|I've had these speakers for a few years
but I have never put them to their proper use.
The first problem was that the foam on
the woofers were rotting. I also did not have the Low Frequency equalizer,
or the power supply for it.
I eventually found the LF unit, a power
supply, and had Bill Watkins of Watkins
Engineering re-foam the woofers for me.
I decided to really try these out in my
bedroom. Previously I had a pair of great sounding Polk
SDA2's in that room with a pair of smaller Infinity
RSB's on top of them to bring out the high end with their EMIT
I've had the Polk's
for a long time and they have always sounded good to me so I was a bit
reluctant to change them out. But since Mr. Watkins
re did my woofers I felt an obligation to really try them out.
The speakers are rated at 75-300 watts
per channel in the manual but I thought I would try them out with my old
workhorse a Sansui AU-919 Integrated Amp of
100 watts per side.
This amp is a beast, it must weight about
60 pounds or more. The transformers and capacitors are HUGE in this monster.
|After taking some time to figure out
how to set up the LF Eq I finally got it all running smoothly. My brother
in law and I wanted to really hear what these babies could do so I got
the the original, un-remastered Dire Straits - Brothers
in Arms CD out and played "Your Latest Trick",
and "Ride Across The River" at a nice loud
Man, were we impressed!!!
There was the crystal clear high end and
mids due to the EMIT and
They blended in perfectly and seamlessly
with the 2 ten inch poly woofers on either side.
The bass was very full, very deep, and
most of all very tight sounding.
They really blew away the Polk's
had been using, the difference was very marked.
The imaging was astounding and the depth
of sound extended well beyond the physical front of the speakers, I suppose
because of the rear firing mids and tweeters.
We cranked the speakers up waiting for
a crescendo in the music and I was a little fearful of hearing some distortion
or possibly even blowing a speaker fuse or even a tweeter.
But to our amazement none of that happened.
The 100 watts of pure Sansui power was enough
the really give these speakers a nice volume and not sound distorted in
I can honestly say this is the finest
pair of speakers I have ever heard of this size.
need a subwoofer because the bass is so deep, full, and clean, and I'm
sure adding one would only muddy up the sound. That tight bass MUST
come from the sealed box, acoustic suspension design. Every speaker
that I listen to that has an sealed box design has a much tighter well
defined bass than a bass reflex or ported design.
Yes, it's common for most speakers today
to use ported designs, and you will get a lot more efficiency as far as
needing less watts to power the speaker to get a loud sound out of it,
but in my opinion the bass will suffer.
That's not to say there aren't any good
ported or passive radiator designs out there.
My Polk SDA's
that I replaced these with had a passive radiator and sounded good and
clean. But the bass was never as tight as these speakers have,
I really don't feel the need to add surround
sound because they have a surrounding feeling with the rear firing drivers.
But then again I always have my InfiniTesimal's
if I want to add them to the system.
|Putting the speakers to some longer period
listening tests I listened to the remastered version of "Return
To Forever's - Romantic Warrior". This is a very demanding
piece of music with a lot of dynamic range.
mix acoustic piano and synthesizers, Al Di Meola's
acoustic and electric guitars and especially Stanley
Clarke's Ambelic, piccolo, and acoustic bass sounds are hard for
any speaker to reproduce at a higher volume.
The title cut, "The
Romantic Warrior" sounded very good with it's extreme dynamic range
and Stanley Clarke's acoustic and electric
bass playing along with Chick's dramatic piano
Again I felt the speakers did an amazing
job at handling this complex electric/acoustic fusion music. I drove
the volume to a high level, turning it up little by little and most of
the time the sound seemed as flawless as any remastered 30 year old piece
of music could sound.
I did start to hear a little crunch in
the higher frequencies but only at very loud volumes.
After pushing the speakers as hard as
I thought the Sansui amp would go I went over
for the "heat test" and indeed the amplifier was quite warm to the touch.
It never flipped it's protection breaker, something I have done on it before,
but I did feel that the amp was being pushed to it's limits. I really
don't need more power for these speakers but I'm going to experiment
just for the heck of it.
I have another old 85 RMS watt Sansui
AU-710 integrated amp that I will be using to to power the high
frequency drivers. To use both amps I'll switch them to the slave amp mode,
bypassing the preamps in each and using a NAD 1600
Monitor Series Pre Amp to control them.
I've got some questions to think about
in this ongoing review while I try out different configurations of equipment.
I wonder if I will really notice the difference
by adding the second 85 watt Sansui amp, or
if because it is of a lower power it, may not sound much better at all.
For now I can only ponder that as I have
to make some more Monster Cables to hook up
the bi amp configuration. The speakers use pain in the butt banana
terminals to connect with so I'll have to solder a new set of plugs onto
some Monster Cables.
So look for some additions to this review
as I get the additional equipment hooked up.
I really want to supply these speakers
with more power before I hit them with the
Equation of Progressive Rock Music
That being Emerson,
Lake and Palmer, Yes, Genesis, and of course, Pink Floyd.
I'll be auditioning these very demanding sonic delights soon, and quite
a few others thrown in for good measure. Stay Tuned!
Update - January 2008
I did some more listening with just my
AU919 amp hooked up and I was very impressed with every type of
music I listened to. But after about an hour of high volume sonic
bliss the protection breaker would flip on the amplifier, and the top of
it got VERY hot.
So instead of adding a second, lowered
powered Sansui amp I decided to hook up my
amp to the speakers that delivers about 150 watts
RMS per side at very low loads down to 2 ohms or less. I've
used this amp for years and it is very clean sounding and very stable.
It is the same amp that earned the THX logo
from Lucas Films for delivering an extraordinary
amount of power. I have a matching NAD pre amp to control it.
I did notice a slight improvement in the
clarity of the sound especially at the higher volumes.
The breaker never flipped on the amp,
but it also got very hot at about 115 degrees.
There was so much woofer movement I thought
that the cones would actually pop off their bobbins, so I didn't want to
push the speakers any harder. Even at that level the clarity of the speakers
What I've decided to do was to buy a second
identical NAD amp and
bridge them and have one per side. From what I understand that makes
these amps very powerful delivering close to 325 watts of RMS power at
very low impedance's. The owners manual states that at 4 ohms the
amp delivers close to 900 watts of peak handling power.
I've since tried out the 2 amp configuration
and it really opened up the sound, and the amps don't get as hot as the
single one did. The sound is clearer and excellent.
A lot of clean power is what these speakes