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  1. #1
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    Reference 3A MM de Capo Review....

    For anyone that may be interested, there is a comprehensive review of the 3A in December 03 issue of Stereophile. Interesting read.

    Jet

  2. #2
    3db
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    Don't how much there opnions are worth anymore

    when someone in last months issue said that he could tell the differnce in sound between having his equipment hooked up to "audio" greade receptacle. I think these guys take far too much crack!!

  3. #3
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    That would of been...

    Mr. Art Dudley. He said and I quote: " Is there enough of a performance difference to justify the trouble and the expense? All things considered, yes: I heard the Power Port make a small, subtle, yet very real improvement in sonic perofrmance. The difference was consistently audible with a wide variety of products, and I'm hard-pressed to think of another way to improve a hi-fi system for just $50."

    Have you ever tried the PS Audio Power Port AC outlet? Maybe you should try one, to find out for yourself, before you conclude that "I think these guys take far too much crack!!"

    But hey, that's just my opinion, I maybe wrong!

  4. #4
    Audio casualty StevenSurprenant's Avatar
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    Another Positive review of this speaker...

    In the tradition of Stereopile, the reviewer spoke of all the problems with this speaker, but in the end, gave it the highest reccomendation.

    He was comparing it with the Quad 989 which in itself is a fantastic speaker.

    I can't wait to hear these speakers. If it is everything people say, it is a bargin of a lifetime in this price range...

  5. #5
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    An excellent speaker indeed...

    ...as a matter of fact, most (all?) of my impressions mirror that of the review given.

    Art wrote something to the effect of you "are there"... that's exactly what I feel this speaker does best... excellent spatial definition and realism. However - my demo was in a huge room - I doubt one would get the same sense of tangibility with the speakers 2 or 3 feet from any wall (like my room... aarrrgh). If you have a BIG room and you value soundstaging, I would look no further than the de Capos... get a sub later, if need be.

    Slight coloration, big deal, actually... probably good for some recordings.

    Piano Black adds $250? What did I see? Maybe it's a BETTER level of black on the new speakers... dunno. Some kvetch (sp?) about the finish, I thought it looked pretty good.

    Great transducer, definitely worth of a demo in that price range.

  6. #6
    RGA
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    The Ref 3a MM De Capo was my number one favorite standmount.

    Nevertheless, if you can find an Audio Note dealer try and get a listen to them both in the same room. Hard to do. But the AN K Spe is more of a straight up, honest, speaker even more dynamic and is even easier to drive. The bonus is its close to wall placement and internal upgrade path. The speakers use all high quality heavily modded Vifa drivers, all internal silver wiring voice coils connectors, and get even futher away from the boxy sound of the De Capo. The De Capo has great Soundstage depth. The AN is $1950US list but last years models are being cleared out.

    IMO these are the two best, by a quite a healthy margin standmounts I have ever heard. I have heard the N805, Countours, JM Labs, Sonus Faber, - the list goes on.

    Reference 3a I have been touting on these boards now for 2 years and finally they are getting the recognition. SO check out the AN models. The AN E/SEC is the finest loudspeaker I have ever heard in the best set-up(all AN) that I have ever heard.(Of course it had a dizzying price tag - but if your the best then you should have the highest price - and they live up to it).

    I just wish these two companies could get that great sound out of a prettier box. But as the dealer at Soundhounds www.soundhounds.com told me. These speakers are what great sound looks like - referring to the AN.

  7. #7
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    WTF?!?!?!?? ... the de Capo is now....

    ..."boxy" sounding? I thought this was one of your prized points about that speaker.... less colorations due to cabinet construction... now they are obviously noiser than any other speaker... (especially those ultra-dead AN cabs... ;^}

    A bit too "wishy-washy" for me...

  8. #8
    Forum Regular Registered Member 46minaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bturk667

    Have you ever tried the PS Audio Power Port AC outlet? Maybe you should try one, to find out for yourself, before you conclude that "I think these guys take far too much crack!!"

    But hey, that's just my opinion, I maybe wrong!

    Yep you could be wrong. My money is on 3db..

  9. #9
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy C
    ..."boxy" sounding? I thought this was one of your prized points about that speaker.... less colorations due to cabinet construction... now they are obviously noiser than any other speaker... (especially those ultra-dead AN cabs... ;^}

    A bit too "wishy-washy" for me...
    I said less boxy sounding. At high levels all standmounts will begin to run out of mustard when you push them...the sound compresses because it can't do anything else(except blow). At sane levels I doubt it would matter to most people. Deep bass instruments on the De Capo may result in compression at medium-loud levels. The AN K Spe I have keeps the dynamics at higher levels but does not produce quite the bass depth of the DeCapo. Though one must remember thae AN Kspe is designed for near wall and preferably corner placement. I don't have them in a corner. In a corner the AN K boasts 93db and 36hz. But a regular placement yields 50hz and more like 57-60hz -3db. SO while the AN K delivers the punch the De Capo will hit the low notes with that warm room filling feel.

    The two speakers don't really sound much the same in fact. I mention it to those who want more of a dynamic straight ahead sound. All speakers are coloured to some degree. But these two tend to exhibit different sounds to suit different tastes but are exceptional high end spekaers for relatively cheap prices...Dirt cheap IMO, and don't display gross bad habits. This is the trick. Lots of speakers I like that are cheaper but all have bad habits that while I can accept them and recommend them, I personally would not want to live with them long term as an owner. The CDM 1NT and Dynaudio Audience 52 are two of the closer ones - but each ehibit traits that I would not want to live with long term. The 52 is a bit dark, the CDM 1NT has a slight separated sound when handing off music from woofer to tweeter. (something that is common with most speakers using metal tweeters. The CDM 1NT's tweeter though is smoother, t me, than say Energy's or Mirage's speakers.

    This is after all the main FIX in the Nautilus series over CDM or in the Energy Veritas over C series , or Paradigm Studio over monitor or Studio V2 over V1 and presumably V3 over V2. Same for JM Labs etc.

    These guys are working hard to make a good metal tweeter and make it sound natural when mated to their mid range drivers - some of them do a better job at it than others.

    The reason why I gripe over these tweeters is not just an RGA invention, these companies and buyers and reviewers consistantly note these issues...so do the people DESIGNING the speakers. Many of them already sound good in the bass and have tight punchy midranges. What they usually change is crossover/tweeter. The reason is that their lower models tend to sound unnatural, bright, tinny, shrill, ho, etched, ringy-dingy, ... you pick whichever term you want, but unnatural is all that counts to my ear...and if the lower models had it right they would not need their upper models(or would not change the tweeter) not would ALL of them come out with entirely new designs every 3-4 years.

    The De Capo has it's roots from the original from the 1980s and the AN K goes back to the 1970s. With the advent of better box materials and better crossover materials, and materials in general, the speakers have been greatly improved. A totally new design was unnecessary because they got it right. You can tweak "right" you don't need a total overhaul.

    The fact that I happened on another speaker I found that is on the level with the De Capo is not a surprise. I have not heard everything. I'm sure if I listened to 30 of people's favorites in this price range that I could find, at LEAST, 5 from that that would be on what I would consider an equal level to the AN K and the DeCapo, in the way of standmounts. The similarity of high sensitivity, 8inch woofer and soft tweeter and high quality wiring, parts etc and relatively large size...I'm sure help to account for part of why they're up on my list.

  10. #10
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    Oh I see...

    Quote Originally Posted by 46minaudio
    Yep you could be wrong. My money is on 3db..
    so you have tried the PS Audio Power Port outlet?
    So you are saying Mr. Art Dudley is on crack?
    How much of a wager are you willing to place on your opinion about Mr. Dudley?

  11. #11
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    RGA, maybe the "boxiness"...

    ...you refer to is actually the driver coloration, not necessarily bad box resonance. Maybe your new speakers are flatter, without the bump. The 3A weighs a lot for the size... my Titans, for eg., definitely have a boxy coloration - you can tell it's a lightweight cabinet.

    (I just realized I'm defending the de Capo... to RGA! Will wonders never cease...)

  12. #12
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy C
    ...you refer to is actually the driver coloration, not necessarily bad box resonance. Maybe your new speakers are flatter, without the bump. The 3A weighs a lot for the size... my Titans, for eg., definitely have a boxy coloration - you can tell it's a lightweight cabinet.

    (I just realized I'm defending the de Capo... to RGA! Will wonders never cease...)
    I'm not saying the DeCapo is boxy. All speakers that are in a box have to overcome boxiness...which is why many audiophiles go to planar/stats(which have their own problems. The De Capo has a warmer presentation.


    "The 3A weighs a lot for the size" This by itself is meaningless. The AN K uses very very little damping. They get Vifa drivers and take out all the ferro-fluid cooling precisely because it slugs the sound. The design of the box is integral to creating the sound of the speakers. Most speakers are not designed with the box in mind. The Drivers are placed in a box and they weigh it down and attempt to absorb distortion to the hilt...of course they also typically take out "good" sound along with it. It is far more difficult to design a speaker with box as the main part of the equation.

    The De Capo takes another successful route, with the crossoverless design.

    From Audio Note:

    There are almost no speakers that have a flat off axis response at say 30 degrees either side.

    It is interesting that you mention the average omnidirectional response, when did you last see one of these measurements in a modern audio magazine??

    I never said power response was new, but almost no-one uses this today, and it is a good indicator of performance.

    I think the reason we see neither of these measurements any longer is that modern speakers with their shallow deep cabinets and resulting poor and very uneven off axis response do badly when measured at listening distance.

    50 inches is about 1 meter 25 centimeters, that is close enough to one meter, 2 - 3 meters are not really valid either, as you need to take into consideration the room reflections and their influence on the sound, as what you hear is always in the listening position, so why not measure where you sit?

    Paul Messenger from Hifi Choice generally measures at a distance similar to listening distance and his overall measurements tell you more about the sonic balance of most of the speakers he measures.

    I aim to make a speaker with a virtually perfect hemispherical dispersion behaviour, which is why I like wide shallow cabinets, in my view a speaker should have an even non jagged drop off as you move from 30 to 60 to 90 degrees off axis in all directions in order to be able to present the room with an even energy waveform.

    Likewise, it is important that the speakers within the pair are acoustically identical, otherwise it is difficult to reproduce stereo."
    Peter Qvortrup

    One of the reasons I think I hold the De Capo and the AN K in high esteem is precisely because they are wider speakers as described. The AN to me is more successful overall...which is why I bought it over the De Capo. That does not mean I don't like the De Capo. In the end you have to buy something...I bought what sounded best overall to my ear.

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