DaveC's Best of RMAF 2017

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
2,221
13
38
#1
These were the rooms I thought offered the most in cost-no-object, value, or small size/lifestyle categories:

Verity Audio

High Fidelity Services showing Verity Audio Lohengrin IIS speakers, Verity electronics, TW Acustic tt/arm/phono pre, Ortonfon cart.

I honestly didn't expect much walking in. Angular cabs with a typical driver compliment, they look nice but unassuming, elegant and understated. But the performance was excellent! The ribbon tweeter is among the best I've heard, the mids were smooth and resolving, bass had impact and finesse, all at a very high level. The speaker also had a cohesiveness rarely achieved by this type of speaker. Later, after looking at their website I learn all the drivers are made in-house, this is a very serious audio company! This also goes a long way towards explaining the remarkable performance and cohesiveness, the drivers are obviously intended to be used together. This was my favorite cost-no-object room at the show.







AudioKenisis

The last room I made it to was Audiokenisis, Duke and James were showing their new Azel speakers. There is getting to be more competition in the $5-10k range and lots of great choices from Odyssey, Salk, Pranafidelity, ELAC, and tons more but I'd choose the Azels. The new cab looks great and most importantly the compression driver is sporting a beryllium diaphragm that has much better clarity, resolution and high frequency extension. I noticed it immediately and it elevates this speaker to a whole 'nother league. I was very impressed!

For $6500 I thought the Azel represented the best value at the show. The Be diaphragms are at least $500 each, not including the drivers, it uses woofers with massive 4" voice coils, the cabinet is simple but finished nicely, and it has rear-firing drivers so you can adjust the amount of "juciness" in the room reflections. This speaker is a quantum leap over previous AK speakers imo and it has leaped over every other value oriented offering I can think of or have heard. Congrats to Duke and James, you guys deserve to sell a lot of these!







Vinnie Rossi and Harbeth

Vinnie Rossi showing off his Lio and Harbeth speakers. I liked the sound a lot, it was much more like the system he showed in 2015 with the 40.2s... I did not like the Harbeths shown last year, too dark for me, but I can see the appeal. So these are 30.2s, the same as the 40.2s just without the 12" woofers. The performance from these small 2-way monitors is extraordinary, I don't know how they can do it... it does a great job of imaging, they portray clearly and separately every instrument or voice in the soundstage in a way very few speakers can regardless of price, and they can do this with recordings most systems make into a muddy mess. I've heard TAD pull of something similar in a $300k system... this is <$20k for the Lio and 30.2s. If I was looking for a monitor type speaker this would be at the top of my list and a complete integrated like the Lio is perfect for a speaker system like this too. It's like a "lifestyle" system that's far better than any other I've heard including Diavalet Phantom and Kii 3s that cost a lot more.

For those looking for a smaller system... you can even call it a lifestyle system with the Lio doing just about everything... this blows away the Diavalet Phantom, Kii 3, and pretty much every other system of the type I've heard. It does some things as well as cost-no-object systems. Seriously impressive. I remember Vinnie getting a lot of accolades and awards for RMAF 2015 with the Harbeth 40.2s, this is basically the same without the 12" woofers and it probably works even better for show conditions vs the 40.2s.










MSB DAC

MSB Reference DAC being shown off with YG speakers. This was an excellent room if you weren't in the front row, which had some really odd soundstaging effects from being too close, but the middle and back were fine and really showed off the DAC. I have a very modest digital source and am rarely envious of higher end digital, but this has changed my mind. There IS something significantly better and I want it. Now if only I can convince MSB they should give me 90% off we're all set. :lol: I heard tracks that were better than all but the best of the best analog, and even then the differences were not major. I'd take this DAC over the same $ invested in analog anyday.

This is cost-no-object gear and overall I liked the Verity system better... it's much larger, shown in a much more ideal room. But some of the recordings I heard in the MSB room, both from the MSB guys as well as a potential customer who brought in some excellent DSD tracks, were amazing. This is digital on another level and they deserve to be mentioned for it.



 
Jun 26, 2012
221
1
18
Sweden
#2
Very interesting, thanks!

In my book Verity makes some of the best loudspeakers on the planet. And they usually gets amazing reviews from people listening to them on shows. Verity with Absolare can be the best sound I have ever heard. And still, they always seems to flying under the radar in general loudspeaker discussions. For example, only four dedicated threads about Verity on WBF after 7 years.
 
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bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
9,029
113
63
London
#3
I owned Verity Leonores. I chose them over the older bigger Parsifal ovation because the newer models were much better. I know shorter dealer who sells big Focals, Estelons, etc, but his personal favorites are the small Verity.

IME they play poorly with class AN, and need either powerful SETs, push pull, or liquid class A like Vitus and Pass.


They are quite open and have an excellent midrange, and not bass heavy. The one thing I had against them was that they were always too polite, all models I heard. Maybe a Lyra would have added some sharpness at the too but still would have been polite.
 

KeithR

VIP/Donor
May 7, 2010
3,051
35
48
Marina del Rey, CA
#4
welcome to the MSB fan club!

people just don't understand how different the Ref/Select dacs are from any digital source on the market. If I didn't have records and an analog system, I would buy the Ref and call it a day.
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
2,221
13
38
#5
Verity does not seem to be trying too hard to be noticed in the US, but they deserve attention as the sound was really excellent, very cohesive and seamless. The Lohngren is $133k, I would be interested to hear the smaller ones, they had some at the show on static display.

MSB's sound was excellent, I want one. It costs nearly as much as my car though, so maybe not right this second but hopefully in the not so distant future. For me it would be a business expense, which helps... every job has to have it's perks. :)
 

BruceD

VIP/Donor
Dec 13, 2013
908
3
18
#6
Agree on the Veritys--such a refreshing Speaker--not too in ya face--nicely balanced presentation with drive when it counts.

I've been a convert since I heard Frank Schroder's demo with them at a CES a few years back

I'd pick them over many touted favorites today.

BruceD
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
9,029
113
63
London
#7
Agree on the Veritys--such a refreshing Speaker--not too in ya face--nicely balanced presentation with drive when it counts.

I've been a convert since I heard Frank Schroder's demo with them at a CES a few years back

I'd pick them over many touted favorites today.

BruceD
What amps and cart was he using?
 

BruceD

VIP/Donor
Dec 13, 2013
908
3
18
#8
What amps and cart was he using?
Woo! Bonz--few Moons have passed since-- however dug into the vaults and came up with the TT ( I think its a BAUER but I may be wrong)and Arm combo --I cannot make out the Cart but it seems to be dark wood bodied(?) sample--I only have retained this Lo Res Jpeg

unfortunately so cannot enlarge, same with any Amp no Pictures so unable to help there.

The Speakers were the Parsifal I wrote that down!

Sorry

BruceD

IMG_6563 1.jpg
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
11,034
23
38
Manila, Philippines
#9
It looks like a Miyajima Shilabe :)
 

moonman54

New Member
Jan 11, 2012
6
0
0
Hamden, CT
#10
Hi Bonzo75, I find your remarks to be right on the money. I have heard a number of Verity models, including the Lohengrins at RMAF 2017 last week. They are certainly very well integrated up and down the frequency range, but they have all left me wanting more dynamics and life. Too polite is another way of putting it. Once I got a system/speakers with great dynamics, there was no going back.
 

Duke LeJeune

[Industry Expert]/Member Sponsor
Jul 22, 2013
149
5
18
Princeton, Texas
#12
Thank you VERY MUCH, Dave! Great photos, by the way.

I thoroughly enjoyed talking with you again, and Jim and I are honored that our speakers made your list in the "best value" category. Jim put in a lot of ears-on time over the past year or so in fine-tuning the level of our rear drivers relative to the front ones, and I think that helped a lot. In the past, the reverberant-field drivers were turned up a bit too loud. Jim found that there's an "optimum" level for the reverberant-field drivers, below which there is still room for improvement, but above which the clarity starts to be degraded. The level of the rear-firing drivers is passively adjustable via a high power handling potentiometer, so it can be dialed in for a particular room.

This show was the first time I heard the Azel components in their intended cabinets, as I had barely finished up the crossovers in time to ship them to Jim for installation in the cabinets. Over the course of the show I heard a couple of areas where the crossover could use a bit of tweaking, so those crossovers will be modified accordingly, and the Azel will become a little bit better than what we showed with.

Very best to you on your own ambitious and intriguing projects! Don't worry, I won't divulge any details.
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
2,221
13
38
#15
Thank you VERY MUCH, Dave! Great photos, by the way.

I thoroughly enjoyed talking with you again, and Jim and I are honored that our speakers made your list in the "best value" category. Jim put in a lot of ears-on time over the past year or so in fine-tuning the level of our rear drivers relative to the front ones, and I think that helped a lot. In the past, the reverberant-field drivers were turned up a bit too loud. Jim found that there's an "optimum" level for the reverberant-field drivers, below which there is still room for improvement, but above which the clarity starts to be degraded. The level of the rear-firing drivers is passively adjustable via a high power handling potentiometer, so it can be dialed in for a particular room.

This show was the first time I heard the Azel components in their intended cabinets, as I had barely finished up the crossovers in time to ship them to Jim for installation in the cabinets. Over the course of the show I heard a couple of areas where the crossover could use a bit of tweaking, so those crossovers will be modified accordingly, and the Azel will become a little bit better than what we showed with.

Very best to you on your own ambitious and intriguing projects! Don't worry, I won't divulge any details.
Haha, it's no secret... I just don't want to show photos of the rough prototype, it's too ugly. :)

The Azel is a really nice speaker, amazing value too... I thought it was the equal of some much more expensive speakers, including any of the ones using GPA/Altec 604s. Throw in an 18" sub and a T500 and you're darn close to a Classic Audio speaker which is big $.
 

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