First of all, let me state for the record that I consider myself a vintage hifi nut, which doesn't mean I'm an expert, only that I have a real love for audio gear, mostly in what I consider the 25+ year range. I don't know when these were made, but the oak just sends me to the 80's in a good way.
These are beautiful speakers. I've seen them. The contrast of the dark chocolate grill cloth against the oak is eye-catching, and the shear height of these got me all excited about seeing what these would sound like. Up to this point, I had never heard a ribbon speaker with this stature. Right about now you may wonder if I've heard any good speakers, at least in any meaningful way to offer up my thoughts on these speakers.
To give you some context of my listening experience, here is a short list of the best speakers I have heard ... short as in my memory and what I can think of now:
B&W Nautilus 804, 803
There are others that I have either enjoyed owning or listening to. I currently own Vandersteen 3A's, which to me are the best bang for the buck ... and if my room was larger (mine is 10x10), I wouldn't hesitate to sell my Vandersteen's and some other gear to buy these. I would have no regrets.
Back to my impression on these Ribbons ...
My wife was with me when I visited Steve. This is important because my wife thinks I listen to music too loud and she isn't into gear, or listening to me talking to guys about audio or music. We were able to enjoy a comfy spot in the center of the room to prepare for listening to a wide variety of music from hard rock to folk to blues .... from the first note, I could tell this would be an experience. The following hours did not disappoint. In fact, at one point during listening at volumes up to live levels, my wife turns to me and says "these sound fantastic!" ... never in my life, has she EVER said music sounded good
, let alone "fantastic!
My brain immediately connected with the idea that for sound to have a full and real presentation, it helps to have sound coming not from just a few source points, but from a ribbon the covers the height range from below to above where my ears could be during sitting or standing. What drew me in was the fact I couldn't get my brain to realize music was coming from those two columns. It truly had a full and wide presentation that opened my mind to the thought that I would enjoy just about any well recorded music, assuming it was music I would consider to be creative ... being a former amateur musician and classical pianist in my early years, I believe that regardless of what kind of music you like (genres) there is always a small section produced by truly inspired and creative people.
By the end of our time at Steve's, I was already thinking what do I need to do to have speakers like these in my space. These are too big for my room, and Steve enlightened me to the fact that these are not stock. And as I suspected after listening to these, that any stock ribbon I buy may not compare with these, and the additional cost to get a design and upgrade parts would not make sense when you have these wonderful speakers to consider. I can't remember any glaring weakness, if any. From deep bass through crisp highs, there was nothing to distract my enjoyment of the music at hand. And isn't that what we all desire? True and vivid reproduced music that makes us feel like we are in the studio, or at the live performance??
Mind you, at the time, these weren't for sale, although he did tell me they would eventually be up for sale. I didn't ask at what price, so when I saw these listed here, it blew my mind he wasn't asking more. Do yourself a favor and put these on your radar ... heck, if you have the ability or desire to head to Central Oregon, I can assure you that if you visit and don't like the speakers, I'm pretty sure you will not think this area has natural beauty!