Focal Chora 806 Loudspeaker $990 Review

April 2, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“As this review wound down I found my admiration for the Chora 806 increasing by the hour. It struck me as a loudspeaker that didn’t attempt to win over ears based on a couple of strong attributes. Rather, it’s an efficiently well-rounded package of solidly engineered performance that touches a multitude of sonic bases and serves the music and the listener well—a fitting reminder that even in 2020, there’s still a lot of life left in the little two-way compact monitor. I can’t imagine any compact enthusiast with $799 to spend being anything but thrilled with the Chora 806. ”

Avantgarde Duo Primo XD Loudspeaker £79,500 Review

April 1, 2020 § Leave a comment

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“Another test favourite, Lake Street Dive’s stripped-back take on ‘I Want You Back’, from Fun Machine [Signature Sounds SIG2032], is also well within the speakers’ comfort zone, and they treat it to deep, tight bass and crisp percussion, combining with the lone trumpet to underpin Rachael Price’s vocals perfectly.

So when these speakers are good, they’re very good, as a listen to the opening ‘Funeral For A Friend’/’Love Lies Bleeding’ sequence from Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road [Mercury/Rocket 981 320-5] makes clear with its combination of atmosphere and serious low-end grunt. However, to hear them at their best, you have to choose your recordings very carefully indeed.”

Rethm Maarga loudspeaker $10,750 Review

March 31, 2020 § Leave a comment

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Once in my system, the Maargas brought to it a combination of strengths and weaknesses very different from those of my Altec Flamencos and DeVore O/93s. The Rethms were “airier” and more open than either, with spatial performance that was also superior (especially relative to the Altecs): Images of instruments and voices were more distinct from one another than I usually hear at home, some addressing me from a stage of greater-than-average apparent depth. On the down side, my system’s sense of scale took a step backward—the size of everything was now medium-small to medium—and there was a lack of midrange richness. There was also a bit more upper-mid graininess than I’m used to hearing.”

PBN MR! 777 $83,000 Review

March 30, 2020 § Leave a comment

I recently hosted classical pianist Maryam Raya for a private concert of Bach at my home, a few weeks before she performed Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto with the NY Symphony at Carnegie Hall. A week later I hosted pianist Tony Tixier and his Grammy winning brother jazz Violinist Scott (for work with Hans Z”immer on the Lion king soundtrack), with bass and drums filling out the quartet. I guess I’m saying not only do I have a reference for live music, I have it in my home regularly. Upon reflection, what struck me is how recording dependent the ultimate illusion to live is, and that it is not a function of the speaker to add, subtract, or correct for. Its ultimate function is only tell the truth. Yet the MR!777 is far more capable of capturing and revealing just those elements that make up the re-creation of live. One of my favorite recordings is Brian Bromberg’s Wood. Brian’s pianist is very well recorded, and on “Dolphin Dance” much of the power and immediacy is passed along as such. By contrast, yet in a good way, Red Garland’s “Bright and Breezy” places Red’s piano dead center, set further back and smaller in scale, but has great touch, timbre, and that light melodic feel Red was famous for. Two distinctly different recordings capturing differing elements of live, as I hear it, in their own way and beautifully rendered by the MR!777.

Revel F226Be Floorstanding Loudspeaker Review

March 27, 2020 § Leave a comment

As with the Beryllium tweeters, there is more to the midrange design than simply utilizing exotic driver materials. The PerformaBE midrange and bass drivers have new motor structures designed for greater efficiency, dynamic range, and power handling, with reduced distortion and compression. As noted in our F228Be review, the crossovers in the PerformaBe series are high-order crossovers, which utilize all film capacitors and air core inductors in the midrange and tweeter circuits. The crossover point between the Beryllium tweeter and DCC midrange is 2.1kHz, with the midrange giving way to the woofers at 260 Hz. Given the similarities between the F228Be and F226Be, one should not be surprised to learn that they are both eight-ohm speakers with a rated sensitivity of 90 dB, although given the smaller size of the F226Be is overall, its 6dB-down point is at 36Hz instead of 27Hz in the F228Be.


March 25, 2020 § Leave a comment

I tried some of the adjustments on the back and got the sort of results that are predicted in the manual; increasing Presence makes the balance a bit fruity and increasing the Mid setting makes the midrange a little bit exposed for my room/system/ears. However, it’s great to have these options which can be used like sophisticated image and tone controls, albeit without bass adjustment, which is often necessary to compensate for room vagaries. I preferred them flat especially where drums are involved, here the dynamics and speed of the bass, in particular, comes into its own — revealing everything that’s going on in the mix with phenomenal timing accuracy. “

Elac Debut 2.0 B6.2 Review

March 24, 2020 § Leave a comment

“This is an open and well-balanced frequency range, free to reach high into the treble and deliver ample bass without forcing any more than is comfortable. If you want more low-end, you’ll need a bigger cabinet; these Elacs aren’t going to pretend they’re bigger than they actually are, at the expense of transparency.

It’s a similar story with pretty much every aspect of their presentation. This is a punchy and rhythmic performance, for example, but with nothing thrown forward in the mix to suggest false enthusiasm. The Debut 2.0 B6.2s will track everything your amplifier throws at them with quick and agile feet, and won’t attempt to play safe by tempering any edges, but equally they aren’t going to be the source of any kind of boost.”

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