An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them

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stephenmeade

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An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« on: 27 Jun 2022, 09:49 pm »
I think I was in the first grouping to order an LGK 2.0 kit and I've had mine together for about 2 months now and have been enjoying them. I'd imagine a number of prospective GR-Research kit buyers stop in here for a bit before actually making a purchase so I figured this might help somebody make a better decision. I'm not means "done" with my setup, but I'm at a place where I llove how it sounds and further efforts will be minor tweaking.

My Use Case and Starting Point

Before reading anyone's review, I think it's important to understand where they are coming from and their vantage point. I love music. I've been into music since I was 10. This is not the first GR-Research kit I've ordered -- I built a set of speakers about 20 years ago as well. I have always been fascinated by full-range or wide-range designs and wanted to try something out.

My listening room is within a large bedroom, where my seating position is about 7.5 feet from the speakers and they are about 7 feet apart. I'm actually thinking this might be similar to a lot of listening rooms out there. I bought the LGK 2.0 kit w/SoniCap upgrade + pre-assembled enclosures and finished them off myself with a Rustoleum textured finish in black.

Associated Equipment

I started off using an old "GainClone" amp I had built in college. With ~20W of power it just wasn't enough. The clarity and resolution was excellent, but the amp didn't have juice to work with the LGKs, which are are a bit hungry. Like a number of people have mentioned on here, I decided to buy the Emotiva TA-1 integrated amplifier / DAC. IMO, this is not a good match for the LGK 2.0s. It made them sound very dynamic and exciting, but also unrefined and imbalanced. Neutral, it is not. I ended up finding a deal on a demo Audiolab 6000A for just over $700 -- which felt a lot more nuanced, detailed, and a much flatter tonal response. I think the internal DAC is also quite a bit better. The bass speed and control is astounding, too. I have my phone hooked up and stream using the Tidal app.

A Tale of Two Speakers

THE LGK 2.0s ARE NOT A SPEAKER FOR EVERYONE. As I mentioned, I went into this with a particular interest in wide-range drivers. Not only are these speakers not for everyone, I think there are really two main use cases:

1. As a desktop monitor for nearfield listening. I tried them next to my computer and they sounded great at < 1M. The amount and quality of bass (if your desk backs to a wall) is wonderful for something so small.

2. In a small-ish room for *critical listening* where you are seating < 10ft away played at moderate volumes or lower.

Since my case is #2, I'm just going to talk about that...

I'm going to start off with the negatives and tell you the things these speakers are NOT good at. They are not good at making music for parties. They are not good for sharing music with others -- even a few inches from the center greatly affects the imaging and frequency respond. This is audiophile music for one. So if you are looking for a speaker that sounds great for individual listening and also for filling your home with sound -- buy the X-LS Encores. It's not these. But, there are some things this speaker has the *capability* of doing EXTREMELY well, magically, even.

Danny is not overstating the quality of vocals. They not only have excellent tonality and clarity, but there's a holographic palpability that is something I've only ever heard on mega-buck systems before. But it's not just vocals, when setup right, there's a beautiful depth and layering to the soundstage. And it's up and down the frequency response because there's no driver handoff where the timbre changes. These speakers get piano "right" in way that is very difficult to do -- those resonances span several octaves.

Now I'm going to say something very controversial. IN MY OPINION, IF YOU ARE NOT USING THESE AS DESKTOP NEAR-FIELD SPEAKERS, YOU NEED TO 1. HAVE A SUBWOOFER AND 2. FILTER OUT LOWER FREQUENCIES. I listened to them without a sub and filtering for over a month.

My first iteration of this setup was with the backs of the speakers about 18" from the back wall with some toe-in towards the listening position. They sounded good, no doubt, but there were moments where the center image with vocalists would get a little wobbly. SPL at my listening position (just over 2M) was about 80dB. I initial that that perhaps I had made a mistake assembling the filter network between both channels. There were also moments the speaker would lose some clarity. I wanted to try out a full-range option so I ended purchasing an L12 subwoofer from Rythmik. The Audiolab 6000A has pre-outs. The extra octaves were greatly appreciated and the I'm very pleased with the performance of the Rythmik but integrating it was a lot of trial and error.

I remembered something Danny said in the videos about being able to play them much more loudly with a high-pass filter. I didn't really know how to build one so I looked into active filters ($$$ for good ones) and decided to buy those inline Harrison Labs line-level filters and bought a pair marked at 70Hz. They are a 12db/octave. So I changed up my setup a bit. I installed the filters. I also moved the speakers farther from the backwall -- about 24". I aligned the sub voicecoil to match.

OMG...the clarity shot up as well as the texture on the voices. The imaging that would go a little wobbly was suddenly rock-solid. The level of detail overall went through the roof. I've never heard such a difference before. Really, they are every bit as wonderful as you are hoping they are...and probably then some. But like I said, they really need to be relieved of the burden of trying to handle the low frequencies.

Some stand out tracks for those of you who have already built them:

Night Moves -- Bob Seger
Tiny Dancer -- Elton John
Anything Eva Cassidy has ever sung
Sinnerman by Nina Simone
The album  Another Stoney Evening by David Crosby and Graham Nash

Anyhow, these are all just my opinions, but hopefully it helps some of you out there.

la80vette

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #1 on: 27 Jun 2022, 11:54 pm »
My setup is in a large room 30x40 with 10 ft. Ceilings. Speaker are about 4’ from the back wall. Imaging is amazing. I only have about 8 hours on them.
I posted a review on the preview thread. I think I’m hearing what you’re hearing.

stephenmeade

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #2 on: 28 Jun 2022, 02:15 am »
My setup is in a large room 30x40 with 10 ft. Ceilings. Speaker are about 4’ from the back wall. Imaging is amazing. I only have about 8 hours on them.
I posted a review on the preview thread. I think I’m hearing what you’re hearing.

Just out of curiosity, how far is your seating position from the speakers?

la80vette

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #3 on: 28 Jun 2022, 11:32 am »
Speakers are about 6ft. apart and I’m positioned about 7ft. in front.

la80vette

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #4 on: 28 Jun 2022, 01:56 pm »
Correction 5ft apart. 6ft listening position. The room is untreated.

Danny Richie

Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #5 on: 28 Jun 2022, 02:29 pm »
Thanks for the good and honest feedback.

Norman Tracy

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #6 on: 28 Jun 2022, 06:00 pm »
Very well done review stephenmeade, you obviously 'get it' on the at times sublime niche 100 mm class drivers like LGK 1.0, LGK 2.0, and half century Nippon fav FE103 fill and how to implement them to maxamize the goodness.

Another well reasoned take on LGK 2.0s by another experienced user WillRobinson is on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/Lp7Eca6E7mA.

la80vette

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #7 on: 29 Jun 2022, 03:11 pm »
Yesterday I moved into the sound field a little. The speakers 4ft from back wall, cone centers 5ft apart toed in and listening position about four feet. The speakers are firing just behind my head. This setup has really brought me into the performance of the music. Everyday of listening I have continued to turn down the volume and it gets better and better.
The bass is very interesting. You don't get deep lows or the pressure of it but the perception of it is definitely there and the detail of the bass is incredible. You can discern things like subtle overdrive on bass amp settings, round wound or flat wound strings. These are very distinct sounds that I know very well. Those sounds are pretty easy to hear if your listening to an isolated track but not so much in a full recording.
If you use the LGK as intended (nearfield or desktop listening) you'll never reach a place where the speakers are distorted or hit their excursion limit because it would just be too loud.
I'm having a lot of fun with this stuff and all of the components continue to burn in. We'll see what changes occur as they do.

Stephen


NAYA-AWAZ

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #8 on: 29 Jun 2022, 11:38 pm »
I'm also looking for speakers for a small space for placement about 2ft from the wall, 7ft apart, and 8ft away from the listening position. Untreated room/studio apartment. I listen at lower volumes. It sounds like it is very similar to the experience here. What do you all think of them (clarity, detail, soundstage, holographic nature, etc.) at lower volumes? Totally understand that I will have different source, dac, amp, and not the best room environment. But, I'd really appreciate thoughts about listening at low/lower volume. Thanks.

la80vette

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #9 on: 30 Jun 2022, 01:48 pm »
IMO, I would say they excel in all the areas you mentioned. I also agree with Stephenmeade that these are for one person to listen to. You'll need to spend time with positioning. My particular room is quite large but I've started to notice that I could probably use some room treatment to catch first reflections from the ceiling. In a smaller room it could be more of a need.

mlundy57

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #10 on: 30 Jun 2022, 04:40 pm »


I'm also looking for speakers for a small space for placement about 2ft from the wall, 7ft apart, and 8ft away from the listening position. Untreated room/studio apartment. I listen at lower volumes. It sounds like it is very similar to the experience here. What do you all think of them (clarity, detail, soundstage, holographic nature, etc.) at lower volumes? Totally understand that I will have different source, dac, amp, and not the best room environment. But, I'd really appreciate thoughts about listening at low/lower volume. Thanks.

As much as I like the LGKs in my office system, in the setup you describe the NX-Studio monitors would provide the best performance. As a second choice I would recommend a pair of X-CS Encores stood on end with the X-LS Encores as a third choice.

X-CS Encores on a pair of Danny's speaker stands with 8" servo subs


Tyson

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #11 on: 30 Jun 2022, 04:52 pm »
Mike's right.  You get something like the LGK and it's flat out amazing, and you can't quite believe that there's something significantly better.  But the NX-Studio is a lot better.

I should note I'm basing this on the NX-Studios and LGK 1.0's I heard at Danny's a couple of years ago. 

tom739

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #12 on: 30 Jun 2022, 06:31 pm »
I will agree with the 2 post above. The LGKs are very good despite the limitations of a 3 inch driver. But all of Danny's other designs are better. On my desktop I use XLS Encores, sonicaps and Milflex bypass.

mlundy57

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #13 on: 30 Jun 2022, 08:19 pm »
I will agree with the 2 post above. The LGKs are very good despite the limitations of a 3 inch driver. But all of Danny's other designs are better. On my desktop I use XLS Encores, sonicaps and Milflex bypass.

This is where YMMV comes in and knowing your personal tastes. In my case I prefer the LGKs to the X-LS Encores in the desktop system but prefer the X-LS Encores when sitting more than 6ft away from the speakers. With a sub in the system I prefer a pair of the sealed X-CS Encores to the ported X-LS Encores. The second woofer in the CS provides a fuller, meatier midrange compared to the LS and a sub makes up for the difference in low end extension. However, the performance king of the monitors is the NX-Studio. It is in a different league than the Encores.

Something I find helpful is to make a list of what you want from a speaker for a particular application. Then determine which speakers will give you the experience you want and to what extent in that particular application. If it turns out the one you like best is outside your budget, pick the one that gets you closest to your desired performance that is within your budget. This does not necessarily mean you will end up with what others have recommended because what performance characteristics are most important to them may not be the most important to you.

stephenmeade

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #14 on: 1 Jul 2022, 02:09 am »
I will agree with the 2 post above. The LGKs are very good despite the limitations of a 3 inch driver. But all of Danny's other designs are better. On my desktop I use XLS Encores, sonicaps and Milflex bypass.

I think it's also important to understand costs to give these systems a bit of context. Here are the relative costs, if using flatpack cabinets and all the sonic upgrades available for each model.

LGK 2.0 + Rythmik L12 Sub: $1042 for a full-range system

X-LS Encore: $788.50 -- but only goes down to 55Hz. Add an L12 and you end up at $1417.50

X-CS Encore + L12 Sub: $1659

X-Statik (only down to 48Hz by themselves) + L12 Sub: $2461

NX-Studio + L12 Sub: ~$2258

If you don't care about full-range, the LGK 2.0s are $413 vs $788.50 for the X-LS Encores. ~$375 might not seem like much, but that's almost double the price. I think at $1042 for full-range sound, the LGK 2.0 + L12 is a pretty good combination.

Honestly, I'm a tinkerer and I love unusual configurations like single drivers and I'm just about dying to try open baffles...so I'll probably end up with a set of NX-Studio's at some point. I think that would be a sizable jump in sound quality, but it's not only a sizable jump in price -- but also a sizable jump in supporting equipment, room treatments, etc.

 

nlitworld

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #15 on: 1 Jul 2022, 03:51 am »
so I'll probably end up with a set of NX-Studio's at some point. I think that would be a sizable jump in sound quality, but it's not only a sizable jump in price -- but also a sizable jump in supporting equipment, room treatments, etc.

The best thing about the NX-Studios is they will elevate everything currently in the system and anything you put into it later. They are too good, even in my semi-budget system. I'm really interested in the LGK for a desktop speaker at work. Right now there is some cheapie klipsch on my desk at work and I can't wait to replace them.  It's the little things that make work enjoyable. :lol: Hearing all the reviews and knowing what their intended use will be, I'll be excited to play with them.

alaska_grown

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #16 on: 1 Jul 2022, 05:12 am »
The best thing about the NX-Studios is they will elevate everything currently in the system and anything you put into it later. They are too good, even in my semi-budget system. I'm really interested in the LGK for a desktop speaker at work. Right now there is some cheapie klipsch on my desk at work and I can't wait to replace them.  It's the little things that make work enjoyable. :lol: Hearing all the reviews and knowing what their intended use will be, I'll be excited to play with them.
I picked up the LGK 2 drivers before the cabinet and kit came out. Put them into a .04^3 ft pre-cut cabinet off of parts express. Put a pair of little 3-in tang band 3-in "subwoofers" in similar cabinets and now have them stacked on each side of my main monitor. Sounds great imo. My next build is to put them into one cabinet with separate chambers. Currently running them with active crossover but debating on trying out a first passive to pair the two drivers together.

The tb 3-in subs dont go that low but I love having the bass on top of the desk rather than below.

NAYA-AWAZ

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #17 on: 2 Jul 2022, 04:20 pm »
Thanks for all the amazing suggestions. For first-time ease, cost and long term path, I think I'll start with the LGK 2. Then, I can add the Rythmik L12 Sub. That should allow me to later move the LGK 2 to office desktop when I move into a bigger place (I am looking to build a place and the current costs are pushing the plans out a bit). After the house is built, the plan is to get the NX Otica (fingers crossed) + L12 Sub for the living room.




wingsounds13

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #18 on: 2 Jul 2022, 07:55 pm »
NAYA this sounds like a good plan and upgrade path.  I'm sure that the LGK 2.0 are great, as long as you understand their limitations.  As a first step towards a better system with planned move to the desktop system they should do well.

J.P.

la80vette

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Re: An LGK 2.0 Review for Those Considering Buying Them
« Reply #19 on: 14 Jul 2022, 02:57 pm »
I've kept changing listening positions while the speakers are burning in. Speakers are 7ft from back wall, cone centers are 4ft apart and my position is about 2ft in front of the speakers. This sounds better to me. The singers or the center image is louder, more in line with the rest of the mix. My question is, is this a weird setup? I've never sat that close before and don't know if I'm doing something wrong. This has however yielded the best results so far.
The track I was listening to was: "I've got you under my skin" Frank Sinatra Live at the Sands.