Review time. This is going to be a long post.
The sound of the Wedgies themselves has been described in the thread “Something New That Sounds Incredible”, http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=126112.440
starting on page 23. Here is what I had to say about the Wedgies when I first heard them (page 25, post #487)
Important caveat: I do not currently have base speakers that match really well or do justice to the Wedges. Of the subs I have available for use in this system the 8” ported X-Sub works the best. As nice as this little sub is, the bass is still thick and slow compared to the openness and articulate nature of the Wedges. With this in mind, the comments that follow are not meant to refer to low frequency performance, but only to the Wedges themselves
Now that I’ve had a chance to listen to the Wedges for a few of hours I can discuss initial impressions. My first impression was WOW!!!
Danny’s description of something sounding incredible is dead on to an understatement. The sound was huge. Center images didn’t so much sound like they were coming from between the two speakers as from all around and above them. Almost like the entire back wall became one big speaker. While the sound was huge it wasn’t overpowering. It had an almost airy quality with voices especially seeming to be floating in the air between the speakers.
However, this does not mean everything is mashed together. There is very distinct separation between notes, voices, instruments and location. When a drummer plays a solo and runs around his set the sound pans from right to left with him. Also, sounds that are supposed to be off to one side stay pinned to that location.
Voices are clear and those that are intended to soar like Barbara Streisand, Jonas Kaufmann, Pavarotti, and the John McDermott soar. Those that are intended to be more earthy and distinct like Holly Cole, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ray Charles, Kenny Rogers and Willie Nelson shine in their distinctiveness.
Hard and punchy is hard and punchy yet clean. Fleetwood Mac, Steppenwolf, and Jethro Tull all sound exceptional.
Visually, they fit very nicely into my 11’x13’x8’ (1,144 cubic feet) room. But can they play loud? Well, I have them connected to a Jolida JD-801A (70WPC) and at my listening position (10ft) I had the SPL meter up to 100.5dB before I had to back off because I couldn’t stand it anymore. Now I can hear some of you saying that’s all fine and dandy but a 1,100ft3 room isn’t very big so it’s not really much of a test and you’d be correct. As I’m typing this I’m listening to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons at a very enjoyable volume. This might not mean much except that I am in my office which is downstairs and at the other end of the house from the Wedges. I have no doubt they would easily fill my 5,000+ ft3 living room should I put them there. However, I learned my lesson with the N3’s. I’ll not give my wife a chance to get her hands on the Wedges
Back to the present. So, what are they like after a few hundred hours of playing time and 3 x 8” servo sub bases under each one?
First off, Danny’s thoughts early on in the discussion about a Wedgie sitting on top of a 3 x 8 H-Frame looking a little funky but sounding awesome is right on. As you can see from the above picture, the H-Frames look clunky under the Wedgies.
Some of that can be reduced by not having an overhang on the H-Frame tops. This would slim the lines down quite a bit. If you went with dual 12” H-Frames the top would be 2” wider if you cut the sides flush, more if you added an overhang. Once Danny gets the Wedgie base frame designed I will build that so the complete package looks as awesome as it sounds.
As for that sound, it is huge, clean, clear, enveloping, smooth, detailed, full, well balanced and engaging. An absolute dream to listen to. The servo subs blend seamlessly with the Wedgies. This is also how people at LASF described them after Danny tweaked the setup. You really shouldn’t think of these as speakers + subs. They really function and sound like full range speakers that just happen to be built in two separate boxes.
To get a feel for these speakers I have listened to a lot of music but I find the “Best of Chesky Jazz and More Audiophile Tests Volume 2” to be very helpful in listening for specific attributes. This CD includes tracks for tests of percussion imaging, depth of image, height, bass resonance, general image and resolution, and sound effects tracks as well as music.
The percussion imaging is spot on. You can easily tell the location of individual instruments and follow the drums around the circle.
For depth of image they use a clicker as they walk farther and farther away from the mike. As the clicker recedes from the microphone, you can easily hear the spatial cues that give a sense of depth to the soundstage. Not just that the click is getting fainter but echoes as well.
For the height test a shaker is used starting at the floor and moving up until it is 4ft above the mic. Again, the movement clear and easily followed.
Bass resonance is unbelievable. You can follow the scales all the way down, even pipe organ scales. The bass is always clean, clear, and balanced, never bloated or boomy.
In the general image and resolution tests you can cleanly hear and follow as people enter off to one side from behind the microphone, approach the mic, circle around it, then move away off to the other side, very realistic.
The sound effects tracks are recordings of actual locations, a woods in the daylight, a barnyard, children in the park, a police riot, a supermarket, drinking beer, a freight train crossing, inside a subway car and outside in the rain. The purpose of these tracks is to see how realistic the different environments sound, to see if it sounds like you are in the middle of each environment. The Wedgies and servo subs excelled in all of these. If you closed your eyes it was easy to feel like you were in each environment.
There has been a fair amount of discussion and speculation as to whether three 8” servo drivers per side would provide enough bass. From my perspective, they do a fantastic job. Even on bass heavy tracks like Hotel California from the Hotter Then Hell album, Adele’s version of Rolling In The Deep, and the Telarc version of the 1812 Overture.
I also noticed when I was listening to a version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major with Ocean sounds that when the surf rolled in you could hear it come towards and even past you before it receded. I couldn’t be more pleased with the way this system sounds.
I received another opinion last night. The person who is getting the X-Omnis was over and listened to the Wedgie/Servo Sub combo. He described the sound as crystal clear, freaky clear even. He said if he sat and closed his eyes he felt like he was there.
I have found the volume setting needed on the HX300 plate amps varies with the preamp. When powered by the preamps in either my Marantz or NAD AVR’s, the sub’s volume needs to be set at 1 o’clock to blend with the Wedgies. However, with my Jolida stereo preamp the sub’s volume needs to be set at 10 o’clock. I have also run the sub’s considerably hot to see if they could handle it. They could. You will get more performance out of two 12’s but the combination will look bulkier. Three 8’s do an admirable job and are fine for me.
Whether you go with three 8’s or two 12’s, the OB LGK Wedgie/Servo Sub combo is an absolute sonic dream experience that I doubt can be topped for less than 10X the price. I have listened to speakers with price tags up to $20K and prefer the Wedgie/3x8 servo. Other people who have listened to the Wedgie/servo combo have told me the same thing. I think Danny’s original comparison, that it takes the Serenity Super 7 to top the Wedgie/servo is going to be right on.