Get Together At Earlmarc's

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 4002 times.

earlmarc

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 657
Get Together At Earlmarc's
« on: 13 Nov 2005, 02:15 am »
Well my get together with Bob (SP Tech), Steve (SAS Audio Labs), and friend was a great experience. I want to thank them as well as a coworker for coming. I would also like to thank Greg Straley for overnighting his wonderful cables on such short notice. We were pressed for time during this audition because I rented the Home Theatre Room at the clubhouse of my complex. We had about four hours to squezze as much listening and tweaking as we could. All and all, we accomplished enough, however, more time would have been better.

I will provide all the details later. I need more time to digest everything.

Stay tuned.

earlmarc

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 657
Get Together At Earlmarc's
« Reply #1 on: 13 Nov 2005, 03:18 pm »
I will start with my impression of the SP Technology Continuum A.D. speakers. These speaker montiors are impressive due to their size and weight. Bigger than I imagined. Anyone interested in the specs can refer to www.4sptech.com.

The Continuums were used with the following equipment:

1. SAS Audio Labs 10A & 11A preamplifiers

2. Belles Reference 350A amplifier

3. APL HiFi Phillips SACD 1000

4. Greg Straley's Reality IC's and speaker cable

5. SAS Audio Labs Jena Labs IC's and speaker cable.

After some time we finally dialed in on better performance of the above equipment by switching the AC polarity switch on Steve's preamp. Walla!

The first thing that struck me about the Continuums was the ruthlessly revealing nature of the speaker and the strength of low level detail. Detail goes straight to the bones of a recording. The speaker is planar and electrostatic like in its ability to provide detail. Bass notes are impactful, forceful, and strong. The above is my intial impression of the speakers.

Further listening showed that the Continuums are the most dynamic speakers I've ever heard. Dynamics are handled with an aplomb. The speaker's speed into transients and its abiltiy stop on a dime and missle through the next is quite impressive. Macro and micro dynamics were exceptional. The soundstage is quite large with tremendous depth. Imaging is very good, but I felt it could have been better. I'm quite sure the room acoustics had alot to do with the imaging. We had to tilt the speakers a little due the theater seating. We sat up a 30 degree slope. The highs came through crystal clear with excellent extension. The only area of the Continuum's performance that lacked something for me was in the midrange. The midrange didn't have that reach out and touch you sensation I hear on my MG1.6QR. I have not found to many speakers that have that quality. The midrange on the Continuums are quite acceptable. I just didn't feel the palpable presence of images in space. Again, the room acoustics may be the reason I didn't feel that way.

All and all the Continuums are an awesome speaker! Best I've heard! The only criticism I have is in the area of midrange imaging.

Again Bob, I really appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to visit me. You made my day! Thank you.

I will comment on SAS new 10A and cables and Greg Straley's cables at a latter time. Stay tuned.

PeteG

Get Together At Earlmarc's
« Reply #2 on: 13 Nov 2005, 04:59 pm »
One thing I heard with my Continuums at the beginning, is they
were a little too analytical and had a thin midrange, but after a
month of break-in they smoothed out on top and the midrange became full of body and effortless.

I believe this is do to the Sonicap upgrade I have, I believe
they (Sonicaps) have a long break-in time. Don’t know if this
is the case here?

Pete

earlmarc

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 657
Get Together At Earlmarc's
« Reply #3 on: 13 Nov 2005, 05:30 pm »
Thanks Pete, that's good to know. Bob had actually just completed assembly of the Continuums a day before he came. So the speakers only had a couple of hours of burn-in. Bob didn't feel the speakers needed much more than that before the woofers broke-in. He stated further break-in would probably bring a little improvement.

Aether Audio

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 775
    • http://www.aetheraudio.com
Get Together At Earlmarc's
« Reply #4 on: 13 Nov 2005, 05:43 pm »
Folks,

I’d like to take a moment and share my 2 cents worth about this weekend.  First of all, I want to thank Marcus for the invitation.  For me, the best part of the experience was meeting new friends.  I don’t want to go overboard here, but I’d like to share the following.

It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round, but every once in a while you meet someone special that just “clicks” with your spirit.  To me, Marcus is one of the finest people that I have ever met.  Although each family has its issues, you can tell a lot about a man from his home and family.  Marcus was gracious enough to invite me into his home and I had the chance to meet his wife and children.  Not only was he genuinely friendly and a wonderful host, but his family were just as well.  There was a very inviting atmosphere present and I never felt as though I was intruding.  There was a peacefulness present that revealed to me a bit of the nature of this man.  I can assure you, Marcus is a good man, a man of integrity and you can trust him to be honest and forthright in whatever dealings you may have with him.

Sure, he wrote a rather glowing review of our speakers.  I had hoped to have a chance to post this before he had a chance to make his comments though.  I will tell you, I would have written the above regardless of his opinion with regards to the sound of the Continuums.  I am truly honored to have met him and his family and consider it an honor to call him my friend.  Seeing that he lives so close, I look forward to getting together again sometime in the future – audio/speakers be damned.

As far as the sound goes, I had a very nice little learning experience.  Flipping the AC polarity when there’s no apparent hum present?  Somebody explain to me how that could make such a dramatic difference.  Marcus and I heard the same things throughout the session so I know that if I’m crazy, I have good company.  Flipping an interconnect from end-to-end?  That’s an even bigger mystery! – But we both heard it.

Steve’s preamp was excellent – his new one even better.  When I heard that I said “now there’s my speakers!”  Excellent resolution and detail.  No “euphonic” artifacts or masking.  Dead quiet or “black” background as well.  I don’t know the cost of that preamp but I’m sure it’s worth every penny – and then some.

And the Bellas Reference 350?  Well, let’s just say I know that it will be one of the amps we’ll be using in Vegas this January in our room at T.H.E. Show.  Not much else needs to be said there.

All-in-all, it was a great afternoon and I want to thank all involved.  Everyone was as friendly as one could ask for and it was a very enjoyable experience.  A demonstration just doesn’t get much better!

-Bob

Aether Audio

  • Industry Participant
  • Posts: 775
    • http://www.aetheraudio.com
Get Together At Earlmarc's
« Reply #5 on: 13 Nov 2005, 05:49 pm »
Oh yeah, forgot about the break-in issue.  Karsten, Pete and everyone else tells me the tweeter needs quite a bit longer than the woofers.  I wouldn't know though, I never have a pair around long enough to find out.  Suffice it to say, this pair was about as "green" as you can get.  If others are correct, I would say the mids would significantly improve after about 100-200 hours.  If I was to guess, it must be the dielectric in the caps settling in.  Maybe others out there have experience with the Sonicaps in this regard?  I'd sure be interested in knowing.

Thanks,
-Bob

audiojerry

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1354
Get Together At Earlmarc's
« Reply #6 on: 13 Nov 2005, 06:07 pm »
I hope we hear from Bob and Steve as well - both very talented and a true benefit to have access to such high quality designers through AC.

audiojerry

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1354
Get Together At Earlmarc's
« Reply #7 on: 13 Nov 2005, 06:35 pm »
Quote from: audiojerry
I hope we hear from Bob and Steve as well - both very talented and a true benefit to have access to such high quality designers through AC.

Well, forget the above post - it was way too late. I don't know how that happened  :oops:

Bob, I feel the same as you about Marcus - a real gentlemen, and really thoughtful. He was thoughtful enough to bring the 350A all the way from Indiana to my home in Wisconsin just because he knew I would like to try it out. He also has a great ear and is an excellent judge of quality. I believe he was the first to review the SAS 10A, and thanks to his pioneering, I discovered and became a 10A owner as well. I still feel it is the finest preamp I've heard, other than the 11A. BTW, I believe the price is $1400. And now, Marcus can take the credit or blame for introducing me to the Belles Reference 350A.  :P

As for burn-in, when I auditioned the Timepiece, Bob assurred me at the time that it would only require a couple of hours of burn-in. In reality, it took over 100 hours. Those engineering guys just don't seem to want to acknowledge this phenomenon - maybe because it can't be explained empirically.  :wink:  

Oh, and Bob, I kind of thought you would be demo'ing with the NuForce.

DARTH AUDIO

Get Together At Earlmarc's
« Reply #8 on: 13 Nov 2005, 08:18 pm »
Jerry, did you buy the Belles 350? Did you dump the tubes??

Gary

Steve

hello
« Reply #9 on: 13 Nov 2005, 10:05 pm »
Dear Guys,

     Just got home a couple of hours ago, unloaded everything and finally am on the internet.

     First off, I would also like to thank Earlmarc for inviting me over and for his hospitality, and to meet Bob. Both Nice folks.

I agree with Earlmarc, the speakers are very very dynamic, crisp, revealing and really enjoyed them. We actually played the 1812 overture, with cannons, and Bob's speakers didn't 'flinch'. Very very impressive. No compression that I could notice. I think it also revealed what the Belles amps could do, again quite impressive.

     Yes, the AC polarity switch and IC directionality really makes quite a sonic difference. I was even taken back a little using Bob's speakers and the Belles reference 350A. They are that revealing.

I agree with Marcus that the midrange could have been slightly better, but I think the main problem with the midrange was actually caused by the room acoustics lower frequency resonances. We tried moving to the front row to get near field listening and the midrange got cleaner and better imho.

Two thumbs up for both components.

     I wish, as we all wished, we could have had more time, but another party had already booked the room for 4pm, so Marcus did as well as he possibly could. Your efforts are much appreciated Marcus.

     All and all, I enjoyed the trip and not only renewed acquaintances, but also made new friends. I hope to meet Bob and listen to his components again out in Vegas this January.

earlmarc

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 657
Get Together At Earlmarc's
« Reply #10 on: 14 Nov 2005, 03:58 am »
After spending more time with Greg Straley's cable, I am convinced that his cables are the real deal. Compared to my Wasatch RCA-104U's and LC-540's, I find Greg's cables are more transparent and thus provide greater detail. There is also a slight increase in air around instruments as well as a slight increase in width of soundstage. I didn't notice much difference in depth and bass performance. Macro dynamics between the two were very close. The Reality cables had better microdynamics. Imaging was also very close. The mids and highs were a tad smoother with the reality cables with better extension. Low level detail retrieval and tonality of bass notes were also better with the Reality cables. I'm sold on these cables compared to my Wasatch cables. I'll have to listen to Steve's SAS Jena Labs cables in my system to better compare them to Greg's Reality cables. Hearing cables through speakers I'm not fully aquainted with doesn't allow me to give a fair comparison of the SAS and Straley cables.  I'll have to get Steve to send me his cables at a latter time.

Steve

Get Together At Earlmarc's
« Reply #11 on: 14 Nov 2005, 04:57 pm »
Dear Earlmarc,

     I will get some ICs out to you today. By the way. I guess being tired from all the travel, I forgot to utilize the 'tweek' switches on the back of each preamp.   :oops:   The 10A has two more positions and the 11A has 3 more positions, to adjust to different sounding systems.

In thinking more and reading Audiojerry's comments, I should have mentioned this aspect in my previous evaluation, the lack of breakin time. I am sure it would have sounded even better.