My New Songtowers

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cacophony777

My New Songtowers
« on: 1 Jun 2010, 06:31 am »
Well, I finally got a chance to hear a pair of Songtowers (Thanks Jim!). I must have been impressed because somehow a pair for sale on Audiogon ended up in my living room today.  :D

They are the standard curly cherry with the Sonicap platinum bypass caps upgrade.

I'm still letting my impressions soak a bit more, but here's my initial reaction vs my RS6:

not as harsh/bright
more detailed
tighter, more precise sound (especially bass)
slightly less bass extension
larger, more 3D soundstage
significantly better off axis performance
much taller
fit and finish is spectacular (I thought the RS6 were nice, but these are works of art)

A few questions:

(1) In the specs it says they come with Seas CA15RLY midwoofers, but it appears mine might have the Seas ER15RLY. If you look at the last photo, it looks more like the ER15RLY (http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=8180) than the CA15RLY (http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=45_228_254&products_id=824). At first I was concerned somebody had scratched the midwoofers, but was relieved when I saw the ER15RLY part photo. What exactly are those marks?

(2) Seeing that the birth certificate is for the original owner, I'm wondering whether Jim can make me a new one. Perhaps he could change it to an adoption certificate  :D  The original owner only had them for 1.5 months, but felt they were too large for his listening setup (his chair was 2-3 feet from the songtowers).

Anyways, enjoy the pics!






Rob Babcock

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Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #1 on: 1 Jun 2010, 09:36 am »
Sweet!  I've always wanted to hear a pair.  If they sound half as good as they look you'll be delighted! :)

MichiganMike

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #2 on: 1 Jun 2010, 10:00 am »

(1) In the specs it says they come with Seas CA15RLY midwoofers, but it appears mine might have the Seas ER15RLY. If you look at the last photo, it looks more like the ER15RLY (http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=8180) than the CA15RLY (http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=45_228_254&products_id=824). At first I was concerned somebody had scratched the midwoofers, but was relieved when I saw the ER15RLY part photo. What exactly are those marks?


In another thread, Dennis Murphy commented on a speaker he was building that was to use the ER15 driver:
Quote
I'll be using the ER15 reed cone driver, which is almost identical to the older CA15.  It's a little easier to work with below the crossover point, but I'm not expecting it to sound substantially better.  I'm sure the difference will be quite subtle.  I'm not sure whether I'll get it done before the New Year.  It may be the first of my 2010 resolutions. 
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=75112.0

Jim Salk might confirm whether ER15 drivers may have been substituted for the CA15 in any SongTower speakers built. However, Dennis note suggests there may be reed in the ER15 driver that account for the "marks" and these should sound very much like the CA15.   

jsalk

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #3 on: 1 Jun 2010, 12:18 pm »
A few questions:

(1) In the specs it says they come with Seas CA15RLY midwoofers, but it appears mine might have the Seas ER15RLY. If you look at the last photo, it looks more like the ER15RLY (http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=8180) than the CA15RLY (http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=45_228_254&products_id=824). At first I was concerned somebody had scratched the midwoofers, but was relieved when I saw the ER15RLY part photo. What exactly are those marks?

Those are the reeds in the reed and paper cone.  We made the change to this driver about a month ago and that was one reason our pricing needed to be adjusted.  The driver is ever so slightly smoother than the CA15.  It is probably not all that audible, but we always like to make improvements when we can.  When we decided to make the switch, everyone who had an existing order received the new ER version (including the new crossover) at no additional cost.

Quote
(2) Seeing that the birth certificate is for the original owner, I'm wondering whether Jim can make me a new one. Perhaps he could change it to an adoption certificate  :D  The original owner only had them for 1.5 months, but felt they were too large for his listening setup (his chair was 2-3 feet from the songtowers).

I'm sure we could develop an "adoption certificate." Email me and we'll whip one up.

- Jim

vintagebob

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #4 on: 1 Jun 2010, 12:33 pm »
Nice!  :thumb:

HAITIMAN

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #5 on: 1 Jun 2010, 12:49 pm »
Well, I finally got a chance to hear a pair of Songtowers (Thanks Jim!). I must have been impressed because somehow a pair for sale on Audiogon ended up in my living room today.  :D

They are the standard curly cherry with the Sonicap platinum bypass caps upgrade.

I'm still letting my impressions soak a bit more, but here's my initial reaction vs my RS6:

not as harsh/bright
more detailed
tighter, more precise sound (especially bass)
slightly less bass extension
larger, more 3D soundstage
significantly better off axis performance
much taller
fit and finish is spectacular (I thought the RS6 were nice, but these are works of art)

A few questions:

(1) In the specs it says they come with Seas CA15RLY midwoofers, but it appears mine might have the Seas ER15RLY. If you look at the last photo, it looks more like the ER15RLY (http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=8180) than the CA15RLY (http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=45_228_254&products_id=824). At first I was concerned somebody had scratched the midwoofers, but was relieved when I saw the ER15RLY part photo. What exactly are those marks?

(2) Seeing that the birth certificate is for the original owner, I'm wondering whether Jim can make me a new one. Perhaps he could change it to an adoption certificate  :D  The original owner only had them for 1.5 months, but felt they were too large for his listening setup (his chair was 2-3 feet from the songtowers).

Anyways, enjoy the pics!



Mine arrived with the same drivers. Thank-you, Jim!
I just love the attention to detail on the Salk products. I mean, look at the beautiful veneers, and how they are book-matched on all sides. Fine furniture.

DMurphy

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Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #6 on: 1 Jun 2010, 02:02 pm »
The ER15 uses the same frame and motor as the CA15, and models identically in Paul Kittinger's TL cabinet for the Song Tower.  The only difference is the cone material--I'm not sure whether there's actually bamboo in there, but it's something reedy.  The ER is slightly smoother in the region between 1000 and 2000 Hz, but I'm not claiming you would hear the difference if I snuck into your living room at 3:00 in the morning
and pulled a switcharoo with your old Song Towers. 

DMurphy

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Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #7 on: 1 Jun 2010, 02:10 pm »
I'm still letting my impressions soak a bit more, but here's my initial reaction vs my RS6:


Were those the Monitor Audio RS6's?  If so, could you comment on the sensitivity relative to the Song Towers?  The ST's are rated at 88 dB, and the MA RS6's at 91 dB.  Are the ST's noticeably less sensitive?  Thanks. 

ArthurDent

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Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #8 on: 1 Jun 2010, 03:52 pm »
I must have been impressed because somehow a pair for sale on Audiogon ended up in my living room today.  :D

Nice haul cacophony777 ! Welcome to the Salk family, may your enjoyment only grow with time.  8)

cacophony777

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #9 on: 1 Jun 2010, 05:21 pm »

Were those the Monitor Audio RS6's?  If so, could you comment on the sensitivity relative to the Song Towers?  The ST's are rated at 88 dB, and the MA RS6's at 91 dB.  Are the ST's noticeably less sensitive?  Thanks.

I haven't done a direct side by side comparison, but my initial impression was that the ST was slightly less sensitive. Doesn't seem like a large difference, but possibly noticeable if you trust my auditory memory (which probably isn't so great :P )

ricardojoa

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Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #10 on: 1 Jun 2010, 08:10 pm »
Well, I finally got a chance to hear a pair of Songtowers (Thanks Jim!). I must have been impressed because somehow a pair for sale on Audiogon ended up in my living room today.  :D

They are the standard curly cherry with the Sonicap platinum bypass caps upgrade.

I'm still letting my impressions soak a bit more, but here's my initial reaction vs my RS6:

not as harsh/bright
more detailed
tighter, more precise sound (especially bass)
slightly less bass extension
larger, more 3D soundstage
significantly better off axis performance
much taller
fit and finish is spectacular (I thought the RS6 were nice, but these are works of art)

A few questions:

(1) In the specs it says they come with Seas CA15RLY midwoofers, but it appears mine might have the Seas ER15RLY. If you look at the last photo, it looks more like the ER15RLY (http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=8180) than the CA15RLY (http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=45_228_254&products_id=824). At first I was concerned somebody had scratched the midwoofers, but was relieved when I saw the ER15RLY part photo. What exactly are those marks?

(2) Seeing that the birth certificate is for the original owner, I'm wondering whether Jim can make me a new one. Perhaps he could change it to an adoption certificate  :D  The original owner only had them for 1.5 months, but felt they were too large for his listening setup (his chair was 2-3 feet from the songtowers).

Anyways, enjoy the pics!






Some of the fotos i have seen, shows that the front baffle has some vertical pattern  or grove on it. Yours doesnt seem like it has. Is it the pics or actually no pattern? Thanks

cacophony777

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #11 on: 1 Jun 2010, 08:40 pm »
Some of the fotos i have seen, shows that the front baffle has some vertical pattern  or grove on it. Yours doesnt seem like it has. Is it the pics or actually no pattern? Thanks

The Ribbon Tweeter version has a different machined aluminum front baffle, and that's the one that has the vertical pattern.

Nuance

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #12 on: 1 Jun 2010, 10:35 pm »
cacophony777,

What camera did you use to take those photos?  They came out really well, so I am just curious.

Of course, the speakers look fantastic.  Congrats to you!

cacophony777

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #13 on: 1 Jun 2010, 10:48 pm »
What camera did you use to take those photos?  They came out really well, so I am just curious.

Of course, the speakers look fantastic.  Congrats to you!

Thanks Nuance. It was your detailed quest that started this whole Salk journey for me!  :D

I used a D90 for the photos. These photos were just quick grabs, but for me it's the lighting that makes the difference. I used two external flashes on either side of me, both of which were bounced off the ceiling to make a more diffused light. Using external flashes is a really easy and cheap way to get much better lighting. If you want to learn more I highly recommend the strobist blog: http://strobist.blogspot.com/

Nuance

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #14 on: 2 Jun 2010, 02:35 am »
^ Awesome!  Thanks for the link.  :thumb:

jsalk

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #15 on: 2 Jun 2010, 05:33 pm »
Seeing that the birth certificate is for the original owner, I'm wondering whether Jim can make me a new one. Perhaps he could change it to an adoption certificate  :D 

Ask and you shall receive...





- Jim


sarge_in

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #16 on: 2 Jun 2010, 05:38 pm »
cacophony777,

Interesting to see an upgrade from RS6 to SongTowers. Ever since I decided to upgrade from my basic Polks a few months back, I had looked for the longest time at RS6. Considering they are about half of what the ST's cost, do you feel this is a huge step-up from RS6 and well worth the price bump? When I had got a used pair of RS6 home for a week for audition, they sounded quite nice but I always felt the soundstage was not wide enough and therefore returned them. Just looking for more of your comparison impressions..

Btw, I have a D90 too - great minds.. :)

HAITIMAN

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #17 on: 2 Jun 2010, 06:19 pm »
Thanks Nuance. It was your detailed quest that started this whole Salk journey for me!  :D

I used a D90 for the photos. These photos were just quick grabs, but for me it's the lighting that makes the difference. I used two external flashes on either side of me, both of which were bounced off the ceiling to make a more diffused light. Using external flashes is a really easy and cheap way to get much better lighting. If you want to learn more I highly recommend the strobist blog: http://strobist.blogspot.com/
I was going to ask the same thing. I was impressed by the pictures as well. Especially the lighting and clarity. My wife is learning how to use a Digital SLR and was interested to know about this kind of technique. Thanks for the link.
Derek

cacophony777

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #18 on: 2 Jun 2010, 07:02 pm »
Ask and you shall receive...

That's awesome Jim, thanks!!!  :thumb:
I'll have to frame it  :D

cacophony777

Re: My New Songtowers
« Reply #19 on: 2 Jun 2010, 09:45 pm »
Interesting to see an upgrade from RS6 to SongTowers. Ever since I decided to upgrade from my basic Polks a few months back, I had looked for the longest time at RS6. Considering they are about half of what the ST's cost, do you feel this is a huge step-up from RS6 and well worth the price bump? When I had got a used pair of RS6 home for a week for audition, they sounded quite nice but I always felt the soundstage was not wide enough and therefore returned them. Just looking for more of your comparison impressions..

For me personally the extra cost is definitely worth it. I really loved the RS6 overall, but was always a bit envious of my friend's B&W 805's because they seemed to present more detail and a larger soundstage. I would easily hear things on his 805's that I would struggle to hear on my RS6. I also felt the RS6 was a bit bloated in the bass area. It was hard to follow the bass line on many tracks because it just blended in with the rest of the instruments.

For me the Songtowers have solved those two drawbacks. They are much more detailed (without being fatiguing), and they also have more definition across the entire frequency range. The soundstage feels larger to me as well with a clearer separation between the instruments.

Also, aesthetically the Songtowers are spectacular. The fact that they are handcrafted with pride really shows. The RS6s were really nice, but you could tell they were built in a large factory in China.

Hope this helps.