Thanks for another very good review.
If I were ever to change the SHL5's, SF is a brand that does interest me... how would you say the Cremona Auditor M compares?
So is the plan now, to do a side by side demo of MF and the new Devialet?
It felt a bit odd writing about the Dev 170; it's so transparent there's not a great deal you can say about it. I hope I managed to convey some sense of the experience.
Sonus Fabers are a very different experience from Harbeths. I haven't compared the SHL5s directly with SFs, so this comes with a pinch of salt, but I think there are four things I'd say. First, the tonal balance is different. The Harbeths are probably tilted more towards the mid- and upper-midrange, whereas the SFs have more brilliance. Normally I'd prefer the former, as too much top end can be tiring, but the transparency of the Dev made the SFs very calm. Obviously you'll get more bass out of the SHL5s than the relatively small Cremonas, which are only 35 x 20 x 37, compared to the 60 x 30 x 30 SHL5s. Second, for all their lovely airiness, the Harbeths are still square boxes, and you do get a little hint of that boxiness, which the SFs don't have. Third, based on my demo yesterday I'd say that the 2D imaging of the Harbeths is slightly better. It's a fine call though. Fourth, whilst you lose something in terms of the width of soundstage, I think small standmounts tend to sound faster and to have more integrity. The sound is coming from a smaller point and has more coherence.
When the Cremonas first came out they were the same price as the SHL5s. Since then, SF prices have gone a bit crazy. As the Cremona Auditors are now being replaced, there are deals for ex-demo stock, but you'll still pay at least £1K more for them than for the SHL5s. On the other hand, they do sound like a very expensive speaker.
What classical music are you listening to?
Thanks for that Matt.
Just been reading up on the SF and see they are rear ported, so not sure they would work in my small room and yes even ex dem prices are a touch OTT... still, when the time comes, they will certainly be a speaker on the demo list.
The Devialet, from what you describe, does sound like a superb piece of kit, must try and hear one for myself some time.
Accuphase E350 amp, Electrocompaniet EMC1UP CDP, Siltech 25th Classic anniversary 330I XLR Harbeth Super HL5 on Sound Anchor Quod ELS63 stands, Chord Odessey2 SC. Grado SR60I headphones. HIFI RACKS Podium Reference rack.
The Devialet-SF combination is a real winner, supremely sweet and musical. My best demo so far.
Hi Matt.. If I may, I would also suggest you to have a possible demo of Vivid Audio V1.5 (or any other V series in your preferred format book shelf / wall mount) !
Few years back, the looks of these speakers was an issue to some, but I guess now many are accustomed to their physical appearance and comfortable the way they look
Over these years of HiFi, I belieive Speakers have the most pronounced impact as you know already and if Vivid Audio is not too much stretch money wise (if not immediately) even for near future, then it is worth an audition.
Devialet and Vivid partner alot and it seems an active version of Vivid Gaya is in pipe line with Devialet as the amplifier.
I will increase your pain a little by mentioning two areas where the Dev is streets ahead of the AMS35i. Need I say "remote control"? ...
That wouldn't be difficult.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Let's rub it in! A picture says more than a thousand words...
And of course also:
Now that's just cruel, Doc. I think you may be in danger of breaking the Hippocratic oath there.
I know there's quite a buzz about these speakers. I just had another look at them. Hmmm, not sure at all whether I could live with the sci-fi look in my living room.
Talking of actives with Devialet, I guess the 240 will at some stage be configurable to operate with its own internal crossover. Interesting.
Here's a new review of the 170 from Absolute Sounds.
Ah come on, Matt! For once I can be evil towards Cno...
I heard that!
Say what, HearnoEvil?
This afternoon I demoed the Devialet 170 again. Same set-up as last time, Copland CDA825 and Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor Ms. One difference though: after the previous demo of this set-up I realized I hadn't checked how the Copland and the Dev were connected. I'd assumed the dealer would use the digital outs of the Copland. So I called the dealer to check, and it turned out he'd been using the analogue RCA connection.
Detail, detail ...
So this time the Copland was serving as transport only. Results? Well, the 170 continues to be awesomely brilliant. It's just so delicate and pure. I imagine some people might think it a tad cold or even thin. I don't think it has quite the bass clout of the AMS35i; on the other hand it seems to me to have a fraction more precision all round. To me it just sounds present, tangibly real.
So, job done.
On the subject of the AMS35i, my local dealer was supposed tro be getting the Devs in, which would have allowed me to do a direct , but there's no sign. Due to holidays, that's now not going to happen until the end of August. In fact, it's not going to happen at all.
Both the Dev and the AMS35i are superb. If my memory serves me right, and allowing for different set-ups and listening environments, the Dev has a slight edge in terms of sheer transparency. But in terms of SQ there's not much between them.
Two other factors weigh heavily with me. One is appearance: much as I like to look at hi-fi boxes (for instance, I love the look of Accuphase kit), the AMS35i is very big and rather plain. By comparison the Dev is unobtrusively beautiful. And then there's the remote. The Dev's remote is just perfection: solid, well-crafted, elegant, and works like a dream. I won't comment on the AMS35i's remote again, for fear of upsetting Cno.
So the deal is done. End of story. I totted up last night how many amps/active speakers I've demoed. The total stands at 27.
The Dev 170 is the one.
Next stop, speakers ...
I'm very happy for you, Matt! Certainly you didn't decide lightly! Enjoy!
You won't upset me as I'm all too well aware of the shortcommings of the 35i.
Given how much you like the Devialet, I think you have made the right decision.....especially if you go with the type of musical speakers you have been pairing it with. I would encourage you to also try it with some Kef R Series (if you haven't already - can't remember).
Your comment about "detail, detail" is spot on....so I would strongly recommend you experiment with cables (including mains cables), once the system has settled in ie. Brands like Vertere, TQ, Atlas (try some Mavros) and possibly Cardas.
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