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Notes from Audtionining- Review of Rocket, Linn, B&W, et al.


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#1 of 7 OFFLINE   matt_yots

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Posted April 06 2003 - 02:26 PM

After reading the numerous online audio and home theater forums, I've caught hi-fi bug and spent an exhoribant amount of money assembling my system... (at least according to my income and modest bank acountPosted Image )

I started with a budget of $1200 for three fronts... here are my observations. I purposely requested mid-fi components when possible to match my own setup-- Yamaha RX-V2095 and Cambridge Audio D500SE:

Linn Espek msrp: $3500
Amazing speaker. Super musical and laid back. Best for jazz music (Dianna Krall and Miles Davis Kind of Blue) and classical. I wouldn't recommend these for fans of rock music or metal. The best imaging and tied for the widest soundstage based on the speakers I auditioned.
SOURCE: Arcam Int, Arcam Diva CD72t

Onix Rocket 750 msrp: $1400
Based on the opinions on avsforum, I expected a epiphantic moment at the sight of these speakers... No horns or trumpets... yet, the Rockets were my subjective favorites from my auditioning when comparing: A) overall performance B) price. I thought the Espeks were a more refined speaker, but they cost an additional $1-2k (depending on the discount from the dealer, demo, used, etc.) The Rockets were neutral and pleasant sounding- I was able to isolate Ms. Krall's enunciation of every word. On a Telarc recording of The Marrigage of Figaro (MoF), I was able to crank up Cherubino's solos without causing my eardrums to bleed (ring, yes...bleed from fatigue, no). Overall, a very pleasant experience at a very competitive price point.
SOURCE: BK 507, Sonic Frontier CDP, massive amounts of line conditioning, and cable the size of garden hoses...didn't ask, didn't want to be rude. This guy had a Mark Levinson amp sitting idle... (yeah, I know the front end was pretty obscene)

Soliloquy SAT5 msrp: $650, street $350
Plan B on my audition list was to buy some quality monitors and a REL/HSU/Adire/Aperion sub to save on cash, space, and physical stress (I need to enlist a friend or hire help to carry the larger floorstanders up to my apartment...I'm a little guy). The SAT5s were extremely polite--I heard some Linn Tukans at my Linn audition and found these two speaker somewhat comparable... the Soliloquy's are about half the price though. Despite everyone's rave reviews about Aperion and Ascend acoustics, I suggest trying to find a pair of SAT5s to audition. Best construction I've seen on a non-ProAc/Dynaudio monitor... (sorry, the leather really bugs me on the SF's). Match the SAT5s with a sub and you will be in heaven. They imaged almost as well as the floorstanders, albeit at a lower volume, and had a wider than normal sweet spot. Sentimental favorite.
SOURCE: Cambridge Audio D500SE, CA int. 50 wpc

I'll try to post more later when I get a chance...
BTW, I also gave a short listen to the BW 603 series and was totally disappointed. Ditto for some Audio Physic bookshelfs (I can't totally knock the Audio Physic monitors since they were about 5 hours old).

#2 of 7 OFFLINE   matt_yots

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Posted April 06 2003 - 02:45 PM

Sorry about the mispelling in the title....

Anyways one more:
ASW Genius 100 & 200
Bright speakers or the polite response would be EXTREMELY REVEALING. If you like Klipsch, try these at about half the size. When I was flirting with the monitor/sub upgrade idea, I was initially drawn to the idea after auditioning the ASWs. These were the best monitors I heard despite their bright characteristics. The dealer matched them with a Sunfire Junior (which was setup a bit sloppy IMHO). I would be a happy ASW owner if the price tag wasn't $1100 for the 100s and $1500 for the 200s. Ouch! And no discount from book price Posted Image
SOURCE: Arcam int. 75 wpc, Myriad CDP (Sorry, I don't know the model). Audioquest ICs and cable.

#3 of 7 OFFLINE   Walt N

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Posted April 07 2003 - 06:24 AM

Thanks for your impressions, Matt. Sounds like you've been busy!

#4 of 7 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted April 07 2003 - 07:58 AM

Matt,
Have you heard the new Kef's yet?

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   matt_yots

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Posted April 07 2003 - 08:25 AM

LOL... the new KEFs. Are you talking about the Q series or the QX series?

I actually own the Q55.2s for my mains and some KEF Cresta 30s as my rears. BTW, I'm selling the Cresta's right now. KEF speakers are excellent deal for their price point- I found my 55.2s for $525 (delivered) on closeout. They are much cheaper than B&W and compete nicely with some of the online stores. KEFs are very neutral sounding and their proprietary Uni-Q drivers are great for opera and electronic music lovers (they tend to tame they harsh notes). I was looking to upgrade my current fronts and I felt that the Rockets/Linns would be a nice step forward...they should be for an extra $900-1000 bucks. I may still decide to save my money and travel instead since the Kefs are really a wonderful speaker for a mid-fi system.Posted Image

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   BradJudy

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Posted April 07 2003 - 09:53 AM

SAT5 for $350? That would be worth checking out. Did you get that price from a local dealer?

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   Nathan J

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Posted April 07 2003 - 05:41 PM

I am interested in what you thought of the B&W 603's. I am currently thinking of getting a pair of these, but I would like to know your opinion on them.

Could you explain what you didn't like about them?
SoLoItHz