I think it is time to update this thread. I've been busy with work....and enjoying these drivers so much that I sort of lost sight of the goings on around here.
To my ears, jazz and classical can be extremely demanding on a pair of loudspeakers. I haven't been keeping track of how many hours I have on the alnico drivers, but it is probably at least 250 or more. The drivers are so rich and dynamic sounding that I have been listening exclusively to 1950s and 60s hard bop jazz, jazz vocals, and 1940s and 50s popular music vocals cut from the great American song book. The alnicos thus far do not seem to exhibit the swings in sound performance that characterised the break-in behavior of the ferrite magnet drivers. If anything, the bass response has opened up a tad with continued break-in. Other than that, I really haven't noticed any performance swings at all. For the most part they sound the same as they did the day I installed them in my Max Hemp cabinets. That is to say, completely remarkable...the alnicos are a sonic revelation.
I have been pulling out a lot of my choice recordings since installing the alnicos.
Ella Fitzgerald - Sings the Irving Berlin Song Book
Ella Fitzgerald and Judy Garland are probably the two greatest female vocalists of the 20th century. That's not meant to slight the likes of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, or any number of fine female singers from the swing era and pre-rock popular music. Ella Fitzgerald, in particular, seems most deserving of the title of "First Lady of Song." I have the Complete Ella Fitzgerald Song Books in a CD boxed set from Verve. It is expensive and worth every penny. Lately, I have set about buying these on vinyl (talk about expensive!!). Superbly recorded and mastered, this masterpiece sounds amazing.
Bill Evans - Everybody Digs Bill Evans
A must own title for any jazz fan. Available on CD, freshly remastered as part of the Orrin Keepnews series. Also available on a vinyl reissue and a double 45 RPM vinyl audiophile pressing. I have the remastered CD and the vinyl reissue. This is a great recording and a performance by Evans that is one for the ages.
Peggy Lee - Black Coffee
Another great album with crystal clear sonics. Worth tracking down on vinyl if you can find it (it's something of a rare record these days), but if you can't the Verve Master Series edition of this sounds great on CD.
Judy Garland - Alone
I have a first pressing copy of this on Capitol Records in great shape. A lot of folks think of Judy Garland and can't get past The Wizard of Oz. Great movie, to be sure. But she enjoyed a successful career as a recording artist. Her death at age 47 in 1969 was a tragic loss to music and movie fans alike. This album is full of torch songs. The entire album is brilliant, but the standouts are Me and My Shadow
, I Got a Right to Sing the Blues
, and Mean to Me
Frank Sinatra - Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim
It was Stan Getz that helped Jobim make Bossa Nova music popular among West Coast jazz fans in the early 1960s. But it was this collaboration with Frank Sinatra in 1967 that brought Bossa Nova into the mainstream of American popular music. I have this on 180g vinyl. The sound is so delicate and soft on this recording that Sinatra once commented that he had not sung so soft since he had laryngitis. This is also a recording that will help you to appreciate the alnico drivers. I think a lesser driver might step on some of the delicate and nuanced sounds of this finely crafted record. Sinatra takes Jobim's signature song, The Girl from Ipanema
and makes it his own.
So far, if there is any downside to the alnico drivers is that they have me spending more money on music. A lot more, and I find myself going after a lot of audiophile pressings on 180g or 200g vinyl. Here's a short list of the titles that I have bought and am waiting on delivery:
Duke Ellington - Blues in Orbit (200g vinyl)
Nat King Cole - Just One of Those (180g vinyl)
Ella Fitzgerald - Clap Hands (200g vinyl)
Ella Fitzgerald - Sings the Duke Ellington Song Book (180g vinyl)
Ella Fitzgerald - Sings the Cole Porter Song Book (180g vinyl)
Billie Holiday - Lady in Satin (180g vinyl)
...and then some vintage vinyl titles that I probably paid too much for:
Judy Garland - In Person at Carnegie Hall (1st Pressing)
Nat King Cole - At the Sands (sealed 1st pressing)
Frank Sinatra - Songs for Swingin' Lovers (1st Pressing)
Frank Sinatra - Where Are You? (1st Pressing)
Pearl Bailey - St. Louis Blues (sealed)
Rosemary Clooney - Swing Around with Rosie (1st Pressing)
Peggy Lee - Beauty and the Beat (reissue)
Anyway, music is supposed to be what this is all about. I can honestly say that my current setup (especially with analog) is the best I have ever owned, and can't imagine it getting any better. I might try to snag myself a used Esoteric DV-50 if I can find one for the right price that isn't beat up. But if I do it will probably be the last audio component I buy for the forseeable future. I am very pleased with how this entire setup has come together, and appreciate all the help that I have gotten on forums such as this, and from people like Louis.