How many have listened to the ACI Sapphire III

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Phil M, Mar 14, 2002.

  1. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 1999
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Checking how many people have listened to the ACI Sapphire III LE speaker.

    I'm looking to upgrade my Paradigm Studio 40's and I'm trying to narrow the field down.

    I'm looking at a used/demo B&W Nautilus 805's, Dynaudio 1.3 MKII's, Vienna Acoustics Haydn, Sonus Faber Concertino, and Proac 1SC.

    Application is a large room with little or no wall reinforcement, powered by a Rotel RMB1075 120X5 amp.

    I'm using a Paradigm Servo-15 sub, so the low end is covered. I'm looking for something smooth, with a great mid-range that really images, as my seating position is off center.

    Phil
     
  2. Bob_M

    Bob_M Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2000
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Phil

    I can tell you I have never heard a bad thing written about these speakers. In addtion ACI as a company is great to deal with. The Saphires are on my list at some point.

    Bob
     
  3. John Desmond

    John Desmond Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I owned Sapphire IIIs for a long time. Terrific speakers in so many ways. The only real reason I don't have them anymore is I decided to move up to ACI Jaguars. I needed more output for a larger room. Friends and I have directly compared them to the 805s. The 805 is a fine speaker, but we felt the overall edge really went to the Sapphire III. I've liked the Dynaudios I've heard, but never directly compared them. Probably more similar than different. In the Sonus Faber line, the Concerto would be much closer to the Sapphire III than the Concertino. Do a search over at AA or maybe HD, there are some people who've directly compared Concertos to Sapphire IIIs. I know of at least one fellow who felt the SIIIs were a big improvement over his Concertos. What can I say, great speakers, great company!
     
  4. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 1999
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It does seem there are many people who really love them on those other forums, and I've read several posts where people have compared them to the 805's and preferred the Sapphires.

    Keep the comments/suggestions coming.

    Anyone else here directly compared them to anything?

    Phil
     
  5. John Desmond

    John Desmond Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Phil, I get the impression that there aren't very many ACI owners around here. Understandable, ACI has not really promoted itself much in the HT arena They sure are extremely well loved by us die-hard two-channel folk. I believe their 25th anniversary models will begin to make them a lot better known among HT folks. From what else you're looking at, I believe you'd really enjoy the Sapphire III LEs. Take them up on their 30day trial and report back[​IMG]
     
  6. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2000
    Messages:
    3,716
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    John Potis liked the Sapphire III's so much that he kept them and ditch his Concertos! Read about it here!
    Brian
     
  7. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 1999
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well I just got off the phone with ACI and I ordered a pair of the shielded Sapphire III LE's in cherry and a single Emerald in gloss black.

    Both were demo's so they reduced the price and gave me free shipping, and I still get the 30 day in-home demo.

    I just have to pay the return shipping if I don't like them.

    I'll be comparing these side by side to my studio 40's and a pair of Nautilus 805's.

    I will say one thing for sure, the new III LE's are a darn sight better looking than the ones in the above review at SMR.

    Check out the picture gallery at audioc.com to see the newer ones.

    Phil
     
  8. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1997
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, of the listed speakers, Proacs are my favorite, but you've obviously done your homework - they're all very good! Actually since you will be using a Rotel, the ACI's are a better match anyways. I'm betting you won't be returning them.
     
  9. John Desmond

    John Desmond Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Phil, sounds like you'll soon be having a good ole time! I agree with you about the looks. I owned the "original" ones. They had great veneer work, but now look dated to me. The LE look is very cool. You're in for a treat!
     
  10. Bob_M

    Bob_M Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2000
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Phil,

    >Well I just got off the phone with ACI and I ordered a pair of the shielded Sapphire III LE's in cherry and a single Emerald in gloss black. <

    In a short time I will be considering upgrading my 3 speakers across the front. (Need to finish with my addition to the house first.) Anyway I am thinking of 3 Emeralds or 2 Sapphires and an Emerald like you did. Please let me know how you like the setup. I have the ACI Titian and I can tell you I really like that unit. Just this morning I was listening to some music and noted how the bass seems to pour right from my NHT S1's.

    Good Luck,

    Bob

    Bob
     
  11. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2000
    Messages:
    3,716
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Bob,
    A friend of mine and HTF member, Ellen, has a Sapphire III, Emerald setup along with an original Titan. I believe she's had this setup for several years and really seems to like it. I'll see if I can get her to post her impressions. Just keep in mind that she's not very articulate in audio-speak (and she'll be the first to admit it!). But she is very articulate otherwise![​IMG]
    Brian
     
  12. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 1999
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I'm really looking forward to the audition and will post my impressions. My only concern is the Emerald as a center channel. I know that ACI recommends it be placed verticle vs. horizontal, but said that it still does fine on its side.

    When I told my wife that I ordered them she said "Bring them on!", she is basically challenging me to find a speaker set-up that sounds better than my current Studio's and center. (within my price range anyway)

    I think that she has a better ear than me as far as telling subtle differences so it'll be interested to hear her input.

    When I bought my last amp, I A/B'ed it to her against my old amp and she said "buy it, it sounds better" and even told me how it sounded better in almost audiophile words.

    Gotta love her!

    Phil
     
  13. Lanny Hoff

    Lanny Hoff Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2000
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've been helping a friend install a HT using ACI Sapphire LE III's and Emeralds in a 7.1 configuration with a Titan II sub. When we first unboxed these speakers I was not at all impressed. The sound was brittle, compressed and nasal as hell.

    My friend told me that the company recommends 70 hours of break-in time, so I tried to put this initial negative impression out of my head and let him break them in. One week later I returned and I am amazed at the difference! Now the Sapphire's are open, airy, and very detailed without a hint of brashness, brittleness or compression.

    These are some pretty incredible speakers and are at the top of my list for when it becomes time to upgrade. They seem to do very well with the Emeralds as surrounds/center speakers and, of course, sound fabulous in 2 channel listening.

    I think you'll like this setup very much.
     
  14. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2000
    Messages:
    3,716
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Phil,

    I have 3 Emeralds across the front and originally had the center lying on it's side on a shelf in my old entertainment center. I thought it sounded very good, but I always sit in the sweet spot!

    When I got my RPTV I set it upright and it definitely sounds better. I also added a piece of 2" acoustic foam under the back to angle it forward and this further improved the sound. I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

    Brian
     
  15. John Desmond

    John Desmond Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    >>>I'm really looking forward to the audition and will post my impressions. My only concern is the Emerald as a center channel. I know that ACI recommends it be placed verticle vs. horizontal, but said that it still does fine on its side.
     
  16. Ellen

    Ellen Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2000
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Real Name:
    Ellen
    As my (ahem) friend Brian says, I have ACI Sapphire mains with Emerald center and surrounds. I have no complaints with the system. Of course the Sapphires can play louder and deeper than the Emeralds and with less strain, but that is to be expected given the difference in size of the drivers and enclosures. The Sapphires sound much smoother, particularly on stuff like opera and classical music. But I do not find the differences to be startling or distracting while using the system for movies. I am, however, eagerly awaiting shipment of the new Veritas center channel speaker. Upon it's arrival, I'll be moving the Emeralds to a bedroom system.
     
  17. Gregory S

    Gregory S Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2001
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi,

    I have the Sapphire III LE's. I like them a lot, but I'm only running them through an old Sansuii 771 stereo receiver, so I'm sure that I'm not hearing their full potential. Can't wait to upgrade!

    I replaced Infinity SM-110 floor standers with the Sapphires. The only thing you give up to the Infinities is the lower bass and the ear-splitting volume (100 db @ 1 watt). The Sapphires still play plenty loud - more than you will probably need. My room is 20'x18'.

    The first thing I noticed about the Sapphire's was how realistic cymbals sound. On the Infinities, cymbals sounded harsh and not very realistic. The whole spectrum just sounds smoother on the Sapphires. At high volume they sound very clean, whereas the Infinities irritate you - it makes you want to turn it down - not so with the Sapphires.

    I bought these speakers for music and movies. I use them with an M&K MX-80 subwoofer. Seeing that I have such an old receiver, I have no bass management. I play the Sapphires full range. The only thing that I've had a problem with is with the Jurassic Park CD - some of those tracks bottom out the Sapphires. I really need a high-pass filter (60 Hz, maybe).

    I probably would have bought M&K speakers if I was primarily interested in movies, but for music and movies I think the Sapphires do very well. What I like about the Sapphires is that their bass cut-off point is quite low, allowing you to dial the sub down lower, reducing the chance of bass localization.

    I know you are looking at the B&W 805 - I did, too. It's a nice speaker, but I thought it was just a bit bright. Also, I was looking at new speakers - $1800.00 list for the 805 compared to $1199.00 (I think) for the Sapphires (a little more now).

    I don't believe I've seen a negative review of the Sapphires. The SMR forum has 2 great reviews of them.

    Anyone try using a Sapphire for the center channel? I want to eventually go the front projector/screen route and was thinking of placing a Sapphire under the screen and tilting it up. Any issues with doing this? Thanks!

    Good luck,

    Greg
     
  18. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2000
    Messages:
    3,716
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Greg,

    Shawn Fogg, a fellow SMR and HTF member, uses a Sapphire for his center channel along with his Jaguar mains. IIRC, he found proper setup somewhat problematic due to the sloped baffle. I also believe he has it bi-amped using an outboard electronic crossover with steep filter slopes.

    Maybe he'll stop by and post his impressions.

    Brian
     
  19. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 1999
    Messages:
    161
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well I’ve lived with the Sapphires for about 24 hours now and have had a chance to listen to a variety of music through them. Fortunately since these were demo’s they were already broken in for me. My sales rep. also told me that they would leave them playing throughout the week-end before shipping them, just to make sure they had plenty of time on them.

    First of all I have to comment about their looks, they are beautiful! They also appear to be well constructed, which is also evident in their weight! The box said 73 lbs for the pair.

    Most all of the music I selected is music that I am very familiar with, and is music that I listen to routinely with my Paradigms. It also greatly ranges from gospel to country, to rock.

    I did all listening in 2 channel stereo running the speakers full range AND with a powered sub reinforcing everything 60 Hz and below. I experimented with running the speakers full range alone, as well as a number of other settings using various crossover points, but full range plus 60 Hz and below info to the sub sounded the best and most natural. All power came from a Rotel RMB 1075 120 X 5 (5) channel amp, and nothing was bi-wired. I’m using a HK 320 as a pre/pro.

    I started off listening to selections with a lot of acoustic guitar with both male and female vocalists, and then moved to more demanding and complicated musical passages.

    THE very first thoughts that came to mind while listening to these speakers is “air” and “space”. Strange huh?

    Vocals and certain instruments sounded very “airy” and very natural and smooth. The sound just came out and surrounded you and was so clear that you could listen to the passage again and again and pick out different individual instruments and follow them picking up something new with each pass.

    The soundstage was very open and wide and had no boxy-ness sound to it at all. This changed very little whether you were in the sweet spot or off axis. The speakers were able to hold a good solid center image with voices, yet be very wide with instruments. The “width” of this soundfield is truly impressive. You definitely don’t have to sit in one spot to enjoy these speakers, you can literally move around the room. This is especially important to me as my main seating position is off center. (all listening was done on axis in the sweet spot thought)

    Another quick thought that popped to mind was “What happened to the bass?”. But after more listening I started to notice that the bass was there when it needed to be there, and for the most part was very quick and clean vs. being sometimes bloated on the Paradigms.

    After listening to several different songs that I knew to be rather bass heavy, or that had good repeated “thumps” here and there, I started coming to the realization that maybe the Paradigms have been over-emphasizing a portion of the bass region. While at times it does sound kind of cool, especially when you can FEEL that occasional “thump”, but it just sounds unnatural in direct comparison to a speaker like the Sapphire. But on the other hand, I usually preferred to listen to music without a sub with the Paradigms, but really felt the need for one with the Sapphires.

    I guess I need to add the word “smooth”, yet not laid back in here somewhere. You can listen to these at fairly moderate volumes for an extended period without ever feeling like you need to turn it down or without ever having to worry about those upcoming cymbal clashes that sometimes make you grit your teeth and squint in preparation. But at the same time, I don’t feel that they are really rolling any high frequency information off.

    Dynamics, well so far that probably goes to the Paradigms. The ACI’s deliver everything pretty “polite”. They never really reach out and slap you, or really call attention to themselves or atleast they haven’t to me with music anyway. They present in a fairly even, smooth and natural manner, and basically just get out of the way.

    I’ll also credit this “get out of the way” ability to the Paradigms, as I’ve never known them to sound boxy or really color anything either.

    Tonight I went down to my local B&W dealer and brought home their floor model Nautilus 805’s and a pair of stands. I currently have them sitting side by side with the ACI’s with tweeter height matched! I’ve probably already done 4 times more A/B’ing with them than with the Paradigms… but that’s another post!

    Just thought I would post my not-so-short initial impressions. I hope to do more listening to the Emerald as a center speaker as well.

    Phil
     
  20. John Desmond

    John Desmond Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2000
    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Phil, I'd have to say that your listening impressions so far are pretty much spot-on with what I experienced in the couple of years I owned Sapphire IIIs. Lots of space, natural, non-fatiguing, never in your face, harmonically accurate etc. A bunch of us made a direct comparison with the 805s. It will be interesting to see if you reach the same conclusions we did. You're having fun now!
     

Share This Page