Hello Fine Editors of The Absolute Sound,
I would have approached this topic earlier, but the retail holiday season kept me far busier than I am used to (new employee in Magnolia Home Theater department at Best Buy). My query is two fold:
1) The 2009 and 2010 TAS Buyer's Guides included the Mythos STS alongside the PSB Synchrony Two for the "best of the best" in the $3000/pr price bracket (both competing with far more costly speakers). However, despite the $500 rise in price for the Synch Twos (the STSs having stayed the same), the STSs (as well as the Mythos STs) are now absent from the list, but the Twos remain. I noticed that the Dynaudio Excite X32s ($2800, absent from last two years' lists, although I'm not sure how long they've been on the market) now are the closest competitors with the STSs for price; and the PSBs' direct competitor for price (since its $500 bump) are the Magnepan 3.6s (which, although they've been around for awhile, were also absent from the last two years' lists). To be direct, I am wondering why. I'm not a DefTech fanboy or anything. This just seems inconsistent with all of the praise I've read fo the STs and STSs. My real concern leads us into the second question:
2) As stated above, I now work in the Magnolia Home Theater department of Best Buy in Oak Park, KS. We receive a substantial discount on audio equipment purchased from the store, and I am looking to purchase my first high-end hi-fi system. Since I started, I have done my best to set up our STS system as best I can based on my study of Mr. Harley's The Complete Guide to High-End Audio (which, by the way, thank you for such an incredible resource; and, also by the way, are you going to release the fourth edition in a hard cover edition?) and the articles I've read in TAS as well as other publications. The system consists of a Marantz CD5004 connected by Monster interconnects (although I usually play lossless files from my iPhone 4 through an AudioQuest 3.5mm to stereo RCA cable...I know, I know, the iPhone's DAC) to a Marantz PM5004 stereo integrated (which, admittedly, is far out-classed by the STSs) with AudioQuest 10 ft. Type 4 speaker cables. Until about a week ago, I had been very impressed with this system, showing it to everyone who even hints at liking good sound. One customer claimed he liked the B&W CM9s versus the STSs, which I have not taken ample time to give a good listen to, and had written off as being too forward for my liking. Yesterday, I tested a system based on the TAS buyer's guide recommendations - the B&W 685s with the REL T2 sub-bass system, all connected to the same amp with the same cables with music sourced from my iPhone. After a few minutes of setup, I found that I prefered the sound of this system to the STSs. The B&Ws just seemed to have a fullness in the midrange that the STSs didn't have. So here's my question: Are the DefTechs just paired with the wrong system, or are the 685s just fuller in the midrange? I know that Chris Martens has stated that Sandy Gross of DefTech swears by the sound of his STs with the Cayin A-50T. Would this combo bring more fullness to the midrange because of the natural warmth (or so I've read) of tubes? I know the DefTechs are allegedly hyper-revealing, but I have a hard time believing that my iPhone is the culprit, since there is a lot of warmth with the 685s.
I did not intend for this to be so long-winded, but I tend to be very detailed. Any help with question 1 or 2 would be helpful and greatly appreciated. Thanks.