How did you decide on Salk speakers?

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Mike in NC

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How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« on: 5 Oct 2018, 03:35 am »
Hello Salk owners.

I am not one of you (yet? one never knows), but I am aware that Salk speakers have a great reputation, and there are many happy owners. My question is, how did you decide to buy Salk speakers?

When I wanted new speakers for my main system (in a difficult room), I took several pair home as demos and listened. Though Salks were recommended to me, I decided that since I couldn't hear them in my room before committing up to $15k, they were out of the running.

I am definitely not saying anyone did it wrong or anything like that. No shade here! I am the organizer of an audio club and have a broad interest in hi-fi and how people choose their gear.

Given the lack of home auditions (at least for expensive Salk models), how did owners decide to buy them? Did you hear them at a show or in a friend's system? Some other way? Or did you rely on reviews and reputation?

Dludds

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Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #1 on: 5 Oct 2018, 04:08 am »
As the owner of 3 week old Song 3 BeATs, I was drawn to the idea of having a fully customized pair of speakers built. I saw Jim’s work online and was amazed by the apparent craftsmanship and finishes. I lurked on this site and AVS and couldn’t find anything negative about them. It seemed like all the owners drank the Salk kool-aid. I was reluctant to spend $4500 on something I’ve never heard, but after a few emails with Jim and him actually down selling me on speakers based on my taste in music , I said the the hell with it and gave my 50% deposit.   The hardest part was the nearly 6 month wait.  Totally worth it. I feel like I got a bargain as they are in the ballpark of some speakers that cost 2x-3x as much that I had demoed. They’re stunning to look at, sound amazing and are Made in America. Pour me another glass of kool-ad.

vkohl

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Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #2 on: 5 Oct 2018, 08:44 am »
yep....reviews...quality of parts used...bang for buck...easy decision  :thumb:

PSB Guy

Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #3 on: 5 Oct 2018, 10:42 am »
Quality of parts used, reviews from other owners, and the fact that you get a lot more for your money dealing   directly with the manufacturer (no middle man to pay). Even after paying shipping and duties since I'm in Canada, I  figure I came out well ahead. No regrets, I will be a repeat customer when the time comes to upgrade.

Cornelis

HT cOz

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Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #4 on: 5 Oct 2018, 11:24 am »
I purchased WOW1 because of the small format, quality drivers, confidence in Dennis, and great Salk craftsmanship.  I’ve really enjoyed the speakers and they actually surpassed my expectations.  I think this is an easy choice for the majority of people because the number of people who know exactly what they want is small and Jim knows how to guide people to a happy choice. 

mritschdorff

Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #5 on: 5 Oct 2018, 01:31 pm »
My life long dream was to build the “ultimate high end” speaker. Eight years ago I finally had the woodworking shop required to fulfill my dream. I was considering a couple cabinet designs, but needed help on selecting the drivers and a crossover.
I noticed Jim’s site on Audio Circle and was impressed with the amount of positive feedback he was receiving and also saw that his shop was located in Pontiac, Michigan which happens to be a few miles from where I live.
I called Jim to see if he would sell me the speakers parts. He was friendly and patient with my request and suggested that I stop by his shop to discuss my master plan in detail. I arrived at his shop and he invited me to take a tour of his shop to see how Salk Speakers are made from start to finish.
As Jim explained each step of the build process, I was immediately impressed with the level of quality and the commitment to craftmanship in the speakers he was building.  Suddenly, my dream was fading as I thought to myself there is no way that I could match Jim’s level craftmanship and sound quality.
After the tour, Jim invited me to listen to the speaker that was closest to the design I was going to build - the Veracity HT2 -TL. I was immediately blown away by the sound and thought to myself there is no way I could build a speaker that sounded as good. I bought the HT2’s and never regretted that I missed out on building the “ultimate high end” speaker. I eventually sold the HT2’S and now have the Soundscape 12 speakers. They are a work of art, sound amazing and will most likely be the last speaker I will own.

Mike, I apologize for the long post, but Jim’s reputation and commitment to building a custom speaker at a reasonable price is what sold me. Jim also has a spreadsheet of Salk owners across the US that would be willing to audition their speakers for interested parties.


DFpritchard

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Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #6 on: 5 Oct 2018, 01:40 pm »
Ordered Salk Song3s in January.  Got them mid-August. I had never heard Salk speakers in person and did not know anyone who owned them.  That said, the reviews were uniformly positive and the value compelling.  The clincher for me was being able to customize the speakers in terms of finish.  With guidance from Jim Salk's comments on this website, I was able to choose exactly the veneer I wanted (Carpathian elm burl).  These speakers are simply works of art, unlike anything I have seen.  That was important to me.

A further point in favor of Salk is the business ethic.  These speakers are not hyped or even marketed much.  While reviews are published on this website and elsewhere, the most positive reviews come not from industry sources but actual owners/listeners.  I find this more compelling.  The quality of fit and finish is stunning.  The ability to affect the outcome, personalizing the speakers, is unsurpassed.  If that is important, Salk is a good, safe choice.

I have owned many pairs of 'high end' speakers, including Harbeth and Sonus Faber.  Are the Song3s the 'best' speakers I have owned? No; that would be the >$20 SF Amatis.  But the Song3s are my favorite speakers.

ccotenj

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Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #7 on: 5 Oct 2018, 02:04 pm »
went through MANY speakers.

had heard various good things about salk.

then nuance got me really interested.  talked to a few people that i trust, and decided that i would try them, unheard.  after agonizing over veneer, ordered them. 

never looked back.  haven't looked for speakers since.

ErichGS

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Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #8 on: 5 Oct 2018, 03:42 pm »
I could echo many of the same things that have been said already in this thread.  Instead, I suggest you click on the Available for Immediate Delivery child board.  This will show you two things that are both an indicator of value with the Salk speakers.

1) The used speakers sell for close to what the new ones do
2) Despite 1, the used speakers sell very quickly (sometimes within 24 hours, often within a week.)

Saturn94

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Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #9 on: 5 Oct 2018, 04:27 pm »
Speaker preference is such a personal thing, so I like to hear them before buying (or at least be able to return them).

Reading the forums got me interested in Salk, but I still wanted to hear them first.  Fortunately, I was able to visit Dennis Murphy twice and a Salk owner once to hear them for myself.

I can’t say if I could not hear them first if I would have bought them anyway.  Probably not, though.

You can contact Jim and he may be able to find someone in your area willing to offer an audition.  Jim contacted me one time asking if I would offer an audition, which I did.  It was fun and made a new audio friend. :)

SCompRacer

Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #10 on: 6 Oct 2018, 02:21 am »
First off, the room. Many folks won't invest any time doing frequency sweeps to see what the room does to the speakers frequency response. Sometimes it requires changing speaker placement or adding acoustic treatments for best performance. For instance you can have a mid-range dropout and blame the speakers where moving them a foot or so can bring that mid-range back.

When I first spoke to Jim Salk, he asked me what kind of speakers I had and pointed me to SS8's. He focused on what his speakers offered compared to what I had without saying his were the best or mine were poor. He was very accurate in his assesment. I drove to the factory for a demo and bought a pair. (Nice day outing, like six hour round trip). You can get a good impression at audio shows too.

You get choice of Veneer and finish.

While I never had a problem, I have read he offers exceptional support for his products.


Mike in NC

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Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #11 on: 6 Oct 2018, 05:51 am »
Thanks to all who have replied! It is clear, the speakers are made with outstanding workmanship and attention to detail, and they have many fans. I hope to meet someone nearby who has a pair and listen for myself.

Mike
P.S. @SCompRacer: I agree on the value of measuring, speaker positioning, and acoustics (more in my AudioCircle profile and gallery).

R Swerdlow

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Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #12 on: 6 Oct 2018, 03:06 pm »
I am not one of you (yet? one never knows), but I am aware that Salk speakers have a great reputation, and there are many happy owners. My question is, how did you decide to buy Salk speakers?

Given the lack of home auditions (at least for expensive Salk models), how did owners decide to buy them? Did you hear them at a show or in a friend's system? Some other way? Or did you rely on reviews and reputation?
Unlike most of the others who answered above, I got to hear the original SongTowers as they were developed by Dennis Murphy.  I live nearby and met him through local area DIY speaker building meets.  At the time I was not looking to buy new speakers, but when I heard them, I was unavoidably compelled to buy a pair.  I never regretted that.

In the years since, I've often visited Dennis just to see what new designs he & Jim Salk were developing.  It's always fun to do that even if their price range is beyond mine.  Those experiences have confirmed my opinion that Dennis & Jim's designs are all so good sounding and good looking that I had no hesitation buying them for myself or recommending them to others.

After owning those SongTowers for nine years, I treated myself to a pair of Veracity STs.  I hadn't heard them before ordering, but that never bothered me.

Mike, if you're no longer in NC, are you close enough to the Maryland/Washington DC area to make a daytrip?  If so, you are welcome to stop by and listen to my Veracity ST speakers.  There simply is no substitute for seeing and touching the superb finishes that Jim Salk does.  I also have a pair of DIY CAOW1s which are close cousins to the Song Surround I speakers.  They make very good speakers when used in a small 2-channel system.

We may have followed different paths that led us to buy Salk speakers, but most of us are glad to show them off to potential buyers like yourself.  Just ask Jim Salk who nearby you is willing to demo what they have.

vintagebob

Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #13 on: 6 Oct 2018, 05:33 pm »
To directly answer your question, I was lucky enough to hear the Salk speakers in an audio show in the SF Bay Area.  That also allowed me to meet Jim and listen to him talk about his speakers and his goals.  A class act!  Both Jim and his speakers.  :wink:

My first Salks were the HT2-TLs, prior to Jim moving to the RAAL tweeter.  They were fantastic and served me well for several years.  After hearing the SoundScapes (?) at another audio show, my wife and I decided to pony up and get the SS10s.  A noticeable step up from the HT2-TLs.  I also have a pair of the old Salk Ellis speakers and a pair of the HT-1s.

That brings me to the next consideration.  In the old days, Jim used the Seas mid-range drivers in most of his speakers.  Now he has a veritable plethora of speaker designs.  There is no "Salk" signature sound now.  If you go to someone's house and listen to a Veracity series speaker, that will not tell you much about a SoundScape speaker that uses different drivers (except the RAAL tweeter).  To complicate things further, Jim is willing to work with you on custom designs, using the drivers of your choice.  Maybe no one has heard a combination you come up with.

The other thing I would throw out there is the bass loading style of each the speakers.  I found the transmission line (TL) style cabinets to produce a a type of bass that requires more room adjustments to smooth out.  That is one of the nice things about the Soundscape design.  You end up with 6 drivers producing the bass which greatly smooths out the room response.

One other consideration is the efficiency of the speaker designs.  The SoundScapes and HT-3s can be difficult to drive to loud volumes, if that is what you are into.  My guess is that your Bryston could probably handle any of the Salk designs?

It looks like you have a fantastic room for audio and it would be interesting to hear what you hope to gain by moving from your current speakers to the Salks.

I will say that I have tried a lot of experimentation with my audio setups and I tried something like you have done with the separate subwoofers.  I could never get that to work nearly as good as the Soundscapes.

If you have never been to an audio show, give it a go.  It is a lot of fun! 





Lake Hotel, Yellowstone NP

gregcss

Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #14 on: 6 Oct 2018, 07:59 pm »
That is a good question. My first speakers from Salk were the standard songtowers. I bought based on 1) reviews - 'real' people and professional reviews, 2) quality of parts, 3) ID - internet direct seemed to give good value (a better speaker for a similar priced speaker at brick and mortar). I've been happy and have upgraded to the supercharged towers since then.

Mike in NC

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Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #15 on: 7 Oct 2018, 05:24 am »
Mike, if you're no longer in NC, are you close enough to the Maryland/Washington DC area to make a daytrip?  If so, you are welcome to stop by and listen to my Veracity ST speakers.  There simply is no substitute for seeing and touching the superb finishes that Jim Salk does.  I also have a pair of DIY CAOW1s which are close cousins to the Song Surround I speakers.  They make very good speakers when used in a small 2-channel system.
Thank you for the kind offer! We live in Portland, Oregon -- a long way from DC. If you visit Portland, you're welcome to stop by and listen to the Janszens. Not that I expect you'll run out and buy a pair, but just for the heck of it.

Mike in NC

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Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #16 on: 7 Oct 2018, 05:40 am »
One other consideration is the efficiency of the speaker designs.  The SoundScapes and HT-3s can be difficult to drive to loud volumes, if that is what you are into.  My guess is that your Bryston could probably handle any of the Salk designs?

It looks like you have a fantastic room for audio and it would be interesting to hear what you hope to gain by moving from your current speakers to the Salks.

I will say that I have tried a lot of experimentation with my audio setups and I tried something like you have done with the separate subwoofers.  I could never get that to work nearly as good as the Soundscapes.

If you have never been to an audio show, give it a go.  It is a lot of fun! 
Hi Bob, I'm not into loud volumes, but I like the openness that a high-powered, low-distortion amp can bring.


Regarding switching speakers, I am delighted with the Janszens. On another forum, I said I thought I happily could live with them for the rest of my life. I asked about Salks out of curiosity: obviously Salk Signature Sound has built a loyal customer base, and I was wondering about it. I am far too cautious to buy speakers without an in-home audition, and I am interested in how other people approach audio -- clearly, every audiophile is different.

I agree that having multiple woofers helps a lot, I think in part by reducing SBIR. Regarding separate subs, IMO, one needs to high-pass the mains and low-pass the subs and measure and adjust everything to get the setup to work well. I do that because of my specific room, as explained in my profile, but it's tedious to set it up and it limits choice of equipment.


My last audio show was the Stereophile show in Miami, when we lived there -- 1991. You're right, it's about time for another one.

gregcss

Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #17 on: 7 Oct 2018, 07:57 pm »
One more thing that is critical - you can choose the veneer, dye, paint, accent, top coat, etc. that are top notch quality. A million possibilities.  :thumb:

Mudslide

Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #18 on: 8 Oct 2018, 04:11 am »
Mike,

We've had a couple of shindigs out here in coastal Oregon (Lincoln City) that included multiple Salk designs.  (SoundScape, Veracity, SongTower, Ellis 1801.) Jim and Dennis have both been here to our GTGs.  We invited them out for our events, likely for the same reasons that people buy Salk speakers...elegant designs, fabulously beautiful cabinetry, very strong buyer recommendations and reviews, and their personal willingness to contribute to the hobby.

My audio buddy and I have considered throwing another GTG...we can let you know if that happens, if you wish.  I, of course, can't say whether Dennis or Jim would return (it's a long way from their home bases and they're pretty busy guys), but we have a few people in the NW area who brought Salk speakers to the events.  There are a few still around willing to demo their Salk speakers.

By way of your original post, I don't own Salk speakers, but I most assuredly would.  After hearing the SoundScape (now just 'SS') 12s, I would never own another speaker if financing allowed. (Many thanks to Dennis, I do own a pair of Dennis's Phil2s, and they are fairly close in presentation to Salk designs.  One can certainly tell they have been voiced by the same folks.)  These two guys are first class and represent all that is good about our hobby.  You'll not find anyone stating the opposite.  I'm a big fan of the men and their speakers!

Good luck with your speaker cogitatin'. 

Regards,

RJ

PS:  What is your audio club?  This was our modest Salk room, minus the Ellis.  'Twas a great time out on the coast! 




Mike in NC

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Re: How did you decide on Salk speakers?
« Reply #19 on: 8 Oct 2018, 06:32 am »
RJ:  Thanks for the detailed reply. Nice looking room!
I'm an organizer of the Portland Audio Club, which is on Meetup. After a reorganization two years ago, we're between 50 and 60 members and growing at a nice, slow, steady pace.

We meet monthly in the back (relatively quiet) room of a local pub. Meetings sometimes are general social get-togethers, but more often have an audio/music focus, such as playing music brought by members; talks (topics have included computer audio, acoustics, subjectivity vs. objectivity, and others); demos by manufacturers (Auralic most recently); members talking about their systems; and local musicians playing and explaining their instruments to us. It's a very friendly club that I'm happy to be part of.  You're welcome to come if we have a meeting next time you're in Portland. PM me if you like. 

And yes, I'd be interested to hear about your next get-together in Lincoln City. I can't promise I'll make it, but I'd like to.