I think I found my 'end game' speaker

AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,717
edited November 2012 in Speakers
So over the weekend I made a detour to stop by Audio Concepts here in Dallas and spent some time with quite a few speakers. I went in to listen to the Golden Ear line and the new Imagine T2 floorstander from PSB. I listened to several others while in there (ProAc, Rega, Magnepan, etc) and among those were a few pair of Wilson Audio.

I listened to a couple of their floorstanders and they were obviously very good speakers, but did really reach out and grab me. Maybe it's because for me they are prohibitively expensive and my subconcious knew that, but for me they just didn't sound THAT great. So I was ready to file Wilson in the category of "really good expensive speakers that didn't do much for me" (I already have a few in that category) and move along.

Then I heard the Duette.

Wow!!!! These definitely reached out and grabbed me! I spent about an hour with them, but really knew within the first 5 minutes that these were my ultimate speaker. I won't go into a long winded review, the only way I can describe their sound is 'real', as in they are the closest thing I've heard heard to sounding like real life sound. I've listened to 'better' and more expensive speakers, but none of them had this impact on me.

A few minutes in I had a mixed set of emotions as I quicky came to two realizations:
- I have finally found the speaker I've been searching for all these years, my 'end game' speaker so to speak
- now that I've found my perfect speaker, everything else sucks in comparison. There's really no point in me purchasing another speaker - I've head what I want now, anything else would just be a compromise.

They're not cheap (I"m looking at around $20K for speakers, stands, and an amp that will run them), but they're not prohibitively expensive either. They're not something I could do on an impulse buy, but realistically I could save for a year or so and buy them. I"m gonna have a go at it, I've never really found any product that I liked and was expensive enough for me to actually save up for, so this will be an interesting experiment.

Obviously not everyone will have the same impression as I do, but I'd encourage you guys to go listen to these if you can.
Post edited by AsSiMiLaTeD on
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Comments

  • falconcry72falconcry72 Posts: 3,584
    edited July 2012
    Very cool. I've never heard any Wilsons. Did they have the Sophias there? I've heard that those are excellent, and used ones can be had for well under 10k.
    2-Channel: PC > Schiit Eitr > Audio Research DAC-8 > Audio Research LS-26 > Pass Labs X-250.5 > Magnepan 3.7's

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  • playbackplayback Posts: 101
    edited July 2012
    So over the weekend I made a detour to stop by Audio Concepts here in Dallas and spent some time with quite a few speakers. I went in to listen to the Golden Ear line and the new Imagine T2 floorstander from PSB. I listened to several others while in there (ProAc, Rega, Magnepan, etc) and among those were a few pair of Wilson Audio.

    I listened to a couple of their floorstanders and they were obviously very good speakers, but did really reach out and grab me. Maybe it's because for me they are prohibitively expensive and my subconcious knew that, but for me they just didn't sound THAT great. So I was ready to file Wilson in the category of "really good expensive speakers that didn't do much for me" (I already have a few in that category) and move along.

    Then I heard the Duette.

    Wow!!!! These definitely reached out and grabbed me! I spent about an hour with them, but really knew within the first 5 minutes that these were my ultimate speaker. I won't go into a long winded review, the only way I can describe their sound is 'real', as in they are the closest thing I've heard heard to sounding like real life sound. I've listened to 'better' and more expensive speakers, but none of them had this impact on me.

    A few minutes in I had a mixed set of emotions as I quicky came to two realizations:
    - I have finally found the speaker I've been searching for all these years, my 'end game' speaker so to speak
    - now that I've found my perfect speaker, everything else sucks in comparison. There's really no point in me purchasing another speaker - I've head what I want now, anything else would just be a compromise.

    They're not cheap (I"m looking at around $20K for speakers, stands, and an amp that will run them), but they're not prohibitively expensive either. They're not something I could do on an impulse buy, but realistically I could save for a year or so and buy them. I"m gonna have a go at it, I've never really found any product that I liked and was expensive enough for me to actually save up for, so this will be an interesting experiment.

    Obviously not everyone will have the same impression as I do, but I'd encourage you guys to go listen to these if you can.

    If its one thing I've learned in years in this hobby that I wish I new from the the get go and that is the foundation of which it all sits is indeed a principal and as not subjected to the building upon it, while the foundation does have a set limit with in its given specs which the rest sits its indeed the reference point. Bare with me while I explain this Mambo Jumbo I speak of,( ignore all of this if already addressed, and go for it:cheesygrin:)

    1.) Room acoustics , Bass traps ,1st reflection points and flutter and echo.
    2.) Dedicated Ac lines to your gear, Ac conditioning and decent cables.

    Of all my years and many Saturday afternoons siting and listening to great setups(my use to be end game speaker as well, Hales Transcendence 8, r.i.p:sad:) My gear as modest as it is has indeed world class sound and enven makes me blush at times :redface: This understanding has afforded me the opportunity to spend audio bucks on smaller refinements to the setup and "Max out" gear before moving on. But hey! the Duettes are nice have fun!
  • ravaneliravaneli Posts: 530
    edited July 2012
    I would go hear them again. First impressions sometimes change.

    Also, there is no end game in this hobby : ) They will always come with something better. And sometimes u just get tired and want to change, even if not for the better..
    BlueFox wrote: »
    I have found that tube based computers provide the best sound quality. ENIAC and MANIAC I offer a smooth, well defined and articulated sound unmatched by the current silicon based CPUs. :wink:
    But as in all things your perception is your reality.
  • rebuyrebuy Posts: 721
    edited July 2012
    I agree about re-listening to them again, maybe a few times since you'll have to save up for them.
    I'm not gonna buy anymore equipment right now because the world is coming to an end in December so I'll save my money for that. :eek:
  • AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,717
    edited July 2012
    rebuy wrote: »
    I agree about re-listening to them again, maybe a few times since you'll have to save up for them.
    I'm not gonna buy anymore equipment right now because the world is coming to an end in December so I'll save my money for that. :eek:
    Oh I'll have plenty of opportunity to listen to them lots of times before I buy them and will do so.
  • ravaneliravaneli Posts: 530
    edited July 2012
    rebuy wrote: »
    I agree about re-listening to them again, maybe a few times since you'll have to save up for them.
    I'm not gonna buy anymore equipment right now because the world is coming to an end in December so I'll save my money for that. :eek:

    Why in december? I myself think the world is coming to an end, and soon, but December? Don't know about that..
    BlueFox wrote: »
    I have found that tube based computers provide the best sound quality. ENIAC and MANIAC I offer a smooth, well defined and articulated sound unmatched by the current silicon based CPUs. :wink:
    But as in all things your perception is your reality.
  • FaceFace Posts: 14,714
    edited July 2012
    rebuy wrote: »
    I agree about re-listening to them again, maybe a few times since you'll have to save up for them.
    I'm not gonna buy anymore equipment right now because the world is coming to an end in December so I'll save my money for that. :eek:
    K5OAp.jpg

    FYI, the Duets are the only Wilson speaker I would consider owning, the rest are severely over rated. You realize they were designed to be placed close to boundaries, right?
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche
  • VR3VR3 Posts: 23,433
    edited July 2012
    In my experience with Wilson the way they are placed really depicts if they are going to suck or not...

    Given that the speakers you like were designed to kind of be placed anywhere may explain why you liked them...
    - Not Tom

    Vr3Mods.com ///// Version3Audio.com

    "No, that's silly talk. Dude, you can't possibly be this audio dumb so quit the act." - Doro
  • FaceFace Posts: 14,714
    edited July 2012
    You have it backwards Trey. The Duets are designed to be placed near boundaries, not anywhere. Due to the lack of baffle step compensation(bass shelving), they may sound thin a few feet into the room, but near boundaries they'll sound excellent. Many monitors that are designed to be placed in the room will sound bloated near boundaries.

    As for their towers, I find them harsh in the lower treble/upper mids. Older listeners with deficiencies in that frequency range may enjoy them though.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche
  • ravaneliravaneli Posts: 530
    edited July 2012
    i don't care about the Mayans.

    back to OP - i don't believe the current passive speaker in an mdf box design has any end game speakers at any price point. It's been beaten to the death. Somebody will come up with a new design altogether that that will make the frequency response is speakers have similar graphs than the amps. That will be a transparent speaker.
    BlueFox wrote: »
    I have found that tube based computers provide the best sound quality. ENIAC and MANIAC I offer a smooth, well defined and articulated sound unmatched by the current silicon based CPUs. :wink:
    But as in all things your perception is your reality.
  • nooshinjohnnooshinjohn Posts: 21,338
    edited July 2012
    I have found my endgame in the Big Magnepan MG-20.() series, though I cannot say it won't be fun to dip my toes into the SDA pool again someday. I cannot wait to hear SDA's with some tube power.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Mono-blocks, TriangleArt Reference SE with Pass Labs Xono Phono Preamp, Walker Precision Motor Drive, ClearAudio Goldfinger Diamond v2 cartridge and Origin Conquerer Mk3c tonearm, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Pass Labs X0.2 three chassis preamp, PS Audio PerfectWave DAC MkII, Pioneer Elite SC-LX701, Oppo UDP-205 4K Blu-ray player, Sony XBR70x850B 4k, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds.

    Saying that it's "too hard" to pursue your dreams is no different than admitting to yourself that you are too lazy to achieve them.

    “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
  • FaceFace Posts: 14,714
    edited July 2012
    ravaneli wrote: »
    back to OP - i don't believe the current passive speaker in an mdf box design has any end game speakers at any price point. It's been beaten to the death. Somebody will come up with a new design altogether that that will make the frequency response is speakers have similar graphs than the amps. That will be a transparent speaker.
    First, I don't believe those speakers have a MDF enclosure, second, what do you mean similar to amp FR...how?
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche
  • ravaneliravaneli Posts: 530
    edited July 2012
    just look at the numbers or the graphs. Even midrange amps reproduce the entire audible frequency range with something like 0.02% deviation. If an amp has 0.10% deviation, like the emotiva's do, it is considered 'impure', and get the bashing of famous masters of the sound like H9 and his posse. 0.10% is one tenth of one percent. For comparison all speakers have something like 2-3 % deviation of the true signal. Your output, or what you hear, is of course the sum of both the amp and the speaker frequency response. Well guess what has bigger impact on the end result. If your speaker has some +3db on the high end you will need an amp with some serious distortion to compensate for that, because any half decen amp will not roll off more than 0.5db at the end. Some tubes however roll off like crazy on the high end, and early too, but that's because they are not judged with the specs of ss amps because they are magic. So see, if the RTI A line is bright on the high end, which it is, you can buy a 30 000 boulder amp with frikkin zero distortion - it will not 'warm' them up. A good amp changes NOTHING. A cheap tube however can roll off exactly where the A7s go up, and result in a more mellow sound
    BlueFox wrote: »
    I have found that tube based computers provide the best sound quality. ENIAC and MANIAC I offer a smooth, well defined and articulated sound unmatched by the current silicon based CPUs. :wink:
    But as in all things your perception is your reality.
  • dorokusaidorokusai Posts: 25,454
    edited July 2012
    There's not a soul on this forum that has stood by that statement....your full of crap and just happy you heard something new and exciting. There's always something different and as interesting right around the corner. Your a newbie with that stance, lol.

    NJOY! Assimilated....just enjoy it man, don't be a Solid Squal.

    Mark
    CTC BBQ Amplifier, Sonic Frontiers Line3 Pre-Amplifier and Wadia 581 SACD player. Speakers? Always changing but for now, Mission Argonauts I picked up for $50 bucks, mint.
  • naturallightnaturallight Posts: 689
    edited July 2012
    OK, not to throw a wet rag on this, But 20K,,,for bookshelf speakers, seems pretty over the top. Yes i know that price includes the stands and an amp, but still.

    There is a set of these right now on Audiogon, with the stands included, all the shipping boxes, manuals. The asking price is $6900...so you could pretty much get them for less. Just letting you know.
  • FaceFace Posts: 14,714
    edited July 2012
    ravaneli wrote: »
    just look at the numbers or the graphs. Even midrange amps reproduce the entire audible frequency range with something like 0.02% deviation. If an amp has 0.10% deviation, like the emotiva's do, it is considered 'impure', and get the bashing of famous masters of the sound like H9 and his posse. 0.10% is one tenth of one percent. For comparison all speakers have something like 2-3 % deviation of the true signal. Your output, or what you hear, is of course the sum of both the amp and the speaker frequency response.
    Right there should tell you that a single graph doesn't tell the whole story of how a component "sounds". When measuring a speaker, on axis is only part of the story. Off axis is just as, if not more important. Distortion can add coloration or harshness. And phase can also change how a speaker is perceived. Besides, less than 1% distortion can't be heard by humans.
    ravaneli wrote: »
    Well guess what has bigger impact on the end result. If your speaker has some +3db on the high end you will need an amp with some serious distortion to compensate for that, because any half decen amp will not roll off more than 0.5db at the end. Some tubes however roll off like crazy on the high end, and early too, but that's because they are not judged with the specs of ss amps because they are magic. So see, if the RTI A line is bright on the high end, which it is, you can buy a 30 000 boulder amp with frikkin zero distortion - it will not 'warm' them up. A good amp changes NOTHING. A cheap tube however can roll off exactly where the A7s go up, and result in a more mellow sound
    There's nothing "magic" about tube amps. Just like SS amps, there are good and bad designs, and in fact many have distortion similar to that of SS amps. As for even order harmonics, unlike the harshness of a poorly designed or clipping SS amp, many find them pleasing. I'm glad you finally figured out with synergy is. :cheesygrin:
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche
  • AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,717
    edited July 2012
    OK, not to throw a wet rag on this, But 20K,,,for bookshelf speakers, seems pretty over the top. Yes i know that price includes the stands and an amp, but still.

    There is a set of these right now on Audiogon, with the stands included, all the shipping boxes, manuals. The asking price is $6900...so you could pretty much get them for less. Just letting you know.
    Ah I wish I had the cash for them right now, because that's a heck of a deal and is the color I want as well.
  • naturallightnaturallight Posts: 689
    edited July 2012
    I have heard Wilson stuff a long time ago, floorstanders, probably pupies of some model. Plus they were always way over priced...so maybe your mind kind of shuts down when you know you can buy a new car for the price of these...LOL
    But even at that, they never reached out, and went WOW..these are great speakers. They were good, but not that good.

    I would go back a couple of times, bring your own source matrial, even your own CD player or what ever your useing.
    See if there still thrilling you. What you thought was wonderful one day..may not be so great in a week, and if it source material you know first hand...just may not be what you thought.
  • AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,717
    edited July 2012
    I also was not blown away by their floorstanders as mentioned above. In fact there are lots of 'great' speakers that I don't like but for whatever reason those Duette reached out and grabbed me.

    I went back in there again yesterday after work with my lossless files on the Macbook Air and they already had a similar setup and let me hook it right in. I didn't get to spend too much time, but enough to run a few of my test tracks. The sound was nothing short of spectacular, and again I had the same thought - This is the best speaker I've ever heard.

    I did not get to test but do have concerns about the speaker's ability to handle poorly recorded material. It seems like a very transparent speaker and poorly recorded material may not work well. I won't know until I listen I guess.

    Another reason I need to listen more is because I'm having a hard time identifying exactly why I like the speaker so much. Is it that it's really that fantastic of a speaker or is it that I have a certain sound signature I"m looking for and this speaker just happens to nail it, regardless of how 'good' it actually is?

    I"m not sure which it is, but I'll have plenty of time to listen and know for sure what I'm getting into before I can scrounge the money together to buy it. Those guys at Audio Concepts are going to get tired of me...
  • ravaneliravaneli Posts: 530
    edited July 2012
    i think when you demo speakers you should be blindfolded. Don't look at the brand, don't look at the price. There are all kinds of experiments proving that this information impairs good judgement.
    BlueFox wrote: »
    I have found that tube based computers provide the best sound quality. ENIAC and MANIAC I offer a smooth, well defined and articulated sound unmatched by the current silicon based CPUs. :wink:
    But as in all things your perception is your reality.
  • Loud & ClearLoud & Clear Posts: 1,538
    edited July 2012
    ravaneli wrote: »
    If an amp has 0.10% deviation, like the emotiva's do, it is considered 'impure', and get the bashing of famous masters of the sound like H9 and his posse.

    Some tubes however roll off like crazy on the high end, and early too, but that's because they are not judged with the specs of ss amps because they are magic.
    This is some extremely funny stuff: "... famous masters of the sound." lol. "... not judged with the specs of ss amps because they are magic." lol.

    I've read this thread three or four times now and each time I come across this post I literally start laughing out loud. Hilarious.

    Two Channel Setup:

    Speakers: Wharfedale Opus 2-3
    Integrated Amp: Krell S-300i
    DAC: Arcam irDac
    Source: iMac
    Remote Control: iPad Mini

    3.2 Home Theater Setup:

    Fronts: Klipsch RP-160M
    Center: Klipsch RP-160M
    Subwoofer: SVS PB12NSD (X 2)
    AVR: Yamaha Aventage RX-A2030
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  • FaceFace Posts: 14,714
    edited July 2012
    I also was not blown away by their floorstanders as mentioned above. In fact there are lots of 'great' speakers that I don't like but for whatever reason those Duette reached out and grabbed me.
    It doesn't hurt that the Duette uses better drivers than it's more expensive siblings. http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/scanspeak-soft-dome-tweeters/scanspeak-illuminator-d3004/6600-aircirc-tweeter-textile-dome/ and http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/approx-8-woofers/scanspeak-revelator-22w/4851t-8-woofer-paper-cone-4-ohm/
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche
  • naturallightnaturallight Posts: 689
    edited July 2012
    WOW..ok...I thought you were listening to these speakers throw at least a high end tube CD player or vinyl....but from a Macbook?
    If thats were all your music is..then i guess fine. But these people must have a turntable...play some vinyl on these. Then see how you like them.
  • FaceFace Posts: 14,714
    edited July 2012
    Nothing wrong with a computer as a source. In fact, the last couple audio show I've been to, the best sounding rooms were fed by some sort of music server.
    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 12,095
    edited July 2012
    I did not get to test but do have concerns about the speaker's ability to handle poorly recorded material. It seems like a very transparent speaker and poorly recorded material may not work well. I won't know until I listen I guess.

    If the speaker makes poorly recorded music sound like poorly recorded music then it is doing its job.
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • zingozingo Audiophile Posts: 11,829
    edited July 2012
    BlueFox wrote: »
    If the speaker makes poorly recorded music sound like poorly recorded music then it is doing its job.

    This is the issue I ran into with my current horns. High levels of detail and clarity are great until you playback poor recordings; very well recorded material like Chesky Records makes everything worth it.
  • dorokusaidorokusai Posts: 25,454
    edited July 2012
    WOW..ok...I thought you were listening to these speakers throw at least a high end tube CD player or vinyl....but from a Macbook?
    If thats were all your music is..then i guess fine. But these people must have a turntable...play some vinyl on these. Then see how you like them.

    Almost 75+% of manufacturers at industry shows use computer sources and when you wouldn't know the difference. They're not playing lowfi MP3's hoss.
    CTC BBQ Amplifier, Sonic Frontiers Line3 Pre-Amplifier and Wadia 581 SACD player. Speakers? Always changing but for now, Mission Argonauts I picked up for $50 bucks, mint.
  • ravaneliravaneli Posts: 530
    edited August 2012
    WOW..ok...I thought you were listening to these speakers throw at least a high end tube CD player or vinyl....but from a Macbook?
    If thats were all your music is..then i guess fine. But these people must have a turntable...play some vinyl on these. Then see how you like them.

    High end tube CD player LoL. This is exactly the kind of stuff that ticks me off. The only high end thing with a tube cd player is it's cost. Nothing else. Almost all decent CD players reproduce sound 1:1 with the source. Stereophille.com has reviews and bench tests on many of them, go take a look and tell me where their flaw is.

    And vinyl?? It is amazing that there are still people that believe that vinyl has some kind of superiority over any digital format. It's like trying to pull science out of the bible. Whatever you want to record on vinyl will always be better recorded digitally. Unless the screeching has some santimental value for you..

    Time to move on, no?
    BlueFox wrote: »
    I have found that tube based computers provide the best sound quality. ENIAC and MANIAC I offer a smooth, well defined and articulated sound unmatched by the current silicon based CPUs. :wink:
    But as in all things your perception is your reality.
  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 42,705
    edited August 2012
    ravaneli wrote: »
    High end tube CD player LoL. This is exactly the kind of stuff that ticks me off. The only high end thing with a tube cd player is it's cost. Nothing else. Almost all decent CD players reproduce sound 1:1 with the source. Stereophille.com has reviews and bench tests on many of them, go take a look and tell me where their flaw is.

    And vinyl?? It is amazing that there are still people that believe that vinyl has some kind of superiority over any digital format. It's like trying to pull science out of the bible. Whatever you want to record on vinyl will always be better recorded digitally. Unless the screeching has some santimental value for you..

    Time to move on, no?

    Your ignorance knows no bounds, I see. Do us all a favor, flush yourself.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


    President of Club Polk

  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 12,095
    edited August 2012
    I have found that tube based computers provide the best sound quality. ENIAC and MANIAC I offer a smooth, well defined and articulated sound unmatched by the current silicon based CPUs. :wink:
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
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