Graham Audio LS8/1 Signature Edition & a New System
Why Move on from the Sanders 10e?
I have a decades-long history of changing speakers every year or two. For lists of speakers and other audio equipment I've owned over the years, see this Tom’s Corner thread.I acquired my current listening room in 2015. Over that time I briefly used the KLH 12, AR-3a, AR-5, then for longer terms I used the Stirling LS3/6 without and later with the AudioKinesis Swarm quad of subwoofers, Janszen Valentina Active, Harbeth M40.2, Gradient 1.4, Dutch & Dutch 8c, and Sanders 10e in this room. The only ones I did not sell before now are the D&D and Sanders and now I've sold them. For me, the grass is always greener on the other side.
I still hear no sonic issues with the Sanders 10e in my room other than those I've mentioned in my Tom’s Corner writings about the Sanders:
1. The extremely narrow horizontal dispersion is not only a very positive aspect in a small room, but it is also the source of the only real "flaws" with the Sanders' performance in this room. Outside the sweet spot, the highs are very rolled off. You MUST listen from the sweet spot.
2. While I don't much care about the rolled-off highs when I walk into the room, this also means that if I lean forward or move the listening chair forward to listen with a subtended angle of 90 degrees between the speakers rather than my usual 60 degrees, I am 15 degrees off axis of the panels, which rolls off the highs a lot. Thus, I really can't listen to Blumlein and other quasi-coincidently miked recordings to best advantage without reorienting the toe-in of the speakers and that is too tedious to do. I could widen the dispersion of the highs by undamping the walls behind the speakers, but in this small room, that really ruins the sweetness of the sweet spot which, with the back wave damping, is ever-so sweet.
3. The large panel nature of the Sanders also defocuses images a bit compared to quasi-point-source speakers. I can hear that, but that is as much a positive attribute as a negative one, since it also enlarges the stage presentation vertically and horizontally, making the presentation "life sized" even in my small room.
4. The Sanders woofer boxes also buzz a bit when playing heavy bass even at "moderate" 80 dB levels, but nowhere nearly as bad as the woofer boxes of the Sanders 10c I owned a decade ago. I would never know about this buzz if the dbx VENU360 did not allow easily turning off the panels and listening only to the woofers. I have never heard any buzzing when the panels are turned on, even though I know it must be there.
I did not feel any lack of natural ease while using the Sanders. They also seemed more transparent than any other speakers I've had in my home systems. And it is impossible to tell how transparent the speakers really are without the dbx VENU360 acting as the crossover/EQ since no analog components I'm aware of will do the requisite 48 dB/octave crossovers, time alignment, and parametric EQ that the dbx DSP device seemingly handles effortlessly. As REG's review of the Sanders 10e stated, in the context of these speakers, the A/D and D/A conversion the dbx unit does at 24/96 seems essentially transparent. There are no hints of glassiness, no hint of truncation of space, no audible haze or other distortion, and certainly no lack of audible fine detail.
One non-sonic annoyance with the Sanders in my home (where I have no air filter operating except during air conditioning season since I have hot water baseboard heat) is that these are like electrostatic air filters: they attract dust from the air depositing it all over the speakers and their surroundings. This necessitates thorough cleaning of the panels and woofer cabinets every two weeks or so with a distilled-water-soaked handkerchief to avoid the black panels turning a mottled gray color. This is a problem unique to these speakers in this room. I never had this problem in my former home's listening room with the Sanders 10c because that home had a forced air HVAC system for both heating and air conditioning and the HVAC used an electrostatic air cleaner, meaning minimal dust in the air of the house.