so my plan to take the Dev with me on my demo travels has been scotched (Scottish).
the only scottish part of that is that the deviant french may have a wee dram after their red wine when enjoying time off work. long live the auld alliance >)
cyrus and dynaudio and chord
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?
ah - interesting. Well, perhaps that explains the synergy. I imagine Dev have been using Vivid loudspeakers in developiing the 170 et al. It will be interesting to hear how they go as and when you get them up against some Sonus fabers. Could you get past their looks though?
Could you get past their looks though?
They somehow just remind me of "The Scream".
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
Just need to paint some eyes on the front of the Vivids and stick a washing up glove on each side. Job done.
I think I could live with the looks, if Mrs49 could. Obvs she hasn't seen them yet. A long way to go before a decision and no point in alarming her for nothing.
Next week, by way of contrast, I plan to demo some indisputably pretty speakers. Yep, the Olympicas have come to town ...
What classical music are you listening to?
Now you're talking really dirty........
Before I got my big Martin Logan panels I had Electa Amators on a pair of Peter Sopers' excellent slate stands.
Of all the equipment that passes through my hands these are probably the items I wish I had kept, above everything else.
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.
Really looking forward to your impressions of those beauties
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.
As you’ll know if you’ve been reading my tedious posts, I was rather taken with the Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor Ms on the end of the Devialet 170. The “M” versions replaced the original Cremonas four years ago. They’ve now reached the end of their life and are making way for the Olympica range, which was launched in Munich in May and first reached our shores a couple of weeks ago. SF dealers who have remaining stock of Cremonas are offering some tasty deals. So I thought it’d be instructive (OK, make that “fun”) to compare the outgoing with the incoming ranges.
The system was a Mac playing ALAC files via Ethernet into the Dev 170. Standmounts appeared first, followed by floorstanders.
SF Cremona Auditor M
Nothing much to add to my earlier posts on this speaker. Fast, coherent, sweet and natural sounding. The bass is tuneful and extends fairly low for a box this size The combo with the Dev is, I think, bewitching. There’s plenty of attack, but the overriding impression of the top end is glassily smooth. Smallish box, big sound.
SF Olympica I
What a shock! The tonal balance was utterly different: far brighter and crisper. On the positive side, the treble had greater transparency and the bass was more controlled. Overall I found quite a bit more drama. The stereo image was considerably more precise. But within about ten minutes I began to find the brightness wearing. Weird and unexpected.
SF Cremona M
These are three-way floorstanders with two woofers and two rear ports, one for the mid-range driver, one for the woofers.
Returning to the Cremona range from the Olympica standmounts, the less precise stereo image was obvious. But it was also something of a relief to return to a smoother top end, though one might argue it's a touch veiled in comparison with the Auditors. In fact, I wasn’t at all persuaded that the floorstanders were worth trading up for as against the standmounts.
The floorstanders have essentially the same character as the Auditors. Surprisingly the extra bass extension doesn’t at first seem to bring a great deal to the party. What I mean is the sound didn't feel much weightier, even in large scale music. What I did feel was that the resonance of the recording space came across more clearly.
If anything, the bass was actually a little squidgy. On the positive side, it’s an overall presentation that’s very easy to like.
SF Olympica II
These new floorstanders differ from the Cremonas in having only one woofer. Whereas the Cremonas are rear-ported, the Olympicas have a vertical slot port running down the whole length of the inside edge of the box. Because the port fires sideways, they should be more tolerant of being placed close to a back wall.
My first thought was that they seemed to image slightly less well than the Olympica Is. That was with a solo violin piece, but when I moved on to large-scale and complex stuff, the tables were turned and the imaging seemed utterly marvellous.
But the most striking thing was the complete lack of the brightness that bothered me in the Olympica Is, despite the fact that both speakers use the same tweeter. It’s possible that the standmounts hadn’t been run in for long enough: the dealer said they’d had over 100 hours, whereas the floorstanders had had over 200. I wonder. But really chalk and cheese …
The top end of the Olympica IIs was still very sweet and, I think, clearer than the Cremonas. Voices were strikingly present. And despite having only one woofer, compared to the Cremonas’ two, they created a great sense of space. I played a chunk of Janacek’s From the House of the Dead: wow! Just spine-chillingly dramatic. The speakers managed to recreate the recording space with amazing naturalness and plenty of dynamics.
I’d say the bass had more texture too.
The Cremonas are lovely speakers. My choice would be the standmounts for their precision and cohesiveness. The floorstanders are excellent speakers, but the extra depth doesn't outweigh the loss of cohesiveness and speed.
There’s a question mark about the Olympica standmounts. I feel inclined to cut them some slack and leave them in the competition.
The Olympica floorstanders seem to me worth spending good money (ahem!) on. Thinking back to my demo of the B&Ws, ProAcs and PMCs, the Olympicas are miles ahead. Will they work in my room? I definitely need to find out.
Some surprises, then, but it was a jolly good day.
It's always good to hear how you get on.
It's a very slippery slope, but an enjoyable and interesting (and expensive) one.
Never tedious Matt.
Thanks again for such an enjoyably insightful review of the SF range.
What's up next?
Thanks for your support, guys.
Next week I have the Neat XL range and some Kudos and Focals. However, here we get into choppy waters, as I'll be demoing with dealers who don't stock Dev (my Dev still hasn't arrived from France), so I'll be dependent on other amplification. I plan to soldier on anyway, as I've got quite a few more speakers to get through.
The Dev + SF bandwagon seems to be gaining momentum on other fora. No great surprise, as both brands are distributed in the UK by Absolute Sounds, so most dealers who stock one will also carry the other. Still, a very persuasive pairing.
Here's looking forward to next installment!
Judging how well my pair of Wilson Benesch Vector work with my D-Premier, I would recommend either them or the bookshelf Vertex.
Those speakers are incredibly under-rated, I haven't heard anything better among "reasonnably priced" offerings.
thanks for the suggestions. WB do look intriguing, though they're hard to find. The Vectors are a bit over budget. I'll see if I can hunt down a pair of the Vertexes.
Morning Matt, interesting as always.
Given the current pricing of the Cremona Auditors I know where my money would be going in your position, I have become pretty tightfisted since leaving the trade, and they have been a favourite of mine for some time.
Do you not get the tiniest bit tempted to 'grab yourself a bargain' whilst there are still some brand new models about?
Dave, you're being naughty again! Tempting though the Auditors are, I have a plan, and I'm going to stick to it. In any case, I reckon those Auditors will be around for a few weeks yet, and if I hold out, the price could get even tastier.
Also, the Olympicas do seem to image better, so they deserve another audtion. (BTW they also look better, to my eyes anyway, and at the risk of being hauled up by the Fun Police. Pictures don't do them justice. The stands are really lovely.)
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