ACI Sapphire's, Ellis 1801's, & Onix Ref 1's

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by BobAlbano, Mar 8, 2003.

  1. BobAlbano

    BobAlbano Second Unit

    Dec 10, 2001
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    Let me start by saying I had a great time at the audition. Jack and Kevin are first class guys that really know their stuff about speakers. We started around 11am listening to Jack's Ellis 1801's.
    Ellis 1801's:
    The speakers are quite a bit larger than the Ref 1's in size and similar in size the the Sapphire's. They are extremely smooth and detailed at the same time. The mid-bass on these speakers are incredible to say the least. I would say that the presentation of the high's are somewhat on the neutral to the laid back side in a very good way. They are speakers that you can listen to at low volumes as well as high volumes without ever getting the urge to turn them down or off. I would say that the 1801's are the best with classical and Norah Jones type music. When we popped in some Radiohead that was the first time in the 3 hour audition that I saw anything in these speakers that I would change. They didn't go as low as they should with the cabinet size and a 6 1/2 inch woofer. Jack stated that they are coming out with an updated crossover that should correct that. Once that is taken care of these will be just about as close to perfect monitors as there are. They are very balanced speakers and a great bang for your buck as well. The only problem is that if you want some, you better be willing to wait the 1 year it takes to get a set.
    ACI Sapphires:
    These speakers are very close in size to the 1801's and a bit larger than the Ref 1's. The Sapphires are an equally great speaker. When I first listened to them I thought they were quite a bit brighter than the Ref 1's and 1801's. This might have the best overall combination of bass extension and quickness of the bunch. They are fast and extend a bit deeper than the 1801's. The Sapphire's utilize a front port and a 1 inch tweeter. Once I listened to them a little more, the brightness seemed to tame itself. This might have been a volume thing as each of the speakers are different in terms of efficiency. The Sapphires are a great all around monitor. There isn't one thing about these that I didn't like. In a blind test you would be hard pressed to tell the Ref 1's and these apart. The finish is unique in it's own right. It is a black almost plastic speaker case. The case is plastic like in a good way though. I like the black and the oak on the sides. It made the speaker look sophisticated.
    Ref 1's:
    These are the smallest and prettiest speakers of the bunch. The finish on these speakers is something that is needed to see to believe. They are the quickest of the bunch bass wise and held their own in extension as well. While they don't have the punch of the Sapphires they don't leave you lusting for more either. I would say that the highs are somewhat forward compared to the 1801's and close to the Sapphires as far as presentation goes. These speakers are very neutral and and a very good mix of high's and low's. Where the Ref 1's really separated themselves from the 1801's was in rock and heavy metal. These speakers plain and simple rock in this area. They play BIG! We didn't have the time to listen to the Sapphires so I can't comment on those. I will say that I thought that the Ref 1's were the most consistant with all music. They handled pretty much everything we threw at them and smiled.

    Conclusion: I wouldn't kick any of these speakers out of my bed. They are all extremely detailed and do an exceptional job with all types of music . The separation of the instrument is incredible and they all have a very impressive sound stage. At the end of the day, they all sounded different but good in their own way. Each speaker definitely has it's own personality that fits with what their owner is looking for. I'm extremely happy with my Reference 1's just as they are happy with their speaker choice.

    Jack, thanks for opening your home to us and giving us an opportunity to listen to some really impressive speakers.

    Kevin, thank you for making the trip down. I really enjoyed listening to the Sapphire's and I look forward to hearing your impressions.

    Thanks for looking,

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. Evan S

    Evan S Cinematographer

    Nov 21, 2001
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    Bob, thanks for posting this. As a recent Sapphire purchaser (I get mine on Wednesday), I was interested in this comparison. Seems like there are very few ACI/Ellis/Onix followers on this board as this post is getting way more attention over at AVS than here. Now, if you had brought a pair of Paradigms into the comparison, you might have gotten more attention here at HTF[​IMG]

    Seriously though, thanks for the comparison. Seeing as I had never heard of the Ellis 1801's prior to this shootout and you cannot order the Ref 1's as of yet, I still feel confident in my purchase even though it seems you guys liked the Sapphires less than the other two lines. Still, with 30 days in home trial, you can't go wrong and I'm interested to see the improvement the Sapphires bring over my previous speakers...the Paradigm Studio 40's.
  3. Chas_T

    Chas_T Supporting Actor

    Jun 1, 2002
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