Archos and HT2 impressions

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Woolz

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Archos and HT2 impressions
« on: 18 Jun 2009, 05:10 pm »
I have been asked to compare the HT2 to the Archos. I owned the HT2s for over a year and a half and I have now had the Archos for a little over a month so here goes. They present the music differently.  The Archos present it more behind the plane of the speakers in a deeper wider soundfield.  The HT2s are more upfront and immediate sounding.  That doesn't mean they are more live sounding just less spacious. 

The highs of both speakers are excellent and quite similar to me from a quality standpoint.  The Archos midrange will handle more power more gracefully and this is the biggest difference between the speakers.  Through the bass and midrange the Archos will really expand with the music when necessary in a way the HT2s cannot match.  Simply put, the Archos play louder with greater dynamics than the HT2s.

The bass needs some discussion.  I was looking for more extension from the Archos but I don't think that is the case.  The HT2s actually seem to go deeper and will give you a better balanced presentation with bass shy recordings like a lot of older rock music.  The HT2s are easier to place in the room, or rather are more normal.  The Archos are 18" closer to the back wall in my large (33x34) room with the speakers firing across the diagonal.  The backs of the speakers are still 32" out from the back wall allowing the open back midrange to provide its benefit without interference. 
All that said, I much prefer the bass of the Archos.  When you crank things up the Lambda woofers deliver and the speaker has a much better, if not ideal balance.  It took me a little while to appreciate this, but the quality of the bass from the Archos is really outstanding.  I'm still not sure of Jim's in room -3db response in the low 30hz range, but it is beautiful bass however low it goes.  I may, however, explore one of the Rythmik sub-woofers. 

I am using a Mccormack DNA-500 amp with a tube preamp.  I tried the Red Wine Sig 30.2 amp but it simply couldn't do justice to the capabilities of the Archos in the bass.  It played remarkably loud and grain-free with really beautiful vocals, but just couldn't provide the jump factor of the Mccormack beast.  I don't know if that much power is required for the Archos.  When I have the opportunity I will find out.  I had thought it would be a no-brainer I would get a smaller amp and save a little money, but the Mccormack sounds awfully good. 

Would I want my HT2s back?  They are excellent speakers, but I like big band jazz and frankly judge speakers ultimately by how Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Buddy Rich sound.  The Archos give me more goosebumps.  They are more dynamic and better able to present the sound with clarity and authority.  Definitely keepers for me.

martyo

Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #1 on: 18 Jun 2009, 05:14 pm »
Thanks for the report, interesting. 8)

Art_Chicago

Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #2 on: 18 Jun 2009, 05:39 pm »
it is very interesting. I'd like to hear more about Archos! Do they have any disadvantages at all? So far they look like a "poor man" HT4's to me.  :D

Woolz

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 78
Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #3 on: 18 Jun 2009, 06:32 pm »
There are disadvantages.  Placement, looks for some folks, bass for some folks, but as far as  comparison with the HT4 you would have to ask someone familiar with both and I think you know who that might be.

targa02

Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #4 on: 18 Jun 2009, 08:26 pm »
Thanks for the comparison Woolz.  BTW, I am certainly enjoying your "old" HT2s!

Big Red Machine

Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #5 on: 18 Jun 2009, 09:04 pm »
Which tweeter, ribbon or cone?

Nuance

Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #6 on: 18 Jun 2009, 09:04 pm »
Thanks for the info, Woolz.  You've got a great system there, especially the speakers and amp.  Enjoy!

Woolz

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 78
Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #7 on: 18 Jun 2009, 09:20 pm »
Ribbon tweeter.

Jeff B.

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  • Posts: 77
Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #8 on: 18 Jun 2009, 11:04 pm »
I have been asked to compare the HT2 to the Archos. I owned the HT2s for over a year and a half and I have now had the Archos for a little over a month so here goes. They present the music differently.  The Archos present it more behind the plane of the speakers in a deeper wider soundfield.  The HT2s are more upfront and immediate sounding.  That doesn't mean they are more live sounding just less spacious. 

The highs of both speakers are excellent and quite similar to me from a quality standpoint.  The Archos midrange will handle more power more gracefully and this is the biggest difference between the speakers.  Through the bass and midrange the Archos will really expand with the music when necessary in a way the HT2s cannot match.  Simply put, the Archos play louder with greater dynamics than the HT2s.

The bass needs some discussion.  I was looking for more extension from the Archos but I don't think that is the case.  The HT2s actually seem to go deeper and will give you a better balanced presentation with bass shy recordings like a lot of older rock music.  The HT2s are easier to place in the room, or rather are more normal.  The Archos are 18" closer to the back wall in my large (33x34) room with the speakers firing across the diagonal.  The backs of the speakers are still 32" out from the back wall allowing the open back midrange to provide its benefit without interference. 
All that said, I much prefer the bass of the Archos.  When you crank things up the Lambda woofers deliver and the speaker has a much better, if not ideal balance.  It took me a little while to appreciate this, but the quality of the bass from the Archos is really outstanding.  I'm still not sure of Jim's in room -3db response in the low 30hz range, but it is beautiful bass however low it goes.  I may, however, explore one of the Rythmik sub-woofers. 

I am using a Mccormack DNA-500 amp with a tube preamp.  I tried the Red Wine Sig 30.2 amp but it simply couldn't do justice to the capabilities of the Archos in the bass.  It played remarkably loud and grain-free with really beautiful vocals, but just couldn't provide the jump factor of the Mccormack beast.  I don't know if that much power is required for the Archos.  When I have the opportunity I will find out.  I had thought it would be a no-brainer I would get a smaller amp and save a little money, but the Mccormack sounds awfully good. 

Would I want my HT2s back?  They are excellent speakers, but I like big band jazz and frankly judge speakers ultimately by how Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Buddy Rich sound.  The Archos give me more goosebumps.  They are more dynamic and better able to present the sound with clarity and authority.  Definitely keepers for me.

As a designer, we are always pleased when people are happy with our designs. Thank you very much for your comments. I am glad the speakers are working well for you.  :D

I understand perfectly that placement and room acoustics play a bigger role with the Archos than with most other speakers simply because only part of the spectrum is dipolar and its balance will be subject to the room. However, when set up properly this speaker can sound very balanced and, as you have found, is very dynamic. A neat thing about the Lambda woofer and PHL mid is that they can deliver that jump-factor  :o that many lower efficiency speakers just can't touch. The PHL, especially, can make horns sound very realistic. It can be quite seductive. I think you probably agree. I hope you have many years of enjoyment. For what it's worth; this speaker originated as a speaker I built for my personal use and Jim checked them out when visiting me one day on another project. The rest is history. They have evolved quite a bit since then though.

About the bass extension: The speaker really should reach into the low 30's in-room. The port tuning is set to 36Hz and that is the -3dB point near-field. I am sure that if you check you will find quite a bit of output from the port.  Nearly all rooms provide gain below 40Hz, so the in-room response should easily reach into the low 30 Hz range. Rooms are funny though - there are a lot of low frequency nodes and finding placement that provides the best bass extension isn't always easy, or possible depending on your arrangement. I do admit though, it doesn't have bass into the 20's, so if you are used to that then it would sound a little shy of deep bass. I will say, I listened to the first pair in a large room and I was very pleased with the fullness of the bass response, which I felt was very dynamic and accurate without any bloat.

Enjoy!

Jeff B.

Big Red Machine

Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #9 on: 18 Jun 2009, 11:10 pm »
Ribbon tweeter.

Thanks woolz.

oneinthepipe

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    • Salk Signature Sound/Audio by Van Alstine two-channel system
Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #10 on: 18 Jun 2009, 11:22 pm »
Thanks for the report, Woolz.  Very good reading.

ArthurDent

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Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #11 on: 19 Jun 2009, 12:23 am »

Thanks for taking the time Woolz, good info.

Woolz

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  • Posts: 78
Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #12 on: 19 Jun 2009, 12:39 am »
targa02, wonderful, I am glad they have an appreciative home.  I always liked to think the maple made them sound special.

Jeff B. thanks for the reply and thanks for the speakers.  It is great to be able to give strangers pleasure.  You are right on about the jump factor the speakers have.  It is one of the reasons I decided to try them and they haven't  let me down.  It is one of the great advantages of sensitive speakers and it is great to have it in a speaker that sounds tonally authentic which if I didn't mention it the Archos does.  But then I knew that would be the case coming from Jim Salk. 

Rocket

Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #13 on: 19 Jun 2009, 12:47 am »
Hi Jeff,

I know that phl midrange driver very well and it is very good quality for the price.  Some people think that it is as good as an accuton midrange driver.

Woolz,  Glad you like the speaker but I'm not selling my ht2's  :icon_lol:.  I had them shipped to Australia last year and they will have to be in my system for a long time.

Regards

Rod

Woolz

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 78
Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #14 on: 19 Jun 2009, 11:06 am »
Rod, I did not  mean to say that the PHL is a better midrange driver than the Seas in the HT2.  I think it is a combination of being in a three-way and its higher efficiency which allows it to perform as it does in the Archos in my large room.  The HT2 is a wonderful speaker and in a smaller room the advantage of the Archos might well disappear. Tonal balance is the most important thing for me in a speaker and the HT2s have marvelous tonal accuracy.

Rocket

Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #15 on: 19 Jun 2009, 11:55 am »
Hi Woolz,

Prior to my receiving the ht2 I had never heard a seas mid/bass driver.  I remember reading about their new drivers years ago but hadn't had the opportunity of hearing one.  I've been exposed to focal quite a bit (I have to say I do like their drivers), phl, cabasse and accuton.  Accuton drivers are very good quality imo.

The phl midrange driver is very good, it is very transparent and it can really pick up a lot of inner nuances in a background.   

I really like my ht2 speakers and I won't be replacing them any time soon.  I use a small to medium size room and they seem to sound pretty good.  When I ordered a pair I only just had enough money to buy them and ship them to Australia.

Thanks you very much for your review.

Regards

Rod
« Last Edit: 20 Jun 2009, 02:12 pm by Rocket »

fsimms

Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #16 on: 19 Jun 2009, 03:29 pm »
Thanks Woolz for the review!  After hearing the Archo's briefly, I was eager to hear a full review of them.  Interesting that you said that they had the jump factor.  I thought that the HT's had more excitement.  The sound of the sax and piano did blow me away with the Archo's.

Bob

EDIT: It could have been that I heard the Archo's on tubes. You said that took away some of their jump.  I listen to my HT1's with my McCormack 225.

Woolz

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 78
Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #17 on: 20 Jun 2009, 01:29 pm »
Fsimms, I haven't heard the Archos with tubes.  I tried the Red Wine 30.2 amp which is a 30 wpc battery-powered unit.  The speakers still exhibited the jump with it, just not to the same levels as the Mccormack.  Actually when I ordered the Archos I was using a CJ Premier 140 with the HT2s and was planning to use it with the Archos, but as the Archos wait grew into over 6 mos. and the economy and my financial situation went in the toilet, I decided to back off the Archos and instead sold the CJ and bought the Mccormack thinking it would bring up the performance of the HT2s.  It is indeed a better amp for the HT2s.  But as the Archos finally became available when Jim abandoned the wait for the AE midrange I felt a little better about things so I went ahead with the Archos. 

Now I think the CJ might indeed be an excellent amp for the Archos, but I have not heard them together, yet.  The bass of the Archos seems to be very controlled and a good candidate for a potent tube amp.  In a smaller room maybe even something like one of the Dehavilland SETs. It would however, be difficult to beat what I have now although it seems like such over-kill.  Almost over-indulgence.

Big Red Machine

Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #18 on: 20 Jun 2009, 01:35 pm »
You can never have too many watts.  I'm not comfortable with anything less than 250 or 300 wpc.  When I step on the gas I expect high G forces!

targa02

Re: Archos and HT2 impressions
« Reply #19 on: 20 Jun 2009, 04:04 pm »
targa02, wonderful, I am glad they have an appreciative home.  I always liked to think the maple made them sound special.

Hi Woolz, I am not sure whether the maple makes them sound special, but they are certainly a big step up from the Rocket 1000s they replaced!  I am driving them with a Wyred ST 250 (125watts/8) currently, but am going to upgrade to the Wyred ST 500 later this month.  Rick Cullen is great to work with BTW.