The Tannoy Westminster / PBN-DN308 Turntable / Audio Research System of Jimford

bonzo75

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The Wilsons are very poor at vocals compared to tannoy golds or tannoy HPD, and possibly older. I can listen to leider at Montesquieu all day long while with Wilson and similar I have to look at my watch for the next train

For real transparency listen to beryllium horns based on TAD, Radian beryllium, or JBL drivers with beryllium diaphragm on sets.. They will give electrostat like transparency, with similar decay, more body, and triode goodness. Gian's speaker's bespoke driver is excellent on vocal transparency as well. These give the see through transparency as well transparency to recordings
 

Ron Resnick

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As you said 20 years on Martin-Logan or Soundlab electrostatic speakers spoils us on transparency. But listening to speakers such as ESL63, the Sonus Faber Aida, the XLF or the fabulous WAMM on voices made me see that the Martin-Logan or Soundlab are not the champions on transparency on vocals - although they are uniformly driven by a large thin diaphragm they have a panel coloration, may be due to the ragged frequency response due to interference between the sound coming from different areas of the large panel. I must say that listening to girl on guitar music or Belafonte did not make me aware of this issue - listening to voices in classical music, particularly female soprano's in ancient music, recitals or opera shows it much more clearly.

Listening to Decca recordings of opera in the WAMM's was a traumatic experience - although it was just CDs that were being played, it surpassed by far the best I have listened in top systems using tape or vinyl concerning voice transparency and realism. To the point that at some moment we fear that our analysis of single pieces of equipment is mostly an analysis of the limitations of the speaker ...

You wrote some interesting thoughts here, Francisco. I definitely feel that I acquired my connoisseur-ish view of transparency from MartinLogan and Magnepan speakers.

For whatever reason, I have never heard -- and therefore I have never understood -- what people refer to as "panel coloration."

It is not obvious to me why vocals on classical music would be reproduced differently by panel speakers than solo vocals.

I have never experienced vocals on CD sounding more realistic or emotion-producing than an analog vocal recording played on vinyl or tape.
 
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Ron Resnick

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The Wilsons are very poor at vocals compared to tannoy golds or tannoy HPD, and possibly older. I can listen to leider at Montesquieu all day long while with Wilson and similar I have to look at my watch for the next train

For real transparency listen to beryllium horns based on TAD, Radian beryllium, or JBL drivers with beryllium diaphragm on sets.. They will give electrostat like transparency, with similar decay, more body, and triode goodness. Gian's speaker's bespoke driver is excellent on vocal transparency as well. These give the see through transparency as well transparency to recordings

Which "Wilsons"?

You know I am not a Wilson fan generally, although I respect the Alexx and I was amazed by the full Wilson Master Chronosonic + Subsonics system with vinyl.

Have you heard a demo of the full Wilson Master Chronosonic + Subsonics with vinyl? I defy even you, a big Wilson hater, to listen to that system and tell me that vocals sound "very poor."
 

bonzo75

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Which "Wilsons"?

You know I am not a Wilson fan generally, although I respect the Alexx and I was amazed by the full Wilson Master Chronosonic + Subsonics system with vinyl.

Have you heard a demo of the full Wilson Master Chronosonic + Subsonics with vinyl? I defy even you, a big Wilson hater, to listen to that system and tell me that vocals sound "very poor."

7 Alexandria, of which one is XLF, sophia, watt puppy, Sasha 1, Sasha 2, and Alexia 1. It is possible they managed to make their 800k WAMM equate the 3500 monitor gold on vocals. I am not Wilson hater, just pragmatic. I look to listen to gear for the fun of the hobby but don't care much for the ones that I would never own had their retail price been even 2k, because they have zero relation to anything to do with natural sound. I guess you high end apologists do not see it that way
 
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Folsom

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So you suspect by doubling the drivers to make the WAMM, from a speaker you don’t really like, could somehow produce one you do like? Generous. Almost apologetic.
 

Ron Resnick

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7 Alexandria, of which one is XLF, sophia, watt puppy, Sasha 1, Sasha 2, and Alexia 1. It is possible they managed to make their 800k WAMM equate the 3500 monitor gold on vocals. I am not Wilson hater, just pragmatic. I look to listen to gear for the fun of the hobby but don't care much for the ones that I would never own had their retail price been even 2k, because they have zero relation to anything to do with natural sound. I guess you high end apologists do not see it that way

I am not so dogmatic that I am unable to applaud a particular product from a company whose products, in general, are not my cup of tea.

I am making the simple point that you are rendering a judgment on a loudspeaker system you have never heard.
 

bonzo75

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I am not so dogmatic that I am unable to applaud a particular product from a company whose products, in general, are not my cup of tea.

I am making the simple point that you are rendering a judgment on a loudspeaker system you have never heard.

Actually I never rendered on the 800k WAMM. You made it sound like I did
 

bonzo75

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So you suspect by doubling the drivers to make the WAMM, from a speaker you don’t really like, could somehow produce one you do like? Generous. Almost apologetic.

That was my sarcasm, that where all other models failed, maybe Ron was suggesting the final 800k was equating to a 3500 tannoy
 

bonzo75

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Examples of male and female vocals. Don't listen on mobile please



 

Jimford

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Aug 12, 2018
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First of all I would like to give thanks to Ron for his kind words about my system. I’m not one that needs it but it does feel good! Lol. Even though I’ve been registered for about 2 years to WBF I really never gave it a hard look. My impression surfing it this weekend was nothing less than Audio bliss!I will be more active in the future! Thanks again Ron you are a true gentleman.Happy listening
 
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Jimford

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Looks like a Timber-Nation rack on the front wall.

Nice system.

Why are the Dukane DUK10 plasma tweeters vertically orientated in lieu of horizontal?

I mean besides they were designed that way.
I really don’t know why?
 

Ron Resnick

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First of all I would like to give thanks to Ron for his kind words about my system. I’m not one that needs it but it does feel good! Lol. Even though I’ve been registered for about 2 years to WBF I really never gave it a hard look. My impression surfing it this weekend was nothing less than Audio bliss!I will be more active in the future! Thanks again Ron you are a true gentleman.Happy listening


It was my pleasure, Jim!
 

gian60

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Apr 17, 2016
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Hi Jim,first congrats for the system.

I see you have PS Audio P 20.
You find sound little better with P 20?
I have interest to buy P 20,also to put order and keep out all the power distributor i have
Thanks
 
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morricab

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The Wilsons are very poor at vocals compared to tannoy golds or tannoy HPD, and possibly older. I can listen to leider at Montesquieu all day long while with Wilson and similar I have to look at my watch for the next train

For real transparency listen to beryllium horns based on TAD, Radian beryllium, or JBL drivers with beryllium diaphragm on sets.. They will give electrostat like transparency, with similar decay, more body, and triode goodness. Gian's speaker's bespoke driver is excellent on vocal transparency as well. These give the see through transparency as well transparency to recordings

The German company Live Act Audio uses Radian Coaxial drivers with Be compression drivers on the tweeters...extremely transparent and Live sounding. I heard a demo here in Switzerland that really impressed me when they played a Jeff Beck concert (live recording) and I really felt like I was in concert...that moved them high up my list. The Dynamikks speakers I sell here in Switzerland are much less expensive but still make a pretty convincing sound.
 
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sujay

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The German company Live Act Audio uses Radian Coaxial drivers with Be compression drivers on the tweeters...extremely transparent and Live sounding. I heard a demo here in Switzerland that really impressed me when they played a Jeff Beck concert (live recording) and I really felt like I was in concert...that moved them high up my list. The Dynamikks speakers I sell here in Switzerland are much less expensive but still make a pretty convincing sound.
I like the Live Act speakers too. I’ve heard the flagship and the 308 (I think) only in show conditions in Munich but loved their live concert like propulsive and immediate sound.
 

morricab

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View attachment 62294


Yesterday I heard for the first time the system of WBF member Jimford. Jim has Westminster Royal - Gold Reference loudspeakers. This is a giant 300 pound box loudspeaker with a dual concentric tweeter/15" woofer combination which is horn loaded. The speaker has a 99 dB/watt sensitivity specification.

Each cabinet has a volume of 18.72 cubic feet (530 liters), and dimensions of approximately 55" x 39" x 22."

The speaker can be adjusted +/- 3dB over 1.0 kHz to 27 kHz for shelving, and +2dB to -6dB per octave over 5 kHz to 27 kHz for slope.


View attachment 62290


Importantly, Jim has sitting on top of each speaker a vintage rebuilt Dukane DUK10 plasma tweeter. These tweeters receive a high pass signal at 7,500Hz.


View attachment 62293


The turntable is a Denon DN308 which been reconditioned by Peter Noerbaek, proprietor of PBN Audio, into the PBN-DN308 Groovemaster Vintage Direct Drive turntable. The PBN website states:

Dubbed the DN308, it was created through the unique partnership of Denon and the Nippon Broadcasting Corporation (NHK) – and audio history was made.​

PBN?Audio has searched out and acquired several of these rare players, and has transformed them from their original commercial console mode into unique works of audio art: The PBN-DN308.​
Key components of the original electronics – most notably the unsurpassed motor – have been refurbished and reconfigured. Details, such as the speed selection switch and power toggle, have been retained. The model number plate and authenticating documents are provided as well. All original parts are from the same unit. A special LCD display shows the precise rpm, to 1/1000 per revolution, in real time. The start/stop backlit buttons showcase its lightning-quick response.​
The turntable sits on a steel plate with a gorgeous custom walnut top and sides. The turntable and the table top both sit on a pneumatic auto-leveling Vibraplane system modified by Peter Noerbaek for this purpose.

This turntable is amazing sonically, and gorgeous aesthetically. Anyone who is interested in direct drive turntables, in vintage turntables, or both, should seriously consider purchasing this turntable and custom table top and customized Vibraplane support stand.

On the PBN's tonearm rides a Hana cartridge.

Jim uses an Audio Research phono stage, line stage and stereo amplifier.

I think the sound from this system is very organic and natural and coherent. There is natural, smooth detail without anything being emphasized or etched. Bass is very strong but natural. The system is very dynamic.

I think many people would make the mistake of driving these 99dB sensitive speakers with five or 10 or 20 watts of flea power. I think Jim is very smart to drive them with 100 all-tube watts.

The center of gravity of the frequency balance of the speakers is in the lower frequencies, which is what I personally like. (I consider the center of gravity of the frequency balance of the vdH cartridges to be located in the treble range. This speaker is the opposite of that.)

Jazz instruments were extremely convincing. My test track "Great Gate of Kiev" from Chesky's Pictures at an Exhibition sounded fantastic!

My overriding sensation from the table set-up is "drive." I guess "drive" is what direct drive turntable aficionados want from their turntables, and I can hear why. The sound was alive, and propulsive.

Jim wants to put a second tonearm with a top-of-the-line cartridge on the PBN, and I think that a vdH Colibri Stradivarius or Master Signature cartridge on a 3012R might be amazing in this system.

I think the organic-ness and the coherence and the musicality comes from a single dual concentric driver in a gigantic cabinet horn loaded for high sensitivity prodigious bass and warmth-up frequency balance.

This vintage plasma tweeter was very cool. Without it I think the Westminster may have a more vintage sound with inadequate detail and too-soft high frequencies, but this is mere speculation. With these plasma tweeters the high frequencies sounded perfect to me. I can't really imagine the speakers without them. (Audiophiles who enjoy Soulution electronics on Magico speakers or MBL Reference electronics on MBL 101E Mk. II speakers will find this entire system unacceptably rolled-off in the high frequencies).

It helped a lot that Jim has a big room of 24 feet long, 20 feet wode and a 10 foot tall ceiling The speakers are located on the long side of the room. With a smaller room these speakers would not have been able to breathe and develop the wonderful soundstage I heard yesterday. Truly, the room is the single most important component of our systems.

This speaker sounds conceptually similar to JeffreyT's PBN M2!5 Jeff Tyo Special Edition speaker. I think Jeff's PBNs are slightly more neutral and more extended in the high frequencies, with less of a low frequency foundation type of sound.

My only criticism of the Tannoy is I feel that they are not the last word in transparency like I like and like I'm used to with electrostatic loudspeakers. I think these Tannoys are absolutely amazing on jazz and classical, and rock, but they would not be my first choice for solo vocals because of a slight diminution in transparency compared to ribbon speakers and to electrostatic speakers. But in fairness I think the transparency will go up a notch with a vdH cartridge.

I could sit and listen to this system all day. It sounds very analog, very musical!

Bravo, Jim, on an amazing system in a wonderful room!

Nice review Ron! It's funny though, I like coaxial speakers quite a bit (I sell Dynamikks, which are coax at least for the mid/high), having recently liked (in addition to what I sell) Live Act Audio (using Radian coax drivers with Be compression tweeters) and a couple of Altec 604 variants. The 604 is THE coax driver from the past as they were one of the most widely used studio speaker in history (and pushed to new levels in the Urei 813 monitors). You should try to hear a pair of those as they will do the vocals you like so much very well in addition to the jazz, classical etc. They are very revealing as well with great speed, despite being like a 16 inch coax. The Radian coax with Be compression drivers simply blew me away in the Live Act Audio speakers...of course at 50K euro they should have. I am thinking of buying a 10 inch pair and putting them in a TQWT loaded cabinet or an 8 inch on open baffle with a big 15 inch woofer. Somehow though, I have always found the Tannnoys good but not blowing me away. Like you, I found them a bit too opaque (as I came from electrostats and ribbons, like you that was a no go).
 

morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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I like the Live Act speakers too. I’ve heard the flagship and the 308 (I think) only in show conditions in Munich but loved their live concert like propulsive and immediate sound.

Yes, the 408 (or did you mean 312?) is pretty awesome...but pricey.
 

Jimford

Well-Known Member
Aug 12, 2018
12
7
110
The PS Audio is the foundation of my system. I
can’t overstate the improvements it made! I’m sucked into the music every time I drop the needle. I highly recommend it!!
 

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