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Thread: Wonderful Way to Spend a Friday in SF with Philip, Vivid Audio Giya G3 & Music Lovers

  1. #1

    Wonderful Way to Spend a Friday in SF with Philip, Vivid Audio Giya G3 & Music Lovers

    A serendipitous confluence of events occurred this past Friday. My interest in the Giya G3 speakers were awoken once again, and so earlier this week I reached out to Philip O'hanlon to find the nearest dealer in my area for a listen. As luck, or perhaps fate would have it Philip was in town visiting Music Lovers on Thursday and Friday, and the San Francisco store had the Giya G3s set up and available for a demo.

    First off, let me mention that Jae, Hugh, and Max were all very accommodating and hospitable, with Hugh taking lead duties in ensuring the speakers and the rest of the equipment were setup properly and ready for listening. More so in light of the fact that originally I had to cancel the appointment due to work commitments, and it was only on the morning of Friday I changed my mind, and they were able to slot me in at 1PM.

    Second, I was very fortunate the Philip was in town, and took the time to be there to show me the Giyas and to answer any questions I might have. Oh, and did I forget to mention, to provide the best music demonstration I have ever had in my life. That included playing material to show off the various facets of the Giyas, selections per my request to hear how tunes I were very familiar with sounded on the Giya, and some other selections either entirely new to me, or transformational when heard on the Giyas. Also I would be remiss in not mentioning that Philip has the best needle drops (selection and quality) that I have ever heard in my life.

    Everyone was patient and gracious, and very learned. It felt like a casual gathering of friends on a Friday afternoon enjoying the pleasure of listening to good music.

    The listening room was slightly larger than my own which measures 13.5' wide, 23' deep and 9' tall.

    As I mentioned earlier, I had for quite a while had an interest in the Giyas, but never had a chance to hear them. In addition I have now spent enough time with my own system to understand its strengths and suspect some of its weaknesses. So my goal going in was to both hear the Giyas and determine if they provided those elements I found lacking in my system.

    Well, I can tell you these speakers delivered all of that and more. Wow! I have never been so literally blown away and delighted by a listening experience in my life. I know everything I am about to write will sound like hyperbole, but the classical selections played sounded very close to being seated at a concert. I actually felt like clapping at the end. I have never heard pianos and violins sound so life like. I have never heard complex passages so uncongested and the dynamics, from soft to explosively loud were incredible, the speakers never faltered for a moment.

    Shelby Lynn, Just a Little Loving, sounds wonderful in my system, but on the Giyas, it is a whole different level. The tempo, the capability of the speakers to start on a dime, and to stop effortlessly with no overhang of notes is something that needs to be heard to be appreciated.

    And truly the purr of the electric guitar on some of the tunes, is better than I have ever heard it rendered ( yes, I play guitar and bass ).

    I believe a track was played of Taiko drumming as well to show the superb rhythmic capabilities of the G3s, simply astounding.

    I had read previously reports of how sensational the needle drop of Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side sounded on the Giya G3s. At one point Philip mentioned how one could hear the singers moving closer and further away from the microphones as they were singing, well I missed it the first time because I was mesmerized by the sounds of the bass drum, especially the quick double kicks during the song, which I had never heard before. I did catch the background singers as they moved closer and closer to the mikes during the latter half of the song. Just amazing playback on this tune, the vocals, the distinct sounds of both the electric bass and acoustic bass, the splat of the horn, I could have listened to it a dozen times easily.

    OK, as this is getting rather long, at least for me, I will get to the point. These speakers are simply amazing. The best I have heard, and yes I have not heard as many speakers as many of you out there. The dynamics, the cadence, the effortlessness, and accuracy in sounds is beyond my feeble words. The soundstage, detail, clarity and all these other intangibles, truly result in a speaker that "gets out of the way". And they could play louder than I would ever want to at home without losing any of the qualities I enjoyed at lower volumes.

    So, these speakers more than met my expectations, they had qualities I didn't even know existed. Ever have that moment when you just wanted to whip out the old checkbook and say, "I'll take them!", well that is how I felt.

    Key take aways, Music Lovers is a wonderful, accommodating establishment, Philip is a wonderful and gracious host and a pleasure to spend time with, as it transcends the equipment and is about the love of music, and the Vivid Audio Giya G3 speakers should be on anyone's short list to audition, if you can afford them.


    p.s. another way to think about it is, these speakers are a music lovers speaker.
    Last edited by bplexico; 06-27-2015 at 07:42 PM.

  2. #2
    VIP/Donor [VIP/Donor] amirm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Seattle, WA
    Long? No, we can't get enough of these trip reports . It is always great to hear about warm hospitality, great enjoyment of music, and experiencing great audio systems. Thanks for writing it up. I got vicarious enjoyment reading it .
    Madrona Digital
    Founder, Audio Science Review Forum
    Contributing Editor, Widescreen Review Magazine

  3. #3
    Site Founder And Administrator Steve Williams's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Coto De Caza, California on the 13th fairway of the south golf course

    congratulations on the demo. Philip, Jae and Hugh are indeed pretty great guys
    Steve Williams
    aka oneobgyn
    There's ALWAYS another Steve Williams BUT there's only "oneobgyn"
    Dealer Lamm Electronics
    My System

  4. #4
    Thanks Steve and Amir -

    Appreciate the kind words, and yes they are wonderful folks. Now I am just trying to come to agreement on color and than busting open the piggy bank. Big change as I am coming from an all tube, with high efficiency speakers system.


  5. #5
    [WBF Founding Member]
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    [Technical Expert] Bruce B's Avatar
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    Apr 2010
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks Barr..... want to echo Steve's comment. Philip is a gentleman and scholar.
    Bruce A. Brown
    Puget Sound Studios
    Stereomojo reviewer
    Seattle, WA

    Even a blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while!

  6. #6
    I just remembered, Philip was kind enough to play a request of mine, the incredible Louis Armstrong doing St. James Infirmary. Yes, I am sure many of you have heard it many many times, and the version on my Classic Records LP is insanely great. But wow, Philips's needle drop was beyond crazy good. Just a killer tune rendered by a killer speaker from a killer musician.

  7. #7
    Addicted to Best!
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    Jul 2010
    SF Bay
    Great shop. It's where I picked up my Spectral pre and amp. I do like the Vivid speakers. They are on the top of my list after the Spectral phono stage and maybe a Basis turntable upgrade. I use to live about 10 minutes from the SF shop just over the hill near the GG bridge. It was great being able to just swing by and listen. Glad you had such a nice visit.

  8. #8
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! flez007's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
    Mexico City
    I also like Vivid speakers, paired with DartZeel are just fantastic, at least to my ears.
    ​No lies, no surprises

  9. #9
    [Industry Expert] Philip O Hanlon's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    San Juan Capistrano, CA (between LA & San Diego)
    Quote Originally Posted by dan31 View Post
    Great shop. It's where I picked up my Spectral pre and amp. I do like the Vivid speakers. They are on the top of my list after the Spectral phono stage and maybe a Basis turntable upgrade. I use to live about 10 minutes from the SF shop just over the hill near the GG bridge. It was great being able to just swing by and listen. Glad you had such a nice visit.

    I was staggered by how well the Giya G3 mated with the Spectral Amp & Preamp; really a terrific combination. I normally use Luxman or Mola Mola and the Vivid manufacturer uses Ayre (he is the S.African distributor for Ayre). Back to Spectral; the speed of the electronics suited the speakers perfectly, I don't know what cables Music Lovers used, but it was a terrific system. Timbre was neutral, though not at all etched. Soundstage was precise, not as wide or deep like the G1 throw at home, but then it was a considerably smaller room. Just goes to show that you should not let your preconceptions get in the way of enjoying a terrific setup. I was guilty of thinking (going in to the demo) that the Spectral would be waaay too cool sounding for the Giyas - delighted to be proven wrong.
    Kudos to Music Lovers & Spectral !
    Philip O'Hanlon
    On A Higher Note
    (distributor of excellence)
    window to the true sound through imported synergistic high end audio components: Artesania Audio, Eclipse TD, Luxman, Merging+NADAC, and Vivid Audio

  10. #10
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best!
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    May 2010
    Marina del Rey, CA
    Great story, Dan....quite a change coming to your system from a Devore/Shindo one. What amp are you going to use on your new G3s?

    I'd love to hear DarTZeel on Vivid speakers sometime and have a feeling it would be the perfect match.

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