer but I can't remember.

But still a big money product where more than half the staff doesn't like it needs to have at least one line noting that.

Miiller: The Model 5 is ready to ascend to its place among the long-lived audio classics.
Pearson: Aimed at a market of listeners seldom passionate about the absolute.

Miiller: It merits designation as a standard in the tradition of the Quad and Linn.
Pearson: A radical shift from tonal neutrality.

Miiller: It's a classic.
Pearson: I gave up on this speaker.


e-Stat is correct that reviewers choose stuff we want to listen to but that isn't always the case. And having a few checks and balances is not a bad idea. Soundhounds in Victoria has guys who listen 5 days a week - music is playing all day - all technologies from LP, CD, SACD, Streaming top of the line DSD, in SS and Tube and SET and Digital, several panel makers, to boxes to HE to LE, to active. They send a different guy to every CES sometimes they all go. They repair every single audio brand past or present in house - every one of them - they know the parts used the designs everything.

I would put it to you that there is not a single reviewer FROM ANY MAGAZINE that has more knowledge or experience with different audio gear than they have.

Why do you put stock into Miiler or Pearson? You might say - well the dealer is in the business of selling gear - so he could not be impartial. That's true - but the review magazines are NOT Newspapers - they do not have to follow journalistic ethics - cause THEY"RE NOT JOURNALISTS. Advertising money is taken in - that could influence (it may not but it could) influence what is said. And that is what Salvatore notes. Otherwise they would have a rebuttal to the view.

The dealer has the goal of selling the gear but they make money no matter what the customer buys - they can tell you what they like and don't like (if you ask) otherwise they play the stuff and you pick what you want. If you sell a lot of technologies from good manufacturers then you never have to give people a hard sell. The smaller dealer in downtown Vancouver has to push push push B&W because they carry B&W. Soundhounds doesn't and don't because A) it's good but not the best they carry and B) they have enough selection they don't need to push it on people.

So they will say - yeah we carry XYZ and their standmouts sound quite nice but their floorstanders sound screwed up. Yeah this gets great reviews but here's the problems they left out 1-2-3. Yeah we love ABC but they're delivery time sucks, or individually - yeah we carry it because it's an easy sell - in demand and the reviews like it but it's the worst sound in the store.

Perhaps E-Stat raises a point that the magazines should not just be about reviewing the stuff we like - perhaps it is better to have three reviewers all review the same item. You have the "fan" but then you also have me - and since I hate most stuff - you have the curmudgeon.

Sit a bunch of these rave review speakers/amp in my room and you will get an honest answer - just as you will get an honest answer of the 28B versus other Bryston models that is also in the store. And they will connect them up to any speaker and let you A/B them - did Harry do that? Or is he just remembering some amp 10 years ago on a completely different set of loudspeakers?

And the big changes in the crappy Wilson (or was it? ever think that Miiller was right about the Watt 5 and Pearson is the one who got it wrong - miller may just not be as good at self promotion)

"Well, the WATT itself is still exactly the same. However, "The Puppy Tail is now integral to the system" and "you now use spikes under the Watt enclosure"[note - people added their own spikes anyway]. The largest improvement was "mostly the execution of the Puppy's enclosure, now made of the same non-resonant material used in the X-1". That's it folks.

Readers will remember that the Puppy 5 already utilized that same material in the 3 most important sides. So the total improvements are:

1. A new Puppy Tail (a cable)
2. Spikes
3. The remaining 3 (least important) sides of the Puppy enclosure using the deader material."

Sorry but I can't see how that goes from "I gave up on the speaker" to world class. An improvement sure but...

Personally I have yet to hear a Wilson sound world class - and a huge number of folks are not impressed by their speakers - ditto for Bryston in the amplifier world.

However at $16,000 a pair it should be good - large amplifiers like these have their place - LE speakers in massive rooms and home theater applications. And Bryston is usually less expensive than competitors offering the same sorts of sound but with 20 year warranties.

Against most SS I actually think Bryston offers good value for the money - the warranty helps with resale value when you finally upgrade to SET :ihih:

tube fan
01-21-2012, 09:03 PM
The AN J and E speakers are on my short list of speakers IF AND ONLY IF my Fulton J's fail. So far, NO problems after 30 + years with the Fultons!!! NO system I heard at the 2010 or 2011 CAS matched, much less surpassed, my humble decades old system: Audio Research Sp 8, D 70, and Fulton Js (yes, a VPI Scoutmaster and Benz cartridge). I just have to agree with Art Dudley that "newer is NOT always better"! Other speakers on my list: Magnepan 1.7 and 3.7, and Teresonic.

Ajani
01-21-2012, 09:55 PM
But then who is being protected - the manufacturer or the consumer?

I don't think the aim is to protect either, but by default it favours the manufacturer, as the magazine reader is unlikely to know that other reviewers at the mag hate the product been raved about in that issue.


Perhaps E-Stat raises a point that the magazines should not just be about reviewing the stuff we like - perhaps it is better to have three reviewers all review the same item. You have the "fan" but then you also have me - and since I hate most stuff - you have the curmudgeon.

I don't think E-stat was suggesting that. However, I agree that it is a more sensible path. I think Positive Feedback does a lot of that (multiple reviewers testing the same product and writing independent reviews). Getting multiple opinions will give a better idea of how good a product really is and how compatible it is with different systems and musical tastes.

I much prefer that to the group consensus approach in the UK mags. I found it really amusing when a poster on the online forums asked one of the editors at What HiFi? what he thinks of Cyrus gear, and he replied that it sounds like nails on a chalkboard. Keep in mind all the Cyrus gear was 5 Star rated and was winning WHF's product of the year awards at that time.

Of course the drawback of your suggestion is that there will be less reviews per issue of the magazine as 3 reviewers are required to do 1 review instead of the typical 1 reviewer per review. Also reviews will likely take 3 times as long to be ready (or need to be balanced really well) as the demo item will have to be shipped to 3 different reviewers. Otherwise, the need arises for the manufacturer to supply 3 review samples (seems unlikely, especially for more expensive gear).

RGA
01-21-2012, 10:36 PM
It's too bad they're no longer around so that other people could compare them directly. As for Art I agree with him - he still regrets selling his Snell Type Js. But he does have newer speakers. Better parts from better materials can make speakers sound better. There are lots of interesting speakers of old and it would be nice to hear what better parts could do to them - that is essentially what has been done to the Sugden A21 - the new better heat handling parts took the same design up in power with better connections and a much better sounding unit as a result. Stick some black gates into an old classic speaker and who knows what you can achieve.

As for old being better - SET is the oldest design around - and IME in "general" it sounds the best - or put it another way - newer doesn't sound better. Although I think newer can sound better in the less expensive part of the spectrum - Tube amps rely more on the quality of the tranformers which can be expensive - SS doesn't so much unless high mega watts are needed. And then there is Vinyl/Tape and CD/SACD/DSD.

Having said that I began my listening sessions today with very inexpensive class T monoblock amps from Trends with their tube preamp for a combined price of about $600. Separates and monoblocks and a tube pre. I am running them with Roksan's CD player into Roksan's speakers and I certainly wouldn't write-off what is attainable from the new. We tend to get used to what we have lived with for many years - and anything else we hear that does something "differently" is viewed as "worse"

This is an expectation bias. Frankly I am always very happy when something like what I turned on today surprises me in a good way. Though I heard a modded $30 class T amp beat up some industry staple power amps at 100 times the price about 5 years ago (and one of those amp brands has been mentioned in this thread) - so I am not terribly surprised - but still.

RGA
01-21-2012, 11:01 PM
I don't think the aim is to protect either, but by default it favours the manufacturer, as the magazine reader is unlikely to know that other reviewers at the mag hate the product been raved about in that issue.



I don't think E-stat was suggesting that. However, I agree that it is a more sensible path. I think Positive Feedback does a lot of that (multiple reviewers testing the same product and writing independent reviews). Getting multiple opinions will give a better idea of how good a product really is and how compatible it is with different systems and musical tastes.

I much prefer that to the group consensus approach in the UK mags. I found it really amusing when a poster on the online forums asked one of the editors at What HiFi? what he thinks of Cyrus gear, and he replied that it sounds like nails on a chalkboard. Keep in mind all the Cyrus gear was 5 Star rated and was winning WHF's product of the year awards at that time.

Of course the drawback of your suggestion is that there will be less reviews per issue of the magazine as 3 reviewers are required to do 1 review instead of the typical 1 reviewer per review. Also reviews will likely take 3 times as long to be ready (or need to be balanced really well) as the demo item will have to be shipped to 3 different reviewers. Otherwise, the need arises for the manufacturer to supply 3 review samples (seems unlikely, especially for more expensive gear).

Figures you would have to go and be practical :dita:

I suppose the alternative it is to have manufacturers agree to send the gear to the the magazine and the magazine ensures that different reviewers review the gear. In other words that RGA gets High Power SS and panels from time to time and the guy who loves the panels/LE speakers high power gets 3 watts and HE speaker based systems.

Of course the manufacturers and review magazines need each other - and that's the reality that Salvatore - whether he's a bit of a conspiracy guy or not - is absolutely correct on.

If makers get negative reviews they will not see the review as a positive marketing tool. And for them it is a marketing tool - that's why they bother to send the gear out - it's actually very cheap for them - they simply have to pay for shipping. The supposed accommodated pricing isn't since it is now a USED item - most people can buy the gear on the used market for the same price the reviewer ends up paying - they're not out of pocket.

Reviewers need the products to be sent to them. Arcam has not sent UHF gear for many years based on a negative review of one of their amps - and a number of others don't bother with them - so they end up reviewing seemingly the same companies over and over. To their credit they're willing to dump on stuff - Bryston got a pretty bad review a number of years ago to the point where the maker was sending them letters. And they dumped on Castle speakers and a few others.

The problem is that I think it is human nature to see a negative review as "more objective" than a "rave" and that is probably because too much stuff gets a "rave" and so it is difficult to separate what is "really" the stand out star stuff.

I have been on forums discussing gear for over a decade and I am surprised that people can't tell the difference between "This sounds very good I highly recommend it" to "This is the best hi-fi I have ever heard - everything else was noise."

Unfortunately the review press is guilty for using middle ground non-offensive speech because we don't want to offend the makers too much. So we choose gear we like so we don't have to be confronted with those tough choices. People have their livelyhood on the line in some cases so if I am going to rip it I want to be sure I've heard it fairly. The big boys for example tend not to send gear to the likes of UHF - they have been pretty negative of Paradigm and B&W in their letters for example - so they like to send them to their sure things.

And you tend to see that at all magazines - I am happy to review Audio Note and HE tube based set-ups - the panel guys get the panels - the mega watt fans get those. It makes sense in some respects the big SS guy like Fremmer is a known fan so when he's not impressed at all by a Bryston versus other big watt SS then maybe that will mean more to the big watt SS fans than if a SET lover doesn't like them - because after all if he loves SET he probably doesn't love high power SS all that much to begin with.