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nOrh 5.1 evaluated next to Dynaudio Contour 1.8 MkII

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DaViD Boulet, Aug 8, 2001.

  1. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Don't laugh. I'm now probably going to sell my Dynaudios and get the nOrhs which will more than satisfy me for quite some time...until maybe one day I get the ultimate listening environment.
    In case any of you haven't heard of this brand of speaker check it out: http://www.norh.com/ (official website)
    and there's a whole forum dedicated to this brand at
    http://www.harmonicdiscord.com/forum (also check for reviews at http://www.audioreview.com/)
    I just had to hear these for myself...as many people compared them to Dyns and other pretty stellar speakers.
    Someone in the Wash DC area had a pair of 5.1s and brought them over the other night to do some critical listening. No we didn't do double-blind level-matche blah blah blah. I simply listened to some speakers in my system that I've been listening to for over a year and heard a change in the sound that I've never heard before.
    They imaged far deeper than the Dyns. The soundstage went back, WAYYY back.
    They had better tonal accuracy IMO than the Dyns. With the Dyns I always feel that low-level detail is a tad dark...it's too subtle...and I sometimes feel that female vocalists have a "nasal" quality. Not with the nOrhs. Open, airy, and natural.
    The midrange was incredibly smooth, without sacrificing detail or imaging. They did that "feathery" thing on well-recorded highs that I really enjoy. Nothing fatiguing at all. I wanted to listen and listen. With well recorded vocal music I heard no stereo or speakers...just music. Voices were rendered round and 3-dimensionally (my dyns to that too).
    Bass? Not too deep...not past 50 or so...but much more tight and accurate than my Dyns!!! Now THAT was a shock! I honestly hadn't heard bass this realistic from almost any speaker...and I've heard alot. Keep in mind I'm talking about midbass...nothing really deep here (get a sub). But what was there was incredibly real and controlled without sounding thin or light-handed.
    have any of you heard these speakers? am I nuts? these things are less than $500 a pair and my Dyns list for $3000 or so!
    One thing my Dyns did do better was dynamics and slam. But the nOrhs weren't far behind.
    I want to hear what any of you have to say about these speakers before I give in and take the plunge.
    BTW, system is a B&K AVR 202 (don't laugh...sounds better than their 100WPC amp and pre-amp separates), and Audio Alchemy DTIPro32/3.0 DAC. Tera cables.
    -dave
     
  2. Due N

    Due N Extra

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    As good as the wood nOrhs are, the ceramic, synthetic marble, marble are even better. It's amazing what an inert cabinet will do to the sound. But come to think of it, it just makes sense.
    Now, you can find out if anyone around your area has those or you can take the plunge. At least this time, you're not taking the plunge in blind faith. [​IMG]
     
  3. Greg S

    Greg S Supporting Actor

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    YOU ARE NOT NUTS!!
    They really are that good.
    OH yeah, paging Mr. Gates and Mr. Tyson you are needed on the floor gentleman.
    Greg
    [Edited last by Greg S on August 08, 2001 at 04:16 PM]
     
  4. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    Dave,
    Go for it!! I bought the 4.0 package from Norh for $850, and I am immensely satisfied. Paired with an SVS sub, it's a powerful combo for both music and HT.
    You might consider, if you're getting a sub anyway, picking up the ceramic 4.0. It's cheaper than the 5.1, and the ceramic enclosure makes the speaker sound even better, IMO. I have wood mains with a marble center (sounds just like ceramic, from what I am told). The marble center is even more detailed than the wood mains.
    One thing I have noticed about these speakers that I totally appreciate is the SIZE of the sweet spot! My couch is 11 feet from my mains, and in two channel stereo, the sweet spot extends almost the entire width of my full-sized couch!
    nOrh speakers represent perhaps (PERHAPS) the best value in speakers available today. SVS, IMO, runs in the same league.
    I am extremely happy, and I'll offer my HT room in Richmond, VA to anyone who wants to come down for a demo.
    John Gates
    Richmond, VA
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    ------------------
     
  5. Ryan Schnacke

    Ryan Schnacke Supporting Actor

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    I agree with Due. If you were planning on listening to them without a subwoofer then you'd definately want the bass extension of the 5.1 or higher model. But if you're planning to use a subwoofer with the speakers anyway, then you might consider buying the ceramic 4.0 instead.
    The 4.0 uses the exact same components but is tuned just a bit higher than the 5.1 since its smaller. But the ceramic enclosure will improve the performance at most frequencies. And they're cheaper too! $400/pair or $850 for 2 pairs plus a shielded center channel. The money you save here could benefit your budget for other components (better subwoofer?).
    Hey Due, how's the new house? I'm still interested in seeing the place. And I'd love to hear those 9.0s again!
    [Edited last by Ryan Schnacke on August 08, 2001 at 04:27 PM]
     
  6. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    I'm not sure what used Dyns might go for, but if you could get $2000 for the Dyns, you could spend $850 for ceramic 4.0 video package (5 x ceramic 4.0's) for HT, and then buy a pair of synthetic marble 6.9's for music ($995 each pair or so, I believe), and you'd STILL come out ahead.
    Another option would be Ceramic 4.0 video set plus SVS ULTRA sub ($1099?).... around $2000 total. Then, of course, you'd need an amp for the SVS, but you may already have one....
    Man, I just LOVE spending other people's money! :)
    Have a blast making the decision.... You are in for a wonderful treat!
    Others: If you haven't heard nOrh speakers yet, do yourself a favor and find someone near you who owns some. Take a listen.
    John
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    ------------------
     
  7. KeithR

    KeithR Second Unit

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    You saw the woods and were impressed...now go ahead and order the marbles. The finish is unbelievable. If you already have the sub, then the marble 4.0s are only 700. The 300 more than the ceramic is way worth it...I have the ceramics for HT duty and they are excellent.
    I sold a pair of 1200 speakers for the Marbles, as I thought the imagining and clarity were so unmatched.
    Cheers!
    Keith
     
  8. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    John,
    Don't the 5.1s come in ceramic too? Just how much difference in bass would there really be? How low do the 4.0s effectively go? Would the sub have to play high enough to be easily localized?
    Were you able to compare the 4.0's and the 5.1s directly as L/R mains? Fidelity is what I'm after...I'd probalby get a sub (which I don't have right now) like a decent SVS or something but I want the fidelity to be all that it can be in those precious mids, highs, and mid-bass.
    How much is your sub? I haven't given any thought to a sub until recently (when I heard the nOrhs) and am wondering what would make the most sense? If some company makes an audiophile-quality sub that's small and not too much $$ then I could run it in stereo and have true stereo bass for the front soundstage. Does that make sense?
    Hey...do you ever come up to the DC area? If you do...be sure and let me know and bring your dandy 4.0s (just the L/R main) with ya! I don't head down to Richmond very often but if I do I just might call [​IMG]
    Kieth,
    Is there a difference in sound between the marble and ceramic or is it just looks?
    So lets hear some posts about comparisons between the 4.0s and the 5.1s (which I thought were also available in ceramic but not sure).
    thanks!
    dave [​IMG]
    [Edited last by DaViD Boulet on August 08, 2001 at 05:19 PM]
     
  9. KeithR

    KeithR Second Unit

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    David,
    Most recommend the 4.0s over the 5.1s. The marble/ceramic enclosures are deader and more accurate then the wood counterparts. There is no marble or ceramic 5.1 fyi. The fidelity of the marbles/ceramics is supposed to be better than the woods (Tyson can chime in here...)
    Regarding the 4.0s, the marbles look 10x better. The finish is exquisite. I like the folksy art look of the ceramics in my living room, but the marbles in the bedroom are to die for. I don't feel that there is a difference in sound however.
    One poster on hd said, "how many people you know have marble speakers, or marble anything?" I agree, and once you see a pair close up, it really is a no brainer. This will blow your dynaudio contours away finish-wise as well!
     
  10. TysonN

    TysonN Agent

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    The 4.0's are a better speaker, IMO. Particularly the marble/ceramic 4.0's. More detail, better integration of the woofer and tweeter, more percussive upper/mid bass, cleaner midrange. The marble, particularly the white marble, is very beautiful. I have black marble, my neighbor has white. I wish I had white [​IMG]
    I agree with your idea for stereo subs - if this is gonna be a 2 channel setup, stereo subs are great - you can cross them over a little higher and take a little more work away from the mid-woofer on the 4.0, should give you an even better midrange. I think the Adire Audio Rava would be a great match. I think they are $400 each. The only other thing I would recommend is a high quality stereo crossover like the XM-9 deluxe from www.marchandelec.com - very high quality crossover. And if you really want the "ultimate", you can also get an EQ to attach to the subs and flatten out your in-room response (the behringer feedback destroyer is good and also cheap). The really cool thing about this setup is that it is modular and can be approached one step at a time if necessary. 1st a pair of marble or ceramic 4.0's. Then a crossover and sub (or 2). Then the EQ's. You end up with a very nice system that also will measure VERY well.
     
  11. Kishu

    Kishu Stunt Coordinator

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    I have 5.1/4.0 wood set-up and I love my 5.1s for music and the fact they they go a bit deeper and are also a bit 'laid-back' compared to 4.0s. The Marble/Ceramic though offer a clearer sound-so it would be better for you to buy either [​IMG]
    I'd go with what Tyson recommended. If you can squeeze more dollars, I'd suggest you to go for 5 4.0s Marble Speaker Package for $1600 (you can look at marble 4.0s http://www.norh.com/news.html
    Cheers,
    Kishore
    P.S.- Also email Barnes on if he can provide ceramic/marble 5.1s for you...if so I'd recommend 5.1 for deeper musical rendition. However 4.0s with subs would be equally good.
    [Edited last by Kishu on August 09, 2001 at 04:54 AM]
     
  12. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    Interesting (and very supportive) response!
    Well, I can't really speak to the 5.1's since I haven't heard them, but I believe the 4.0's go down to about 65 Hz, and the 5.1's go down to about 55 Hz. The difference here was not important to me because I was planning to own a musical sub and cross over to the sub at 80 Hz anyway (that's what happens on my receiver when I set the speakers to "small"). So, the extra bass extension on the 5.1 would be lost anyway.
    The 5.1's come only in wood, as I recall, but you might be able to get something custom from nOrh. Just ask! They were very flexible with me when I ordered.
    You can get 5 ceramic 4.0 speakers for a complete HT system for only $850. For $1600, you can upgrade this to the marble speakers. From those who have done direct comparison between ceramic and marble, there is no real difference in sound, but the finish on the marble speakers is breathtaking. Truly elegant. If you're willing to double your expense for the "look" of a speaker, the marbles are a good investment. If not, go for the ceramics and spend the extra dough on other gear that will matter to you.
    For music, I'd recommend the SVS 25-31 sub to go along with these. When *PROPERLY CALIBRATED* these blend in seamlessly (can't localize)for music. If turned up too loud, you can pick them out. I have twin 20-39's, and proper calibration is -15 db! When set here, the bass is perfectly blended with the 4.0's, and music is a joy. I can turn them up to -9 db to increase the bass, but it becomes slightly heavy for music (imbalanced).
    If you are *solely* looking for music and fidelity, you should consider the synthetic marble (SM) 6.9 drum. It's a new product from nOrh, and I haven't heard it myself. There is a review on http://www.harmonicdiscord.com Be advised, however, that there is a longer wait for the 6.9's because they are a new product and immensely popular among the nOrhphile crowd.
    I don't go to NOVA much... maybe a couple times/year, so if you get serious and want to listen to the 4.0's just drop me a line and drive on down. If you come down for Greg's HT meet on 8/25, you can see his nOrh package as well.
    Happy hunting....
    John
    ------------------
     
  13. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    So the concensus is that the fidelity of the 4.0s is equal to (if not a bit better if using ceramic or marble) the 5.1s...minus a bit of bass?
    What really impressed me with the 5.1s was their smooth yet detailed top-end. I don't want anything that sounds sizzly or overly bright...so as long as the 4.0s don't offend in that direction and have basically the same sonic character that would be great. Anybody near the Wash DC area with some ceramic/marble 4.0s want to let me hear 'em?!?
    Also, where do I find out more about this Rava sub?
    Do any of you have this combination?
    thanks!!!
    -dave
     
  14. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    I think a couple of people have the nOrh/Rava combination. The website for the Rava is www.adireaudio.com. Personally I have the ceramic 4.0s and a SVS sub. That is one killer combination for HT. For music ... let's just say it is no slouch and will be revealing about your source equipment. The wood has a warmer sound than the ceramic/marble and is more forgiving of your source equipment. The ceramic/marble, OTOH, will tell you if your source equipment is good or bad.
    For me, I am now debating whether or not to upgrade to the marble 4.0s for my mains or to the synthetic marble 6.1s. Could I live with just the ceramic 4.0s? Absolutely.
     
  15. Ryan Schnacke

    Ryan Schnacke Supporting Actor

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    David,
    Have you considered the new nOrh SM6.1? I didn't think to mention it because its so new. But I think its about as close to a "ceramic/marble 5.1" as you could get. Probably better. Bass extention down to 50Hz (better than the 5.1 at 55Hz) and 90dB sensitivity! Different drivers, but they're made by the same company (Vifa). And you get a synthetic marble enclosure. All for just $600/pair.
    The more I think about it, the more I think the 5.1 has really lost its place in the nOrh lineup. I'm sure its a great speaker, but now there are better choices for $100 less or $100 more. Maybe things will be different after the special introductory price on the SM6.1 is over.
     
  16. Claude M

    Claude M Stunt Coordinator

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    They are offering 5 marble 4.0s for $1600. If the marbles are too expensive and you don't like the look of ceramic, then they will have (in near future) synthetic marble 4.0s. The synthetic marble might have been an option for me (like the marble look, hate the price!). I know this is going to sound nuts but I'm using the 4.0s (marble) with a beastly vel F1800XR 18" sub. They are set to 80HZ and the combo blends very well. I think the servo keeps it from becoming boomy (but no doubt cutting lower extension). You will be happy with the 4.0s. I'd like to listen to 6 6.1s. At $1800 it will be hard to do better.
     
  17. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Reading over at the nOrh website and hifi-forum and hearing lots of cool things about the 6.9s which apparently are still less than $1000 a pr. Any of you heard those to compare against the 4.0s, 5.1s, or 6.1s???
    Thanks for all the feedback!
    -dave
     
  18. John Gates

    John Gates Second Unit

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    David,
    Have you made a purchase yet?
    I decided to pick up a pair of the SM 6.9 drums, and they arrive tonight! GCS in Mechanicsville also has a pair in Black (mine will be Green). GCS is having a HT meet at his house on Saturday, September 15th at 1:00, so if you'd like to hear the 6.9's in action, please contact Greg and come on down for the meet! If you can come down before then, I'm sure either Greg or myself could offer a private demo at your convenience. After seeing Gregs, I know that these things are TOO HEAVY to lug to NoVA (55 pounds each).
    Anyway, Greg's meet is advertised in the HT Meets forum.
    Curious about your final decision,
    John
    ------------------
    System:
    Onkyo 787
    Mains: nOrh SM 6.9 (shipping NOW)
    Center: nOrh marble 4.0
    Surrounds: nOrh wood 4.0
    Rear Center: nOrh prism 4.1
    Subwoofers: 2 x SVS 20-39 CS w/Fidek Amp
    Pics: http://www.geocities.com/givinit2him/
     
  19. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Thanks for thinking of me!
    I was planning and hoping to attend Greg's party on the 15th but a good friend of mine is moving that day and needs me to help...and there's no way I can get out of it [​IMG]
    And no I haven't done anything yet...I'm thinking VERY seriously about the 6.9s and would LOVE to hear them in action. Greg has offered for me to come for a private demo sometime before/after the meet. Would you be willing too; do you live closer to DC than Richmond?
    Please Please Please let me know what you think of them after they arrive and are singing away. What's the rest of your system like? Is this a two-channel system they're going into or do you have a center channel as well?
    thanks for the interest!
    dave [​IMG]
     
  20. Richard Watt

    Richard Watt Agent

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    So, are the wood 4.0's not suggested? I don't have the money to get the marble's, but the $850 for the five wood 4.0's would be fine. I read somewhere in the thread that the wood are "warmer" and are more forgiving. I have a Yamaha RX-V995 receiver, but I am looking into the Parasound amps. However, that will be a while before I can make that purchase. Thanks.
    ------------------
    27" Mistsubishi
    Yamaha RX-V995
    Sony DVP-S7700
    DCM 10" Stand Speakers
    Vampire Wire/Monster Cable Interconnects
     

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