September 28, 2020 § Leave a comment
“What these speakers deliver is all the scale and power of the music – as much as that CD-quality limitation on the USB input will allow. Playing the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s recording of the overture to Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte [from Linn Records CKD 460], the Pranas’ rhythmic ability certainly sweeps the listener along with the music, while there’s entirely appropriate weight and scale to the sound.
Yet for the diehard audiophile, the Pranas may be found to lack that vital blend of musical force and window into the event that’s the hallmark of many a fine, if conventional and less convenient, set-up of amp and speakers.”
September 26, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Each instrument occupies a defined space with the front soundstage. As the piece continues, the music slowly fades until we only the organ playing pianissimo remains. Soprano Nancy Keith’s comes in, and her voice helps fill the space. Once the men’s and women’s choirs join her, we get an accurate picture of the size of the hall’s immersive sound. As the choruses and the organ swell, the music expands and gloriously fills the chamber. The Otello’s presented an immersive listening experience that wrapped around the speakers and broadened into my room, giving me the impression that I was seated orchestra center in Meyerson Hall.
While the upper frequencies were airy and extended, they were also sweet and delicate. On the Analog Productions 45rpm reissue of Bill Evans’ Sunday At The Village Vanguard [Analog Productions/Riverside Records, AJAZ 9376], Evans’ playing was quick and light but did not give up any body. I also loved how the Otello’s treated cymbals. The cymbals on Buddy Rich’s Buddy Rich And His Sextet – Blues Caravan [Verve, V6-8425] have the right amount of sheen and extension without sounding metallic, clangy or glassy. They got them just right.”
September 25, 2020 § Leave a comment
September 15, 2020 § Leave a comment
“My listening notes abound with specific examples addressing the rest of what TAS reviewer Anthony Cordesman has called “The Sonic Checklist,” but just one recording will suffice to underscore how consistently the Acora SRC-1s deliver more than a taste of the real thing. For several years now, Bernard Haitink’s 2010 recording of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 15 with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, specifically the first movement Allegretto, has been among the first selections I put on when I’m at the critical listening stage with a component. The Acoras met all the challenges this recording presented. The glockenspiel notes that open the piece were focused and precisely localized. Solo woodwinds were correctly scaled and timbrally believable. Each note of the two trumpets’ unison triple-tongued triplets registered with clarity, and the ominous-sounding bass drum thuds underlying nervously chattering strings were presented with a sense of the instrument’s volume and the kind of mallet used to strike it. The full orchestra climax five minutes into the movement crested majestically, and there was a superb sense of the Amsterdam hall, one of the finest places on earth to make a recording or, better yet, hear a performance. The Acoras did all that, without exaggeration or artifice.”
September 14, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Downsides? Very few if any really. Entry into this game is no small chunk of change. The lack of truly protective grills will cause some to hesitate, especially if they have animals and little humans around. Needing help to set them up could be seen as a concern, but once they are set minor adjustments are not difficult and who doesn’t have a friend that can give you a hand? I have truly enjoyed the speakers during their stay here. If and when I am in the market for a new set of speakers these will be on a very, very short list of candidates. (That list is no more than five so that is saying quite a bit). I would opt for the wenge finish, but that is just a visual issue and has nothing to do with the overall elegance and beauty. I could live just as well with these walnut ones. Perhaps one day the speaker fairy will drop a set in my audio room.”
September 1, 2020 § Leave a comment
“I’d sum up the Manger sound like this: fast, pure, more articulate than smooth. The bass is present—all there—but don’t expect to bathe in it. The s1 leans more toward exciting than toward comfortable, but not excessively so. I loved the percussive sound of Ellington’s piano, with more leading edge than I’m used to, but natural—and how all the various ‘phones (xylophone, vibraphone, etceteraphone) rang out in space. I expected percussion instruments to sound good on these speakers, and they did. If there was a surprise, it was the corporeal images and fleshy textures.
Not all recordings sounded good because the s1’s are not, at least as I set them up, particularly forgiving. On “The Man’s Too Strong,” from Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms (FLAC rip from Warner 9 25264-2), I heard a metallic sheen I wasn’t expecting—but should have been. That track should be all wood and leather—no metal.
Indeed, it should be—too bad it wasn’t recorded that way. I still recall the thrill of hearing that pristine, ultraquiet recording for the first time. I was in my early 20s, and I already owned the LP. I had just bought a CD player, and this was the first CD I ever bought. I thought I’d never heard anything so fine—like crystal. Precisely what I was hearing from the Mangers. The Mangers were telling the truth.
September 1, 2020 § Leave a comment