Devialet use Vivid loudspeakers to demonstrate their amps, so I am not totally surprised by your enthusiastic response.
Ah, didn't know that. Thanks.
But then Spendor chose Devialet amps to showcase the D7 at launch, which would seem an odd decision given your findings. Makes me think there must have been something odd about your audition - the combination might not be the right one for you but I am surprised by just how badly the Spendors performed.
Despite my suspicions, the acoustics were fine, as was the set-up, so there must have been something wrong with that pair of Spendors. It's hard to believe a company that's produced so many fine boxes could have made such a dog.
That airy top-end you seek you might find via Usher's Diamond DMD tweeters - the Mini Dancer Two, perhaps. Or ribbons, of course.
Any plans to hear the Triangle Magellan Duettos?
Thanks, will check those out.
I think I can get to hear the Triangles, though it'll be a schlepp.
Next demo is Proac D30Rs, up against PMC Fact 8s and possibly B&W 804Ds (tho' I'm not a big B&W fan).
What classical music are you listening to?
Interesting next demo. I am not totally convinced from when I have heard B & Ws either, though i seem to remember someone somewhere liking what some top model did on the end of a D Premier so maybe there's a synergy thing here that could work well. They also, like the top Ushers, employ a diamond tweeter, though the top end can be a touch harde. I wonder whether you will like the Fact 8 as much as one the end of the MF AMS 35i (you did audition that combo I think?) or whether that might be another synergy thing. It seems to me synergy really is key, first between speakers and room and second between speakers and amp, and if you can get both of those right everything else will probably fall into place.
Interesting next demo. I am not totally convinced from when I have heard B & Ws either, though i seem to remember someone somewhere liking what some top model did on the end of a D Premier so maybe there's a synergy thing here that could work well. They also, like the top Ushers, employ a diamond tweeter, though the top end can be a touch harde.
Exactly. I found the top end of the B&Ws unpleasantly hard and brittle on the end of the MF AMS 35i. But I wonder whether the smooth and glassy (?) top end of the Dev 170 might marry well with the B&Ws. Let's see ...
It seems to me synergy really is key, first between speakers and room and second between speakers and amp, and if you can get both of those right everything else will probably fall into place.
Couldn't agree more. Looking forward to tomorrow. Err, today already ...
So glad to have you back from the States... something really interesting to read once again!
Accuphase E350 amp, Electrocompaniet EMC1UP CDP, Siltech 25th Classic anniversary 330I XLR Harbeth Super HL5 on Sound Anchor Quod ELS63 stands, Chord Odessey2 speaker cable. Grado SR60 headphones.
Beautiful morning, well here in west London anyway. Definitely a 'bat first' sort of day.
I have mentioned in other threads, that I think that there are a few products that are truly 'special' and genuinely elevate the state of the art.
The Devialet amplifiers are the only things that I have heard in recent times that are in that class and over the years Sonus Faber have hit those heights more regularly than any speaker manufacturer that I know.
Cremona Auditor M are my current favourite in terms of price/performance ratio and with the new Olympica models now coming through there might even be a few pairs of Cremonas at reduced prices.
We do so many shows in a row,
And these towns all look the same,
We just pass the time in our hotel room
And wander 'round backstage,
Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,
And we remember why we came.
It certainly won't be swinging this morning. Time to tuck in.
Have you heard the Vivids? I know some people put them in their 'special' category.
You're right about the pricing of the Cremonas; there are some very attractive offers around.
Today’s was an interesting and useful if not especially exciting demo, at least not compared to the Vivids on Tuesday. Maybe I’m getting picky. Maybe the Dev 170 is so revealing that it makes the shortcomings of speakers very clear. Or maybe I’m discovering that the Dev has trouble driving some speakers (which was the dealer’s view). I suspect it’s a combination of 1 and 2.
So three floorstanders on the menu, again powered by the Dev 170.
It was immediately clear that the ProAcs have a grown- up and mellow presentation. The top end seemed slightly veiled, and the overall tone quite dark (‘smoky’). And there seemed to be a slight lack of attack. I found myself turning up the pot up to get more attack, but it wasn't there.
Having said that, the more subtle effects were very attractive. The ProAcs gave a great impression of the acoustics of the recording space. I hesitate to call it airiness, because these seemed to be quite low frequency reverberations: the faint echo of a voice or instrument in the studio. This was especially clear on a jazz track, where everything suddenly fell into place. I suppose jazz, by its nature, is less about attack.
The three pairs of speakers were arranged side by side, with the ProAcs in the middle, so there was less space between the ProAcs and a correspondingly narrower soundstage, though I wouldn’t call this a problem.
I thought I could hear something slightly coloured in the upper mid-range, which gave a slight hint of artificiality with strings and piano. Perhaps a touch of boxiness? Having said that, male voices felt very lifelike, as did the lower end of the female range, whereas the upper end suffered ever so slightly from this boxy coloration again. (The dealer thought this was the Dev’s fault; he said the ProAcs were hard to drive and the Dev wasn’t getting the most out of them. I’m not so sure.)
One big plus about the ProAcs, and I think a contributor to their overall sense of musicality, was that deep bass notes (e.g. bass guitars) had real bounce. The bass went deep and hit the sternum, was quite warm in tone, but also had very little overhang. Very nice indeed.
My first impression was of the wider frequency range, both up top and at the bottom (that may sound surprising after what I just said about the ProAcs’ bass; more to say on this below.)
Those diamond tweeters certainly give plenty of bite at top end. At first I enjoyed it, but by the end of the demo I found it fatiguing. Along with bite, I heard spit (with vocals) and fizz (with hi-hats). Strings felt a touch too metallic.
On the positive side, the B&Ws produced great separation of instruments and perhaps a better sense of scale than the ProAcs with orchestral music.
The tone of the mid-range struck me as excellent. Obviously B&Ws’ the overall tonal balance is higher than Proacs. As well as spit, vocals suffered from a bit too much breathiness. But there was none of the boxiness I found in the ProAcs’ mid-range.
Back to the bass. The bass of the B&Ws felt deeper, but it also felt less musical; it had less bounce and kick.
Anyway, in a sense this is all academic, as the hard top end isn’t something I could love with. I had the same experience when I heard them being driven by the MF AMS35i. I thought the smoother treble of the Dev might tame the B&Ws; perhaps it did a little, but not enough.
PMC Fact 8
I’d also heard these with the AMS35i and quite liked them. In this demo they were a bit less less impressive.
They’re very fast speakers. They do transients really well. Also of all three pairs of boxes they gave the best account of the soprano scale: tremendously pure, ethereally so. But I suspect the quality of high female voices was an artefact of the overall lack of balance, compared to the other speakers.
The sound of the Fact 8s seemed to me quite a bit smaller than that of the ProAcs and B&Ws. I grant my mind may have been playing tricks on me: when you look at a slender design like this, with its petite drivers, you just think: narrow speaker, narrow sound. Of course it may also be true that the relatively small size of the bass drivers in the PMCs does prevent them from producing the same scale as the other boxes.
I think the ProAcs are worth another demo, although they didn’t utterly blow me away. I went back to them briefly at the end of the demo, and if anything they'd grown on me. All three speakers are good (OK, I have problems with the B&Ws), and they have areas where they’re strong. I could imagine listening to the PMCs for female vocals and some pop, the B&Ws for orchestral music (in short bursts), and the ProAcs for jazz, acoustic and chamber music.
When I said the demo was useful, I meant that at the very least it’s going to serve as a range-finder. Because these speakers are pretty common (esp. the PMCs and B&Ws) I’ll be able to hear them alongside other speakers in future and use them for comparison.
I had a feeling that would be your order of preference. It's great you know exactly what you like, but the downside is that it is so specific, that very few speakers will give it to you.
FWIW. I have found that the AMS35i has a way of making any speaker it is attached to, sound great......it's the only time I've enjoyed Focal on the end of a SS amp.
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Thanks for the usual eloquent review.
Have you ever heard any other ProAcs? such as the D18 or 28.
So after discounting the B&W and PMC, what's up next?
If the Proacs make it to the semi-final, listen to them with no other speakers in the room, just in case this is having an effect.
Before the advent of AV (25+ years ago), it was seen as very poor form if a dealer left any other speakers in the room during the demo, as they can "play along".....and since you are very sensitive to what you are hearing, it's possible that this is subtly throwing things off by just enough to stop you being "utterly blown away."
This would of apply to any speaker that is nearly perfect for you, but it won't of course change its fundamental character.
Agreed and you certainly wouldn't want them side by side.
I've actually heard Vivid speakers - fantastic sound, driven by German amps (I can't recall the name, sorry). No issues with their sound...their looks though, are an acquired taste IMO.
Before the advent of AV (25+ years ago), it was seen as very poor form if a dealer left any other speakers in the room during the demo, as they can "play along".....
Thanks for your advice and support.
I absolutely agree that standing speakers side by side is a no-no. Best not to have any large objects (whatever they are) directly impinging on the acoustic space of the speakers that are playing. I think the PMCs in particular suffered from this yesterday, but no matter, as I'm bound to hear them again on my travels.
I'm aware of the old "no other transducers in the room" theory. You'll have to forgive me if I doubt whether this is a real effect.
Next up probably Kudos. Also on the horizon loads of other Greek- and Latin-named speakers: Neat Ultimatums (Ultimata?), Audiovector Avantgarde Arreté*, Dali Epicons (Epica?) ...
There will be a short hiatus (Latin). My Dev hasn't arrived yet, as the (French) factory shut down for August of course, so my plan to take the Dev with me on my demo travels has been scotched (Scottish).
* 'Arreté' is very poor: a garbling of French 'arrêté' ('stopped', 'halted': don't think they meant this), and Anc. Greek 'arete' ('excellence'), which is presumably what they had in mind. Not quite as bad as 'Diageo' though ...
Good to hear you confirm my thoughts about the Vivids.
As for the looks, I think we can agree they're not meh.
Devialet use Vivid loudspeakers to demonstrate their amps
I hear the Devialet parent company has invested in Vivid, presumably with a view to a partnership or even merger/acquisition?
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