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  1. #26
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Here we agree... I think it's more about preference than whether AN is better than Vandy... Naim fans swear by Naim, yet some other persons will say Naim is overpriced junk... The Maggie fans are probably even more fanatical than the AN fans, yet there are audiophiles who detest Maggies... So I see nothing wrong with stating that I prefer X product to Y, for whatever sonic reasons... But I think that the mistake too often made in our hobby is dissing other persons who bought something else... The guy with the the 5 way towers and 1000 watt mono-blocks might be enjoying his stereo just as much as the guy with the 2 way monitors and 3 watt set...
    I think the big issue is whether the person making the comparison has actually heard the product or not. In the vast majority of cases people have not heard the speakers I am talking about. On this forum it is especially true that rather than take the time to make a point to audition stuff they would rather rip the speakers I suggest without having heard it by making assumptions. Most people have never heard a good SET based system - it's far harder to find largely because it's not made by big companies. The more is better psychology is at play and has been for a long time and is very tough to shake. I don't blame anyone because I was every bit part of that for a long long time. It took the audition to be convinced. I look at the biggest dealers in Vancouver and it's tough to find a place with a known SE/HE system to go listen to. I would agree that people like certain products in a given field - the planar or electrostat or general dipole sound would be a preference versus the Horn/SET approach. But even here the former is far more common with far fewer players than the latter.

    I would say that auditioning the better dipole speakers is a lot easier than getting access to the better SET/HE speakers and that at least in my area for the last 20 years the HE experience would be based on listening to mid level Klipsch (which is hardly representative of horns).

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I have to disagree with that conclusion... As a simple example, the Revel Ultima Salon 2 driven by Mark Levinson Monoblocks have been rated as some of the best sound at various shows by John Atkinson and a few others at Stereophile... I'm sure you've never put them in your top 10 list at a show... So I don't think that most people will hear it very similarly... If they did, then we'd all own similar brands or a limited range of them... the massive variations in brands we purchase is a clear reflection that we all have varying tastes...
    Of course not everyone will agree all of the time. But remember there are also very vocal supporters of what I have liked. The AN E is owned by two of their writers and a third claimed it was the best sound he has ever heard and a fourth also liked them a great deal. None of them however is the editor who makes the sole decision at the end of the day.

    The problem when looking at reviews is that virtually everything is recommended rather strongly but trying to separate the best from the rest is difficult. For instance I would value a speaker higher if reviewers buy it than something they give a class A rating or an editor's choice but no one does. This tells me that they want to listen to it day in and day out - not "its great for the money" or "It's great for someone else." Unless of course they can't afford the speaker or there are placement room size concerns etc. I try to look at many different magazines and their reviewers and see if something seems to be picked up a lot over a diverse review industry. And even then it still comes down to auditioning stuff. Personally I don't agree much with John Atkinson's tastes. But I have to say we are both pretty much bang on with Acapella's High Violoncello II. Lastly, there is politics at play. Certain editors don't get along with certain manufacturers - especially the vocal variety.

    I would have to hear the Revel Ultima Salon II again. I am not saying that everyone will always agree. Take Mike at audiofederation. This guy is rather brilliant in the ears department and carries amazing gear and I probably agree on 90% of stuff but he didn't like the Magico, Sony or Gallo 3.5 loudspeakers. I liked them all quite a fair bit. They sound nothing like Audio Note, Marten, Acoustic Zen or Soundlabs that he carries but I am more of a speaker whore than he is and perhaps more willing to find what they do well and forgive some of their weaknesses. I made the case to him for example that the Gallo was using pretty inexpensive gear and the speaker itself is not too expensive and to cut it some slack. Sure it doesn't have the finesse or resolution of the AN E but it has heart pounding slam and a start stop on the bass line that for a party guy is hard to ignore.

    At the end of the day you can only make a decision based on what you've heard. I have not heard ZU so the only thing I can do is say it looks interesting and has some design features that I might like. But until an audition I won't speak well or ill of them nor will I lambaste people who have heard them and rave about them.

  2. #27
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Can't resist one more combo ...

    Quad plus ARC

    SPEAKERS: Quad ESL-2905


    DAC: Audio Research DAC8


    PREAMP: Accoustics Research Reference 5


    AMPLIFIERS: Audio Research Reference 210

  3. #28
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    In the not-impossible-to-obtain-one-day category I'd like to audition a pair of JM Reynaud speakers, particularly the latest iteration of what used to be the Twin/Twin Sig./Duets - the Bliss or Bliss Silver. Everything I've read about these speakers going back to the days of the Twin and Twin Signature makes them sound like something I would really enjoy.

    I'm not as certain on amplification, but I would probably go with something like an Audible Illusions, Conrad-Johnson, VTL or Blue Circle preamp and a ballsy power amp - I listened to a Plinius integrated one time that seemed to have real slam so maybe a two channel power amp from Plinius. (A good tube preamp/solid state amp combo is what I'd look for.)

    I've always wanted to hear the venerable Ear 834 phono amp so I'd have to throw that in along with a VPI Classic turntable with a Dynavector cart.

    I don't keep up with digital that much but if Ayre still makes a cd/two channel sacd player I'd go for it.

  4. #29
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dean_martin
    ...

    I don't keep up with digital that much but if Ayre still makes a cd/two channel sacd player I'd go for it.
    They do: here you go -- Ayre DX-5
    ...

  5. #30
    Ajani
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    I'd also love to hear:


    Naim n-Sat
    +


    Naim UnitiQute

  6. #31
    Can a crooner get a gig? dean_martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    They do: here you go -- Ayre DX-5
    ...
    Thanks, Feanor. I checked their other products and it looks like they also have a music only/no video C model too. Now I have to decide whether I want to add video to this system (which in my experience would probably require a subwoofer too). It never ends.

  7. #32
    Ajani
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    Also an all Audio Note setup:


    AN-K Speakers


    IZero Integrated Amp


    DAC 0.1X

  8. #33
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Also an all Audio Note setup:


    AN-K Speakers


    IZero Integrated Amp


    DAC 0.1X
    Yeah, I'd really like to hear an Audio Note system -- if only so I could tell RGA that I'd done so.

  9. #34
    Ajani
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    I can't believe i'm saying this but that Audio Note setup I posted, actually looks pretty good... despite their rep for basic and fugly, that's really not too bad at all...

  10. #35
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    Yeah, I'd really like to hear an Audio Note system -- if only so I could tell RGA that I'd done so.
    And in the process you might end up becoming an Audio Note Disciple...

  11. #36
    RGA
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    I would suggest going to the J or E over the K. I love the K but at the same time it is still somewhat limited by its size. It's a sealed infinite baffle design and is somewhat compromised by rubber surrounds.

    The matching front end for the Zero amp/CD would be the Zero speakers.

    If you're going to do it go all out baby and audition a set-up with the Ongaku. http://www.stereophile.com/content/ongaku-means-ecstasy (it's too bad AF were not able to set the speakers up remotely properly but it still did pretty good I'd say).

    I do wish however that the would make the gear look and "feel" better. When you review tank like stuff and see it all over and the relatively boring utilitarian nature of AN it is a little off-putting. It would be nice to have both the sound and the looks and the tow a ship build.

  12. #37
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    And in the process you might end up becoming an Audio Note Disciple...
    Not for everyone but there is a chance. The reason I say is that a lot of panel guys I know who have switched have made the switch for the AN E. Constantine Soo, Jack Roberts, and Art Dudley all owned Electrostat or panels and switched to the AN E.

    Having said that Jack Roberts has switched out a few times and now owns Teresonic which is a single driver design. And I can certainly see and "hear" why he might go that route.

    The other issue is that you have to have corners - not everyone does, and you have to accept a less holographic sound to a degree.

  13. #38
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    The matching front end for the Zero amp/CD would be the Zero speakers.
    Yep, but I'm doubting this one would sound as good as the AN-K:


    Also, I'm concerned about the fact that it is the odd man out in the lineup... all the other models look to be a similar design, while the entry level one is horn loaded, with a tall and narrow cabinet and the tweeter is seated below the woofer... It's a completely different design, so I'm not convinced I'd be experiencing the real Audio Note sound with that one...

  14. #39
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    Here's the GM-70 light show start up at Hornfest 09 ( and I was there ).

    Ajani,

    This rig may look homespun but it's sound is incomparable to anything on the commercial market. Several Arab oil sheiks own one.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGFfCxo6nbg

  15. #40
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    changing it up a bit...this is the best demo i've had the pleasure of hearing...

    Theta Dreadnaught II


    Revel Salon (first version)

  16. #41
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Yep, but I'm doubting this one would sound as good as the AN-K:
    Also, I'm concerned about the fact that it is the odd man out in the lineup... all the other models look to be a similar design, while the entry level one is horn loaded, with a tall and narrow cabinet and the tweeter is seated below the woofer... It's a completely different design, so I'm not convinced I'd be experiencing the real Audio Note sound with that one...
    Fair point and you'd be right - they don't sound as good. Although the AZ line is often completely missed. They're rather inexpensive for the sound on top. The AN K is more room placement friendly. The AZ floorstanders absolutely must be in a corner - they can sound more coloured if away from the corners. But they still offer a lot ot body and texture and a very cohesive sound without that jarring in the jaw sensation (phase issues) that a lot of speakers have. Good bass depth and speed. The AZ is an interesting design being a transmission line and horn which explains some of the terrific bass and ease of drive.

    In the western market it might be an easier sell for them since people seem to like bigger and more when basing decisions. It's been a long while since I've heard them. They stopped making for them a time and have not brought them back. I would not mind getting a Zero system in for review. They look better than the old Level Zero system (which isn't saying much). They only seem to have one review on them http://www.audionote.co.uk/articles/...tereoaz3.shtml

  17. #42
    Forum Regular YBArcam's Avatar
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    Some things I'd like to hear:

    An Audio Note system

    Martin Logan electrostats

    LFD amplification (will actually probably hear an LFD/Martin Logan system in the near future)

    A Naim system (Naim and Kudos speakers, will likely hear this as well)

    Audio Research tubes powering ProAc speakers

    Sugden amplification
    Naim Nait 5i
    Naim CD5X
    Wharfedale Evo2-10
    Linn LP12
    Cambridge Audio 650P, and 550T
    LFD and Nordost cables

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I would like to hear an all Shindo System at some point around the Shindo Latour Field Coil Speakers
    Pitch Perfect Audio has an all Shindo System. I am afraid to go hear it.

  19. #44
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    I've heard just about everything. Nothing I have heard beats my system by enough to matter (if at all). System: Fulton J speakers (true full range, 20-40 k) and THE reference for JGH for several years, AR SP 8 pre-amp, AR D 70 amp, Fosgate Signature phono (with NOS tubes), VPI Scout Master, Benz Ruby 3. Of the systems that I consider close to mine were the Audio Note and Teresonic ones at the California Audio Show. However, my system beat the Audio Note at both the low and high end (the Fulton J has an electrostatic mid/tweeter and a HUGE bass unit). The Teresonic system was close, but I have to hear if it can play at high levels. Plus the deepest bass
    seemed to be lacking. Deep bass is more important than most realize. Without it, the sound shrinks (this is one reason I don't love small 2 ways).

  20. #45
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by YBArcam
    Some things I'd like to hear:

    Sugden amplification
    My two favorite "affordable" solid State amps in the 1990's were the YBA Integre DT and Sugden A21a. I preferred the latter due to a better bottom end. Even my A48b had much better depth than the more expensive Musical Fidelity A300 like SS which seem a little washed out. YBA made a bare bones Integre (not DT) in the Audio Refinement "Complete" wich used many of the same parts - it's not as good but it did have more sophistication than usual at the price.

    Still the 1992 circa Sugden A21a was really good - some like it more than their newer ones - I have not done a comparison so I can't say.

  21. #46
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by tube fan
    I've heard just about everything. Nothing I have heard beats my system by enough to matter (if at all). System: Fulton J speakers (true full range, 20-40 k) and THE reference for JGH for several years, AR SP 8 pre-amp, AR D 70 amp, Fosgate Signature phono (with NOS tubes), VPI Scout Master, Benz Ruby 3. Of the systems that I consider close to mine were the Audio Note and Teresonic ones at the California Audio Show. However, my system beat the Audio Note at both the low and high end (the Fulton J has an electrostatic mid/tweeter and a HUGE bass unit). The Teresonic system was close, but I have to hear if it can play at high levels. Plus the deepest bass
    seemed to be lacking. Deep bass is more important than most realize. Without it, the sound shrinks (this is one reason I don't love small 2 ways).

    My only problem with speakers using very diffierent drivers is that I have yet to hear one that is cohesive - which is why I have trouble with all the hybrid designs I've heard. Even three ways are problematic. Most two ways are problematic. The AN E does have different driver alignments - the AN E with the Alnico tweeter raises the bar to another level over the regular soft dome.

    As for bass - there is limits - it is a standmount. I have been after them to try and make an Audio Note version of the Snell Type A - the speaker is massive but will hit 10hz comfortably. But no one makes the driver as it was rather specialized. They have spent many years working on an 845 SET powered subwoofer that is made specifically for the AN E - but Peter has not been satisfied with the integration aspects of it. And a Field Coil AN E may be coming down the line as well.

    Constantine Soo has found that Genesis Subwoofers make for a good match. My thing with Subs is that I want to feel them not hear them (because they usually sound like a big one note localizable beacon). If I am listening to a system and there is a "weight" coming from a particular side of the room then it bothers me. I prefer the cuttoff to be 30hz not 80hz. If you can blind fold yourself - listen to music and walk to where the sub is then it's not integrated. Further some subs will cut off the low frequencies going to the main speaker and instead pass them to the sub. With the AN E that configuration is more irritating but it was also not good on my Wharfedale floorstanders as it placed an emphasis on the mid/treble.

    The Acapella Plasma tweeter and the Manger driver used in the Aporia full range are some fantastic drivers for treble reproduction - but both require a sizeable room to get far enough back for the integration to work (on the Acapella High Violoncello II - the Aporia is a single driver).

    Unfortunately hotel rooms for audio shows would be better served by putting the air conditioner near the ceiling as it is done in Korea and China. This way they can get the AN E hard in thh corner. There is 12-18db to be gained from the corner loaded position and that is significant at 17-28hz (hard in the corner means a couple of centimeters not 1 foot) - it's a difference of hearing the low bass and not hearing it at all - for most music 40hz is fine but for difficult bass recordings like the High Altitude drums an extra 12db is critical). Away from the corner you're looking at 40hz - hard in the corner you should be able to get 25hz flat as Dudley got and you should get it at reasonably high levels.

  22. #47
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    My two favorite "affordable" solid State amps in the 1990's were the YBA Integre DT and Sugden A21a. I preferred the latter due to a better bottom end. Even my A48b had much better depth than the more expensive Musical Fidelity A300 like SS which seem a little washed out. YBA made a bare bones Integre (not DT) in the Audio Refinement "Complete" wich used many of the same parts - it's not as good but it did have more sophistication than usual at the price.

    Still the 1992 circa Sugden A21a was really good - some like it more than their newer ones - I have not done a comparison so I can't say.
    I've auditioned the Audio Refinement Complete withe Monitor Audio GS20s a few years ago it was a very nice combo... Not quite as refined as the GS20 with the Musical Fidelity X-T100 (a mere 50 watts with a tube pre - so not the brutish MF amps you've previously auditioned)...

  23. #48
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    I've auditioned the Audio Refinement Complete withe Monitor Audio GS20s a few years ago it was a very nice combo... Not quite as refined as the GS20 with the Musical Fidelity X-T100 (a mere 50 watts with a tube pre - so not the brutish MF amps you've previously auditioned)...
    My problem with MF is that they change amps so fast it devalues their gear. You could probably sell a 1995 Sugden A21a for close to what you originally paid for it. The Complete I liked for $1500 Cad. But it was more than a bit light in the bass department - nice mid and treble for solid state though.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by YBArcam
    Some things I'd like to hear:

    An Audio Note system

    Martin Logan electrostats

    LFD amplification (will actually probably hear an LFD/Martin Logan system in the near future)

    A Naim system (Naim and Kudos speakers, will likely hear this as well)

    Audio Research tubes powering ProAc speakers

    Sugden amplification
    Ahh, nice a second vote for ProAc speakers. I do not know anyone who owns them but sure used to like listen to them at the old Soundex.

  25. #50
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    My problem with MF is that they change amps so fast it devalues their gear.
    I agree... as much as i liked the sound of the X-T100, I was pissed when they replaced it quickly... Then they replaced its successor quickly... It got so bad that MF even lost a number of loyal fans... I suspect the current lines of gear will be around for at least 5 years, in an attempt to restore their reputation...

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