DaveC's RMAF 2016 Best In Show: Austin Acoustic

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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Exactly... How many speakers out there use Accuton, Raal, Seas, SS, etc? drivers in a box? Hmm... most of them? Yeah... not sure if this is a double standard unless ddk happens to feel that way about a majority of speakers on the market. IMO speaker design is a high-level (broad, general) design exercise of juggling compromises. It's not exactly rocket science when it comes down to it, implementation of drivers is fairly straightforward, especially with design software available these days. It's the overall concept that matters more and TBH I thought the Austin system would suck when I first saw it as it's only a horn speaker from 800 Hz up, but after listening my initial thoughts were proven wrong.

BTW, Austin does say their compression drivers are specially designed and manufactured to their own specs, so not off-the-shelf... but even if they were, so many other companies use ots drivers in their speakers without so much criticism...

As I said, I won't get into the value aspect but I can agree that they could have made it look nicer, which would go a long way to keep assumptions like ddk's at bay. Looks are possibly more important than sound quality... for some...

Also, I think we can figure out the math for an 800 Hz horn... it doesn't need to be that large. Although it may be the case that Austin's 800 Hz horn is a touch undersized, it's only the results that matter. Looking at the system, I did not have high hopes and I thought it was hopelessly compromised. Listening proved otherwise. Sometimes, it helps to keep an open mind and refrain from forming strong opinions when we don't have enough information. ;)

On the bass bin, how are it's dimensions a problem? Without knowing what driver they're using, and also not knowing if it's ported or sealed, that's one heck of a leap! I thought the bass bin would be far more of an issue than it was... again listening proved my initial impressions wrong. It's not the best bass I've ever heard... in fact I'd say my speaker is a bit better ;)... but it wasn't so bad as to become distracting... it did a decent job blending with the mids/highs, not perfect but better than I expected.
You still haven't said what he did here to make it his speaker! Wood box plus two drivers plopped on top of it, $350k, what else? This basic kit is available in Japan and most other countries to anyone who wants it, they even have proper horns to go with it. You can buy into the $50k drivers if you want to but some of us know better...
david
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
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On the bass bin, how are it's dimensions a problem? Without knowing what driver they're using, and also not knowing if it's ported or sealed, that's one heck of a leap! I thought the bass bin would be far more of an issue than it was... again listening proved my initial impressions wrong. It's not the best bass I've ever heard... in fact I'd say my speaker is a bit better ;)... but it wasn't so bad as to become distracting... it did a decent job blending with the mids/highs, not perfect but better than I expected.
Dave, With these qualifications, I am puzzled by your contention that this room had the best sound at RMAF. Did other systems suffer from worse bass issues? Did you hear the new Magico M3? I have not read any reports of how that room sounded except the one that JA of Stereophile gave.
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
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Dave, With these qualifications, I am puzzled by your contention that this room had the best sound at RMAF. Did other systems suffer from worse bass issues? Did you hear the new Magico M3? I have not read any reports of how that room sounded except the one that JA of Stereophile gave.
Bass was good... better than many other high end cone n dome speakers, but the mids and highs were in another league... trumpets blare almost painfully at realistic SPLs, just like the real thing. Yeah, it would be nice if bass totally matched, but that would take something a lot larger. Realistically, you'd need their $600k speaker that has a proper midrange horn + a huge bass horn and maybe even some massive subwoofers under the bass horn. Or a more conventional setup with a lot of driver surface area. A setup like they use saves a ton of room and money. I can only imagine what they would charge... :D

The Magicos were in the SR room with the multi-color lamps? I covered that here very briefly, last one:

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?21639-DaveC-s-RMAF-2016-Coverage

It seemed like it was one of the better sounding rooms, I went in for 10 min or so Sunday and it was empty with music playing so I listened to a few tracks on the playlist and didn't get to hear mine, but I thought it was very good, a bit on the laid back side vs some others but not really dark... good tonal balance imo. Sounds very refined, very little grunge or stridency. I liked the slightly more forward sounds of Thrax and Raidho tweeters a little better but the bass wasn't quite as good in those rooms. Thrax with the optional bass bins might be pretty awesome though. Also, I heard the Magico S6 ( I think..) with Rowland gear at a CAS event a while ago and thought it was a bit more forward than at RMAF.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,937
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North Shore of Boston
Bass was good... better than many other high end cone n dome speakers, but the mids and highs were in another league... trumpets blare almost painfully at realistic SPLs, just like the real thing. Yeah, it would be nice if bass totally matched, but that would take something a lot larger. Realistically, you'd need their $600k speaker that has a proper midrange horn + a huge bass horn and maybe even some massive subwoofers under the bass horn. Or a more conventional setup with a lot of driver surface area. A setup like they use saves a ton of room and money. I can only imagine what they would charge... :D

The Magicos were in the SR room with the multi-color lamps? I covered that here very briefly, last one:

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showthread.php?21639-DaveC-s-RMAF-2016-Coverage

It seemed like it was one of the better sounding rooms, I went in for 10 min or so Sunday and it was empty with music playing so I listened to a few tracks on the playlist and didn't get to hear mine, but I thought it was very good, a bit on the laid back side vs some others but not really dark... good tonal balance imo. Sounds very refined, very little grunge or stridency. I liked the slightly more forward sounds of Thrax and Raidho tweeters a little better but the bass wasn't quite as good in those rooms. Thrax with the optional bass bins might be pretty awesome though. Also, I heard the Magico S6 ( I think..) with Rowland gear at a CAS event a while ago and thought it was a bit more forward than at RMAF.
That was a nice report of RMAF. Thanks for that. The Magico speakers that you photographed are the S3. I am curious about the newest M3, $75K, speakers. They were displayed in one of the larger rooms.
 

FrantzM

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
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Frantz,

IMHO it is not what we ourselves exactly feel about the bashing negative posts - it is about the real negative consequences they have in forums. Again IMHO it is a case for moderators and forum owners.
Magico has had its share of negative reviews. Some here make of it an habit (;) .. Hi Caesar ! :D) ... Has this done anything to Magico reputation? And more importantly sales? The Lampizator is that kind of a product. Some bad reviews but overall positive enthusiastic mostly.
A product should stand on its own merit. That is why you bring it to shows for people to discover it and for the real world test to begin, if it's good people will flock to it .. ... Bad.. regularly bad and crazily expensive? Then it goes down as it should... Life goes on and the hobby too ..
 

thedudeabides

Active Member
Jan 16, 2011
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Frantz,

IMHO it is not what we ourselves exactly feel about the bashing negative posts - it is about the real negative consequences they have in forums. Again IMHO it is a case for moderators and forum owners.
Thank you micro for stating the obvious. I find these type of exchanges childish and irrelevant. Unfortunately, I believe they do, at times, have a significant negative impact on the credibility of this forum. In fact, it gives me pause to even read the posts on WBF.

Only made it through a third of this thread and I'm done reading anymore.

Oh well.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,488
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IMO nothing said in this thread compares to self righteousness of some! The exchanges here were between a couple of members and sorted themselves out, no commentary from sidelines needed!

david

Thank you micro for stating the obvious. I find these type of exchanges childish and irrelevant. Unfortunately, I believe they do, at times, have a significant negative impact on the credibility of this forum. In fact, it gives me pause to even read the posts on WBF.

Only made it through a third of this thread and I'm done reading anymore.

Oh well.
 

thedudeabides

Active Member
Jan 16, 2011
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Excuse me.

This type of childish behavior is not unusual from you and others. It happens way to often and you are in complete denial. :eek:

And for you to say you want no commentary from the sidelines underscores your obvious arrogance, insensitivity and attitude towards those who disagree with you.
 

treitz3

Super Moderator
Hello, Gentlemen. This will be the last time soft and unofficial warnings are issued on this thread without administrative action taken. Please DO NOT make personal comments toward one another. If you have something to add to the thread concerning the topic, please do so. With that said, if you post a personal comment toward someone? Do not be surprised when you get a formal warning.

Personal comments will not be tolerated from here on.

Tom
 
Nov 19, 2015
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Glad you enjoyed the horns Dave and thank you for your review.
 

xero

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Nov 3, 2016
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Given the heat that has been thrown here i was a bit reluctant to post. I first saw dave's thread on audiocircle and posted my thoughts there. i will copy and paste those comments here in order to save me some typing.

“I am happy to hear that other had the same experience as i did in this room. I came back 3-4 times. I was told that the 4 way system in Austin would blow this one away. I am planning to have a listen to that system in March when i make my annual trip to Austin.

I was struck by the realism that this combination provided and was thankful that i was able to play music that i knew. The second time that i went to listen i was sitting in pole position had a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend to the left and right of me. I play a string quartet cover of Massive Attack's "Sly". Something that i knew well but something that was completely unfamiliar to my new friends sitting on either side. For little over 4 minutes we sat transfixed and motionless. at the conclusion he said that we felt as if he was going to cry, his girlfriend / wife left the room an emotional wreck. I knew that what we were listening to was special but to have it confirmed is such dramatic form only showed what reproduced sound can REALLY be like. She returned with red circles under her eyes to say that she had never heard reproduced sound like that. It happened to be the her first show and her first room.

This is truly a magical room and i encourage everyone to hear it. As i described it to my friend who was unable to attend .... he said that i experienced an "emotional transference". This was in a room that was far from optimal!!!!!!!”

like many of you i have heard many many systems. but like art it is all subjective and blanket statements that imply that all compression drivers with a horn attached sound the same does not do service to all of use who have spent years honing our aural senses to make hyper-nuanced distinctions between seemingly similar products. It is like saying that bagels made in NYC taste like those made in Los Angeles we know that not to be true but it is what makes us connoisseurs.

Until this room i had never heard ALE compression drivers w/ Permendur magnetics and beryllium diaphragms matched with DHT monos for each driver. I will say that i have never heard a speaker in a box using direct radiating drivers do what what these did for extracting the immediacy of a recording. And could it be possible that if your CD played on that sounds strident and hard that you are actually hearing what the recordings sounds like? It could be ….
Some times it is the new sounds that we hear that will make us take a deeper look at what we are doing, building, making …. that looking at those points of friction between what we know to be true and a new truth allow each of us to individualize our own sonic experience. What i can say is that this system was nuanced and special!

I have heard and participated in many conversations about the differences in the way men and women hear and to witness a women listen to a track that she was completely unfamiliar with and be reduced to tears because of the emotion that she experienced is powerful and again something that confirmed the specialness that i heard.

i have little trust in reviewers for magazines and blogs because i am a cynic and i think that it is very difficult to be critical of the hands that feed you.

i had taken a break from RMAF since 2007 or 2008 and was looking forward to coming back to the mecca of american audio shows to find that the little guy, the guy building interesting stuff in his garage had gone only to be replaced by manufactures and dealers more eager to sell equipment than to share an emotional experience. That is what i hoped that RMAF would retain.
it would seem that in the years of my absence things have changed.

regarding music … I love my weird and eclectic taste and look forward to hearing others. I do understand the Diana Krall stuff, and even own some of her CD’s, but it seems to be pure laziness on the part of those showing rooms to continue playing those tracks. What i would love to see happen is that the shows show their commitment to the art form that they try to so faithfully reproduce and find music by great but unknown artists on soundcloud and make arrangements to a selection of tracks to be distributed to show goers prior to the show so that we can listen on our own systems and then have those tracks available to listen to in the rooms. this would allow us to discover new music and gain an understand of our home systems vs the systems at the show.

My long .02 and i hope that my rant makes sense!

no need to be kind in your response i can take it.

BTW,
if you have not read the history about ALE and Goto compression drivers have a look at the link below. I love when people try there best to recreate a listening experience that is faithful to the original, that they are possessed and will continue to refine there creations. One should not settle and progress is not made by measurements alone the most exquisite measuring device ever created are the ear brain combination. It is far more nuanced than physical measurements will ever be.

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/multi-way/126474-history-infos-about-goto-unit-drivers-horns.html
 

Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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Thanks for the write up.

And could it be possible that if your CD played on that sounds strident and hard that you are actually hearing what the recordings sounds like? It could be ….
Even more to the point, could it be that, if your CD played sounds strident and hard, you are actually hearing what the live music that was recorded sounds like?

My experience with unamplified live music suggests just this. For example, brass and some percussion can sound really hard in tone, depending on distance from the performer and acoustic of the venue. Same with some human voices, among others.

I am very, very suspicious of systems that make everything sound 'pleasant'.
 

ALF

Member
Mar 15, 2012
229
0
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Ah, this looks like Man's audio adventure; way to go Man!

He really is a nice guy, Austin cat, good to see that he was up and rolling at RMAF.

Cheers

a
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
2,214
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I will say that i have never heard a speaker in a box using direct radiating drivers do what what these did for extracting the immediacy of a recording. And could it be possible that if your CD played on that sounds strident and hard that you are actually hearing what the recordings sounds like? It could be ….
Some times it is the new sounds that we hear that will make us take a deeper look at what we are doing, building, making …. that looking at those points of friction between what we know to be true and a new truth allow each of us to individualize our own sonic experience. What i can say is that this system was nuanced and special!
I agree... and I can see how others might think the system isn't that great sounding because of this, but imo it's a leap in realism beyond what direct radiators/cones&domes can do... which was my whole point in awarding them best of RMAF. I'd go as far as to say if this wasn't evident then you weren't paying attention and/or didn't hear music you're familiar with... or maybe there's an agenda or some strong feelings that have nothing to do with this system... and that's what led this thread down the unfortunate path it took. One thing is for sure, high $ systems like this often evoke quite emotional responses from many without even listening to them! ;)
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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Thanks for the write up.



Even more to the point, could it be that, if your CD played sounds strident and hard, you are actually hearing what the live music that was recorded sounds like?

My experience with unamplified live music suggests just this. For example, brass and some percussion can sound really hard in tone, depending on distance from the performer and acoustic of the venue. Same with some human voices, among others.

I am very, very suspicious of systems that make everything sound 'pleasant'.
I think when people refer to hard with negative connotation in HiFi they mean a different hard and edgy to what you hear live. For example, I don't ortofon a90/95 harder compared to miyajiba madake or koetsu rosewood in a good way, but digital or bad SS gear can be hard and edgy in a bad way. The words might be the same (hard), but the meaning is different
 
May 30, 2010
14,130
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Portugal
(...) I am very, very suspicious of systems that make everything sound 'pleasant'.
Systems should be enjoyable, something very different from "pleasant".

I am suspicious of systems that make music "non enjoyable". In "good systems" (according to my preference :rolleyes: ) I am sometimes astonished as I manage to enjoy music I was supposed to dislike ...
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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Systems should be enjoyable, something very different from "pleasant".

I am suspicious of systems that make music "non enjoyable". In "good systems" (according to my preference :rolleyes: ) I am sometimes astonished as I manage to enjoy music I was supposed to dislike ...
+1

we like the system to get out of the way (minimum influence) so we can see what might happen......and not be afraid of musical truth. my money is always on the artist.....
 

DaveC

[Industry Expert]
Nov 16, 2014
2,214
8
38
Systems should be enjoyable, something very different from "pleasant".

I am suspicious of systems that make music "non enjoyable". In "good systems" (according to my preference :rolleyes: ) I am sometimes astonished as I manage to enjoy music I was supposed to dislike ...

Everyone has different tastes though... in the Austin system I found the blare of the trumpet to be very realistic, though somewhat hard and almost painful. I used to be in jazz band in school, I played alto sax and sat right in front of the trumpets, and they ARE loud! For me, the very realistic sound of the trumpet was very enjoyable, for others it might not be, but it WAS realistic!
 

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