Sound Lab Ultimate U-4iA electrostatic speaker Review $21,300 Review

February 1, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Depending on the music, the amount of bottom-end energy could be excessive and would call for tonal adjustments to the speaker. Hootie and the Blowfish’s “Use Me” continued the impressive demonstration of the U-4iA’s bottom-end capacity, but was so overtly present in the lower frequencies that it was in danger of overrunning the upper half of the spectrum. I adjusted the midrange and treble to +3dB to compensate and an acceptable balance was restored. To my ear, leaving the tonal controls flat brings a more “tube like” character from the Sound Lab, versus adjustment upward of them bringing out a touch of solid-state forwardness. Note that this effect can also be further increased or decreased to one’s satisfaction by proper selection of cables.

Another word about the Poem of the Chinese Drums; the U-4iA exquisitely renders the nuances of the mallet and drum skin interaction. With quite a large number of speakers, mostly dynamic or hybrid dynamic, the thump of the mallet whacking the drum comes off as a shuddering burst, an LF punch that has little character of other instruments such as piano and saxophone. To my delight, a splendid amount of the subtleties of the drum were retrieved by the U-4iA. Usually at that frequency, an electrostatic speaker coughs out a stressed throb, but the musical integrity of the LF created by the U-4iA was exemplary. This gave me the sense that it was more powerful than the rated 32Hz.”

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