Mr. Valin, Would Love to hear your thoughts on this at CES...

default -- Mon, 01/04/2010 - 14:53

Hello Mr.  Valin,
 
Thanks to the Reviewers Background section, I can confidently say that I share same equipment tastes with you.   Hence, I would like to ask for a small favor.  According to the Soundlab Owners Forum, Soundlab will be displaying their px speakers driven by Atma-sphere amplification.   I am not sure whether you were planning to check out the Soundlab room, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the Soundlab PX speakers and how they compare to the Martin Logan CLX.  Also, in a recent review you suggested that Soulution is the most transparent amplifier you have ever heard.  In my case, the most transparent amplifier I have heard is the OTL Atma-sphere. 
 
You have favorably reviewed both the Soundlabs and the Atma-sphere in the past.  I know it is different systems/ different rooms dilemma, but I would love to get your thoughts on these newer, improved products.
 
Thanks

Jonathan Valin -- Mon, 01/04/2010 - 21:44

 You got it!

niner -- Wed, 01/06/2010 - 22:34

 Oh, and the Lotus Group Granada if you can. Keen to hear another update on this intriguing design.
 
Cheers, and have fun!

David Matz -- Sun, 01/17/2010 - 11:13

I own both Logans (not the CLX) and Soundlabs.  Using Mr. Valin's very helpful defintions in the Let's Call the Whole thing off blog post, I find that Martin Logan falls in the "Transparent" category.  It's sublime on great recordings, but just ok on other recordings (compared to Soundlabs).  The Logans just throw detail at you.  The Soundlabs have much more nuance and inner detail, presenting the musical whole.  It falls under Mr. Valin's "Absolute Sound" definition in his blog.  
 
I have never heard the Soulution amps, as I think only 1 NYC dealer sells them, but Atma-spheres are the Platonic ideal of transparency based on what I have heard.
 
Looking forward to JV's thoughts...
 

Jonathan Valin -- Mon, 01/18/2010 - 02:48

curious,

I think your observations are fundamentally correct. The CLXes are ideal for listeners who want to hear recordings sound precisely as good or bad as the engineering and mastering allow. The Sound Labs are ideal for listeners who love the sound of the real thing (and equally for listeners who want their music to sound beautiful). I've always like Ralph's amps and preamps, particularly with Sound Lab speakers.

Jon

Billinoc (not verified) -- Sun, 01/17/2010 - 15:00

Hi Mr. Valin,
I am always interested in the selection of demo music in each room at CES and other shows  All to often the music was unfamiliar and not useful as a personal reference.  However, the introducition to excellent new material is always a thrill!
I was particularly interested in your impressions from the A-B comparisons provided by Synergistic Research and Nordost and their choice of music.  Would these CDs be a good reference for general comparisons?
Would it be possible to publish the list of key selections used in many of the memorable rooms?
(I really enjoyed the latest edition of AS in looking back at the first issues.  I have retained copies of most ot these and realize how much they helped shape by enthusiasm and appreciation for this hobby.)
 
 

Jonathan Valin -- Mon, 01/18/2010 - 02:45

Billinoc,
 
I'm afraid I missed the Nordost demo--funny, that--so I don't know which CDs you're referring to.
 
To be honest, I try to use my own music as often as possible at trade shows. Let's face it: Manufacturers aren't going to play anything of their own that they think is going to sound bad--or reflect poorly on their equipment. The stuff they play is carefully programmed to wow the listener with big powerful electric bass/kickdrum lines, or enormous orchestral tuttis with bass drum strikes, or lightning rim shots. In other words, large-scale dynamics and SPLs first. This kind of thing can be very impressive, but most of the time I'm more interested in how a speaker, for instance, fares in the midrange at lifelike levels. Hearing how much realism it brings to a human voice or a violin or a piano (assuming, of course, that the LP or CD allows these things to sound realistic) tells me more than hearing how loud it'll play or how much air it'll move in the bottom two octaves. But then I am a fan of smaller-scale acoustic music.
 
Jon

zead (not verified) -- Mon, 01/18/2010 - 10:12

 
 JV,
             continuing the soundlab analogy above...where does the "PANORAMA" fit....in terms of sound

Jonathan Valin -- Tue, 01/19/2010 - 22:33

 zead,
 
The Panorama is, I think, primarily for folks who want to hear recordings sound like the real thing--the absolute sound group--though it is also transparent enough to please the "mastertape" bunch (though not as transparent-to-sources as, oh, a MartinLogan CLX). It is, I think, fundamentally too neutral and honest to please the "as you like it" group.
 
Jon

. (not verified) -- Wed, 01/20/2010 - 20:43

Jonathan, I too am curious about the sound of the Sound Lab PX speakers and Atma-Sphere electronics which the original poster asked about. What did you listen to and how did it sound? What equipment was in the system, cabling, etc?

Brian Kurtz, Sales Director, Teo Audio Liquid Cable (not verified) -- Fri, 01/22/2010 - 13:18

Room 4056 at T.H.E. Show was magnificent...of course, I'm biased, as we co-sponsored the room with Sound Lab. Our Teo Audio Liquid Cables -- "The Standard" models were used throughout, except for the occasional "oh my God" moments provided by our latest prototype Reference-series interconnect between CD and pre, to be released this spring -- were used as the interconnects and speaker cables in the system, which consisted of

--Dr. Chris Feickert's new Woodpecker turntable with an arm he's been working on, and a wonderful Ortofon cartridge that I'm told sells for only $1000.00.
--AMR CD-777 tube analog output CD player --magical player with vintage NOS DACs and hand-selected tubes
--AMR 777 tube phono stage -- musically engaging are the only words to describe it
--Atma-Sphere MA-1 (Mk IIIs?) monoblock amplifiers, and
--Atma-Sphere balanced preamplifier (also with phono stage, which was also wonderful, for the record!)
--Sound Lab M1-PX electrostatic panels -- simply the best full-range 'stats I've heard

The table, arm, and cartridge were dialed in by Chris Feickert himself, who also provided the Ortofon cartridge for us. What a wonderful man he is! Fun, enthusiastic, and brilliant to boot!

The CD player, phono stage, Acousic Systems International room dial in devices (INCREDIBLE how well they worked...) and all of those Franck Chang-built component stands and power cords were graciously provided by Darren Censullo of Avatar Acoustics. This high-energy gentleman once flew fighter jets for our armed forces and now brings that same intensity to his room setup and dial-in for everyone's benefit. AMAZING that Darren provided so much positive energy in our room while simultaneously (or so it seemed) visiting several other rooms which featured his wonderful components.

The Atma-Sphere preamp and amplifiers were provided by, setup and dialed in by long-time audio legend Ralph Karsten, who also staffed a room downstairs in the Flamingo with Classic Audio loudspeakers.

The wonderful folks at Sound Lab, Dr. Roger West and Connie Frey, were as sweet, kind, and gracious as anyone could hope for. What wonderful loudspeakers, and beautiful human beings as well!

I know I can speak for myself as well as Teo Audio's Senior Partners Ken Hotte and Taras Kowalczyszyn when I say that WE LOVED THIS SHOW AND WERE TRULY BLESSED BY THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE SHARED WITH THESE INCREDIBLE PEOPLE!

Brian Kurtz, Sales Director, Teo Audio Liquid Cable (not verified) -- Fri, 01/22/2010 - 13:18

Room 4056 at T.H.E. Show was magnificent...of course, I'm biased, as we co-sponsored the room with Sound Lab. Our Teo Audio Liquid Cables -- "The Standard" models were used throughout, except for the occasional "oh my God" moments provided by our latest prototype Reference-series interconnect between CD and pre, to be released this spring -- were used as the interconnects and speaker cables in the system, which consisted of

--Dr. Chris Feickert's new Woodpecker turntable with an arm he's been working on, and a wonderful Ortofon cartridge that I'm told sells for only $1000.00.
--AMR CD-777 tube analog output CD player --magical player with vintage NOS DACs and hand-selected tubes
--AMR 777 tube phono stage -- musically engaging are the only words to describe it
--Atma-Sphere MA-1 (Mk IIIs?) monoblock amplifiers, and
--Atma-Sphere balanced preamplifier (also with phono stage, which was also wonderful, for the record!)
--Sound Lab M1-PX electrostatic panels -- simply the best full-range 'stats I've heard

The table, arm, and cartridge were dialed in by Chris Feickert himself, who also provided the Ortofon cartridge for us. What a wonderful man he is! Fun, enthusiastic, and brilliant to boot!

The CD player, phono stage, Acousic Systems International room dial in devices (INCREDIBLE how well they worked...) and all of those Franck Chang-built component stands and power cords were graciously provided by Darren Censullo of Avatar Acoustics. This high-energy gentleman once flew fighter jets for our armed forces and now brings that same intensity to his room setup and dial-in for everyone's benefit. AMAZING that Darren provided so much positive energy in our room while simultaneously (or so it seemed) visiting several other rooms which featured his wonderful components.

The Atma-Sphere preamp and amplifiers were provided by, setup and dialed in by long-time audio legend Ralph Karsten, who also staffed a room downstairs in the Flamingo with Classic Audio loudspeakers.

The wonderful folks at Sound Lab, Dr. Roger West and Connie Frey, were as sweet, kind, and gracious as anyone could hope for. What wonderful loudspeakers, and beautiful human beings as well!

I know I can speak for myself as well as Teo Audio's Senior Partners Ken Hotte and Taras Kowalczyszyn when I say that WE LOVED THIS SHOW AND WERE TRULY BLESSED BY THE ENTIRE EXPERIENCE SHARED WITH THESE INCREDIBLE PEOPLE!

Joel Myers (not verified) -- Fri, 02/26/2010 - 14:05

Hi Folks, would you at all be able to get me in touch with Darren Censullo of Avatar Acoustics? I would appreciate any help you might be able to provide, even if you were to forward on my name and email to him.
Much Thanks,
Joel

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