Positive Feedback Issue 27 Sapphire XL with Force XL, WOW!

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Mike Dzurko

In the latest PositiveFeedback Rick Gardner goes wild over the Sapphire XL- Force XL combo:

"From cinema to full out, head-banging rock and roll, the ACIs deliver the musical goods ...

"Two of these ACI XL subs in conjunction with the ACI XL monitors create a hugely flexible and musical speaker system, all for just over $3K, total; massive sound with a diminutive foot print. Very tasty for the money."

"Using the ACI XL monitors and subs in my AV system was a revelation. I will confess to being a bass head, ‘cause of all my years in live music. I do turn the sub volumes up a bit for movies and down a bit for music. I love the rumbling decay that pressurizes the house and makes movies like The Core, or The Abyss such an e-ride, visually and sonically. Dial the volume back just a tad and all trace of overhang pretty much disappears for critical music listening."

And much more, you can read it all here:

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue27/aci_forcexl.htm
« Last Edit: 2 Jun 2007, 04:35 pm by Mike Dzurko »

Eric

Re: Positive Feedback Issue 27 Sapphire XL with Force XL, WOW!
« Reply #1 on: 14 Sep 2006, 06:09 pm »
Great review Mike. Congrats

ajayrav

Re: Positive Feedback Issue 27 Sapphire XL with Force XL, WOW!
« Reply #2 on: 14 Sep 2006, 07:26 pm »
Not to be too picky, but the manual states that -3dB  lower limit is not in the 60s but in the upper 50s.  I think the reviewer mixed up the +/-1.5dB and the +/-3dB figures.  So the bass response of the Sapphire XLs is even better than purported by the article! :D

Mike Dzurko

Re: Positive Feedback Issue 27 Sapphire XL with Force XL, WOW!
« Reply #3 on: 15 Sep 2006, 08:12 pm »
Can one Force XL be used effectively for music? I presently own floorstanders, but I'm considering monitors (Soliloquy) to use with a low powered tube integrated. A sub would fill in from 35Hz and below, but I'm interested in only one sub for reasons of cost and installation ease.

BTW, I have read the FAQ on the ACI webpage since posting the original question...so I suspect the answer is, "yes".



No question, a single Force XL can be used very effectively for music . . .many have done this. Since you're looking at monitors, I'd also of course suggest you take a hard look, and hopefully a listen to our Sapphire XL . . . it is a true reference quality monitor.

Mike Dzurko

Re: Positive Feedback Issue 27 Sapphire XL with Force XL, WOW!
« Reply #4 on: 16 Sep 2006, 08:00 pm »
Can one Force XL be used effectively for music? I presently own floorstanders, but I'm considering monitors (Soliloquy) to use with a low powered tube integrated. A sub would fill in from 35Hz and below, but I'm interested in only one sub for reasons of cost and installation ease.

BTW, I have read the FAQ on the ACI webpage since posting the original question...so I suspect the answer is, "yes".



No question, a single Force XL can be used very effectively for music . . .many have done this. Since you're looking at monitors, I'd also of course suggest you take a hard look, and hopefully a listen to our Sapphire XL . . . it is a true reference quality monitor.
Thanks, Mike. Since I'm intending to use an 18 wpc EL34 integrated amp, I believe the 85db/ 4.5 minimum impedance of the Sapphire XL may be an issue. I presently am trying a pair of 89db/8 ohm monitors.


You might be shocked at how well that little integrated will drive the XLs. The sensitivity is one part, the very benigh phase angles make for a very easy speaker to drive. This 35 watt EL34 amp drove them very nicely at last years CES: http://www.upscaleaudio.com/product.asp?itemid=11&catid=36

Two summers ago we I was with the factory rep for a 6 watt SET amp and his comment was "there is no way this amp will play them at all"  Five minutes later he was shaking his head in awe, it not only played them, it sounded pretty good. Obviously not the last word in dynamics, but musical.  Anyway, something to keep in mind!

Mike Dzurko

Re: Positive Feedback Issue 27 Sapphire XL with Force XL, WOW!
« Reply #5 on: 17 Sep 2006, 07:54 pm »
Mike, send me a private email with your best package price, including stands. I might be willing to give them a try considering the 30 day return.



Just sent you a PM :)

JDarby - Stereomojo.com

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Re: Positive Feedback Issue 27 Sapphire XL with Force XL, WOW!
« Reply #6 on: 13 Sep 2007, 12:45 pm »
Mike,

Any news on the Sapphires for our small speaker shootout?

Mike Dzurko

Re: Positive Feedback Issue 27 Sapphire XL with Force XL, WOW!
« Reply #7 on: 13 Sep 2007, 06:00 pm »
Mike,

Any news on the Sapphires for our small speaker shootout?

Thought you wanted Emerald XLs  :D   Anyway, we are just barely digging out from the move, starting to catch up with production. I WILL get a definitive answer for you by tomorrow.

Mike J.

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Re: Positive Feedback Issue 27 Sapphire XL with Force XL, WOW!
« Reply #8 on: 17 Sep 2007, 12:33 pm »
No offense, but this is a good example of the kind of illogical, impractical hi-fi reviews that seem to be the norm these days.

First he claims the Sapphire is an affordable small speaker, then he recommends putting not one but TWO subwoofers with it, which, uh, means it's no longer either affordable or small. He says the package is under $3k (actually not accurate because the speakers cost $1500 and the subwoofers cost $800 each, but write that off to "magazine math" which is always errant on the low side when claiming anything is affordable) but consider that that's a) with the basic finish only, b) doesn't include the $500 stands you'll need and c) doesn't account for the extra cabling you'll have to buy for the subwoofers. (And of course it doesn't take into account that some people won't have "small to medium sized rooms" and will want larger subwoofers, but we'll ignore that.)

Two logical questions he completely fails to address: if you're going to buy two subwoofers ANYWAY, why not buy Emeralds instead of Sapphires? And, instead of giving yourself a massive setup headache trying to integrate four separate speakers (which our reviewer snottily notes "takes time, care and patience, and...is one of the major reasons people bag on subs so much, because they lack the listening skills and patience to tune them correctly"--yeah, it's OUR fault), why not just take your $3,600+ (real math) and buy some full-range speakers that don't require stands and just use one set of cables--and that were already "integrated" when they were designed--by the person who should be responsible for that task, namely, the speaker designer--in the first place?

MJ

Mike Dzurko

Re: Positive Feedback Issue 27 Sapphire XL with Force XL, WOW!
« Reply #9 on: 17 Sep 2007, 03:15 pm »
No offense, but this is a good example of the kind of illogical, impractical hi-fi reviews that seem to be the norm these days.

First he claims the Sapphire is an affordable small speaker, then he recommends putting not one but TWO subwoofers with it, which, uh, means it's no longer either affordable or small. He says the package is under $3k (actually not accurate because the speakers cost $1500 and the subwoofers cost $800 each, but write that off to "magazine math" which is always errant on the low side when claiming anything is affordable) but consider that that's a) with the basic finish only, b) doesn't include the $500 stands you'll need and c) doesn't account for the extra cabling you'll have to buy for the subwoofers. (And of course it doesn't take into account that some people won't have "small to medium sized rooms" and will want larger subwoofers, but we'll ignore that.)

Two logical questions he completely fails to address: if you're going to buy two subwoofers ANYWAY, why not buy Emeralds instead of Sapphires? And, instead of giving yourself a massive setup headache trying to integrate four separate speakers (which our reviewer snottily notes "takes time, care and patience, and...is one of the major reasons people bag on subs so much, because they lack the listening skills and patience to tune them correctly"--yeah, it's OUR fault), why not just take your $3,600+ (real math) and buy some full-range speakers that don't require stands and just use one set of cables--and that were already "integrated" when they were designed--by the person who should be responsible for that task, namely, the speaker designer--in the first place?

MJ

I don't think it is illogical or impractical at all . . .  until Rick had the Sapphire XLs (and later the Force XLs) in hand,all
the speakers he was enjoying were in the $10K plus range, so under $4K IS a major difference.

Besides, monitors with separate powered subs offer a number of potential advantages over towers:
 - The smaller monitors have less surface area, less radiation of out of phase energy
 - Monitors can be placed for optimum imaging and soundstage, subs can be placed for best room integration
 - Subs contain dedicated power amps that are designed to work specifically w/the driver-cabinet design. In the case of ACI subs, this results in improved bass quality as well as reduced cabinet size compared to "passive" design
 - With the subs doing the bottom octave or two, the main amp has a far less difficult load.
 Oh, and speaking of practical. In this case you have a great upgrade path! Start with a set of Sapphire XLs. As budget etc. permits, add a single sub or move up to dual subs. And like you said, maybe your room is quite large and you need a pair of Titan XL subs or even Maestro XL(s)  . . .  you've got flexibility!