RMAF room 2014, "Innovation Room", debut of the Azel loudspeaker

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Duke

AudioKinesis and James Romeyn will be showing the new Azel loudspeaker in Room 2014 at the 2017 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest.

Room 2014 has been designated as an "Innovation Room" which besides the obvious implications of the word, means that we're supposed to be educational and informative and open to questions, in addition to promoting our products.

So here is what we hope to educate about, and how we hope to do so:

Reflections done right can enhance the listening experience, improving timbral richness and the sense of being enveloped in the acoustic space of the recording.  "Done right" in this context means that the reverberant energy has a correct spectral balance, and is relatively late-onset rather than early-onset.

So what we will have is, a remote control that listeners can use to toggle between "normal" mode and "additional late-onset reflections" mode.  Listeners can try it both ways and see what they think.

The speakers we'll be using are the new Azel, a collaboration between AudioKinesis and Jim Romeyn, which combine a controlled-directivity front-firing section with what we call a "Space Generator" section, the latter being what the remote control toggles on and off.  We call it that because one of the things it does is, make the room sound a bit bigger than it actually is. 

We will be using Tidal streaming audio so we'll be able to accommodate a wide range of music requests, and with a little luck, we should be able to play music that you bring, except for vinyl. 

There will be other interesting rooms on the Second Floor of the Tower at RMAF - other Innovation Rooms, and some price-point-specific dedicated Budget System rooms.  Stop by and check them all out!!

Folsom

Do we get any sneak peeks?  :icon_lol:

Duke

Do we get any sneak peeks?  :icon_lol:

We'll post a photo soon as we can!  (Yes we're cutting it close time-wise, but that's just part of the game... keeps us on our toes...)




z06gal

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 5
Duke, the Azel looks FANTASTIC.  I can only imagine how they sound.  My Sigmas and SG's are the best speakers I have ever heard but I think Jim has sold me on selling them and going with the Azel.  You 2 have ruined me.  Lol Very very nice work brother


Robin

mresseguie

Pictures?

Folsom


roscoeiii

And more details on the new Azel would be great.

Any impressions from RMAF attendees?

Tyson

I thought it sounded great.  I was in the room before I had changed my mind & decided to take pictures for this RMAF or I would have put it in my RMAF Half-Assed Coverage thread.  There were also at least 3 other people that came up to me during the show and told me how much they liked the Azel.

Before visiting the room I had no idea that the effects speaker was integrated into the single box/cabinet itself in the back.  Very cool idea and a step up in design over the last iteration of LCS.

Here's what I like so much about the design.  As an Open Baffle type of guy (I run Serenity Acoustic Super 7's at home), I know that there's usually a trade off you have to make when picking a speaker type.  OBs excel at sounding large and spacious and creating a huge soundstage.  But they lack the punch and drive of box speakers, especially in the upper/mid bass.  It's a trade off and you have to choose which is more important to you. 

The Azel lets you eat your cake and have it, too.  It very smartly creates a large soundstage and spacious imaging like an OB while retaining the punch and drive of a really good box speaker.  Best of both worlds.

As a show-goer and end user myself, I see a lot of manufacturers try a lot of different things to try to get good sound.  Most of the time they fail, or at best it's a sideways step, not a step up.  But sometimes someone comes up with something that is simply flat-out better.  Congrats to Jim and Duke for attaining that rarest of things in audio - an actual true innovation thats simply better than what else is out there. 
« Last Edit: 10 Oct 2017, 05:38 pm by Tyson »

bernardo

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So should we expect to see your Super-7s up for sale on the Trading Post soon for your purchase of the Azel? Couldn't resist asking as a Super-7 owner.

DaveC113

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Here's some pics from my RMAF 2017 thread:

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=153136.0

Pics and comments on the Azels aren't loaded on my thread quite yet, but they earned a Best of Show for value from me. There is getting to be more competition in the $5-10k range and lots of great choices from Odyssey, Salk, Pranafidelity, ELAC, and tons more but I'd choose the Azels. The new cab looks great and most importantly the compression driver is sporting a beryllium diaphragm that has much better clarity, resolution and high frequency extension. I noticed it immediately and it elevates this speaker to a whole 'nother league.






Tyson

So should we expect to see your Super-7s up for sale on the Trading Post soon for your purchase of the Azel? Couldn't resist asking as a Super-7 owner.

I think this is where I mutter something about "cold, dead hands"  :D

Larkston Zinaspic

Any specs/dimensions available for the new Azel? What were the associated electronics employed in room 2014?

Always interested in what Jim and Duke are up to.

Duke

Pictures?

We were hoping to have pictures with the grille... in a first for AudioKinesis, some people with actual artistic talent had a hand in the enclosure design, including the grille... namely, Jim and Debra Romeyn.   

And more details on the new Azel would be great.

Any specs/dimensions available for the new Azel? What were the associated electronics employed in room 2014?

The Azels are 45" tall by 18" wide by 15" deep.  Weight is probably in the 130 pound ballpark.  8 ohm impedance, 93 dB efficiency, bandwidth roughly 40 Hz to 20 kHz.   Price is $7000 with grilles, $6500 without, plus shipping, for Cherry, Maple, and Walnut veneers.  The cabinets we showed are stained Walnut. 

The cabinet material itself is a multi-layer composite board whose different types of layers have different acoustic properties.  The compression driver has a true Beryllium diaphragm, the woofer has a very powerful motor and a 4-inch voice coil which gives it a nice visceral "punch" despite the raw specs not being the most impressive in town, and the multi-ported variable-tuning bass system allows the low end to be tailored to the room acoustic situation. 

As for electronics, we were streaming Tidal over an Ethernet cable as our source, using Roon software.  The server was the "Sonic Transport i5" by Small Green Computer, and the music player was the Sonore "Ultra Rendu" with the "ISO-PS" Lithium battery power supply by Ciunas.   The DAC was the Ciunas "ISO-DAC", again with a Lithium batter power supply.   Special THANK YOU to Jim Clark from New Orleans for helping us troubleshoot the Ethernet setup and get things running smoothly.

Amp for the first couple of days was a modified Pioneer XVS-1 Elite receiver, and on Sunday we used an NCore 500-based amp built by Mike Galusha.  Mike's amp was a significant upgrade - THANK YOU Mike!!

Duke

Pics and comments on the Azels aren't loaded on my thread quite yet, but they earned a Best of Show for value from me. There is getting to be more competition in the $5-10k range and lots of great choices from Odyssey, Salk, Pranafidelity, ELAC, and tons more but I'd choose the Azels. The new cab looks great and most importantly the compression driver is sporting a beryllium diaphragm that has much better clarity, resolution and high frequency extension. I noticed it immediately and it elevates this speaker to a whole 'nother league.

Thank you VERY MUCH, Dave!  Largely thanks to Jim Romeyn's careful listening, we've refined our approach to both the "main array" section and the "Space Generator" up-firing rear section.   

I thought it sounded great.  I was in the room before I had changed my mind & decided to take pictures for this RMAF or I would have put it in my RMAF Half-Assed Coverage thread.  There were also at least 3 other people that came up to me during the show and told me how much they liked the Azel.

Before visiting the room I had no idea that the effects speaker was integrated into the single box/cabinet itself in the back.  Very cool idea and a step up in design over the last iteration of LCS.

Here's what I like so much about the design.  As an Open Baffle type of guy (I run Serenity Acoustic Super 7's at home), I know that there's usually a trade off you have to make when picking a speaker type.  OBs excel at sounding large and spacious and creating a huge soundstage.  But they lack the punch and drive of box speakers, especially in the upper/mid bass.  It's a trade off and you have to choose which is more important to you. 

The Azel lets you eat your cake and have it, too.  It very smartly creates a large soundstage and spacious imaging like an OB while retaining the punch and drive of a really good box speaker.  Best of both worlds.

As a show-goer and end user myself, I see a lot of manufacturers try a lot of different things to try to get good sound.  Most of the time they fail, or at best it's a sideways step, not a step up.  But sometimes someone comes up with something that is simply flat-out better.  Congrats to Jim and Duke for attaining that rarest of things in audio - an actual true innovation thats simply better than what else is out there.

Thank you VERY MUCH, Tyson!  You and Dave make me want to believe my own progaganda... ;^)

This show was the first time I got to sit down and listen to a stereo pair of Azel components in their proper enclosures... I had done the crossover design using a cobbled-together test box and then shipped the crossovers to Jim Romeyn, who installed all the parts in the cabinets that he'd had built out in Utah, then he drove them to the show.  Anyway based on what I heard, I'm going to do a couple of minor crossover tweaks to the main section, and one minor tweak to the Space Generator section. 

So the "production version" will have a couple of further refinements. 

Duke, the Azel looks FANTASTIC.  I can only imagine how they sound.  My Sigmas and SG's are the best speakers I have ever heard but I think Jim has sold me on selling them and going with the Azel.  You 2 have ruined me.  Lol Very very nice work brother

Robin

Thank so much Robin!  Your Azels will of course have the aforementioned crossover refinements.  The basic Azel  concept incorporates things Jim has learned by doing very critical listening over the past few years, something he is better at than I am.  So this is very much a collaboration that draws on our best ideas, 

saygrr

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 56
Is the woofer 15 inch?

Duke

Is the woofer 15 inch?

The woofer is a 12" unit, the Eminence Definimax 4012HO.   The motor is arguably one of the best made, and the response curve is almost smooth enough right out of the box.   

alan m. kafton

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  • Posts: 147
I told Duke, and Jim that their room was *at least* one of the top 3 of the entire show.  There were a number of very nice sounding setups (to my surprise....I'm very picky), but these loudspeakers were "meaty, beaty, big & bouncy".  You could cut the musical presentation with a knife it was so good.

I also told Duke I felt this new design was the best loudspeaker I've yet heard from him....and I go back many years with Duke all the way from his rooms at T.H.E. SHOW at the St. Tropez.  I fell in love with the Jazz Modules back then, but couldn't own them (for a variety of reasons, including lack of proper space in my listening environment).  The fact that this new design is very comfortable right at the wall or just in front speaks volumes and will ease the decision-making for potential buyers.

I reiterate my thank you's to Duke and Jim for listening to my serious comments & suggestions the last evening of the show. I'm very thankful that Jim, whom I had not met before, agreed with my assessment(s).  In short, Duke....you have a big winner here.

alan m. kafton

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 147
I should also say that I heard the Azel's when partnered with Mike Galusha's amps....Chris & Melissa Owen (of Clarity Cables) agreed with my sonic assessments....they both have great ears.  I believe their wonderful USB cable was part of the mix as well.

Duke

I should also say that I heard the Azel's when partnered with Mike Galusha's amps....Chris & Melissa Owen (of Clarity Cables) agreed with my sonic assessments....they both have great ears.  I believe their wonderful USB cable was part of the mix as well.

Chris and Melissa's USB cable made almost as much of an improvement as the amplifier swap.  I honestly would not have begun to think a cable change - ESPECIALLY a USB cable change in the middle of a digital signal path - would make an audible difference!  But it did and the difference was obvious within the first two or three notes.  AND, if I understand correctly, this was their $300 USB cable - NOT their top-of-the-line cable!

Chris is a rare genius when it comes to this sort of thing.  He once shared with me his insights into "what matters" in capacitors, and it was something I never would have thought of, but once he explained it, it made a lot of sense.  One of the aforementioned upgrades I'm going to incorporate in the crossover of the Azel will involve taking advantage of Chris's advice on capacitors.  I think the Azel is our most revealing speaker yet, so the capacitor upgrade is more likely to make an audibly significant improvement. 

I told Duke, and Jim that their room was *at least* one of the top 3 of the entire show.  There were a number of very nice sounding setups (to my surprise....I'm very picky), but these loudspeakers were "meaty, beaty, big & bouncy".  You could cut the musical presentation with a knife it was so good.

I also told Duke I felt this new design was the best loudspeaker I've yet heard from him....and I go back many years with Duke all the way from his rooms at T.H.E. SHOW at the St. Tropez.  I fell in love with the Jazz Modules back then, but couldn't own them (for a variety of reasons, including lack of proper space in my listening environment).  The fact that this new design is very comfortable right at the wall or just in front speaks volumes and will ease the decision-making for potential buyers.

I reiterate my thank you's to Duke and Jim for listening to my serious comments & suggestions the last evening of the show. I'm very thankful that Jim, whom I had not met before, agreed with my assessment(s).  In short, Duke....you have a big winner here.

Thank you very much Alan.  Your encouragement and advice made a strong and lasting impression on Jim and me. 

DSkip

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Duke, the capacitor mention is a big improvement that separates $4,000 bookies from $6,000 bookies.  Rosso Fiorentino uses Mundorf capacitors in their speakers, and though they take forever to break in, they are well worth it in the end.  I also wouldn't discount your internal cabling either - not sure what you use.  I know if I were building a speaker, my top choice would be the Helicon 16 OCC from Wireworld.  The guys there are incredible to work with and their product is just as good.

I'd love to host you sometime or even visit you and run through some cabling options so you can hear the differences.  I still consider, to this day, one of the best investments I've ever made to be the Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 USB.  People balk when they hear a price tag of $700 for a 1 meter, but it is something I refuse to take out of my system (unless i2s is used like we did at RMAF).