I figured I would jump in and say “hi” as the new owner of Dodgealum’s beloved DA-1.2 v2’s.
The upgrade path can be a dangerous and slippery slope. I happened upon a Modwright LS100 preamp from a mention from a fellow Steve Hoffman forum member that owned very similar (mostly Rogue Audio) equipment. I had inadvertently convinced him to try out a Tavish Adagio phono stage after reviewing that unit against my Rogue Ares. He returned the favor by putting the Modwright bug in my ear. A half a year later, I decided to give a MW power amp a try. Dodgealum was selling his KWA 150SE, and he’s local, so I stopped in for a listen before ultimately buying it from him. The MW was impressive, but I was kind of fascinated with his speakers. I had never seen a pair of Daedalus speakers before, let alone heard them. I had heard OF them, though, from all of the Audio show reviews of MW, Wywires and Daedalus gear.
I was (actually, still am) a big fan of Vandersteen speakers. Like many, I started with a pair of Model 2’s - the Honda Accord of high end speakers, essentially. They throw a holographic image like almost no other two channel system can. I loved them for many years, but after visiting high end shows and showrooms, I longed for a more detailed, more detailed, less polite sound. A jump to the Treos provided a huge jump in presence. The image went from in or behind the speakers to in front of the speaker. They are exceptional late night speakers, delivering hi res detail at the lowest volumes. I started to notice them to be a little too forward, however, the more so listened to them - especially with the MW gear. Perhaps the MW /Treo mix was just a little too aggressive. I think the tubes matched better with them. Nevertheless, I had set forth on my latest upgrade path to accomplish a smoother, less fatiguing sound, and ended up changing everything except my beloved Vandys. It dawned on me finally that I probably was overlooking the real issue.
Lou’s speakers had struck me before as natural and acoustic, with a surprising amount of pace and detail for a hardwood speaker. Listening to them again, this time to audition the speakers themselves, I was really impressed with the speed and impact of the sound. I had thought that perhaps I would be trading PRAT for smoothness, and that it was a necessary compromise. I couldn’t be more wrong, though. I actually hear new details - shocking backgrounds, soaring strings that have a roundness that was a bit more square before. Instruments sound like instruments. Not that they were bad before, but I’m very impressed with the differences I’m noticing already.
The Vandys seem like an early plasma 1080P tv, where the details were perhaps so clear and exaggerated that it sometimes ruined the image. Like when you’d see lint on a weatherman’s blazer, or you’d be watching a baseball game and find yourself focusing on someone in the crowd putting ketchup on his hot dog. It’s not the detail itself that you really want- it’s the quality of that detail. It is an accomplishment for a system to be able to dig out every nugget of detail from a recording, but it’s even more special when those details sound real and become music. I’m hearing music now, and with no fatigue.
So here are the speakers in their new home. My guess is that will not be my last pair, but I will be enjoying these for a while!