AKFest SoundScape 8's in black limba

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jd3

Re: AKFest SoundScape 8's in black limba
« Reply #40 on: 6 Jul 2012, 07:48 pm »
Thanks John.  I just talked to Jim who tells me the dye is applied and they are applying the sealer coats.  Once that is complete, we will look at photos to decide if will will darken any with the top coat.  Hopefully done within a couple of weeks!

I hope you are enjoying getting yours settled in.  What electronics are you running with them?

.......Peter

Peter,
Hope you get yours soon!  I'm using a Luxman 505u integrated with sources: iMac streaming to an Apple TV, through a Bel Canto DAC 2.5, Emotiva ERC-2, and Rega RP-1.  Speaker cables are BRM made 6 gauge(?) with bananas at both ends.  It sounds pretty awesome so far.  I'm hearing detail I've never heard before on recordings I'm really familiar with.

Oh, and my wife's right, I'd be listening to HT2-TL's right now if she hadn't suggested the step up to the SS8's!  Thanks dear.

John 
« Last Edit: 7 Jul 2012, 10:03 am by jd3 »

pstrisik

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Re: AKFest SoundScape 8's in black limba
« Reply #41 on: 6 Jul 2012, 08:31 pm »
Peter,
Hope you get yours soon!  I'm using a Luxman 505u integrated with sources: iMac streaming to an Apple TV, through a Bel Canto DAC 2.5, Emotiva ERC-2, and Rega RP-1.  Speaker cables are BRM 6 gauge(?) with bananas at both ends.  It sounds pretty awesome so far.  I'm hearing detail I've never heard before on recordings I'm really familiar with.

Oh, and my wife's right, I'd be listening to HT2-TL's right now if she hadn't suggested the step up to the SS8's!  Thanks dear.

John

Awww, ain't that sweet?!  I'm verklempt at the WAF!

So now you have two things I don't - SS8's and WAF.  Hurrumph, well it'll just be one soon! <kiddin' around>

........Peter



jd3

Re: AKFest SoundScape 8's in black limba
« Reply #42 on: 14 Jul 2012, 11:22 am »
I’ve had my SS8’s for a bit over a week now, and figured I’d post some of my general impressions thus far.  First thing I’ve decided (which I already ‘knew’) is that I need a new amp.  Don’t get me wrong, my Luxman 505u (140 wpc into 4 ohms) sounds great at lower levels, but if I really try to crank it up, things start to deteriorate.  It’s not bad, just not as coherent as at lower volumes.  I didn’t experience this with my HT1-TL’s or the Songbirds, but I never tried to play them really ‘loud’.  The SS8’s seem to be able to take as much power as you can throw at them.  While bass is there down to ‘subwoofer’ levels, my sense is I’m missing out on all that’s available, due to the limited power reserves I have with the Lux.  I just don’t have the amp to tap all the resources of the speakers.  Anyway, enough of that.

Setup
Speakers are about 2 feet out from the wall (as far out as I can get them in my room), and spaced about 7 ½ feet apart.  My listening position is 12’ away.   I don’t have any room treatments at this point (we are renting) and will wait until we buy a house later this year before I invest in some.
My system is composed of the aforementioned Luxman, a Bel Canto DAC 2.5, an Apple TV, Emotiva ERC-2, and a Rega RP1.  Most of my listening has been via streamed music from my iMac.  Interconnects are Nordost Blue Heaven, vintage Kimber PBJ’s (circa 1995!) and speaker cables are custom made by BRM.

Listening impressions
Most of my critical listening is done with the amp’s volume control around 9 o’clock.  I’ve also done most of my listening with the ‘transparent’ tweeter/mid back grilles on vs. the ‘solid’ ones.  With the transparent grilles I also seem to prefer the tweeter/mid only slightly stuffed with damping material.   When listening with the solid grilles, the sound is much more of a traditional speaker, while the ‘transparent’ grille gives a sense of an open baffle speaker.  I don’t think imaging suffers too much with the transparent grille, but the sound is more focused with the solid grille in place.  I think if I had more room to move the speakers into the room the sound would be even better.

So far, I’d have to say these are phenomenal speakers.  They are a true full range speaker, exactly what I’ve been looking for.  Midrange and treble are both fantastic.  The best way I can characterize the treble is smooth, uncolored, and unfatiguing, just what I expected with the RAAL.  I think it’s ‘just right’, not recessed or forward in any way.   What is in the source material is what you get.  Same for the mids; which are expansive and detailed.   Bass is never overbearing, though as I mentioned above I think I’m missing some due to the limitations of my amp.  On most music it’s almost as if I’m in a HT setting with surround speakers as the sound is so enveloping.  On some tracks I even ‘hear’ music behind me!

 
I’ve heard so much more detail in music that’s very familiar to me than I’ve ever heard before, with any speaker, and with this amp and DAC combo I’ve had the Salks mentioned above, Harbeth SHL-5’s, and Vivid 1.5’s. . These speakers outperform them all, and by a huge margin.   

So, I will be selling my Lux and looking for a more powerful amp (maybe one of Frank’s Synergy 450’s?) and probably a tube pre to throw in the mix.


At this point I can honestly say the SS8’s are the best audio purchase I’ve ever made, and the best speaker I’ve ever owned. 

mr_bill

Re: AKFest SoundScape 8's in black limba
« Reply #43 on: 14 Jul 2012, 01:56 pm »
New Salks better than the Harbeths and Vivids - whoa, that is quite a comparo and compliment from one who has had all 3!

PSB Guy

Re: AKFest SoundScape 8's in black limba
« Reply #44 on: 14 Jul 2012, 02:08 pm »
"...and the best speaker I've ever owned".  Seems to me we hear that a lot in this circle  :thumb:. Congrats.

Cornelis

mr_bill

Re: AKFest SoundScape 8's in black limba
« Reply #45 on: 14 Jul 2012, 04:10 pm »
The Vivids are thought to be one of the best reasonably priced speakers out there!

jd3

Re: AKFest SoundScape 8's in black limba
« Reply #46 on: 14 Jul 2012, 04:10 pm »
New Salks better than the Harbeths and Vivids - whoa, that is quite a comparo and compliment from one who has had all 3!
Well, I didn't own the Vivids, but I did have them on loan for about a month.  I really liked them, and was strongly considering them, but they were a no-go from the wife.  My kids referred to them as the 'alien pods'.   They and the Harbeths were both very nice speakers and had their own strengths, but for a top to bottom speaker IMO they are no comparison to the SS8's.

pstrisik

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Re: AKFest SoundScape 8's in black limba
« Reply #47 on: 14 Jul 2012, 05:55 pm »
Nice review John, and food to quiet my anxiety while I (try to) patiently wait.  Your description also fits what I have been looking for...  truly full range (though my subs may still run to fill in ~14 to 25 hz), mids and highs that will allow much more listening with less fatique (minimizing the effect of my digital hearing aids which, unfortunately, have to stay in the audio chain) and, of course, that detail, resolution, etc.

One thing that I have found as I have improved my system is that I can turn down my h/a's a bit.  This was particularly apparent when I added the W4S DAC.  And expect the SS8's to help further in that regard.  The DAC addition has made a dramatic difference.  I am curious about your BC DAC 2.5 though.  One thing lacking with the W4S is a limit of 24/96 on the optical input and my media player does not have a coax out.  When I saw description and specs on the BC DAC, I was impressed and tempted.  I also like that it has analog input so phono stage could be run through it making for a single run from the DAC to the pre (or even straight to the amp).  Are you happy with that DAC?  And do you know what DAC chip it uses?

.........Peter

jd3

Re: AKFest SoundScape 8's in black limba
« Reply #48 on: 14 Jul 2012, 08:46 pm »
Peter,
I really like the Bel Canto.  I'm thinking about using it as a preamp as well until I decide I really want to get.  I think it gives a clear, open presentation to the music.  It's certainly not veiled or 'rolled off' to my ears.  If I have the cd player into it, it's a bit more 'open' that the Emotiva.  That could also be due to the interconnects I'm using (running balanced out from the BC to the Lux) via Nordost cables.  On some stuff I like the cd player better than the dac, especially on some stuff that's recorded on the 'hot' side.  I'm not sure if this is correct, but I found a review about the chip "[a] dual-differential sigma-delta DAC from Burr-Brown operating full time at 24-bit 192khz.  So this means that the incoming digital signal are over and up-sampled to 24-bit word length with slow roll-off digital filter."  I thought at one time I found something direct from BC about the dac chip but I don't remember where(?).  I'll keep looking and if I find out I'll pm you.

John

 

pstrisik

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Re: AKFest SoundScape 8's in black limba
« Reply #49 on: 14 Jul 2012, 11:06 pm »
John......   I tried to PM you but your mailbox is full.  Too busy listening I guess!!  :beer:

PM me when you make some room.

........Peter