Can Avalon Isis still hold its own?

bosell -- Fri, 03/05/2010 - 19:17

Hi, I'm new here so please bear with me. I'm really not a technical wizard or up to date on the latest equipment.
 
First of all, I have never heard a system more to my liking than my own. The electronics are Spectral (DMA360 monos, DMC30 pre, SDR4000 CD) connected with stupidly expensive MIT cables and cords (haven't studied the #'s) with boxes & Equitech balanced power. I also have some high res digital stuff that I'm experimenting with. This is all in a 17' x 36' room with 14' plus ceiling with a pool table/ card table area at the opposite end to the speakers with an opening to a bar on one side of the game area. So it is not a purpose built room by any means but it is acoustically treated and "optimized" by pros and does not seem to get in the way of music reproduction.
 
I went from Eidolon to the Isis and they both have the same basic presentation, or what in my experience is a house sound for Avalon. I'm aware that some people claim that it is actually the Spectral/Avalon/MIT sound but I dunno. I'm just not really big on the cable hype except that the Spectral stuff requires MIT cables to keep the amps stable. I'm also not very good at reading reviews and coining terms to decribe how a system sounds but to me the Avalons reproduce music in such a manner that they seem to not exist. I always end up noticing things in the recording and the performance (good and bad) and never the fact that I can hear them with my system. It is like the music just exists in the room.
 
When I bought the Eidolons I listened them side by side with the big Wilsons that cost a lot more and I decided that after the initial WOW wore off I disliked the Wilsons because they always sort of made a number of themselves. They did not sound bad but I always ended up thinking of the feats they could perform because they were always there. I don't know if this makes sense but the Wilsons were almost more important than the music. The same thing happened when I heard a huge 2-piece/ch Genesis system. It was in many ways awesome but it was always there. I'm not claiming that Avalon is better than Wilson and Genesis but merely that I like (what I think is) the Avalon style presentation. So when I decided to upgrade, Isis seemed like a natural choice and I haven't regretted for a second. The Isis does everything better than the Eidolon as it should given the price differential and its newer design.
 
I used to live in one of the High End Meccas of the country but now I'm nowhere near one. But having read so many rave reviews of some newer contenders like the Magicos and Rockports, I'm wondering where the state of the art is today? More specifically I'm wondering which of the "world beater" newcomers have a presentation similar to Avalons? And are any of these potentially good enough to warrant a long trip to a dealer? Or should I just forget about it and concentrate on mastering the high res music formats? Any comments would be appreciated. TIA.
 
Bo
 

SundayNiagara -- Fri, 03/05/2010 - 22:00

"I'm just not really big on the cable hype except that the Spectral stuff requires MIT cables to keep the amps stable."
 
HP used Nordost cables with no problems whatsoever.

Robert Harley -- Sat, 03/06/2010 - 10:02

You might consider auditioning the new Magico Q5. If you're on the East Coast, the Q5 will be demonstrated by its designer at Overture in Wilmington, Delaware on May 1 (I'll be there as well) and at Goodwin's High-End in Boston a couple of weeks later.
 
Most of the time you can get away with using non-Spectral or non-MIT cables with Spectral, although it voids the warranty. Moreover, the MIT allows you to hear the full glory of the Spectral electronics. Other cables don't reveal the full spatial or tonal qualities of which the Spectral electronics are capable, in my experience.

SundayNiagara -- Sat, 03/06/2010 - 16:28

The way I understand the law is that unless Spectral includes the MIT cables with it's products, the warranty can not be voided. This has been discussed on this forum previously.

bosell -- Sat, 03/06/2010 - 18:00

Thanks for the info on the Magico demos. Those two dealers certainly have rooms where demos are actually highly instructive.

I took the dealer's word for the MIT stuff and decided not to bicker about their seemingly insane cost when they "guaranteed" the end result. Happily the system delivered.

Mr Plus -- Sat, 03/06/2010 - 16:23

Hi Bo,
 
Although it's worth hearing the Magicos and the Rockports, I'd wager if you like the sound of Avalon speakers, you'll like the sound of bigger Avalons still more. And given your feelings toward other forms presentation, I'd also wager you like the sound of Avalon speakers. And as such, the Isis (or the new Time) would be the perfect upgrade to the Eidolons - on a sneaky note, the Time is a 'stealth' upgrade on the Eidolons, in that it's only a few inches taller, but otherwise identical. If you fear the wrath of the 'long haired general' or the 'domestic manager', this is almost an upgrade that can pass unnoticed. Having a team walk those huge crates in and out of your listening room is a different matter though.  
 
I really can't comment on the Rockport, the company not being a 'player' on the UK high-end scene, but I've felt the Magico adds to the pantheon of high-end designs, but not leave the others in the dust. 
 
I also can't comment on how the combination of Spectral with other loudspeakers works well here, because the Spectral dealers in the UK tend to use them with Avalon, Peak Consult and Focal speakers, rather than Magico. Instead, these speakers tend to be used with Audio Research, DarTZeel and Krell amps. There's no special UK synergy in effect here, just that UK dealers tend to stock less lines than US ones and the working arrangements of the distributors of these brands can end up dictating what goes with what.

Alan Sircom
Editor, Hi-Fi Plus Magazine
London, England
editor [at] hifiplus [dot] com

bosell -- Sat, 03/06/2010 - 18:20

Sorry if my ramble wasn't very clear, the Isis is in the system now. The point I attempted to make with the Eidolon was that I like the Avalon presentation so much that when I felt the urge to upgrade, I pretty much went straight to the Isis without considering any alternatives. I only listened to the Isis about 3 hours in one session before I bought them. The fact that I auditioned them in a Spectral system facilitated my decision. I blame my initial incoherence on Cabernet :-)

When I bought the Isis, I also inquired about the big Sentinels. While no one at the dealer officially wanted to say so, I got the impression that regardless of the price, the Isis was the better speaker by far. The only circumstance they'd recommend the Sentinel over the Isis was if the room was "absolutely huge". I'm not sure what that means exactly because I thought my room is quite large. In my experience, it is not often that a dealer recommends the significantly cheaper alternative.

Mr Plus -- Sun, 03/07/2010 - 04:39

I think the Isis reflects some significant developmental steps made by Avalon recently. The Sentinel represented the best of the previous generation of Avalon speakers, I believe, while the Isis is the state of the art from the company today.

Alan Sircom
Editor, Hi-Fi Plus Magazine
London, England
editor [at] hifiplus [dot] com

DF (not verified) -- Sun, 03/07/2010 - 14:07

Your question is extremely relevant. I believe that there has been a significant improvement in high-end loudspeakers in the past few years and you should definitely go out and listen to some of the new offering mentioned above.

bosell -- Tue, 03/09/2010 - 15:29

 Well, couldn't resist expanding a business trip by a day to listen a few things. Started out with the Wilson Alexandrias driven by an impressive looking collection of Krell electronics. It was definitely like its predecessors I had previously heard but better than any of them. It was happily devoid of mid-bass (guessing here) problems that I felt smeared the sound of the previous designs. It was expressive and in your face, not unlike the Avantgarde horns I heard a few years back. I felt that its imaging (is that the term?) was a mess with some instruments constantly way out of proportion to the others. However it might just be the ultimate rock/pop/dance speaker I've ever heard and this is not meant as an insult. As before Wilson is very much present in each performance which really is not my thing. I might also add that with some Jesse Cook Nuevo Flamenco stuff the Alexandrias kinda fell apart considering their price. The impression of a live guitar sound just wasn't sufficiently there. But with Bob Marley's Natural Mystic the impact and weight was stunning. I can see why some people would adore this speaker.

Next was the Magico M5 driven by a Spectral system similar to my own. Maybe I was initially let down by all the hype but my first impression was...well, I was simply underwhelmed. I quickly discovered that the M5 needs to be cranked up quite a bit to sound its best. It still sounded a little generic but it is my (limited) experience that many really good speakers do just that. After a couple of hours I came to the conclusion that the M5 is very neutral, quite resolving, puts the stage toward the listener compared to the Isis and is compromised in its dynamic ability.  Before you all jump on me, let me explain MY definition of this. A chamber music ensemble is supposed to come across as much smaller than a symphony orchestra, regardless of listening volume. The Avalons excel in this, the M5 does not. Aside from this, the M5 did a very respectable disappearing act and I cannot be critical of any other areas of its performance. Upon completion of my session, the experts assessed my impressions as being influenced by a strong preference for "dynamic scaling" and "holographic presentation" and of course "learning" the music through the Avalons. In the end, I could certainly happily live with the M5 but I am tempted to say that it is overpriced. 
 
Finally, I have learned over the last few years that the listening room can substantially impact most, if not all, of the aspects of music reproduction I attempted to discuss above. Therefore, YMMV.

Marcel (not verified) -- Tue, 03/09/2010 - 14:45

Hi Bo,
Your experience with both the Avalons you mention and some other speakers, is spot on in my experience! For a long period of time, my system was very similar to yours, with the exception that I have never made the step to the Isis. Over the last 5 months or so, I did a great deal of auditioning to the Magico V3, and also a full day to the M5. In the end I came to respect them a lot, but never 'fell in love'. Next to their staging and neutrality, what I appreciate most of the Magico's, is their seemingly infinate capability to play loud and rich. Instruments never sound stressed; irrespective of how close they are miked or how loud they are played, they remain sounding natural and relaxed with a rich palette of colors. Where they fall short in my view, is in painting the complete picture of instruments & musicians in a room, hall or other venue. Not that you don't hear that through the Magico's, but I feel the presentation stresses individual instruments over the complete picture. The Avalons excel in painting such complete, coherent and lifelike picture. And somehow, within that picture, the Avalons manage to give individual instruments a larger dynamic range than the Magico's, giving the instruments more presence, closer to what I hear in real life. In my experience, life music, even when played softly, has a tremendous amount of energy and agility, boltness and swiftness. Compared to that, I would say the Magico's are more polite than the Avalons.
One of the very few demo's that bowled me over, was in a familiar setting with familliar electronics, of the Avalon Isis. It was similarly impressive as my first experience with the Spectral 4000 Pro cd player. The demo of the Magico's was compared to that 'just' very impressive.

bosell -- Tue, 03/09/2010 - 16:07

 Hi Marcel,
Your audio vocabulary is obviously much more developed than mine. Your comment " life music, even when played softly, has a tremendous amount of energy and agility, boltness and swiftness" perfectly articulates something I couldn't quite pull off myself. That is what I look for in a good system and no other virtues will make up for its absence.
 
And I agree about the SDR4000, all CD players do definitely NOT sound the same. :-)

Louis Freedman (not verified) -- Tue, 03/09/2010 - 18:06

Curious as to the Spectral system you heard. My recent ‘upgrade’ to the 30SS preamp from the 30SL has proven problematic. When you described the sound of the M5, I couldn’t help but thinking that what you may have heard was the sound of the new 30SS. For my ears, “underwhelming” would probably be the best way to put it. I find myself constantly turning up the volume to try and get my speakers going (Eidolon), and my volume control is already way up on the dial.  That wasn’t the case with the 30SL, which I still have. It is much more vivid and dynamic, perhaps a tad grainier but overall considerably more enjoyable. I have heard the M5 driven by Soulution and Zanden electronics, I would not describe them as underwhelming or generic, just expensive.

Mr Plus -- Tue, 03/09/2010 - 18:52

I'm surprised by the 'underwhelming' and 'generic' comments about the M5, too.

Having heard the Magicos driven by a number of amplifier designs, I'd describe them as 'fundamentally accurate'. I'd be very hard pressed to imagine someone walking away from an M5 demonstration without being impressed by the performance, even if they ultimately preferred a different loudspeaker. It's like a Ferrari driver getting a test drive in a Koenigsegg - it might not be your 'cup of tea' (I'm British and therefore entirely powered by tea), but the 'wow' factor shines through all the same.

Alan Sircom
Editor, Hi-Fi Plus Magazine
London, England
editor [at] hifiplus [dot] com

bosell -- Tue, 03/09/2010 - 21:00

As I said in my initial post, I'm not good at audio buzzwords and I usually find equipment reviews little silly in that regard. But I'll try to be more artful here. Me being initially underwhelmed was a function of volume, I still maintain that in order to sound their best, the M5's have to be played fairly loud. I absolutely think that the M5's are tonally accurate (to my ears) but their presentation of space is not in the same category as the Isis (or the Eidolon for that matter). FWIW, I'm somewhat familiar with the room used for audition from years back and I've always found it to be a little overdamped to my taste. That said, if I had to choose between the Alexandria and the M5, I'd probably take the M5 (probably only because of different ancillaries and venue). OTOH, my WOW would go to the Alexandria but to me it is also its biggest shortcoming, it is like an instrument as opposed to a transducer. It has its own voice and not necessarily an unattractive one either. But as it stands, the Isis is going nowhere.

bosell -- Tue, 03/09/2010 - 20:56

I have to confess that I'm not sure what the preamp was. Mine is the DMC30SS and my previous one was the DMC20 so I'm not familiar with the 30SL but I suspect that it looks identical to the 30SS except for the last letter of the model designation on the lower right of the faceplate. I simply didn't bother to look at the electronics very closely. I do remember the dealer mentioning that the 30SS had a completely new board design compared to the previous version. But he certainly neglected to mention that it was inferior too, if that indeed is the case :-)

Marcel (not verified) -- Wed, 03/10/2010 - 07:33

Louis,

"I find myself constantly turning up the volume to try and get my speakers going (Eidolon), and my volume control is already way up on the dial."

I made the same upgrade last year, and had the same experience. My dealer told me, and reading Spectral bulletins from their own website confirmed this, that the 30SS has a completely different volume control than the 30SL. Not only is the technology used different, but the gradient by which the volume level is distributed over the range of the contorl is completely different. The new control is designed to be set at around 50% at moderate to average listening levels. When fully emerging into the music, I regularly found myself playing around 70-80% of the scale. This is not a defect, it is intentional.
Marcel

bosell -- Wed, 03/10/2010 - 10:20

Are you referring to the "Super Fader"? Is it unique to the 30SS? While I don't have a 30SL, I'm tempted to insert my DMC20 S2 in the system and see what happens. Do you guys think that it might be worth the trouble to try to find a used 30SL just to play with? I'm not at all opposed to the idea that measurable technological advancements do not necessarily result in sonic advancements to the listener. I'm perfectly happy with the 30SS but maybe it is only because I don't know what I'm missing. That's the sort of thinking that got me interested in the current loudspeaker crop. :-)

Marcel (not verified) -- Thu, 03/11/2010 - 03:31

Bo, yes I mean the "super fader" (forgot how it was named).
This, together with a completely new power supply, results in that the 30SS is a significant upgrade to the 30SL, in my experience. Like with the SDR 4000 Pro, it does take some 'getting used to' as it is utterly neutral, and removes the last remainders of sluggishness and grain that lends the 30SL a tad more warmth and romance.

If you want to do some experimenting, try the Soulution pre-amp (720 or 721). In short, this pre-amp has all the goodies of the 30SS (neutrality, speed, resolution, transparency, 3D, etc.) PLUS an added level of refinement, finesse, smoothness, and richness and density of colour that I always thought were the exclusive domain of the best tube amps.

But I can fully understand your point to stick with the Isis. It is not in the hype anymore (if it ever were?), but it delivers an impression of live music, I have yet to hear from any other speaker.

staxguy -- Sat, 10/30/2010 - 02:34

What's the difference between the 720 and the 721? What's the reason for the two models?

Marcel -- Mon, 11/15/2010 - 14:05

I believe the 720 has a tape loop and a phone amp on board. The 721 is a line-stage only. Rest is identical.

Louis Freedman (not verified) -- Wed, 03/10/2010 - 11:32

Yes, I know. My dealer told me the same thing. That does not change the fact that, to my ears, it sounds compressed and somewhat veiled. Smoother, but not nearly as fun as my old preamp.

Keng Neder (not verified) -- Thu, 03/11/2010 - 08:15

Marcel,

I have just recently ventured into the 'high-end' realm. Having upgraded to a DMC30SL/ DMA250 from a Sugden amp has opened up a new world for me. It makes me thirst for more. Right now I'm at the verge of upgrading my speakers. I'm still hesitant wether I should go for a Avalon Indra or the Magico V3. I hope to come across a 2nd hand Eidolon Diamond. I have auditioned the V3 a whole day. I liked what I heard. The Indra I've only heard for 30 minutes I thought it was beautiful but had somewhat of a distant presentation. My dealer (Peter; I think you know him) told me it was because of the Pass electronics as I've heard the V3 on Spectral electronics. Also I heard the Avalons don't do bass. Now i'm not a bass freak but I listen to lots of Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller, etc. Can the Avalons rock or are they just mainly good at classical and jazz?

Thanks

Marcel -- Thu, 03/11/2010 - 14:58

In my experience, if you were to choose between the Indra and the V3, I guess with your tastes, you would end with preferring the V3. Somehow, the Indra is not the balanced performer as the Eidolon (Diamonds) on Spectral electronics. Although that might also depend on the size of the room in which I have auditioned the Indras. And the V3 is really impressive. The V3 in my view is more articulate in the bass section than the Eidolons. As for the question if Eidolons can rock: Yes they can! But do take plenty of time to audition both speakers on your own type of electronics with your own music.

Keng Neder (not verified) -- Thu, 03/11/2010 - 16:46

Marcel,

thanks for your insightful reply. Yes the V3 is terrific. But the way you described how the Eidolons can paint better the live music picture really intrigues me. I didn't notice during my audition about how you described the Magico sound but now that I think about it you have a point. My ultimate goal is to get the 'live' experience in my home, or at least as close as one can get. I'm also thinking of changing to the soulution pre and power amp as I love everything about my Spectrals just think it lacks a bit of richness at times. I listen to almost any type of music but mostly vocals, jazz , classic, funk. Do you think the eidolons will get me closer to my goal or the V3? Also what's the difference in terms of performance between the eidolon and the diamond? The eidolon is fairly cheap 2nd hand.

Thanks

bosell -- Thu, 03/11/2010 - 18:16

IMO, you will never get a live experience without a live performance but these days you can get a pretty satisfying substitute. Assuming you have at least decent speakers (like a mid-level Paradigm, Maggie, or ML), the first thing you should do is the room acoustics. It is rare that a room has benign acoustics unless it is specifically designed that way. In my experience, the only way is to have a reputable professional with proper references to do it even if it means that you will have less money for the equipment. That said, I'm tempted to say that some speakers, such as Martin-Logans and Avalons, benefit from a good room more than others. Avalons, IMO, are very neutral speakers, that lack the unnatural mid-bass emphasis built into many speakers to act as an automatic loudness switch. Therefore, in a wrong environment they can sound thin and lacking in bass. Also because of their neutral tonal balance it is important to make sure that they are matched to the room size, otherwise they may lack impact even in a properly treated room. I know that room design and construction isn't nearly as sexy as new equipment but using a car analogy I have learned that room is the chassis/suspension/brakes while the electronics are the motor. That said, some people go racing on the track while others choose to burn rubber at traffic lights. :-)

SlickenSmooth -- Thu, 03/11/2010 - 19:39

Thanks for your advice bosell.

I'm treating my room with daads by acustica applicata, ofcourse I don't know how or where to place them but my dealer knows. Also later on I will probably get a professional to come by when I've finally moved to my new house.

Btw, have you tried listening to the M5 Bi-amped by Soulution Monoblocks? The 360's will do a good job but to really ' trigger' the M5 I think one needs to bi amp it. Ofcourse that means another pair of MIT Oracle MA speaker cables. As if it weren't expensive enough ;-)

Silence is Music

Eric Holder (not verified) -- Thu, 03/11/2010 - 20:00

Interesting discussion, although it might be based on questionable assumptions and conclusions. Due to the nature of the Avalon XO network, you will get more emphasis on the upper-midrange and trebles, a mild suck-out in the mid-bass, and unfortunately no real deep bass (Not XO related). Exciting? Yes. Real? I don’t think so.

I sold my Eidolon for the Magico V3 almost 2 years ago; after almost 20 years of “Avalon life,” starting with the Ascent, I moved on. The V3s are simply more coherent, linear and much more dynamic than any of the Avalons I owned. I also don’t blow drivers as much as I used to (gone through 3 tweeters on the Eidolon, none so far on the V3). Having said that, you may find the ‘sparkle’ of Avalon’s upper frequencies intoxicating. I eventually got tired of it.

bosell -- Thu, 03/11/2010 - 20:22

Do you use a tube amp?

Eric Holder (not verified) -- Thu, 03/11/2010 - 21:03

No tubes. Replaced a Spectral setup with 2000 Boulder series about a year ago.

bosell -- Fri, 03/12/2010 - 12:12

Then it was certainly not a drive issue. You could drive nails with that thing. :-)

Robert Harley -- Sat, 03/13/2010 - 17:43

I lived with the Eidolon for some time and auditioned the V3 in my room for about six weeks. My impressions parallel those of Eric Holder. I'll also add that the V3 is more transparent and resolving, particularly in the midrange.

Marcel -- Sun, 03/14/2010 - 15:30

Robert, this comparison of Eidolon and V3 is an interesting one, as it spans a considerable amount of time. Both in the conception of the speakers, as well, I assume, in the time between which you auditioned both speakers in your room. We witnessed significant improvements in electronics and source components over the last, say 5 years. High-res sources are significantly "more transparant and resolving" then the sources used 5 years ago when I guess you auditioned the Eidolon. This will somehow influence our perception of the speakers we auditioned, then and now.

For my personal experience: As I continued to have the Eidolons over 6 years now, I witnessed the music that was being produced by them develop significantly, as I upgraded my electronics to the latest version of that brand. E.g. Spectral SDR 2000/3000 to SDR 4000, and similarly with the pre-power amps. Now I do not claim that Eidolons are similar in performance to the V3. You can clearly hear time didn't stand still in speaker country as well. However, in my view the difference is much smaller, if you audition both speakers on contemporary electronics, then when each speaker is played through the electronics 'of its own era'.

Particularly after I switched to the Soulution amps, I was shocked by how much of the best 'modern high end sound' emerged from the old Eidolons. I am curious for your experience; would you be so kind to share your view on this?

Robert Harley -- Sun, 03/14/2010 - 18:17

You make a good point about the considerable improvements in sources and electronics (and cables; I used the MIT Oracle with the V3)over the time span involved. I believe I last had Eidolons at least eight years ago.

bosell -- Mon, 03/15/2010 - 21:21

So I should feel good about having "invested" in those cables then? ;-) They better not get obsolete in the next 10 years...

bosell -- Tue, 03/16/2010 - 00:25

Marcel, I'm not sure where you live but I have a couple of issues that prevent me from considering the Soulution stuff for the time being. First, the amps cost like $115K here in the US and I cannot help thinking that it has a lot to do with our dollar that has gone to the crapper. Second, I have concerns about continued support in the US if something goes wrong in a few years. I have been previously stranded by some notable high end brands (read Gryphon) here. And lastly, do the Soulution amps REALLY sound that much better than, say, the DMA360's?

Marcel -- Tue, 03/16/2010 - 14:24

Bo,
The Soulutions are definitely better sounding than the Spectrals. In short: they have all the goodies of the Spectrals, plus an even higher level of refinement, finesse and richness (not added warmth) of tone. They are even more neutral. You could really descibe them as having the best of both SS and Tube worlds. And as such well worth the price difference, ... in Europe. In the US, Spectral is much cheaper and Soulution much more expensive. Whether they are worth the effort to audition, given the price difference in the US compared to Spectral, I guess, is strongly depending on the depth of your pockets... One thing is clear, the Spectrals provide tremendous value for money!

bosell -- Wed, 03/17/2010 - 17:12

Hmm...having heard Spectral components installed in other systems in the past, I think there is definitely something to the systems approach they espouse. Does that apply to Soulution as well? Any thoughts on mixing/matching the two brands? I just figured out the cost of a Soulution package. $215K retail...ouch! :-)

Marcel -- Thu, 03/18/2010 - 14:20

The SDR 4000 mixes excellently with the Soulution pre-power combi. If you were to start exploring in that direction, try starting with the pre-amp. This gives you already a significant flavor of what Soulution can do to your sound. And, not unimportant, it is also the cheapest step, as both the power amp and CD player are more expensive. Somehow, maybe because both brands work with a high bandwith philosophy, the two brand seem to mix pretty well.

Louis Freedman (not verified) -- Thu, 03/11/2010 - 13:22

Marcel,,
My dealer said the exact same thing. I tried it but I don't seems to be able to "get use to it". I do agree with you on the Soulution. They did sound marvelous on the Magico's. It may be time to reexamine my entire setup.

clavil (not verified) -- Tue, 03/16/2010 - 04:25

Hi everybody

Could somebody compare Avalon's Isis to Magico M5 or Q5 ?

thanks

clavil (not verified) -- Tue, 03/16/2010 - 04:25

Hi everybody

Could somebody compare Avalon's Isis to Magico M5 or Q5 ?

thanks

jtein -- Tue, 03/16/2010 - 09:15

Thanks Bossell for this enjoyable, intelligent and educational thread. I would like to ask you whether your Spectral and Avalon gear are tuned with Harmonix products (or its equivalent)? The reason I'm asking this is due to my visit to a dealer today who informed me that an audio component will never realize tis maximum potential unless they are correctly tuned.

bosell -- Wed, 03/17/2010 - 17:02

I don't have any stand alone tuning devices as I understand the term. I have an Equitech balanced power distribution system built into a wall cabinet that supplies the entire system and (IIRC) 50 amp circuits for the power amplifiers. The room tuning stuff is part of the front and side walls. The equipment is on Zoethecus stands with shelves that are supposed to have isolation/ energy transfer -or something like that- properties. They look pretty, IMO. There is a large Persian rug on the plank floor that was part of the initial room setup so I guess that would quality as a tuning "thing". The MIT cables could be considered tuning IMO because I fail to understand how adding some magic circuits to the cable would not mess with the audio signal. However, I did not go to war over them because the dealer did an outstanding job setting up the system and addressing my needs. I figured that the margins on the cables must be astronomical and the dealer was just getting paid for his services past, present and future. (I don't buy any of that "amortization of R&D" line of reasoning). I suppose I'd have more tweaks if I had a turntable.

ErgoCogito -- Thu, 05/23/2013 - 06:52

Just my 2cents, but in my Spectral/MIT, Eggleston Works Andra system, w/ PS Audio PWT & PWD, front end, no preamp per se, just the PWD, I hear absolutely no loss in "richness" spoken of here. I assume that this adjective is referring to harmonic nuances and possibly the overall timbral presentation of the music? It seems that one needs to start w/ defining one's terms to ensure an agreed upon vocabulary or lexicon and thereby avoid subjective, amorphous terms. And let us not forget such fundamental concepts such as the law of diminishing returns, or, even more base, that no two listening rooms w/ associated eqquipment will be exactly the same.As a classically trained violinist, violin maker and restorer, and someone who practically lived at music hall, I am intimately acquainted with acoustic phenomenon. Recall, or know now that the great J. Heifetz had both a Stradivarius and a del Gesu and could not ultimately say which instrument was "better". He could only say that on some pieces, that the vitues of either the Strad or the del Gesu seemed to be called for. Just an analogy to be considered. Cheers and happy listening.

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