I think I for one am going "out of the box" now, with the Vivids and Stradas, and also these Belgian designs! It's in Mr. Vaessen's place, that I'll probably be able to hear the Stradas. He has them in for a couple of days before he'll install them in a project in Ostend. If all goes well, that's for next week...
Damn, probably too optimistic! The Dutch distributor just warned me that the container from the US will reach the European distributor (in the UK) on Tuesday. The goods are then sent to Holland, and from there to Mr. Vaessen. Doesn't sound like they will be there by Thursday...
I hope he has to reschedule the Ostend project, so that I still have time to hear the Stradas the week after that...
If not, it might be a loooong time before I have another occasion
Occasionally on this forum people draw comparisons between the subjective assessment of hifi and wine tasting. On my favourite wine website -- the famous Purple Pages of the magisterial Jancis Robinson -- there's a piece comparing ... yes, wine and hifi. And believe it or not, one of the systems the wine writer (the excellent Richard Hemmings) listens to is the Devialet 240 and Vivid 1.5s. Of this system he writes that " the low register of the piano had an uncanny clarity. There was no muddiness: every note was bright and clear. There was a tremendous purity, too. All these adjectives can apply equally to wine – young trocken Riesling, perhaps, or Hawke’s Bay Syrah."
I'm afraid that to read the piece in full you have to subscribe to the site, which costs real money. It's a great website though, and its forum, which unlike this place isn't anonymous, is well informed, well behaved, and well moderated.
Here's a trailer for the article with a nice picture of a shiny box: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a201311182.html
What classical music are you listening to?
Interesting... think the poor old SF's might be getting a little twitchy
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.
I think Vivid V1.5 are very good speakers and knd of bargain if one considers Devialet as a bargain (I do so!) though I only heard them seperately and not the combo together.
Again, IMO, Devialet 110 / 170 + Vivid 1.5 and Devialet 240 / two in mono + Vivid Giya G3 / G4 are more or less sure shot winners even for the most picky listeners. The first combo is a little bit low on low bass and might need a sub based on how much of low bass one needs. Enjoying AG Stradas, I find V1.5 are already very good!
It looks like sooner than later, there might be owner's thread with Devialet + Vivid and I would love to join it as owner than just an admirer, as I am right now
Looking forward to having a play with one of these tomorrow - I've been intrigued by the Devialet for quite some time...
David @Frank Harvey Hi-Fi, Coventry
Vinyl now available in store!
David, are you thinking of taking them on?
I've been listening to quite a bit of opera lately, both live and at home. One of the odd features of live opera is that the music (generally) comes out of a pit, so it's somewhat compromised sonically. The top end, which as we know is more directional than low frequencies, gets somewhat obscured or masked. And in general, you don't get a particularly good sense of the placement of instruments. In practice that's actually not such a bad thing: the music turns into a textural wash and becomes a backdrop for the voices, which are of course very precisely located on the stage.
On the other hand, the voices lose nothing of their top end. In fact, on a visit to the ROH on Monday I was struck by the amount of spittiness in the singing -- not in a bad way, it was just that I was paying special attention to the sonics. And frankly it helps to have something to focus on during five hours of Wagner. In fact, being reminded of how much spittiness there is in live singing has removed one of my mild anxieties about recorded music. Sometimes my system does sound a bit spitty, but I guess it's just doing its job.
But the real point of this comparison of live and recorded opera is just how wonderfully solid the voices are in good opera recordings. By solid I mean the voices are tangibly real and present. They have the proper timbre of human voices, built of flesh and air (and not remotely strangled, as I found with the Marshall Choongs). And the voices don't float or waver ambiguously in space: they stand firm and still.
The Devialet is doing a wonderful job. This amp and speaker combo really can sound like live opera -- well, with the exception of a smidge of missing bottom end. But otherwise the system doesn't give much away sonically to the real thing. I honestly never thought I'd say that.
Interestingly ine of the finest sounds I have ever heard was in the (late) Alastair Robertson-Aikman's listening room.
ARA was a devoted opera lover and his listening room had a faux proscenium arch with the speakers and amplifiers hidden behind an extremely light and acoustically transparent curtains. They were virtually see through too, but the lighting could be switched to be off 'on stage' and on in the main listening area as you can see in the picture.
The room was around 40 x 30 ft with the various players and pre-amp in low consoles in front of the sitting area. The pre-amp, usually an ARC Reference drove balanced line level cables to a pair of huge Krell stereo amplifiers, each one driving two modified ELS63s. I saw this systems in a number of different configurations though different in detail only, the phono stage and pre-amp invariablty ARC, the power amps Krell and Quad speakers.
ARA hac a selection of superb (commercial) recordings and some of them were so lifelike that it really did sound real, just that someone had forgotten to open the curtains. The voices were not just pinpoint but in the case of live recordings, it was quite easy to hear the singers moving about the stage.
Surprisingly, and much to ARA's distaste, the system was pretty good on some classic rock recordings too.
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.
I hope not - I don't have time to read through 24 pages of this thread!
Last Thursday, I could finally pick up my amp in Antwerp. I took it straight to another dealer nearby, for some more demoing. On the menu were the Guru QM10two and the Diapason Adamantes III 25th Anniversary.
The Gurus are known for their exceptionally deep bass, and that is what struck me first indeed. The bass is deep, and well textured too. The total sound balance was not right though. To my ears the bass was overdone, thus dominating the mids: not natural. I think that could well have been due to the listening room, which was rather narrow, and wasn't acoustically treated yet. But as was: not very convincing...
What was convincing though is their ability to unravel a difficult, dense recording, providing an immaculate window into the music.
Interesting speakers, for sure. And IMO excellent VFM. I guess I could well live with them, but then, they didn't touch me emotionally. I can't put my finger on what was missing (tonal balance? speed? dynamics?), or why/how (intrinsic? amp match? spoilt by the room?) but my imagination was not able to carry me away and really connect me with the music. I'm still pondering wether to keep them on the shortlist for a home demo (whenever our home will be ready... if ever). Will depend on the competition, I guess!
Next up were the Adamantes. Beautifully crafted, full-wood sculptures, they make for some serious eye candy! These speakers really shouldn't blend in with the decor. They deserve to stand out!
The tonal balance was certainly more equilibrated than the Gurus', in this room at least. Their midrange is to die for (voices! saxophone!). Dynamics are excellent, probably courtesy of the crossoverless mid-bass driver. Very convincing.
Then again, though they were placed on their dedicated stands, and clearly further away from the frontwall than I could ever house them, the bass was not as taut as I thought was possible. We moved them further into the room, and things improved markedly. As my speakers will end up either on a cupboard, or wall-mounted, I realized I could never do these beauties justice. Which is a shame.
So: not for me! But if you have the room to position them 4-5 ft from the walls, they do deserve a serious audition! Doctor's advice!
Thanks for the report, Doc.
The Adamantes are certainly lovely to look at: a bigger and more sculpted version of the SF Electa Amator? They sound promising and they're not outrageously expensive, though as you say not suitable for your space.
A shame about the Gurus.
It may be, as you say, that the room acoustics weren't right. But it may be that the problem is the relatively small LF drivers (especially in the Gurus). If you ask a 4" driver to cover such a wide range, you're bound to get break-up. Maybe worth considering some three-way speakers? Or perhaps the Vivids will work for you.
Yes, more on those later!
Last Friday, I made a trip to the Netherlands (well, just across the border), where I would finally hear the Vivid V1.5, driven by my own Dev. Expectations were high, so you might understand my disappointment, when the dealer told me he had sold his demo pair, and the buyer had just come to collect them the evening before. He would have a new pair in next week. For a split second, I considered wrecking his shop. But then again, why not have a listen with what he had on demo, and come back later for the Vivids? And so we did.
As I'm looking for speakers to be used close to the front wall, he first set up the Klangwerk Muro VOL on-wall speakers. These stylish boxes are adored by many an interior architect, I'm sure, with their elegant dimensions (H x W x D = 72 x 21 x 10 cm). The baffle is made of Creanit, an inert, artificial stone composite, while the rest of the box consists of MDF, in a Nextel paint, with a nearly invisible bass slot in the top of the cabinet. The Muros are two-ways, with a a titanium tweeter sporting an acoustic lens and a waveguide for even dispersion.
As soon as the music started, I was surprised by the width of the soundstage -- well, make that flabbergasted or staggered: it was huge, larger than life, actually just too big, unnatural. As if the musicians were spread across a 10 m wide podium, with the drummer running from one kettle to the other cymbal. Probably excellent for background music in a very large room, but weird for 'serious listening'. The music was somewhat anemic too, mostly due to thin bass, and lacked dynamics. As you've guessed already: no involvement, no goosebumps. Next.
We changed the Klangwerks for the Audiovector Vi1 Avantgardes. These are two-way speakers, whose mid-bass driver and Heil-tweeter (or Air Motion Transformer, if you like) are both vented to the back of the cabinet, thus preventing dynamic congestion, and refining the stereo image. A simple design, but superbly finished in piano white and natural metal (aluminum?). Very neat on their dedicated stands. They were put just 20 cm off the front wall, to mimic the situation in our will-be library.
As soon as I started listening, I realised: these speakers are different. Fast. Dynamic. Transparent. The bass is very solid for the size, punchy too. The midrange is delicate, detailed and nuanced and completed by the crispest of trebbles.
After two tracks, I left the test disks behind, and played one CD after the other (just like I did when I first heard the Quad ESLs!), until I had to hurry back home, and was late to get the kids from school after all...
In conclusion: the least boxy of box-speakers I ever heard, a standmounted ESL.
I hope the Vivids will astound me even more (or maybe the Rosso Fiorentinos, which are also still on the menu), but if this is as good as it gets, I'll be a happy man! Number one on my short list, for sure. Just waiting for the chance to demo them home...
Thanks for the latest installment Doc... I tried some floor standing AV's a couple of years ago, sorry model escapes me. They were quite good, but nothing outstanding.
I've heard good things about the Audiovectors, and your report is a very strong recommendation. I just hope I'm going to get to hear the Avantgarde models with the ribbon (?) tweeters. I like the idea of the separate HF and LF ports and the fact that the boxes have curved sides. How did the bass feel? Do you think they'd work in your (if you'll forgive me) somewhat compromised space?
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