New Ulysses owner - wow

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audiotom

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New Ulysses owner - wow
« on: 12 Mar 2015, 06:02 am »
Following is my review of my new Daedalus speakers

I know you have similar experiences but I wanted to reinforce that and give  unabashed enthusiastic positive and informative insight for those considering purchasing Daedalus speakers

Oscar Wilde said - "forgive me for the long letter, I didn't have time to write a short one"
So excuse my lack of brevity

I was able to acquire a second hand pair of Ulysses from Jason (Jriggy) who downsized in the Daedalus lineup to suit his room size. He saw my request for a Daedalus demo on this board and contacted me. There is a big reason you don't see Daedalus listed for sale. He was great walking me through everything with pics galore. Thank you!!

Jason sent these off to Lou for the V2 and trim ring upgrades and Lou was even kind enough to touch the finish up to new status


I received the speakers a couple months ago and was also evaluating and breaking in cable - a few hours at a time.  I demo'd Lou's older Daedalus / Wywire speaker cables and went with the current version. Very revealing.

The speakers have been a real revelation for me.


I live in New Orleans - play a little upright bass and see a wide range of music constantly. My son is a music student and plays in several symphonic groups, acoustic guitar, piano and rock bands.

I always am looking first for very natural and neutral tonality. Sometimes that comes at the expense of resolution.  Not with the Ulysses.

My room is 14 1/2 deep by 27 wide - my system is on the long wall (preferred orientation with the flow from room to room and view outside)
My system is listed  on Audiogon
I am mostly analog on the front end

http://forum.Audition.com/cgi-bin/fr.pl?vevol&994629402&view

The high efficiency of the Ulysses has been a godsend.  I was able to use my Atmasphere MA1s without strain on the otl which likes to see a high ohm load.

I was able to get a pair of Doshi tube mono blocks to go with my Doshi pre and at 80 watts it is the perfect synergy with the speakers. Wow.

Now the important part

The sound

The speakers

First and formost - the tonality was dead on. Overtones, space - you could hear the subtle resonance of the stringed instruments. Very natural- seamless drivers top to bottom.
Jazz, classical, acoustic, and rock - all dead on.

You could hear subtleties like slight differences it how loud or soft a drummer used his brushes, the guitarist playing further forward or towards the bridge, the open tones of a sax.

Events came in and faded very naturally. Lots of air around the instruments.

Another great thing was that a lot of speakers that play acoustic music well just don't have the punch for rock music. Not so at all. With the Daedalus  The dynamic swings are dramatic and it doesn't take a lot of volume to get to a revealing and natural level of impact. Something a lot of speakers lack.Have your cake and eat it too

I love the concept of flat frequency to 30 hz.  I've had speakers that go as low as 20 hertz and you sacrifice a lot to get there for diminishing returns. And it limits you to high powered amps that are generally solid state - not my cup of tea on the tonality end. The speakers were lacking nothing on the bottom end, excellent balance, tight natural and controlled bass from 8" drivers.  That said my HT room has a JL Audio F113 that handles those subsonics that movie audio guys throw in for chest tingling impact. The sound you feel more than hear.  Did not miss a sub  or extra low end at all, in fact  regarding my room the bass nodes for it's size wouldn 't like the lowest frequencies anyway. The Ulysses have a well defined  and properly balanced  low end.  Jazz upright music I play around the house and know all too well - it was spot on.

I usually prefer a narrow point source for pinpoint imaging with minimal drivers. That is great but the sweet spot ends up being very narrow.  Lou's slightly offset angled tweeter design is incredibly refined giving sharp imaging and placement both from left to right but also with depth and height. And the sweet spot is expanded dramatically. Symphonic and jazz music recorded with the ambiance aspects of the hall and musicians - with properly spaced out mics gave a holographic aspect.

Separation of instruments is also there in spades. The layering really broke out.  You could feel the size and resonance of drums, the loudness and impact of various instruments and the intent of multi tracked studio masters. Wow.  Take for example Crosby, Stills and Nash.  I had a hard time distinguishing Crosby in the mix because his voice blended so well with Nash's. The separation with the Ulysses is so good you can hear the timbre in Crosby's voice and it's resonance very distinctly and it is a real treat.

There are too many recordings I could rave about -  all but ones with serious flaws (loudness wars, or ear bleeding sharp high end) are engaging. The speakers are going to resolve everything in the source but without adding any coloration on their end.  Too many critically lauded speakers  color and distort the sound and I am always baffled audio gurus and audiophiles being enamored with them.  Flashy sound that doesn't stand up to long listening sessions. Lou's speakers are preceived as mellow when they are really dead on. Importantly I did not feel any aspect of listening fatigue and I am very sensitive to high frequencies.

The speakers really disappear in the room, except visually for their exquisite woodworking. You can tell Lou's guitar amp cabinet designs have had a nice impact on his 2 channel speaker designs and relevant resulting sound. A labor of love and old world craftsmanship

I am really rediscovering my musical collection, seeking out original UK vinyl releases, etc.
Sleep deprivation and cancelling my direct tv to spend most of my time when I am not seeing a live show, at home listening to music.  I am a single parent, a long time divorced and last year my son (i have two children) was the last to leave the nest so I basically have no restrictions on my listening habits.

As nice as a major audio component is a key factor in your system, and it is critical, is whether the manufacturer stands behind it.  I have built my system from the ground up using great indiependant direct manufacturers. Word of mouth and stellar designs.  As you know Lou is a really incredible person and so concerned about your audio satisfaction.  I bought my speakers second hand and he treated me as if I were an original owner. He walked me through the V2 upgrade, kept me informed and made sure things were optimally set up, we discussed synergy with my amp options, break in characteristics (take your time - not 24/7) etc and gave room and positioning suggestions. He is still following up with me. I can't say enough about Lou, he really stands behind his product and is a great guy.

For anyone who wants to evaluate the Ulysses and is able to get down to New Orleans, I would be honored to be your host. I am sure this would be a good experience (based on the house sound) for other speakers in the Daedalus line

If New Orleans isn't in the card - consider one of the big audio shows.  I heard Lou's Ulysses at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in October 2011

I know who i will go to when I am looking for speakers to upgrade my ht setup.

Thank you again Lou, in fact I can't thank you enough

And thank you Jason for making this happen

I know I have found my end all speakers and am very happy

I am raptured by the passion of the music, not equipment






mresseguie

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Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #1 on: 12 Mar 2015, 06:51 am »
Tom,

That's awesome that you've found such great speakers.

I kind of know what you're so excited about. AC member, 'aldcol' brought his Pans over to my house about ten days ago. We hooked them up to my amp/preamp/DAC, and we let 'em rip for a few hours. Holy shnikies! They stomped the Harbeth 30.1s and Proac Response D2s. Given that demonstration and musicality, I can only guess how great your Ulysses must sound.

Briefly, I toyed with the idea of buying catastrophe's Ulysses, but there's really no good place for that sized speaker in my house. Well, if WAF weren't an issue, there is one room...(never mind)

I'm still working things out, but the Muse may be my ticket. It may take a while before it happens, but I'm pretty excited.

Congratulations!  :thumb:

dodgealum

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Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #2 on: 12 Mar 2015, 01:33 pm »
audiotom:

Speaking of "wow"....I really loved your review. Sooooo much the work of a music lover and musician--you really get at what makes Daedalus speakers so magical and why so many of us have formed lasting ties with Lou. I, too, bought my first pair of Daedalus speakers--the original DA-1's--used after driving to Maryland (I'm in NJ) for a demo. They ended up in the back of my SUV with the road to sonic bliss dead ahead. Lou treated me exactly the same way you described--I was welcomed into the fold with open arms. Since then I bought a new pair of the revised DA-1.1's and have had Lou perform each and every upgrade as he has perfected his craft. I couldn't be happier with the sound I am getting or the joy one feels after stepping off the "merry go round" and simply playing and enjoying music at home. Best to you and thanks again for sharing your thoughtful insights.

jonbee

Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #3 on: 12 Mar 2015, 02:21 pm »
I always am looking first for very natural and neutral tonality. Sometimes that comes at the expense of resolution.  Not with the Ulysses.

I know I have found my end all speakers and am very happy

I am raptured by the passion of the music, not equipment
My long (insane?) search for speakers that do justice to the music in a great looking and reasonably sized package has led me to Lou's handiwork. I'm not alone-those who get a pair of his speakers into their homes are very loathe to give them up.
Congratulations. Enjoy your music. Anyone living in NOLA, the most musically rich place I've seen, deserves no less.
« Last Edit: 13 Mar 2015, 04:00 pm by jonbee »

Tomy2Tone

Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #4 on: 12 Mar 2015, 10:11 pm »
Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts and experiences. I've been following this forum for a few years now but have only recently started posting but I can remember seeing some of your previous speakers so I know you must have found a winner there with the Ulysses.

I've been into audio for a few years now so I'm still learning about how to get great sound and what sound I like and what I don't like. I was wondering if I could pose a question to you and others who have commented here. As of now I really like big dynamic speakers that can play loud and I believe I have found them with the Salk SS8 but I often wonder will my "palate" of audio tastes remain the same for years to come or will they change.

For those of you who are more experienced than I and who have, lets say "been around the block" a few times, does your taste for a certain sounding set of speakers change over time because a) you get older or b) your palate just changes to what you think you really like.

When you mention that Daedalus speakers can sometimes be described as mellow but that in fact they are dead on I first think to myself that I may not be interested in them. Or maybe this will this change over time and a much more mellow speaker is what I actually want. Of course I have yet to hear a pair of Lou's speakers but I am hoping to make a trip this summer to the great Northwest and take some time to visit some Daedalus owners as well as possibly Lou.

One things for sure, it seems a lot of people end up with Daedalus speakers as their destination in this crazy hobby.

roscoeiii

Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #5 on: 12 Mar 2015, 11:00 pm »
Yeah,  mellow/laid back vs. forward/in your face is a big distinction in the speaker world. And finding where your preferences lay on that spectrum is a biggie. Or get one pair  of each.

The mellower speakers do have the advantage of likely being less fatiguing. A non-fatiguing forward speaker seems much harder to achieve,  tho not impossible. And accompanying gear can Goose things in one direction or the other. Took a lot of steps to get my otherwise fabulous Von Schweikert VR4s to be a smidge less laid back.

Bringing things back to Daedelous speakers, my impression from shows is that accompanying gear can shift the sound a good bit. A good thing in my book. And in my one no-show experience I loved them with Atmasphere gear. Killer combo!

jonbee

Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #6 on: 13 Mar 2015, 06:27 am »
For those of you who are more experienced than I and who have, lets say "been around the block" a few times, does your taste for a certain sounding set of speakers change over time because a) you get older or b) your palate just changes to what you think you really like.
In my case, I would say that my tastes have not changed over the 47 years in the hobby. My first taste of true high end was the Infinity Servostatic speakers, Infinity's first product, driven by top line Marantz tube gear. It was more "real", more like live music, than anything I'd heard. If that system were around today (and I doubt there are any due to the "flammable" nature of the stats), I believe it would be competitive in the $30K+ bracket today. The illusion was very good indeed.
My 2 favorite speakers of what I've owned are Apogee Diva FR ribbons, and my Daedalus DA-RMa v2s. They are like yin and yang. The Apogees had top to bottom speed and resolution that is as good as I've heard. They put you inside the recording, with the feeling you could walk around the musicians. Almost super-real.
But listening to them for several hours did induce fatigue, and to me, in the live music world, music doesn't really sound that way. I live 8 blocks from Benaroya Hall in dowtown Seattle, home of the Seattle Symphony and one of the clearest, cleanest sounding venues in the world.
http://www.obwilliams.com/benaroya-hall-millwork
 We have some jazz clubs here that are also very fine venues. Listening even from say, row 10, the instruments, while very clear, dynamic and separate, never produce anything like that "type" of fatigue, even when loud.
This presentation is closer to what I hear from my DA-Rma's, and Lou's other models I've heard (Athena,Ulysses). It's ALL there; no loss of detail or spatial information at all compared to any of my very fast ribbons, horns, ceramics, etc., but is presented in an easier (but not laid back), more balanced manner which is more like what I hear from Benaroya and other live venues than many very high end speakers. But when brashness is called for, such as a well recorded trumpet solo or horn ensembles, it has the bite that the instrument has live, but in proper balance. This balance is what is so well handled by the Daedalus. They don't "push" the music so much as they "present" it.
So, I'd say my tastes haven't changed, but there is no one "right" presentation of these recordings, which of course are produced in myriads of ways with hugely different sonic signatures. You can get very satisfying sound in any number of ways, but for me the strong illusion of the sound of live music is a good touchstone. If I get that, I'm there.
For me, the key question is, how enjoyable is the experience, hour after hour, day after day. As we as individuals are different, we will get different answers to that question, hence the disagreements.
« Last Edit: 13 Mar 2015, 06:52 pm by jonbee »

audiotom

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Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #7 on: 13 Mar 2015, 02:07 pm »
thank you all for your insights

dodgealum - Jersey to Maryland - love it
thank you for the compliments on the review - I was focusing on someone on the "outside" curious about Daedalus as the group here are already initiated.  I too am looking forward to replacing the speakers in my other system with Lou's creations.

Jonbee - loved your quote
anyone in NOLA deserves no less
Just caught Elvis Costello solo acoustic last night, opera tonight and a few things next week

I see a lot of classical events so your observations are dead on

Tommy2Tone - Jim makes great speakers and like Lou is one of those great guys who really stands behind things, I have known him since 2006, he is a real master craftsman. I have the Soundscape 10's. The crossover is designed to go too low which hurts the efficiency and I really like the sound, tonality and resolution I just wanted to be able to drive my speakers with a refined modest tube amplifiers. I like Lou's high efficiency approach - it really brings out the dynamics and I really find I'm not missing anything on the low end. The SS8 is a real winner in the Salk line with it's much higher efficiency and merges easier with a wide range of amps. Enjoy the 8s and a trip to the NW.  I first heard the Daedalus at RMAF 2011 - I was catching up with Thom Mackris - the manufacturer of my Galibier turntable and was taken with them.

Roscoeii - the "mellow/laid back vs. forward/in your face is a big distinction in the speaker world" indeed
I just cannot understand what people find in brands like Wilson - yet you find they are used the most in rooms at shows.
A lot of people judge by the driver and not the execution. Lou has really looked at the core of the sound and fine tuned it. It's easy to bypass his speakers on a quick hearing for something really flashy. When the finer balance is in what he has perfected.  You are not going to find reviews of his speakers in the big audio magazines but the more objective enthusiast groups pick up on their musicality

thanks again

Daedalus Audio

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Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #8 on: 13 Mar 2015, 04:28 pm »
Great review Tom, and thanks to all for the support!   :thumb:


Daedalus Audio

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Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #9 on: 13 Mar 2015, 04:43 pm »
In reply to Tomy2 and Roscoe,
 I would not use the word mellow as that is a descriptive more often used for speakers with a slightly 'veiled' sound. As several have noted in this thread, the Daedalus speakers are not veiled, but are very detailed and revealing.
The comments about live sound vs inside the stage are more accurate, there are differing tastes for how a recording is presented and I will say that these speakers are more for those who want the sound to be closer to a live performance.

Roscoe's comment about associated gear is spot on. A design goal is to make these speakers very revealing of upstream gear and very easy to drive. This allows one to clearly hear the differences in amplifiers, source etc., and makes it easier to tailor a system for the individuals preferences.

thanks again for all the great comments!
lou

audiotom

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Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #10 on: 13 Mar 2015, 04:56 pm »
Lou

it's an honor,

I am glad you enjoyed reading the review

too many speakers are too forward and so when one isn't in your face I think that "mellow" part is what people are getting at

When I think of a veiled speaker something like the lower end Vandersteen comes to mind
Those are forgiving and sound okay with low end bright systems. Sludge/murky with something more neutral

My upstream equipment's euphoric aspects are really coming through in spades with the Ulysses.
The synergy is lovely.

Tom

roscoeiii

Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #11 on: 13 Mar 2015, 05:31 pm »
  Lou,

I'd be curious what term  you would suggest for the other end of the continuum from "forward"? In my mind a mellow or laid back speaker can still be detailed (my Von Schweikert VR4s I would call laid back yet detailed for example), but this is a challenge for a speaker maker. Just like forward but not too overly bright or fatiguing is a challenge (Vapor does this combo well, in my experience).

And then there are those speakers in the middle between the forward and laid back. Of AC sponsor speakers, I'd say that the Daedelous line and Salk's Exotica 3 fall into that category.

aldcoll

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Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #12 on: 13 Mar 2015, 05:47 pm »
What a great review audiotom of Lou's Quality and Creative hand work (and those that assist in the shop) :whip: :thumb:
 
I have also found Lou to be a HUGE support and influence in my voyage into the world of fine audio equipment.


Daedalus Audio

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Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #13 on: 13 Mar 2015, 06:38 pm »
  Lou,

I'd be curious what term  you would suggest for the other end of the continuum from "forward"? In my mind a mellow or laid back speaker can still be detailed (my Von Schweikert VR4s I would call laid back yet detailed for example), but this is a challenge for a speaker maker. Just like forward but not too overly bright or fatiguing is a challenge (Vapor does this combo well, in my experience).

And then there are those speakers in the middle between the forward and laid back. Of AC sponsor speakers, I'd say that the Daedelous line and Salk's Exotica 3 fall into that category.

good point! 
many have used the term "natural"  which I personally find more descriptive of these type of speakers. It's really just semantics and so long as there is context all is good :)

Tyson

Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #14 on: 13 Mar 2015, 07:47 pm »
Tonal balance (bright or warm) is not the same thing as resolution.  Lou manages the incredible task of making a slightly warm sounding speaker that is also very high resolution. 

roscoeiii

Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #15 on: 13 Mar 2015, 07:57 pm »
Tonal balance (bright or warm) is not the same thing as resolution.  Lou manages the incredible task of making a slightly warm sounding speaker that is also very high resolution.

Well put Tyson.

jonbee

Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #16 on: 14 Mar 2015, 03:22 pm »
Tonal balance (bright or warm) is not the same thing as resolution.  Lou manages the incredible task of making a slightly warm sounding speaker that is also very high resolution.
Yes, this gets it very well.
The small warmth does away with the sterility. I think this is part of what I hear in live music that seems to go missing when processed through the recording/playback chain. It is very subtle, and with Lou's speakers happily it does not obfuscate the lower range detail as is usually the case with "warmer" speakers. Lou gets the balance of traits right.

nature boy

Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #17 on: 14 Mar 2015, 03:34 pm »
Per Tyson's remarks, these are my impression as well.  I listened to the Athena's extensively at the Capital Audio Fest a couple years ago, they are extremely musical speakers with great tonality.  Lou is easy to talk to and very helpful.

NB

audiotom

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Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #18 on: 14 Mar 2015, 06:53 pm »
What a great review audiotom of Lou's Quality and Creative hand work (and those that assist in the shop) :whip: :thumb:
 
I have also found Lou to be a HUGE support and influence in my voyage into the world of fine audio equipment.

Aldcol - we certainly don't want to leave out any of Lou's fellow craftsmen.  Thank you for your involvement in the magic. Must be wonderful carving away with Mt Baker as your backdrop and sweet music.

Tonal balance (bright or warm) is not the same thing as resolution.  Lou manages the incredible task of making a slightly warm sounding speaker that is also very high resolution. 

Indeed!

 I hope my review wasn't misleading in that area

Resolution is such a key factor in music.  You dont get the separation of instruments, imaging, etc without it

Too many speakers error on the side of resolution at the expense of tonality, body, musicality.


Lou's speakers are very naturally musical with all the resolving qualities


That is a rare feat  and oh so enjoyable

jriggy

Re: New Ulysses owner - wow
« Reply #19 on: 14 Mar 2015, 09:27 pm »
Hi Tom,

You are very welcome but I feel I should be the one expressing gratitude... Thank YOU! You helped my audio path continue during a time of uncertainty and transition. I am so happy The Ulysses are woking well for you. and with a new finnish, I bet they are beautiful all over again...
Happy listening!



this conversation has collectively described Lou's speakers better than I have ever read before... "Natural"  ahh yes... Some great quotes on the Daedalus sound guys!

 And count me in as another that originally purchased used but was welcomed "into the family" by Lou, and with so much time, help and advice over the past 4 years or so.

I am so happy to be here
« Last Edit: 15 Mar 2015, 05:51 am by jriggy »