We welcome all feedback. If you'd like to make a comment on an article or ask any questions, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If your letter is selected for publication, your name will be printed but your e-mail address will NOT be.
To Jeff Fritz,
I am following your articles about establishing a new system with huge interest. I’m facing, actually, a similar challenge. For the first time reading your articles or statements I am unable to follow your logic, however. The selection of the loudspeakers presented has in common a design of having several drivers distributed over the whole baffle from bottom to top. Thus the listener is confronted with distinct sound sources more or less apart from each other and the surrounding surfaces including the floor! Knowing the incredible precision of our ears in detecting the localization of sound sources and phase shifts, I cannot understand the omission of a D’Appolito design or a point-source (coaxial design) speaker. And if you look to the recording situation microphones are simply the inversion of a point source. Why is group delay not an issue in selecting an authentic loudspeaker?
This is an excellent question. The first thing I’ll point out is that the TAD ME-1 that I reviewed this month and mentioned in the article you cite is indeed based on a coaxial driver: a 1” tweeter mounted within a 3.5” midrange. As for D’Appolito designs, I’ve reviewed many of them -- even owned a few -- through the years and have not in practice found that they offered any acoustical advantage, at least in my room. In fact, the taller versions of those designs have not fared well in my listening space at all. I will, however, concede that I probably should branch out a little more and add at least an electrostat -- all the sound produced by one driver -- such as the MartinLogan CLX.
As for hearing individual drivers from a multiway cone-and-dome loudspeaker, I agree that it can be a problem. It can also be a complete non-issue. The result really comes down to the skill of the designer in specifying a crossover that mates the drive units precisely. There is no question that a poorly designed crossover and mismatched drivers can produce terrible sound. But some of the best-imaging speakers I’ve ever heard have been ones with tweeters and midranges and woofers mounted from top to bottom on a front baffle. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. . . . Jeff Fritz
To Jeff Fritz,
I rarely comment on reviews, but this is really an excellent and accurate review of the [Dynaudio] Contour 60s. I have owned them now for about six months. While not inexpensive [$10,000/pr.], it is truly an incredible speaker for the money and I agree it is awfully close to a true full-range speaker. I typically have run a sub with my speakers, even towers, but do not find the need to with the Contour 60s. There is plenty of bass and though I tend to run bass a little hot, I use the half port plug in the lower ports. These speakers can pound, yet remain very coherent from top to bottom. I found your description of a “bit left to right” to be dead on. I hate bright speakers, but at the same time I do like snap to my snare drums and crunch in my guitar. They may not be the best speaker I’ve ever heard, but for $10k/pr. retail it is an excellent speaker. I have also found them to be very revealing of upstream electronics -- I heard very clear differences between different preamps and amps with these speakers.
An excellent and accurate review. Nice Job!
To Jeff Fritz,
Just read this review [Dynaudio Contour 60] and really enjoyed it. I also read your article concerning the Coda [Model 11] amp. For this speaker, would a Bryston 4B3 amp be a smart move or would a Coda S5.5 be better? I used to have a Bryston 4B-ST amp driving a pair of Aerial 8 speakers with a Resolution Audio CD-55 transport-DAC-preamp. I ran this balanced with biwire Cardas Neutral Reference interconnects. I really liked the system, but soundstage depth was lacking, which was my only beef.
Any thoughts concerning the Audio Physic Codex four-way tower speakers? These are roughly $14,995/pr. Any chance you could review the Coda S5.5 amp, as there are no current reviews out that I could find? Thanking you in advance,
Regarding the Audio Physics Codex loudspeakers, I’d suggest you read the review that Aron Garrecht wrote right here on SoundStage! Ultra. I’ve not personally heard that speaker but trust Aron’s assessment.
As for Bryston vs. Coda, I think that’s a can’t-go-wrong proposition. Both brands have been around forever and, as far as my experience goes, build bulletproof amplifiers that sound simply terrific. In fact, I think both brands -- when compared to many that they are typically in competition with – score extremely high on the value/performance scale. Lastly, although I don’t have an S5.5 in for review presently, I’m in discussions with Coda about a review in the near future. Keep an eye on SoundStage! Ultra in the coming months. Thanks for writing. . . . Jeff Fritz
To Jeff Fritz,
Not quite a year ago I was privileged to have some back-and-forth dialogue with you (via e-mail) regarding the assembly of my new system. You may recall that I had initially written for your opinion on a select list of loudspeakers (Vivid, Magico, Kharma) that had each received some pretty good reviews in the general audio press, as well as in the SoundStage! family of publications. In the end I chose to acquire the YG Acoustics Hailey 1.2 ($42,800 USD per pair). After living with the speaker now for the past six months I can confidently say how happy I am with this selection and that I have not experienced the “what if” scenarios that can usually accompany this kind of expenditure (high dollars for me anyway).
As your thoughts and reviews progress through the speakers you’ve written about in your October post [“Jeff’s Getting a New Stereo System: Part Four”], I’d like to suggest that you consider the Haileys as well. They are priced just a nudge above your stated dollar limit, but truly provide a sound quality well above their price point.
Yes, I’m sure you’ll receive lots of emails from fanboys like me, urging you to include their preferred brand as you go about your search, but in this instance I honestly believe the Hailey provides all of the desired loudspeaker virtues that you’ve written about over the years, and as such could surprise you during an audition.
Thanks again for the best audio thoughts in the hi-fi space, and the best of luck to you as you try to do what so many of us try to do and stay within our means.
To Jeff Fritz,
I learned the hard way that it is difficult to go backward on so many things -- a BMW M-series back to a Honda Accord, involvement with three growing children so back to dedicated listening time. With me, as my listening time dwindled (I would rather spend the time with the kids -- it goes by fast), I decided to scale back my system. As I begin to regain some audio time, I find my system far less enjoyable than I remembered.
Keep this in mind when you start shopping. This is what I have learned; sit down as many may feel it is audiophile sacrilege. Priority 1: the room, which you have totally covered and I feel this takes care of 45% of your audio needs. Priority 2: the speakers, and this is where I sacrificed too much and I would say is another 45% of the equation. Depending on your new budget, there are so many options for speakers. True innovators and enthusiastic novices alike have saturated the high-end market. Since you may want to support your advertisers, let us start there.
Dynaudio: I find it is unlikely you will be satisfied with the Dynaudio Contour 60s compared to your old Magicos. The price point is attractive, but you may find the fidelity gap too large. These are great speakers, but you may want to aim higher depending on your system’s price (or perhaps you may reach higher via Audiogon or your connections to the industry). Options: the Gryphon Mojos with subs could be an interesting option; I would love to see a real review now that they are available in the US. Lower-cost, mostly full-range Magicos with subs could be a great option given their similarities to the sound you’ve grown accustomed to. Bowers & Wilkins, the 802 D3 and 800 D3, do not really do it for me, but many like them. With Monitor Audio, I personally do not like the directionality of their ribbon tweeters. Then there’s KEF with their off-axis response and laid-back sound; I personally would write them off. They would have quite the contrast to the Magicos. Paradigms, which I have heard many times, sound too bright and overly (unrealistically) revealing. The measurements in Sound & Vision seem to confirm this. Vivid speakers do seem to be a great option -- maybe a new pair of G2S2s or B1 Decades with subs. Outside of your advertising circle there is always Rockport, TAD, Focal’s new Maestro/Scala Utopia Evos, Legacy (Aegis and V), JBL 4376/M2, and hopefully the forthcoming Revel Ultima3 Salon3, all with substantial engineering prowess behind them.
Electronics: If you were sitting, you may want to lay down for this one. I believe you can get 99% of the state of the art in performance with well-made mainstream electronics rather than the mega-priced/showcase gear. Check the specs to ensure they truly measure up, then perhaps try some blind testing. Tell me the Anthem Statement P2 for $4500 does not sound the same as (or damn close to) the extremely high-priced showpiece amps. The same argument can be made for preamp, cables, DACs, etc. I will stop here to prevent hate mail. My point is money spent here is better allocated to speakers. Yes, you may give up a little, very little, but the budget allocation to better speakers certainly offsets that.
One man’s opinion!
To Jeff Fritz,
I’ve read your two articles: “Jeff’s Getting a New Stereo System: Part One” and “Jeff’s Getting a New Stereo System: Part Two.” I have a recommendation for you, and maybe it will be an upgrade from what you have right now.
Why not get an Apogee Full Range speaker system? These are the ones restored with all new Graz-made ribbons; they are under $20k/pair and new speakers, not used ones. They’re huge and a perfect fit for a large room such as yours.
Now this is the interesting part, why don’t you go active with them? You’ll need four transformers (two per speaker) to bring the impedance from 0.25 ohm to 2 or 4 ohms, and protect the ribbons from DC offset and transients; you can drive the bass panels directly as they have a linear 2-ohm impedance and are much less delicate than the midranges and tweeters.
Next, get three Accuphase A-47 amplifiers (can hold a 1-ohm load without blinking), and they’re perfect for this job. You can buy them from Japan and change them from 230V to 120V if the pricing strategy bothers you.
Last but not less important, get a DEQX HDP-5 to tie everything together and you’re done. It would be impossible to review DACs with this setup, but you still can review amps and speakers.
I think it would be a big upgrade from what you have and be several times less expensive than the Magico/Soulution setup. You’ll end up with full-range, phase-coherent, time-aligned, textbook-perfect frequency response with ribbon speakers driven by pure-class-A amplifiers. It doesn’t get better than that.
To Jeff Fritz,
Regarding your new system, I would try a totally different approach. The Brodmann Acoustics VC 7s, JB 175s, and JB 205s are very special speakers, mostly excelling in jazz and classical music (but not just). They should fill up a large room with sound very easily. I live with a pair of VC 7s myself and could not be happier. I stopped listening to mids and highs and just listen to music. Their approach is different from conventional speakers and, in fact, Brodmann has not changed their design for many years.
Anyway, it is very interesting reading about your journey. Sometimes during the quest to build the killer system we forget about the main objective of the hobby -- music -- and lose the fun somewhere during the process.
To Jeff Fritz,
Congrats on your adventure! I think it’s great someone who knows what is possible on the bleeding edge is willing to jump into the audio food chain where most of us actually live. I find more satisfaction when trying to achieve something great on a budget -- it requires much more from you than simply having a large pile of $$$ and writing the check. That applies to audio or wine or myriad other hobbies.
One suggestion -- listen to the Chord Hugo 2. Shocking how good it can be as the center of a home system for less than $2500. By far the best sanely priced digital I’ve heard -- so I’ve two on order. From a value perspective, the $500 Chord Mojo is even more impressive and still very good in absolute terms. Rob Watts has managed to crack the digital nut using FPGAs at a very cost effective price point.
Looking forward to reading about your audio journey.
To Jeff Fritz,
I’ve been keeping up on your new articles about changing your system. Also, I’ve been reading the What’s Best thread (mostly, I skip some replies). First I think you’ve created a really fun stir in the audio world with this. I love that you’ve quoted some people from the forum.
Now I know you haven’t posted all your thoughts, but I have to chime in at least one interesting one that maybe hasn’t hit your plate. Have you considered working on designing your own new stereo? That is a project that would be very fun. It would take time, and you would have to love the end result. Now I don’t mean that you become an electronics designer and a speaker designer. What I mean is working with someone that wants to do a joint project. That would be very new and fresh.
As much as Folsom would love to be doing that, we don’t suspect you’d specifically want to engage with such a small and new company. But if you did do this approach we would be watching intently because it could be a great project in the future for us to do with someone. It’s new, it’s bold, and without a notable figure it won’t become a “thing,” but hey, it could be a pretty darn special event. It could lead to a lot of things in the future.
Any way, I will continue to keep up on what you decide. I check SoundStage! Ultra regularly as I find the length and read to be a pleasurable dose of what I can enjoy without scrolling to try and find something I care about.
To Jeff Fritz,
I have a strong inkling that you might just fall in love with the Dynaudio Contour 60s.
I heard a pair recently at some length -- alternating between the Gryphon Diablo 300 and Goldmund Telos 590 NextGen integrateds as partnering amps -- and it was very plain to hear that you no longer require (if indeed you ever really did) multiple boxes and a jungle of cables to achieve world-class sound. For me, all three models in the new Contour range represent a significant step forward for Dynaudio in terms of price/performance ratio.
With a view to your “downsizing” project, a top-class integrated amplifier is the obvious way to go, but I thought I might also mention the latest pre/power offerings from Mark Levinson. I recently had a chance to compare them to the D’Agostino gear and while I thought both were superb, I finally leaned slightly in favor of the Levinson No.526 pre and No.534 stereo power amp. And the on-board DAC in the No.526 is sweet as a nut, too. Clincher is, though, they undercut the comparatively specc’ed D’Agostiono offerings by about 50% in terms of wallet damage.
Just my two cents’ worth. Have fun choosing.
All contents available on this website are copyrighted by SoundStage!® and Schneider Publishing Inc., unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.
This site was designed by Rocket Theme, Karen Fanas, and The SoundStage! Network.
To contact us, please e-mail email@example.com