• 09-03-2004, 11:59 PM
    RGA Reviews Page 3 - yes still more.
    See page one for rating system.

    Some typo glitches caused by Microsoft word for some reason - weird ? instead of dashes --. I don't know why. :(

    Feel free to skip the Audio Note reviews as I am, after all, an owner and therefore am very partial to their sound.

    Reference 3a MM De Capo (i) - $2950.00 CDN - $2250.00US
    2 way Stand-mount speaker – 42hz – 20khz 3db 92db 8 ohm


    What this speaker lacks technically it makes up for musically. I have gone over the speakers nnumerously in the past(search to find it) - it was a favorite for a long while in the sub $3k price range and still holds up well.

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.
    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz______________________ 0/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz___________________________6.5/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)______________________8/10 X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)_____________________ 8/10 X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)___________________8/10 X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)_____________7/10
    Decay____________________________________ 8/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)__________ 8/10 X2
    Imaging and Soundstage_____________________ 8/10
    Tonality___________________________________ 9/10 X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)_____ 9/10 X4

    Overall_____________________________________155.5/200 = 77.75%

    B&W N805 - $2900 CDN - $2200.00US
    2 way Stand-mount speaker - 56Hz - 20kHz ± 2dB on reference axis (-6dB at 42Hz and 30kHz)

    Still an excellent standmount once my favorite. It has been eclipsed in recent years for me however and is being seriously nipped by lesser priced speakers. The Dane 52 SE version for instance with a few improivements to the 52 I could see surpass this speaker and the Audio Note AX-Two I would not mind listening to in direct comparison could conseivably eclipse the N805. I think it's time to hear what the N805 has to offer up. I would prefer deeper bass and more low level resiolution oin the bass - this one can be a bit thumpy.

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.

    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz______________________0/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz___________________________4/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)______________________7.5/10 X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)_____________________ 7/10 X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)___________________8/10 X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)_____________7.5/10
    Decay____________________________________ 8/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)__________ 7.5/10 X2
    Imaging and Soundstage_____________________ 9/10
    Tonality___________________________________ 8/10 X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)_____ 7.5/10 X4

    Overall_____________________________________141.5/200 = 70.75%

    Audio Note AN-K/Spe ~$2,850.00 CDN - $2,250.00US
    2 way stand mount speaker 50hz and 20khz -6db (36hz -6db if placed in corner 19khz -1db). -- 90db, 8ohm.


    For a full length review of this speaker go here http://www.audioasylum.com/cgi/m.pl?...48241&review=1

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.
    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz_____________________ 0/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz__________________________ 8/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)_____________________ 8/10 X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)_____________________9/10 X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)__________________ 8.5/10 X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)____________ 8/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)_________ 8.5/10 X2
    Imaging and Soundstage____________________ 8/10
    Tonality__________________________________ 9/10 X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)___ 9/10 X4

    Overall__________________________________ 163/200 = 81.25%

    JBL E-90 $1099.00CDN(Retail Canada) $900.00US
    3-way four driver floor standing speaker - 36Hz – 20kHz -3db – 91db 8ohm

    Not Recommended

    You know I started in this hobby liking speakers with lots of big drivers and bass or at least mid-bass humps that I thought was bass. JBL has some serious speakers available but unfortunately they don’t give the masses those products and instead try and pawn these kinds of speakers onto us. Firstly the speaker is not terrible it even seems to hit some deep bass, but the problem is the cabinet makes too much internal noise as to be quite unlivable with acoustic music. There are fans of these no doubt – they do rock they hit harder than say comparable Polks or Bose speakers and will be a fine addition to the party speaker crowd. But the speaker has problems with cabinet noise that affects the decay of notes and you hear a smudged up midrange. The treble is unruly at any volume with a spitty sound and overly sibilant when pushed. There is a lack of integration here as well as I was thinking about it being similar to those sub sat systems with discordant thumpy bottom end. I would have far less problem with this speaker though if it were not for the price tag. What is on tap here for you grand is nothing more than an bigger louder version of sound offered by most boom boxes.

    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz_____________________ 1/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz__________________________ 3/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)_____________________ 5/10 X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)_____________________5.5/10 X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)__________________ 4/10 X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)____________ 8.5/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)__________4.5/10 X2
    Imaging and Soundstage_____________________ 5.5/10
    Tonality___________________________________5.5/10 X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)____ 4.5/10 X4

    Overal____________________________________94.5/200 = 47.25%

    B&W N801 $14,000.00Cdn $11,000.00US
    3 way 3 driver Floor-standing Speaker - 37Hz - 20kHz ± 2dB on reference axis (-6dB at 23Hz and 30kHz) - 91db 8ohm

    Not much to say that has not been said about the N801. Terrific high end loudspeaker - tough to drive tough to position but if you're a fan of B&W this is one to own. However, I personally prefer the Matrix version of the speaker. They're consistantly solid from top to bottom - you're results will vary - I have found they need at leat 6 feet from all walls and a large listening room to work best otherwise you can get some issues in the bass that don't go away. Some over empahasis on looks has driven the price above where I think they sonically should be, but that is just my taste.

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.

    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz______________________8/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz___________________________7.5/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)______________________8/10X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)_____________________ 9/10X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)___________________8.5/10X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)_____________8/10
    Decay____________________________________ 8/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)__________ 7.5/10X2
    Imaging and Soundstage_____________________ 8.5/10
    Tonality___________________________________ 9.5/10X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)_____ 8/10X4

    Overall…………………………………… ………166/200 = 83%

    Paradigm Studio 100V3 $2700.00CDN - $2100.00US
    3-way 5 driver speaker - On-Axis (0°) ±2 dB from 44 Hz - 22 kHz - 91db 8ohm

    Not Recommended

    Paradigm I must admit has not been a favorite of mine but I had reason to hope in the V2 series that they were on the right path to making very good affordable loudspeakers. The V2 at $2200.00Cdn offered good value so with a significant price increase of ~$500.00 to the re-tooled V3 I was expecting a few of the nagging problems to be corrected. And while some will find that this is indeed the case the new 100 seems to create more problems than it fixes. The treble is smoother but strangely more laid back. The bass response in depth and tunefulness is not nearly as good in this series as the Version 2 and while the imaging and soundstaging are improved and perhaps the off axis response as well something has gone wrong within the mid-band and in the micro-dynamics department – there is a hollow sounding nature to the speaker that reminded me of a JBL Northridge E90 speaker – but the JBL is $1099.00 and somewhat one may accept it at the price point but not at the high end sticker price of $2700.00.

    Listening with Sarah McLachlans’ Rarities B Sides vocals were presented firmly in the center and instruments well spread across the stage. There seemed to be a lack of presence and deeper bass sounded polite and congested with a hollowness marring the performance somewhat. Treble response was smooth but somewhat laid back on cymbals creating a dark presentation. Double bass and violins were problematic as Leahy’s fiddle work seemed discordant within instrument textures – and began to get muddy and tiresome as one wants to turn the volume up to hear instruments in the background better.

    Moving the speakers as part of the surround system aided by the matching center channel and Subwoofer things helped greatly and much of my problems disappeared in the context of home theater applications. This was also true of the Polk Audio which seemed far more suited to home theater than it did for 2 channel music. It’s as if the speakers require the center speaker to be able to present 2 channel music properly and requires a Subwoofer to be truly effective below 80hz. Perhaps with SACD and DVD movies you will enjoy the experience as it seems to fill in the presentation to an enjoyable listening experience. As a two channel speaker system given the high price tag I cannot recommend the Studio 100 which offers a sound one can purchase from the likes of Polk Audio or even the Paradigm Monitor series for less than half the price. If you must have Paradigm - get the Version 2 - IMO it's a better overall loudspeaker for less money.

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.
    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz______________________5/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz___________________________7/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)______________________6.5/10 X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)_____________________ 7/10 X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)___________________7/10 X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)_____________8.5/10
    Decay____________________________________ 5/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)__________ 6/10 X2
    Imaging and Soundstage_____________________ 8.5/10
    Tonality___________________________________ 6/10 X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)_____ 6/10 X4

    Overall____________________________________130/200 = 65%

    Audio Note AN E/L ~$3,000.00 CDN - $2300.00US
    2 way stand-mount - 18hz and 23khz -6db (22hz -3db) 94db 8ohm


    Audio Note beats to a different drummer when it comes to the approach of loudspeaker design. Basically looking at the box it is just so wrong compared with what is supposed to be right. However the sound emitted by these rather large stand-mounts is anything but wrong. This will become abundantly clear on acoustic instruments almost immediately. The speaker’s roots go back to the 1940’s where Leo Beranek a pioneer in acoustics who built Sound installations, Opera houses and speakers came up with the original design. Peter Snell came along and made some pretty serious loudspeakers out of these and his original Snell models are considered some of the greats. Unfortunately Peter Snell didn’t have the quality of cabinetry or the parts to really allow for improvement.

    When he died the accountants took over and made more fashionable and unfortunately worse sounding products. Peter Qvortrup, then a retailer, hated the new speakers and decided to buy the rights and set-up shop building his own under the AN name. He has done the same thing with his turntables purchasing the Voyd Reference (Largely considered the world's best table) - the wheel doesn't need to be re-invented. The design of the speakers has been greatly improved by tightening the tolerances, changing the ports and matching speakers to .2db of each other and Audio Note tests and calibrates their speakers and speaker kits, measuring differences of reflected sound in the order of 5 milliseconds.

    The use of strategically placed damping allows the designer to select where the resonances will be dissapated in the cabinet rather than the throw a blanket damping effect over the entire sound to reduce all resonances. He argues that that sort of damping removes a large chunk of the music along with those nasty resonances. His approach is to shift the unwanted resonances to remove them from the box as fast as possible at alternate inaudible frequencies while not muddying or completely dousing the sound you want to hear. Resonances have to go somewhere - most all boxed speakers retain the resonance inside the box - where it bounces around for a while as it gradually dissapates from the box. Looking at the Nautilus tweeter explained you will get a good idea of what it is those companies are trying to do...make it smaller and eliminate it gradually etc. Whether his arguement holds water or not IMO will be revealed to you when you hear it. There is an openess in the midband unmatched by other boxed speakers that I have heard and a delicacy to astonish die hard stat owners. The treble is smooth and extended to 19khz-1db rolling down to 23db -6db.

    What was great in 1970 has no reason not to be great today, people after all love Quad and Magnepan and they are hardly revolutionary. With a great basis for a speaker we enter Peter Qvortrup and crew. There is some interesting history but you can find that out for yourself. My audition with this, their cheapest, E speaker, and no longer being produced, uses Chipboard and copper internal wiring. First thing one notices after the Studio 100V3 and the 604S3 is bass micro-dynamics and an overall vibrancy and resolution of musical instruments across the stage. Deodato’s “Also Sprach Zarathustra is a jazz take on the 2001: Space Odyssey piece that has a remarkable amount going on given that it’s a synthesizer piece of incredible range. There is something delightful about not listening to a flat presentation, where instead the power of brass leaps forward when it should. Bass depth of course gets much discussion because this speaker with one 8 inch woofer and a smaller cabinet volume offers deeper more articulate bass than any of the reviewed floor-standers could muster.

    But more importantly than bass depth was the micro-dynamics and tunefulness offered up in the lows. Double bass had texture and/or shadings that are never lost site of even in complex passages. Stand-mounts typically suffer form gross compression under duress when attempting deep bass while also trying to realistically present the mid-band. Many floor-standers even good ones like the B&Ws seem to compartmentalize the bass drivers letting the bass handle the bass and the midrange do its thing. The obvious trouble with that is that it doesn’t sound remotely as seamless.

    Microdynamics and low level resolution are critical to the harmonic structure of acoustic instruments. These speakers can play at extremely LOW volumes, like stats, and will present the entire musical spectrum with dynamic impact. With most any other boxed speaker I have come across, I listen to a piece of Jazz music or a complex classical passage and I feel the eedto go for the volume knob. There is more there but I can't hear it becuase something is getting on the way marring the production. I need to turn it up to bring the bruush workl of a guitar up. Obviously you can see why this would be disastrous. It's a lot like listening to home theater with a gutless center channel and a poor DVD where you always need to turn up the center channel to hear the dialog and then get blown out of your seat when the action starts up. You're always fiddling with the controls.

    Are there weaknesses? Well they don't sound like most speakers in the market right now for a start. SO if you love what is out there then you probably don't need to look at this company and so you may as well skip them and move on. If you are like me and are generally dissatisified with the vast majority of speakers even those that get rave reviews, or feel like there needs to be something more to speakers than what you've been hearing then give these a try.

    The entire presentation was glorious disc after disc LP after LP. Whether you’re an Aerosmith or Motley Crue fan or you like Ice-Tea, Madonna, Miles Davis, Acoustic Alchemy or Beethoven Sonata’s from Dawn to Moonlight, there is nothing the speaker can’t do that will leave it wanting. I can’t say that about many other speakers. There are speakers that will beat it in a given area but none at this price that I have heard that match it consistantly in every area - with the excpetion of the J/L (save low bass response).

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.
    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz______________________8.5/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz___________________________9/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)______________________8.5/10X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)_____________________ 9/10X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)___________________8.5/10X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)_____________8.5/10
    Decay____________________________________ 9/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)__________ 8/10X2
    Imaging and Soundstage_____________________ 8.5/10
    Tonality___________________________________ 9/10X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)_____ 9/10X4

    Overall____________________________________ 174.5/200 = 87.25%

    Note: Speaker is no longer being produced with a chipboard cabinet. The entry level is now called the AN-E/LX but the price has risen dramatically to $4299US or $5600.00Cdn. This new version was awarded a Best Buy in Hi-Fi Choice. I've not heard it but the speaker is using a much better cabinet and internal wiring than this E so I should imagine it is superior to this version. I have heard the SPe version however which follows.

    Audio Note AN E/Spe ~$6,250.00 CDN - $4,800.00US
    2 way stand-mount - 18hz and 23khz -6db (22hz -3db) 94db 8ohm (May be purchased in a 98db version)


    Basically this will be an add-on to the E/L because structurally the sound is quite similar. However, it really is rather striking what a change in cabinet material and internal wiring can make with these loudspeakers. Just when you settle into the beautiful sound you listen to the upgraded version and it is as if the product has gone up a whole other level. How fitting that the Audio Note calls them levels because the speaker like the J/L to the J/Spe makes quite a leap. The treble is more tranparent painting instruments on a darker black background.

    Bass definition amd shadings is markedly improved here as well but more importantly the whole presentation seems even more in step than it already was. I spent most of a two days listening to this version of the E - which is basically the E vrsion of the speaker I own. You will finds speakers that win in certain technical areas no question of this - but to me the most criticalthing is presenting the integrity of the music event and make it sound like live music. This speaker is non fatiguing, offers exceptional top to bottome integrations, outstanding clarity and openness in the midrange and everything can be heard cleanly. Where some speakers may image better or have more bass impact thes sound musically rich and highly engaging. This is just shy of the Reference tag - given the price that is ridiculously high value and deserves a resounding BEST BUY.

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.
    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz______________________9/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz___________________________9/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)______________________9/10 X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)_____________________ 9/10 X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)___________________9/10 X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)_____________9.5/10
    Decay____________________________________ 9/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)__________ 9.5/10 X2
    Imaging and Soundstage_____________________ 8.5/10
    Tonality___________________________________ 10/10 X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)_____ 10/10 X4

    Overall_____________________________________186/200 = 93%

    Audio Note AN J/Spe ~$4,650.00 CDN - $3,575.00US
    2 way stand mount speaker 25hz and 23khz -6db 93db 8ohm.


    See AN-E/Spe as the J sounds virtually the same but LLF. The J/Spe may have a slightly superior mid-bass presentation but very close. The E also has superior drive so higher marks for the E in terms of Attack. Nevertheless they don't come much better in terms of musicality.

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.
    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz______________________7/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz___________________________9/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)______________________9/10 X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)_____________________ 9/10 X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)___________________9/10 X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)_____________8.5/10
    Decay____________________________________ 9/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)__________ 9.5/10 X2
    Imaging and Soundstage_____________________ 8.5/10
    Tonality___________________________________ 10/10 X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)_____10/10 X4

    Overall…………………………………… ………184/200 = 92%
    Rating = Best Buy

    Audio Note AN E/Sec Silver ~$26,650.00 CDN - $20,500.00US
    2 way stand-mount - 16hz and 23khz -6db (22hz -3db) 96db 8ohm


    This up-market version and currently third from the top of the line uses Balck Gate caps and Alnico magnets on the crossover along with silver voice coils. Rather than go further note that this maylook very similar to the lower modesl but that is where the differences largely end. Simply put the most musically satisfying speakers I have come across at any price. Don't know what Black Gate caps and silver and Alnico woofers do but whatever it is kudos to the designers.

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.

    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz_____________________ 9/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz__________________________ 9.5/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)_____________________ 9.5/10X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)_____________________10/10X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)__________________ 10/10X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)____________ 9.5/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)__________10/10X2
    Imaging and Soundstage_____________________ 9.5/10
    Tonality___________________________________ 10/10X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)_____10/10X4

    Overall____________________________________ 196.5/200 = 98.25%
    Note: Model has been replaced by a $30,500.00US version.

    B&W 705 $2400.00CDN - $1850.00US
    2 Way Standmount 46Hz – 25kHz ±3dB on reference axis 89db 8ohm

    Not Recommended

    I have been a big supporter of B&W over the years but this speaker is just outmached by so many less expensive speakers starting with the Dynaudio Audience 52 and Audio Note AX-Two hat considerably less expensive price points. The problem starts with attack - there is little here as the speaker sounds incredibly shut in and constipated. Add to this anemic bass response cosnidering the price and well Huston we have a problem. You know there is a problem when I'm turning the volume way up on Bryston gear and nothing is coming out. Piano work turned me off the entire speaker. My advice is to stick with your CDM 1 SE or NT. Those speakers were not perfect but at least they were enjoyable. I don't exactly know what B&W has done here - the speaker doesn't even look as nice as the previous model and for all this the price has gone Up? Yikes. I want to stress that this is not a bad speaker - it is for $2400.00Cdn however.

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.
    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz______________________0/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz___________________________5.5/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)______________________6.5/10X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)_____________________ 7.5 /10X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)___________________8/10X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)_____________4.5/10
    Decay____________________________________ 6/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)__________ 6.5/10X2
    Imaging and Soundstage_____________________ 8/10
    Tonality___________________________________ 7/10X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)_____6.5/10X4

    Overall____________________________________128.5/200 = 64.25%

    B&W 703 $4600.00Cdn -- $3500.00US
    3way 3 driver floor-standing speaker 38Hz – 25kHz ±3dB on reference axis (-6dB at 30Hz and 50kHz)

    Not Recommended

    Same as 705 but largely with more bass. I don't get what B&W is doing with this series. No doubt it will get great reviews - but musically these speakers are seriously lacking life.

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.
    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz_____________________1/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz__________________________6.5/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)_____________________6.5/10 X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)____________________ 7.5 /10 X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)__________________8/10 X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)___________ 6.5/10
    Decay___________________________________ 6/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)_________ 7/10 X2
    Imaging and Soundstage___________________ 8/10
    Tonality__________________________________ 7/10 X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)____ 6/10 X4

    Overall____________________________________131.5/200 = 65.75%

    Wilson Audio – Sophia - $16,000.00CDN - $12,000.00US
    3-way 3 driver floor-standing speaker. 29 Hz - 22.5 kHz +0, -3dB. 89db 4 Ohms, 3 Ohms min.

    Well Wilson is a love it or hate it enterprise and there is no doubting that the speaker is highly musical if a bit dark. It has impressive scale and attack - standount Decay and is highly inviting in the mid-range. As good as it is I kept thinking there was just a little bit missing with the overall presentation. Madonna's Vogue seemed a little less exciting than it should but the piano on Beethoven's Moonligt Sonata seemed highly lifelike. The bass the speakers offer up is exceptional if a little less powerful than some others and I'm not sure it really seems to mesh with the midrange treble unit. I thinkt he price of entry is too high here but it does offer very accomplished musicality.

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.
    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz_____________________ 8/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz__________________________ 8.5/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)_____________________ 8.5/10 X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)____________________ 8.5/10 X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)__________________ 8/10 X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)____________ 8.5/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)__________8/10 X2
    Imaging and Soundstage_____________________8.5/10
    Tonality___________________________________9/10 X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)_____7.5/10 X4

    Overall____________________________________164/200 = 82%


    Dynaudio Audience 52 ~$1500.00Cdn $1150.00US
    2 way bookshelf 52hz – 24khz +/- 3db -- 4ohms 86db


    See review for Dane 42. This is sounds more open more dynamic and is my favorite speaker under $2kCdn. You get an incredibly smooth if a bit dark top end and excellent cohesiveness from top to bottom given the price.

    Ratings are in absolute terms rated against all speakers of all price ranges and ratings are not inflated because they are deemed budget speakers.
    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz______________________0/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz__________________________ 6/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)______________________7/10 X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)_____________________7.5/10 X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)___________________8/10 X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)_____________8/10
    Decay____________________________________ 6.5/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)__________ 7.5/10 X2
    Imaging and Soundstage_____________________ 8.5/10
    Tonality___________________________________ 7.5/10 X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)_____ 7.5/10 X4

    Overall_____________________________________141.5/200 = 70.75%
    Note there is presently an SE version of this loudspeaker.


    Totem Arro - $1450.00Cdn - $1100.00US
    Two Way two driver floor-standing speaker 40 Hz to 20 kHz ± 3 dB – 87db 4ohm

    These Totems are a little less than what I would expect from Totem cosnidering some of their other models. I think speaker has pretty good tone but a bit lumpy and undefined in the are of decay and there is limited overall structure to the sound. I get the continued impression I'm missing large parts of the music. I think you can do better - but you could do worse. Sarah Mclachlan's Mirrorball album lacked the live feel and sounded quite shut in versus the lower priced Energy's. They are elegant to look at and are certainly solid - but sonically they left me wanting.

    Deep Bass 10hz – 30hz_____________________0/10
    Bass 30hz – 80hz_________________________ 6/10
    Midbass (80hz – 200hz)_____________________6/10 X2
    Midrange (200hz – 3khz)____________________ 7/10 X3
    High Frequency (3khz – up)__________________6.5/10 X2
    Attack (including macro-dynamics)___________ 7/10
    Decay___________________________________ 5.5/10
    Resolution (including micro-dynamics)_________ 6/10 X2
    Imaging and Soundstage____________________ 8/10
    Tonality__________________________________ 7/10 X2
    Cohesiveness (integrity of the musical event)____5.5/10 X4

    Overall___________________________________120.5/200 = 60.25%
  • 09-04-2004, 01:17 AM
    you sure have lots of time on your hands!
    Sorry..but what means LLF
  • 09-04-2004, 04:41 AM
    I would just add re: AN's kits...I recently spent a week living with a relative who is a bigger AN fan than RGA. He's built a few kits for people now, including their speakers. You can build the AN E's at a fraction of their price ($1000-1400) and acheive very, very close sound. Buy a $20 dollar book or two to learn some fundamentals, and it's not too hard to tweak these things to performance levels beyond retail versions. (it's amazing what $10 resistors and inductors will do). I'm actually considering this for a future project. I really love the cherry/mohagny look of the old school fat box!!!

    DIY-ers with more experience than me even claim they can "clone" the AN E using SEAS and (Foster? help me RGA) drivers that the customs are based on for $400-$600 and acheive startling results, comparable to the AN E's. I don't doubt it. Though I've only heard the AN approved kits.

    To me, these woudl be a "BEST BUY". $1200 to get close to the AN E is pretty good.
  • 09-04-2004, 12:21 PM
    LLF +limited Low Frequency. I am still deciding where Iwould call reference 90% or 95%. I can't call the J a full out Reference because it does not provide Reference levels in the extreme Bass - so I kind of copied Sterophile. LOL - mix three magazines now hey.

    Yes the Kits are an excellent idea - you can go to Audio Note Kits and they will sell you all the parts for about $1200.00. I think. They will even send you the cabinets if you wish for somehting like $500.00 or you can build your own. http://audionotekits.espyderweb.net/loudspeaker.html

    Peter says that for aa further improvement you can build the entire cabinet out of Birch rather than just the front and back panel being made of Birch with an MDF wrap.

    I should have mentioned this because basically you can get the speakers the for well under haldf the price maybe a 1/4 the price.

    You will not have the computer set-up to match your speakers to the tolerances however - but they do match the drivers at least.

    A further cheaper option would be to find an Original Snell E or J on Ebay(must be the original not type II or III) and you could pull the drivers out and buy the driver package which is about $220.00 British pounds?? 92135011 is more up on the prices as he's building the amp kit (how'e that going anyways).

    But you could probably get an old snell for a couple of hundred stick the new parts in and you should be pretty close - even if you get 80% of the current basic E In my opinion you could not do better.

    Better still a Snell Type AII which Peter uses as a master reference for his E's and J's - he's working on an AN version now - I would expect him to beat the 10hz figure and achive in excess of 100db. The E Sogon hits 12 hz.

    I get the impression the guy enjoys simply pushing the envelope as far as he possibly can with that cabinet and one 8 inch woofer. In a way Totem did that with original Model One.
  • 09-04-2004, 12:35 PM
    the amp is complete
    check the amps/preamps forum
  • 09-04-2004, 02:23 PM
    Peter Q actually recommended Birch? As in Baltic Birch? Most books I've read suggest (I know I'm not suppose to say this outside the audio lab) MDF is structurally better, and near perfect because it's synthetic. You'd never know there wasn't a flaw in the wood unless you examined every inch, including the centers of the walls you can't see. Baltic Birch is probably the most popular wood for cabinets, though. Maybe it adds a nice flavor to the sound he really likes or something.
    Lots DIY-ers use say they prefer real wood, but it is quite porous (though it does look better).
    I'm afraid to try it. MDF would be way cheaper.

    RGA, that's $500 for unassembled, unfinished cabinets? bwa-ha-ha...looks like there's a little corporate (dare I say Paradigm-ish) profit motive at the AN headquarters after all. That's not terribly inconsistent with other Kit projects I've seen though.

    You can get a 4' X 8' strip of MDF for about $30-40 (that's CDN too now that I'm here). That would build you four cabinets, leaving $470 for some wicked exotic veneers. Or you could just drop say $80-$100 on less expensive veneers and still have a prettier finish.
    Cabinets built under $150 CDN, it'd be our secret.

    If the drivers are matched that should be more than sufficient (provided you're careful in your construction of the cabinets). Inductors, resistors, capacitors, etc in the crossover are usually tested with stricter tolerances than even Ferrari would use.

    Just curious, after the $300 profit on the cabinets they make, for $1700 you can get a pre-cut, un-finished cabinet and all the parts. So, judging by the $4000 ish retail on the AN E's, they basically charge $1700 for the 5-6 hours labor of assembling the crossover, installing the drivers, and finishing the speakers, leaving what, several hundred bucks for profit for the dealer....Peter Q makes about $270 per hour....not bad.

    Know what's scary, that's probably alot lower margin than JBL, Polk, etc make of their speakers.
  • 09-04-2004, 02:27 PM
    A lot more goes to the cost of speaker than just the parts
    BTW, I emailed peter directly and he said russian birch ply
  • 09-04-2004, 08:42 PM
    I like that you've provided a fair level of detail that at least explains your subjective impressions of those speakers that you tried out. Interesting that you had such a positive impression of the Sophias because I thought for what Wilson charges, those speakers did not live up to their high end billing. They were good, but far from great. I listened to the Sophias immediately after the my first session with the Studio 40 v.3, and in some areas the Sophias couldn't top the 40s straight up, despite a more than tenfold price difference, and actually had audible ringing in the highs. Granted, it was a limited listening listening session with the Sophias (I did not listen to my full set of discs), but for the high res disc that I used, my Studio 40s at home actually played it with fewer glaring faults than the Sophias did. My original impressions are posted below (it was in the P.S. section of my original Studio 40 v.3 review).

  • 09-05-2004, 09:04 AM

    Originally Posted by 92135011
    A lot more goes to the cost of speaker than just the parts
    BTW, I emailed peter directly and he said russian birch ply

    No question. It's not a secret that researching,designing, and building a speaker are NOT always the greatest costs in delivering the product.

    Russian Birch Ply...interesting. Years back many of the world's best speakers were made of Plywood.
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I bet that ply holds up better than alot of todays plastic polymers and fiberboard compounds.
  • 09-05-2004, 10:16 AM
    the rationale is that because MDF is so tightly packed that it acts as a damping factor.
    The Audio note speakers are designed to use the box like a guitar to improve its efficiency.

    MDF is pretty strong too as its just fibers bound by glue - wood is also fibers bound by glue (lignins). Wood may warp easier than MDF, though. But on the other hand, if you get your MDF wet...good bye.
  • 09-05-2004, 10:28 AM
    It is really simple listen to the MDF wrapped version and the all Plywood version and it will be readily apparent that MDF sucks. Remember the goal at AN is not to damp everything like a blanket affect but damp only certain parts of the sound the way they want it damped - a Kit version will not be the same as a production process the way the cabinets are formed cannot be done by home users.

    Of course speakers are not just costs of materials. AN gets custom built drivers - the tweeter from Foster is not on their site. The tweeter uses no damping material (No ferrofluid) and a custom magent which replaces whatever Foster is using. The woofers on some AN's are over $500.00GBP EACH.

    There is overhead transportation costs to go to shows, labour. While Peter does not advertise (Woochifer I found out that DR Cope the US distributor advertised not Audio Note themselves - though no doubt they would have needed permission which may be the same but Peter pays no advertising) each dealer puts some money into the pot for the ad costs. Soundhounds paid $150.00 just to get their address onto the page basically 20+ dealers and that's quite costly to advertise me thinks and to do it in every magazine with multiple pages per issue like some would be nuts.

    The cost have been discussed endlessly before. I do not undersstand why the cost per speaker at AN is held to some other standard than every other speaker maker many of whom use far worse cabinets ALLA B&W and charge just as much if not more money - the B&W 703 for example and that speaker sounds to put it bluntly unlistenable compared to the basic E. Yes it uses more drivers - and Kevlar is probably mpre expensive than Paper woofers and no doubt they will talk about R&D or whatever. (judging by the comparative sound it was wasted effort and money because they had it more right with the matrix line in the 1980s)

    Monet's painings have maybe $5.00 worth of paint too and sell for millions and people buy CDs for $14.00+ that cost something like $0.12 to make. And computer chips - why does a 256 chip ram cost more than 64chip - IT'S SAND. Why does a base model truck cost $20k and the loaded version costs $58. $38,000 in OPTIONS. A few diodes a 4-wheel drive and Wal-mart grade leather seats that cost $49.00 to put in.

    The only thing I'm concerned with is sound. If some other company wants to spend $18,000 on cabinets and drivers and sells for $20k and Peter spends $2k on parts and driver s and sells it for $20k well if the latter makes better music reproduction than the latter is the one I'm going to buy.

    And I say it over and over - at least with Audio Note you are given the option to to buy the speakers or amps or DAC's in Kit form. There is no hiding of the price of drivers(They sell the parts list so you know exactly how much they are selling the drivers for and at this it is marked up a bit). If your $2.00 B&W Tweeter blows you MUST go back to B&W and could get a nice bill for $90.00(that is if you're not told like many people that they don't ake it anymore so you have to buy a whole new speaker).

    You e-mail Peter and you can build your own Turntable and he will tell you how to get it up to the TT1 or TT2 or TT3(start with a SytemDek II for the fist two and a Voyd for the latter).

    You find an old original Snell he will tell you what to do to get it up and sounding more or less like the AN version(and if you own one he would be interested in buying it off you). You have the option to build it yourself and charge yourself no overhead and no labour - but excuse AN for not building speakers and amplifiers for free and excuse him for making a profit so he can stay in business and develop new products. Man, I'm not even American and I have to defend capitalism as painful as that is for me.
  • 09-05-2004, 10:44 AM
    Well actually to sum it up
    Everything is worth anything is someone will buy it.
    We all have our own priorities.
    Some people spend on cars and some people on audio.
    I dont think cars should worth 250Gs, but some people sure think so.
    People still buy them so then it's worth it
    Dont say they waste their money, because all of us waste money on something we have a passion about. At the end, if it makes them happy, then it's money well spent.
  • 09-05-2004, 10:56 AM

    I agree that the Wilson is overpriced. In the strictest sense I would give it a Not Recommended but I consider to offer up a musical High end sound and it gets a free pass from my Not Recommended rating.

    I did not know the price going in so I had less expectations than I would have had knowing it was $16k. I found the treble a bit dark not really a ringer. But rooms and equipment are no doubt different. It was musical and very engaging if a bit polite or laid back. I think you can do better for significantly less money and with less expensive front end equipment. But price and sound don't always match.
  • 09-05-2004, 11:09 AM
    It would be best if you didnt know the name price or look of the speaker.
    Then it would be more fair
  • 09-05-2004, 05:05 PM
    "It would be best if you didnt know the name price or look of the speaker.
    Then it would be more fair"

    True I let Hi-Fi Choice do that because that would take an incredible amount of time for me to be able to do.

    Did you hear the news about the Black Gate Caps? http://www.audionote.co.uk/
  • 09-05-2004, 05:22 PM
    Wow. I highly doubt the 500 GBP cost of a Foster woofer customized for AN is fair price. It's certainly not what AN pays for it. There are 500 GBP woofers made that are in speakers costing more than 60 thousand bucks I've heard that would make the AN E (as great as it is) sound like a crappy sony Boombox (okay slight exaggeration, but still). Though I don't know for sure, I suspect the 500 GBP woofer reflects the price AN puts on it, similar to when Paradigm charges 60 to replace a driver in the Monitor series.
    Which AN model has a 500 GBP woofer? I would love to hear this, I doubt any AN dealers in Atlantic Canada carry this.

    The cabinets of a speaker should definitely not impart a timbre to the sound like a guitar or musical instrument. This would undermine the speaker design. These are two different physical characteristics.

    If the MDF version sounds inferior to the wood version, than it is not because of the cabinet material. MDF vs. a good wood should have minute difference is sound quality at best, if any. There must be something else at play, my guess is in the crossover or drivers particularly in a speaker that size. The damping factor has infinitely less to do with the difference between MDF and birch (ie: material) as it would the dimensions, bracing and construction of the cabinet. I doubt AN would reveal their true secrets to you or me.
    Their success could then be more easily copied by knock-off designs (which I'm actually seeing more of)

    Adding extra bucking magnets is the most common modification I've seen OEM woofers have done to them to differentiate from the retail line. A very inexpensive mod that doesn't even always translate to improved performance. Peerless, Vifa, Scanspeak, Seas do this all the time. Can provide for a woofer to move more air though.

    Building a speaker comparable to one you can buy from AN, Paradigm, etc can usually be done at far significant savings if you have time and skill.
    If not, a fair price is dictated by the consumer who pays for the finished product. I cannot build a Solid State power amp, nor an integrated so I pay Adcom, Rotel, etc a huge premium. And I'm happy to do this.

    Just curious guys...we're all babbling aimlessly here it seems, is there an issue at hand, or a moderator that should be keeping us on track? Is there any question outstanding or disagreements here? Or just a light hearted discussion to pass the time?
  • 09-05-2004, 05:26 PM
    Just curious, is there a reviewing panel somewhere that reviews equipment completely in the dark? That is, gear from varying price ranges, without knowing what it is they are reviewing prior or during the demo? I'd be curious to see how many super expensive speakers perform compared to much cheaper ones once you remove the price, name, looks, etc from the equation and rely solely on sound.
  • 09-05-2004, 05:38 PM
    Hi fi choice is closest. Big corporations do this and then glefully post the results and ofn course their product always wins. What a surprise.

    AN Uses a Foster tweeter and a SEAS Woofer. The expensive woofer oin the SEC versions up use Alnico. AN Sells the woofer for $500.00 a piece. The speaker achieves 98db to 12 hz and is 8 inches - and as with all the foam J and E speakers you will nary a see the woofer move even at high volume and at deep pedal notes.

    Peter did a demo with an LP forst at 32hz then at 16hz - ask Peter about the LP used.

    No Peter does not give much away other than to tell you what you should be using to get better results. The chipboard version vs the Birch version in combination with the silver wiring is a huge improvement. As far as I know that is the only difference from E/L to Spe. The drivers are the same as is the crossover.
  • 09-05-2004, 05:45 PM
    Also some of the older issues of Hi-Fi Choice found that manufacturers would sit on their blind reviewing panels - and quite often they would choose a competitors product over their own. the mag isn't in my area and way too expensive to subscribe to at $12.50 an issue.
  • 09-05-2004, 06:01 PM

    Originally Posted by 92135011
    the rationale is that because MDF is so tightly packed that it acts as a damping factor.
    The Audio note speakers are designed to use the box like a guitar to improve its efficiency.

    MDF is pretty strong too as its just fibers bound by glue - wood is also fibers bound by glue (lignins). Wood may warp easier than MDF, though. But on the other hand, if you get your MDF wet...good bye.

    The problem is people cannot wrap their head around the fact that because the speaker is designed like a guitar box that it can reproduce music (of the non guitar nature) properly. And of course I understand that - so my theory is simple go listen and decide. There is a breathey quality to guitars that's for sure that is not there in any boxed speaker from anyone else i have heard.

    92135011 you came to Audio Note quickly - Terry and i agree that the people who buy AN tende to be slightly older audiophiles older than myself - perhaps in their 45+ range. It is for people who have been through the other designs grown tired of them and as he said "paid their dues." Soundhounds carries a lot of brands as you know - but get the list of what they have carried over the years and it's a much bigger list. I don't know if you met Terry when you were there but he doesn't actually sell anything, He sits on that couch in that kind of dumpy room opposite the B&W home theater room. He says this is the room the guys let him have to toy with. He is more interested in what you the audiophile consumer brought with you on the audition list so that he can hear a band perhaps he hasn't heard before. That's pretty much the extent to the sales pitch.

    No speaker is perfect - there would be no way to know even if it were. I want it to sound like music and I don;t want to have listener's fatigue. FOr the first several hours on the J/Spe they were a bit fatiguing because i was not use to the bass presentation - because it is so tight and deep and I was used to the flabby kind my Wharfedales present. Now when I go back to things like the 705 it quite literally seems like I'm missing such a huge portion of the music that it's virtually unlistenable.
  • 09-05-2004, 11:22 PM
    I do admit that I'm into this stuff pretty fast.
    I have the J/spe, kit1, and preamp kit at the age of 21. So I'm almost 25 years ahead of the average 45 yr olds who buy AN?
    Unlike you, I did not find the Js very fatiqueing mostly because I heard everything so differently that I was excited to find out how different the next piece would sound. And of course, they were always improvements of what they sounded like before. I'm no experienced audiophile or whatever, but after auditioning for half a year, going from place to place, these were the most musically satisfying pair I have met. I'm not really good at analysing microdynamics or macrodynamics - I'm not even sure what they mean. What's really important I guess is that I'm happy with em.
  • 09-06-2004, 01:24 PM
    Jimmy C
    Well, if anything...
    ...I feel (in a way) you have learned why a GOOD demo is important... for instance, you used to HATE the Atoms... now, in the realm of things, they are "decent". I know they aren't the "end-all" speaker, but my friends have had good luck with them. This is just one little example...

    I can also recall you saying something to the effect of " what difference does your room mkae, you might move". Valid point when considering speakers, but my gripe is the demoes are usually bad IN THE STORE, and ANY house is better... not sure why. Maybe the use of too many speakers in one room, old/poor wiring and grid, playing too loud - dunno. USUALLY, stuff sounds better "at home". That has certainly been my experience.

    At any rate... you must be a master typer... I would not have the intestinal fortitude to type all that in one (or two!) sittings. Geez... I don't even have kids :^)

    I'll just skimmed, I'll read them all later. I DID think the Studio was a decent speaker... needs good software... maybe that's what you're talking about.

    Oh, well... I have to help my lovely wife pull weeds, drink beer (err... OK, that's usually me only) and make dinner.

    Thanx for the time put in...
  • 09-06-2004, 03:03 PM
    Yes I was on quite a run there - and I'm a 4 finger typer LOL. You'd think after 4 years of university and 5 years before that part time I would have taken a typing lesson but oh no. And the biggest laugh is I have a degree in English - check out my grammar and spelling HAHAHA.

    Regarding the room - I am going with Peter's view that a violin is a violin in any room good or bad and the room is a cop out used by manufacturers. I agree wih you that it usually does sound better in my UNTREATED room than the stores treated rooms. (This is not referring to the big box chains wall-o-speakers.

    To me it's important to try and listen to the speakers in the same room any room - the better speaker will be better no matter which room - so long as the room isn't too large for the speaker like the Atom in a Gymnasium. The 100 had a hollow sound - the room was an average sized living room with expensive Anthem gear(which is owned by Paradigm) and presumably the ideal match. The set-up was part of a home theater of course but that is the target dual purpose audience. Speakers was well out from the rear wall and far from side walls. I had the surround modes cut the sub defeated and the controls set to flat. Frankly I'd buy the Monitor 9 and a better TV or something. Or better still a 100V2 used and the best sub Paradigm makes and it would still probably be less than the 100V3.

    I'd say An but one Caveat - Audio Note does not recommend the use of ANY subwoofer at any price to be used with Audio Note speakers. Audio Note has worked for 4 years developing a true Sub woofer for the E based on 845 tubes (a lowish powered tube not noted for bass to be a tube powered sub). But it can only be used with the E and he may never bring out. I would like to hear it though. A tube powered sub which will obviously do better than the E at 16hz - It would be interesting to hear it just for the sake of it so I don't have to hear this nonsense that Tubes can't do bass. Go listen to the Oto 9 watt SE on the AN E versus the Bryston 3BSST - report back as to which is better in the bass. Sure surprised me. Now I have something to save for. Granted if the speaker was the Totem Arro my view would be reversed likely.
  • 09-08-2004, 07:39 AM
    Jimmy C
    A violin should like a...
    ... violin, no matter which room it's in. I agree with that, but a speaker isn't a violin. For instance, take something "real" - like a human voice you're familiar with. No matter which room you're in, the voice with sound similar... maybe a little echoey in one, less in another - whatever. Now take a recording of the voice... it will sound very different through a variety of speakers. I think there is a lot going on when listening to a stereo, and, no... I don't have any technical answers. In other words, the "real thing" will be less affected by the environment.

    Listening to different speakers in the same room will let you know which sounds better - sorta agree, as long as each speaker is set up the way it should be (close as possible). For eg., your ANs probably sound wildly different close to the corners, or far out into the room. I had a pair of Snell Js that HAD to be the correct distance from the corners, and more importantly, the correct height off the floor.

    Aw, well... a few rambling thoughts...
  • 09-08-2004, 10:18 AM
    Jimmy C

    Well of course a speaker needs to be correctly positioned. AN's version of the J of course does not require a corner to sound good. The E for example at Soundhounds is positioned about 3 feet from the back wall and nowhere near a corner.

    I had the J at the wrong height for a while - and yes they ned to be close within reason fo the suggested height - but that should be true of any standmount speaker.

    The reason the corner placement is ideal is to add foundation to the bass and to get rid of audible reflected waves. If you can get the AN crossover and tweeter for those J's as well as the adjustment to the port you should get to the AN sound.

    Otherwise contact Peter - he might want to buy your Snell J if it is the original.