January 27, 2020 § Leave a comment
“Auditioning the 101 X’s was a virtual replay of their original sojourn in my room. Then as now I can’t stop listening to the things. Then as now visitors—friends, colleagues, and manufacturers—think they are the best transducers they’ve ever heard (as do I), and eachof them has had the same slack-jawed initial reaction to hearing them, expressed in almost exactly the same words: “Where are the speakers?”
Despite any shortcomings (and I will come to these), the MBL 101 X’s (properly situated and adjusted) sound less like loudspeakers than any other system I’ve heard. As I wrote the first time around, “all of the various ways in which conventional transducers betray that their sound is being projected in narrower or broader dispersion patterns by individual drivers in resonant enclosures simply aren’t present.” What you hear, instead, as I’ve already repeatedly noted, is a soundfield that seems to have been magically imported in toto from some other place—from a concert hall or a studio—and plopped down in your listening room with all three of its dimensions intact. To quote again from my first review, “where other transducers sound the way a film looks—like a two-dimensional medium imitating a three-dimensional reality—the 101 X-tremes sound the way a theatrical play looks—no ersatz third dimension, but actual people on an actual stage right there in front of you.
January 27, 2020 § Leave a comment
By most standards, the Totem Tribe Tower would be considered a relatively tiny floorstander, but the pair of them sounded big in my mid-size room. Having heard what their similar sibling, the Sky Tower, could do here less than a year before, I wasn’t completely surprised, but unsuspecting listeners might be at first caught off guard, then quite pleased — this speaker should be of interest to anyone who wants room-filling sound but who doesn’t have the space for a pair of big boxes.
At first I thought I’d prefer setting up the Tribe Towers closer to the front of the room, to make better use of the front and sidewalls to help reinforce the bass — indeed, Totem recommends placing them as little as 4” from the front wall. While I was never going to do that — I’ve never been happy with the sound of speakers from that close to the wall behind them — I did try pulling them out just over 12” from the front wall. Unsurprisingly, the Tribes benefited from room gain — the bass was fuller, the overall output greater. However, even with 2’ between the wall and the speakers’ rear panels, I was still more than satisfied with their low-end performance, while preferring the greater three-dimensionality of soundstage I experienced with them farther out from the wall. Ultimately, they ended up very near the positions where most speakers tend to work best in my room.”
January 23, 2020 § Leave a comment
“In fact, the Sasha DAW’s only real weakness is possibly also its greatest strength. This is not a loudspeaker that ever sounds bad (its greatest strength), but it also has the potential to sound truly soul-shakingly good. There will be some pairs of Sasha DAWs where that potential remains untapped. This is a loudspeaker where going to the extra place is not simply an exercise in navel-gazing but returns the kind of performance that can stop you in your tracks. Here’s a perfect test of the Sasha DAW’s true power; play something evocative like Jacqueline du Pré’s remarkable rendition of the Elgar Cello Concerto [Barbirolli, LSO, EMI]. Unless the system has been set-up with a pick-axe, you will get goose-bumps. When the system is fully on song and at its very best, you find yourself in tears. It’s an uncontrollable, almost atavistic, reaction to the music that happens when the system pulls the music into focus. You can find this in very well set-up systems, but usually in very well set-up systems that cost so much they could depth-charge the economy of a small island nation.
January 18, 2020 § Leave a comment
“The three MPod feet that support the tripod on which the enclosure rests are very sophisticated devices that do more than couple the speaker to the floor. Magico calls the MPod a “noise-channeling support system.” Cones and spikes perform the important function of coupling the speaker to the floor so that the cabinet vibrates less. This anchoring effect makes the cabinet more resistant to moving in response to driver motion. But cones and spikes don’t dissipate vibrational energy. The ideal loudspeaker-to-floor interface would thus provide the anchoring effect of spikes, along with vibration dissipation. That’s the theory behind the MPod. The device employs constrained layer damping that is tuned so that the MPod provides solid coupling to the floor below 300Hz, but attenuates noise and vibration above that frequency. The damping material, which was reportedly developed for NASA, is so thoroughly researched that the designer using it can specify the precise frequency at which the material begins attenuating vibration. Note that the MPod’s lower hemisphere isn’t connected with hardware to the speaker, but rather through the constrained layer damping mechanism. The MPod is usually shipped with a pin inserted through the device that is removed once the MPod is installed. Removing the pin engages the constrained layer damping structure. It is thus possible to hear the effect of the device by pulling the pin. Unfortunately, the review samples had made the rounds of audio shows and weren’t shipped with pins, so I was unable to hear this comparison.”
January 12, 2020 § Leave a comment
“This is a seriously capable loudspeaker, and so it should be at this price. The Revel F228Be is very sure in itself, and it’s almost as if it challenges the listener to find ever more challenging source material. Great recordings are rewarded with a huge sonic soundscape with three-dimensional imagery, dynamic slam and incredible finesse and detail. Despite being expensive, I believe” it’s actually rather good value for money then – you’d need to spend a good deal more to obtain relatively modest incremental gains. This big floorstander will please discerning buyers that demand realistic presence along with accuracy and musicality. “