Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF

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S Clark

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Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« on: 6 May 2012, 11:21 pm »
Although, I only got to spend a day at the LSAF this year, I managed to get by enough rooms to hear a variety of styles, and a couple of very nice surprises.

Once again, the GR-Research room was the room to beat.  Danny, Gary always make the effort to completely remake the room with absorption and diffusion to best show off their products, and once again, the results were sound that is full, detailed, and a palpable sense of the performance space.  To my ears, the best of the show.  But this year they really had some competition.

Next door was the LS9's, shown by Raven Audio.  Upfront let me say that I'm biased about these- I own them.  But they had a devil of a time getting them set up to sound good in large room that should have been made to order for them.  The sound stage had collapsed, and although most micro detail was present, it just didn't pass a "close you eyes" believability test. Coming back the next day, they had started over, and had it much improved, but it has taken me a year of experimenting to get my LS9s "right", and they didn't manage to do as well in just a few hours.  Regardless, there was a sense of soundstage, decent imaging, and an overall impressive sound- especially as the volume goes up and musical complexity increases.  These big line sources are just damn hard to beat when the music is big as well.

The Pi Audio Pi4 speakers were playing two doors down from me, and I was curious to hear what they could do.  Recently one of our AC members built a pair, so I wanted to hear why.  These are a large woofer (15"?) with a wave guide tweeter, in a very 70's look wide box. And the sound matched, warm, inviting, musical, but missing more detail than I would be happy with. But make no mistake, these were a nice, balanced sound... they were just doing things in a way different from what I prefer. 

On the other end of the spectrum were the MTM's that Hugh had set up in his room- highly detailed, crystal clear, pretty decent bass, beautiful finish.  I would look for a way to take a bit of edge off, but that's just me.  I have little doubt that they could be made to anchor a very resolving system with just a tube or cable tweak. 

Ok, let's be honest.  You can't like everything.  The Legacy room left me completely indifferent.  No image, no soundstage, no attempt to show their speakers in a flattering light (no treatments). I sort of walked away wondering what they could have sounded like with a bit more effort in their set up... these shows are about marketing, aren't they?

But the biggest surprise, other than the food at Captain Humble's restaurant, was to hear what AJinFla has pulled off with his Soundfield Audio speakers.  With little in the way of room treatment, and in a tiny room, these stand mount small speakers were stunningly real in tone, detail, decay, imaging, defining space... most everything I usually look for, except for extended bass sharpness.  To my old ears, the GR V series is winner and still champion, again the best sound in the show, but this year he had a worthy challenger.   If you get a chance to hear the Soundfields or the GR V series, do it. They are both seriously good speakers.  :thumb:

All the various disclaimers, my ears, my biases, my opinions, etc.
Scott

sl_1800

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #1 on: 7 May 2012, 02:22 am »
Scott your ears and mine must work the same.  I walked away from LSAF thinking pretty much the same as you with the GR,Dodd room as the best by a large margin.  I did like the Raven room with the LS9 but to me the surprise of the show, since I had never heard of them, was the small monitors from Soundfield Audio.  The larger Soundfield speakers were also very good but the small monitor was the speaker that really got my attention.  I keep trying to justify buying a pair even though I really don't have anywhere for them!!!  And it was a pleasure meeting AJ of Soundfield Audio, he went out of his way to explain every detail of his speakers to me.  Great job guys to Danny, Gary and AJ.

paul canady

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #2 on: 7 May 2012, 02:44 am »
Anyword from Vapor Audio? He was going to show a pair of Cirrus with an Accuton mid driver that he put together for member Daz-bike.

AJinFLA

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #3 on: 7 May 2012, 02:56 pm »
Hi Scott,

Great meeting you and glad you had a chance to stop by and listen. I guess it wasn't too early to wake the neighbors. :lol:
My only regret was missing the Fri dinner due to my stomach being in knots and beat down form the drive+time change (work nights, had to get up early). I love Cajun! :duh:
Maybe next year. :wink:

sl-1800, thanks for dropping in...and remind me what your real name was :green:

cheers,

AJ

marvda1

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #4 on: 7 May 2012, 03:37 pm »
aj loved that monitor.

AJinFLA

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #5 on: 7 May 2012, 03:41 pm »
Thank you sir, glad you had a chance to listen

sebrof

Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #6 on: 7 May 2012, 05:12 pm »

Ok, let's be honest.  You can't like everything.  The Legacy room left me completely indifferent.  No image, no soundstage, no attempt to show their speakers in a flattering light (no treatments). I sort of walked away wondering what they could have sounded like with a bit more effort in their set up... these shows are about marketing, aren't they?
It's always interesting to see differing points of view. I spent a good bit of time in the Legacy room and at first I thought they sounded pretty good but after 30 minutes or so I decided that if I had $20k I'd plop it down on a pair of Whisper XDs right there on the spot. Beautiful sounding speakers, far and away the best sound of the show, not even close for me. No 2nd place.
I believe the reason why the Legacy room did not have room treatments is because the way their speakers are designed they interact with the room very little. I believe it's kinda like one of their selling points. The rep told me that he had equipment ready (external XO, etc.) to set them up in that room but he listened "as is" and decided he didn't need it. I agree, I thought they sounded excellent.

Jocko Homo

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #7 on: 7 May 2012, 06:00 pm »
I won't even attempt to judge "best in show". But my vote for dedication would have to go to AJ. Anyone willing to drive from FL has to be dedicated. (Also ran into a guy from Detroit, but not sure he was an exhibitor. Runner-up, for dedication.)

Those $20k speakers would not have worked, in any of the numerous smaller rooms. Too bad the crowds they pulled in would have been a fit for one. The GR speakers might have worked, in a smaller room. They needed a larger room, in order to fit in all  the interested parties. I'll let the readers draw their own conclusions as to why that seemed so.

This show has potential, but needs a strong driving force, behind it. Poor promotion is not a good starting point. At least it was a better turnout, than last year.

S Clark

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #8 on: 7 May 2012, 06:03 pm »
It's always interesting to see differing points of view. I spent a good bit of time in the Legacy room and at first I thought they sounded pretty good but after 30 minutes or so I decided that if I had $20k I'd plop it down on a pair of Whisper XDs right there on the spot. Beautiful sounding speakers, far and away the best sound of the show, not even close for me. No 2nd place.
I believe the reason why the Legacy room did not have room treatments is because the way their speakers are designed they interact with the room very little. I believe it's kinda like one of their selling points. The rep told me that he had equipment ready (external XO, etc.) to set them up in that room but he listened "as is" and decided he didn't need it. I agree, I thought they sounded excellent.
Well, different strokes for different folks.  That was the reps decision to not treat the room.  I thought they severely suffered for that decision.  If they are designed to be flat in a particular room, then heaven help you when you go to another room! ... and these guys have some special voodoo if they can design the speaker so that the room doesn't have resonance or detrimental reflections.  I have a hard time with that.  Not to say that I thought that they were crap, just I don't know what they are capable of, nor does the rep if he thinks that they don't interact with the room.  I thought that the Soundfield monitors stomped the Legacies (I heard both Legacy models) for everything except the maybe 30-60 Hz, and at $1.3K to compared to $20k. And compared to the GR-V's with the servo bass, they were muddy and couldn't reach as deep. But as always, that's my opinion, my ears, my interpretation.  You make your purchasing decisions with your ears.  Besides, its a healthy thing for there to be more speaker designers rather than fewer, even if I don't like them all.

vilbig

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #9 on: 7 May 2012, 06:43 pm »
I went to the GR room first. I had heard these remarkable speakers 2 years ago at LSAF & was not disappointed. That servo bass is the best I have heard in any design regardless of price. the Raven room next to GR was just missing something in the set-up. But big thumbs up for the water & koozies! Then I went to the Legacy room. I was not familiar with the track that was playing, but all I heard was muffled mid bass & lower midrange. I also expected more bass impact with the multiple woofers. Room treatments would have definitely helped. Other highlights for me were Bob Brines' open baffle designs, especially the H-frame 18's; the two way stand mount from Element Cable was excellent using the pricey Seas Millennium drivers, but you pay for it at 4K a pair; John's Manzanita collection still amazes with SQ that defies the $, especially the $30 GRS 15; Wayne was most gracious in his Pi room with an excellent idea of playing Blu-ray discs of live performances. His speakers are an excellent bang for the buck, and he gave away one of his kits as a drawing prize; The Stereo Clarity all in one media server/HT processor/7 channel amplifier was an amazing piece of technology with 2TB of storage with up to 12TB available; But I saved my favorite for last. AJinFla's design with a powered sub & a passive coax, all in a stand mount enclosure has to be one of the best thought out designs ,that I am surprised no other manufacturer has tried. The SQ was amazing, even in the small room. AJ was most gracious with the info on the design, as others have stated. SQ with bass impact into the 30's, all in a small form factor is an amazing feat. Congrats, AJ!

Steve Henry
Woof

Donald

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #10 on: 7 May 2012, 07:03 pm »
First off, let me say I own a pair of Legacy Whisper XD's. Disclosure out of the way. I did not make the LSAF show.

When my Legacy XD's were delivered, Bill D. the owner of Legacy flew down and set up with the Xilica processor to take the room out of the equation as much as possible. (Great customer service by the way, which I believe is imperative for any company to survive these days) Before set-up, my HTR was already treated at the first reflection points along with bass traps in the corners. Not to mention, 2 overstuffed couches and wall to wall carpet. Actually, pretty dead acoustically.

Although I have a large screen HDTV between the speakers, when listening to 2 channel stereo, I put a heavy quilt over the screen. Not the ideal set-up, but dedicated HTR serves a dual purpose role. Having said that, I have heard the Whisper XD's at numerous shows. To my ears, I believe they sound better in my HTR than I have heard them under audio show conditions. I do believe the Xilica processor and the speaker design can aide in taking the room out of the equation. However, IMHO, proper room treatments I believe will bring out the best in any speaker, some more than others.

As we are all aware, speakers are very subjective. What sounds wonderful to one, (obvious from the diversity of the posts) others not so good. Of course this leads to the large number of designs, sizes, etc. which is a plus for the consumer. I will say this, I have never once regretted my Whisper XD purchase. 

Regarding AJ's small 2 way monitors: Wonderful speakers, heard them at the Jax Axpona show in March along with his other large offering, (don't recall the name, maybe 1812)which also sounded excellent. Wonder how I can slip a pair of either in the home without the wife noticing. Very talented designer. Still waiting to hear a pair of Super V's, which I have also heard glowing comments about.

Again, it comes down to what sounds best to you, space requirements, budget constraints, WAF, etc. among other things.

Enjoy the music!

S Clark

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #11 on: 7 May 2012, 09:42 pm »
Nice post Donald.  I'm really not surprised to hear that the Legacies can be excellent speakers, but just that they weren't at the LSAF.  Much like the LS9's in the Raven room, which I own, and know can compete with the best at the LSAF, they just never reached their potential at that time.  Sebrof's ears told him Legacy was the best at the show- no contest, no second place.  Apparently three other posters heard something like what I heard... a room that took a very expensive speaker and made it sound mediocre or less.  But then, I left holding my ears from the Wilson room at the RMAF last fall, and no one thinks that these are carelessly designed speakers. 

I've also read that the Polk room had the "best sound" at the show, over on the Polk forum... heard it, thought it acceptably forgettable, and didn't think that it deserved discussion. Oh well.
Scott

marvda1

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #12 on: 7 May 2012, 10:16 pm »
scott, what did you think of the element monitor?
did you get a chance to listen at ron's room? usher mini dancer 2, pass labs xa30.5, melody preamp
usher, my next purchase.

mca

Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #13 on: 7 May 2012, 10:30 pm »
Can anyone offer up some more info on the Soundfield monitors? What equipment were they being used with? Room size and distances?

Thanks!

joc3721

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #14 on: 7 May 2012, 10:36 pm »
First time attendee here.  I thought the GR speakers were best at the show, most natural and life like.  Next the Legacies, sounded very good to me.  The big Raven line array's didn't work for me.  Sounded incoherent, non musical.  I thought the smaller Raven speakers upstairs were better than their big brothers.  The Stereo Clarity music player looked very promising.  The line array in the room needs work.  The Polk's were totally forgettable.  The Pi speakers were nice, almost no horn coloration.  Also liked the video they added in the room.  Nothing else really stood out for me, except for the Paolo system.  Nice concept, very attractive, great WAF.

S Clark

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #15 on: 7 May 2012, 10:47 pm »
scott, what did you think of the element monitor?
did you get a chance to listen at ron's room? usher mini dancer 2, pass labs xa30.5, melody preamp
usher, my next purchase.
I didn't hear the Usher's at the LSAF, but spent a long time in their room with the Mini Dancer 2 at the RMAF.  At that time, I was impressed, and thought they were very high quality at medium prices.  If I remember my notes, they were detailed, excellent soundstage, and fast bass... a lot of the things that I look for.  Piano sounded very realistic.

S Clark

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #16 on: 7 May 2012, 10:52 pm »
Can anyone offer up some more info on the Soundfield monitors? What equipment were they being used with? Room size and distances?

Thanks!
I don't know the brand, but I'm pretty sure it was an integrated amp, very small room 12X14ish  with the speakers on the long wall.  We were on the couch against the other wall, perhaps 9 ft away.  It was cramped and they still sounded better than good. You'll have to pm AJ to get the exact run down on the electronics.  It wasn't big dollar stuff.

Cacophonix

Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #17 on: 7 May 2012, 11:05 pm »
Can anyone offer up some more info on the Soundfield monitors? What equipment were they being used with? Room size and distances?

Thanks!

I visited LSAF briefly on saturday, and thought that this room was the best overall. It was nice to meet AJ, and finally listen to his speakers. He had a chinese tube integrated amp that coupled with the speakers made for very engaging music. Music was very dynamic, and the bass was real. This speaker to me presented a very practical and real choice. Sure there were others that are 7 feet tall, heavy etc that might sound even better, but what i like are the ones that i can see myself actually being able to afford and bring it inside my house. And judging by this criteria, soundfield speakers are way up there. Pity that i'm not looking for speakers right now, but if i were, these would make it to my very very short shortlist.
I agree with an earlier poster ... its very surprising that no one came up with this idea before. Kudos to AJ  :thumb: Keep up the good work! Thanks for keep it real  8)  :wink:



« Last Edit: 8 May 2012, 03:32 am by Cacophonix »

AJinFLA

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Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #18 on: 8 May 2012, 12:49 am »
Can anyone offer up some more info on the Soundfield monitors? What equipment were they being used with? Room size and distances?

Thanks!
Hi mca. I think Scott had it about right, room maybe 12' deep and irregular across, maybe 12' on the wall where the sofa was, 18' on the front wall. Seating probably was 9' back range. Definitely the smallest room I've demoed in. My website has more info http://soundfieldaudio.net/ and there are threads here in the enclosures forum, etc.
System was computer audio (straight wav files>WMP), NuForce DAC and a Yaqin VK-2100 hybrid integrated. Several folks asked me about it, so here is a link to where I bought it: http://www.ebay.com/itm/YAQIN-VK-2100-Stereo-Hybrid-Tube-Integrated-Amplifier-/130678928889?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item1e6d1235f9. Mine is dressed up with some DIY side panels.
RAM Electronics cabling (Canare starquad). Total system would be well <$2k. Just the way I like it. :wink:



Rajiv, thanks for stopping by, it was nice chatting with you, even if I didn't realize until afterwards... :lol:

cheers,

AJ

Andre2

Re: Brief impressions from the 2012 LSAF
« Reply #19 on: 8 May 2012, 05:34 am »
well, I consider myself a rookie audiophile, as I am learning and listening, as I got my first hifi system last year, and this is my first visit to a audio-show. 

I own upgraded N3s from GR, an EE M88 and DAC plus which I listen to in a small room, with wood veneer without any treatment.  This to say that my ears/brain are probably used to listen to too much reflection. 
So, with this in mind, I kind of thought that the Super V room sounded a bit dry; with all the good word/reviews about the super V, here in this forum and elsewhere, maybe I was expecting to hear more. I liked better the L9 room next door.  I wonder now if my own system at home with all the reflection (12 ft by 10 ft room with  wood veneer all around) is spoiling my audio sense. 

I really liked the big whisper but thought it was not worth the big money.  I thought the best of the show was AJ's Soundfield monitor 1.

Now, I am surprised nobody mentioned the fellow that had the vinyl setup in a room close to the corner.  I listen to some music Saturday morning and I was impressed with the music definition that I heard.