Voxativ 9.87 Loudspeaker $49,990 Review

January 15, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Now you might think this frequency/horn glitch would be a disqualifying flaw. But it isn’t. The problem simply isn’t large enough or pervasive enough to matter that much. (And I’ve discovered that it vanishes almost completely with Voxativ’s own 805 integrated amp, which has been voiced expressly for the 9.87.) Compared to what I’ve heard from every other horn speaker, this is a smooth, neutral driver in a superior horn enclosure. Moreover, the Voxativ’s smidgeon of cupped-hands coloration in the upper mids is more than counterbalanced (as already noted) by the terrific dynamic energy and astonishingly high resolution of detail the speaker brings to every kind of acoustic music. The 9.87 makes instrumentalists (including Chet Baker, whom the Voxativ—and the Voxativ alone—tells me was recorded by a separate mic on vocals) sound so alive and present, so “there,” that I’m perfectly willing to forgive it its slight touch of, uh, horniness.”



January 14, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Are there caveats? Well, two would be the speaker’s size and price, both of which may prove daunting to would-be owners. Another involves seating positions relative to the speaker array. Because the 30.7 is very wide, you may find that if you sit too close to the speaker you eventually begin to hear the individual driver panels rather than a seamless, cohesive whole, which of course means that imaging and soundstaging won’t quite snap into focus as they should. So, bear in mind that set-up is partly about fitting the speaker into your room, but part is also about finding an optimal position for you relative to the speaker array. Finally, it pays to remember that this speaker requires powerful but also extremely high-quality amplification (such as permeates this issue – I’m specifically thinking of the Hegel H590 integrated amplifier tested on page 16) to give of its best.”

VanL Speakerworks Silhouette speaker $3,995 Review

January 14, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“That, however, is the only big caveat of the Silhouette. As a genteel speaker its voicing is delicious. I was taken aback at how thoroughly the Silhouette convinced that it was an elitist product. I normally do not like small towers, but I really like this one! No doubt the minimalist crossover, consisting of one resistor and one cap on the tweeter, is part of the appeal. John indicates that it is a unique series x-over that is very phase coherent. Also drawing my praise is the ultra low slope filter for the soft dome tweeter. Rising at only 3dB per octave, the tweeter is utterly indistinguishable from the wooden mid-bass driver. The resultant coherence both in terms of driver sets and the images on the soundstage is exemplary.

A surprise to me was my acceptance of the sound even though the speaker is short. Normally I chafe at the dwarfed scale of the presentation as offered by smallish towers, but in this case I had no impulse to jack up the front end and tilt the baffle backwards to elevate the soundstage. Even with the PureAudioProject Trio15 Voxativ I felt compelled to raise the front end using rubber hockey pucks to get the most out of the drivers. Do that to the Silhouette? No, sir! It’s just fine!”

TAD Loudspeakers

January 13, 2019 § Leave a comment

Kharma Elegance dB7-S Loudspeakers $31,250 Review

January 11, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“Listening to music at an audio show isn’t really enough, I’ve demonstrated audio products at thirty of them, in some really delightful cities in really terrible hotel rooms. And while the sound delivered can be sometimes described as impressive and able to highlight the strength of a given product, it really is not what a quality audio dealer can arrange. I also strongly suggest that you look, too, for actual a co-operative working relationship (a partnership of equals which most often reveals a foundation of natural respectful cooperation) with your store front audio provider, they actually do have your best interests in mind and built from a foundation of mutual trust, they and your sonic goals will be fulfilled, I promise.

In the case of the dB7-S, all these criteria are manifested to an extended level of distinction, from the excellent performance in all the important audio aspects via advanced drivers and meticulous crossover and enclosure design, to the extraordinary industry-leading fit and finish standards and on to the outstandingly attractive appearance further enhanced by a wide variety of optional and aesthetic customer configurable elements. In conjunction, all of these principles make up a convincing foundation for one judgment: that indeed, the dB7-S represents a true and extremely desirable high-end speaker system.”

KEF LSX $1099 Review

January 9, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“The room-placement freedom that wireless connectivity between the speakers unlocks will be a boon to urban apartment dwellers for their main system, or someone like me who is looking for that second system to add to their home or cabin. Hell you don’t even need wifi to run them thanks to Bluetooth 4.2 built-in. Look for the LSX to support full AirPlay 2 features coming in January.”

MarkAudio-SOTA Viotti Tower World Premiere $5995 Review

January 8, 2019 § Leave a comment

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“First of all the Viotti Towers are classy to look at and they sound classy too; there’s nothing remotely uncouth about the looks or sound. Their sound is coherent and cohesive; at no point are you made aware of any change in character through the frequency bands, the five drivers per side operate as one, and they blend magically in glorious unison. I’d describe the Tower sound as sonorous rather than trying to play a nervous balancing act on a knife edge seeking to pierce your ears; this is crucial when several sources are in use all with their own sonic foibles. As for bass they are supremely capable. Some speakers are tilted towards the bass making everything sound bass heavy, the Towers are not like this. The Towers can produce thunderous bass, far more than I’d expected given the available cone area. Such bass is only reproduced when the source material demands it, though as you’d hope with speakers of this size the sound is rich with excellent body and realism.”

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