Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here

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sfox7076

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #20 on: 25 Aug 2010, 08:45 pm »
Part 2:

On to the next track.  For fun, I put on Portishead’s Dummy. This song has so much bass it can blow some cheapo speakers.  The song also has some interesting strings and the first female voice I would hear from these speakers (though not too high in the register).  It produced this song really well because the bass was there.  The STs don’t convey that bass.  It added a dimension to the song that I would not have absent my subwoofer in the room (if I chose to use a mode that enabled it to be used).  The song was otherwise produced masterfully.  I could not really fault the speakers for anything on this track.  It was great.

The next thing I listened to was basically a plethora of Kathleen Edward’s tunes.  She’s an alt-country artist from Ottawa area.  I love her sound (and she is pretty nice to look at as well).  Again the bass was there, but her voice was a little bit rolled off compared to what I am used to with my current speakers.  Was it bad? No.  But, I did feel I was missing something when I listened to her sing.  I will point out that these speakers did really shine at the beginning of the song “Buffalo” off of Asking for Flowers.  If you pay attention, you hear the hammers on the piano falling back into place.  Most poor speakers completely miss that detail (in my previous experience).  The Spirit-1s nailed that sound.

I then moved on to Damien Rice “Finger Prints Warts and All”.  This is a Live EP I discovered because of my intense like of Damien Rice’s sound from 4-5 years ago and Lisa Hannigan’s (his then sidekick) voice.  The track Cannonball is a favorite of mine.  Rice is an OK guitar player, and hearing him in the opening reveals he has some issues.  The Spirit-1s picked this up well.  However, “I Remember” exposed some of the detail the speakers miss compared to the ribbon tweeter speakers I have.  Hannigan’s voice was good, but I think I lost some of the detail at the top end in her voice.  Subtle changes in the voice, not huge issues, but the detail was missing.  That being said, I can tell you that they were, far and away, the best sounding non-floor standing speakers I have ever listened to.

I listened to a bunch of other stuff for a few days and then I switched rooms.  I want to point out that the Spirit-1s had a HUGE room to fill with bass and it did it admirably.  I forgot to mention, I have a 15” Rythmik sub, so I am used to clean accurate bass when I want it. 

My wife and I have a small office for us to relax in.  I have:

AVA Ultimate 70 (tube amp)
AVA T-8 Tube Preamp
Arcam CD72T

setup in there to listen, but no speakers as of yet.  Thus why I jumped on the Spirit-1 trial list.  The initial problem wit the speakers was that they are just too big for the space we have there.  They are big.  Not huge, but big.  Until you see speakers in a space, you ar never sure how they will look.  Once we got them in the room, we realized they won’t really fit in the places we envisioned.  It was going to be tough to use them in the office.  Also, the wife didn’t really want those veneer cabinets in that room as she had issues with the cabinet look.  Regardless, I hooked them up in the office and listened to the same mix of music.  After a little tweaking, pretty much the same sound that I had in the other room. 

So what is next you ask?  Aimee Mann.  I wanted to listen to female voices more (being higher in register).  Aimee Mann was the same experience I had with Lisa Hannigan, there was something missing I felt. 

At that point, my friend brought over my old pair of Paradigm Studio 20s v.2s that I had sold him 2 years back.  Well, that was kind of an eye opening experience.  I played a bunch of the stuff that I had listened to previously and determined that the Studio 20s were just not in the same league.  They had bass, but they were not even close to as deep, and they had high end, but they were no where near as accurate.  Ribbon tweeters had clearly spoiled me.  I had forgotten what it was like to listen to speakers without them.  This prompted me to hookup my Salk Surrounds and compare them to the Spirit-1s.  Again, there was no comparison.  I would say that the mid-range and high-end performance was similar, the low end was not even close.  The bass of the Spirit-1s made the bass of the Salk Surrounds look like a pair of speakers some guys sold you out of the back of the truck because they “accidently” had too many pairs shipped to them.  The bass is just that much better.

I moved on to play Josh Ritter after that, another person I really like.  He is an acoustic singer songwriter that has drawn Dylan comparisons for years.  His music was reproduced exceedingly well.  The prior comparisons really re-centered my expectations and my thoughts.  I lost some of my overt ribbon prejuidice there.  These speakers just flat out performed well. 

We rifled through some jazz and other songs. 


Final Impressions

I really grew to enjoy the Spirit-1s.  They don’t have the detailed high end of a ribbon tweeter, but they do have bass that I cannot imagine getting out of any other monitor speakers I have listened to, and cannot get out of my SongTowers.  They just blew the doors off any other speaker thrown at them. 

Bottom line:  Great speakers at a great price.  The cost isn’t an issue for me, the space is.  These speakers produce much better sound than any bookshelf should.  I lament a loss of some detail in the top end on these, but the bass increase from these speakers is amazing and resolves one of the issues that I always thought I would have with a monitor speaker.  I would buy these for the office if they were smaller.  Sigh.  What can you do?  Please feel free to contact me with questions.

Shawn

Charles Xavier

Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #21 on: 25 Aug 2010, 08:56 pm »
Great write up . You nailed it. :thumb:

JP78

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #22 on: 27 Aug 2010, 06:47 am »
Thanks for the impressions Shawn...<insert joke here about an attorney being useful>.  :D

Also, just out of fairness, I wanted to point out that Aether does offer a crossover and tweeter upgrade for $1000, bringing the MSRP to $2995; I believe the demo pair as is $1995.

To my knowledge, the Salk SongTower RT is $2600, and they do offer a cap upgrade for $300 more.

Maybe Bob can chime in here with the benefits of the crossover / cap upgrade.

Best,

bhobba

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #23 on: 27 Aug 2010, 08:02 am »
Maybe Bob can chime in here with the benefits of the crossover / cap upgrade.

It would be great to hear Bobs view on that.  I was also very interested in the comments about ribbon tweeters.  I must admit to a love hate relationship with them.  I love their light airy detailed quality but did see some articles giving their distortion measurements.  That light airy quality is quite possibly actually distortion.  Even some extremely well respected conventional tweeters such as the Hiquphon are sometimes described like that.  Check out:
http://www.audioheuristics.org/measurements/Testing/Tweeter4/tweeter4index.htm
'Some general comments and opinions. What to make of the ow2's mediocre nonlinear distortion performance?  Well, think about this. Perceived detail and "air" can occur for a number of reasons.  Good off axis performance can do this. Good linear distortion performance can do this. But modest amounts of higher order nonlinear distortion can also increase apparent detail. In this fashion, I suppose the ow2 is the winner. But only in the sense that "it gives you all the detail that's in the recording, and then some..."  Anyway, I find the nonlinear performance disappointing for the ow2. The xt19 on the other hand, is fairly close to the ow2 in off axis performance and linear distortion, but has an overall better nonlinear distortion spectrum. The only asterisk as far as the xt19's nonlinear distortion performance is it's mediocre 2nd order performance. But if I had to pick between a little bit of 2nd order distortion or multiple higher order products, I would pick the 2nd order products. And the price of the xt19 is a bargain-less than $50. Does this mean the xt19 is a "poor man's hiquphon?" No, actually I think the xt19 is better than that. Neither tweeter is perfect and depending on your priorities, the xt19 may be better in absolute terms as well as cheaper. Or, it may not, if you value off axis and linear performance so strongly and you're willing to accept some higher order distortion products.'

I seem to recall Bob in the past has commented his tweeters can sound a bit recessed and lacking in detail but what you are hearing is in fact a lowering of distortion.

Great if Bob can chime in with his view.

Thanks
Bill

Aether Audio

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #24 on: 27 Aug 2010, 04:31 pm »
sfox7076,

Thanks so much for your incredibly detailed and thoughtful review. :thumb:

Although the Spirit-1's weren't a good fit for you, we sincerely appreciate your time and extreme effort.  Sorry too about the shipping mix-up.  Sometimes we're all at the mercy of what other's do… or don't do.  Anyway, I would like to comment on one of your observations:

Quote
I would not call the veneer real wood (though it may be).  It just looked like the cherry veneer you would find on a Polk speaker bought in Circuit City in 2004.  It just wasn’t a high class look for a $2000 speaker.

The veneer is real wood, but I can't say whether the species is real cherry or not.  You'd be surprised how many speakers at this price point and higher use wood grain vinyl instead of real veneer though.  I remember many years ago a pair of Scientific Fidelity (out of business now)  - Crown Jewels, I believe – that used wood grain vinyl and sprayed high gloss clear-coat over it.  Looked pretty good but you could tell it was fake.  That was in the late 90's and they were at least $2,500.00.  Some other engineers and I at Crown International had a speaker-building club and we did a shootout with the CJs vs. my old Timepiece 1.0s (I guess you'd call them 1.0s – they were the first prototypes).  Anyway, my TPs blew 'em out of the water.  But I digress.

We tried building speakers with the real wood finish as you prefer and at a similar price point.  Performance wasn't scarified either as many here will attest.  But… we couldn't make any money on them, so the Timepiece Minis have gone the way of the Dodo.  Maybe somebody here on the circle and in your area will let you give the Minis a try some time.  In any case, we figured if something had to be sacrificed, it would have to be the high-end finish, as performance will never be on the chopping block as long as I have anything to do with it.  Even though $2K isn't cheap, how much would a similar system cost when you factor in the price of a decent subwoofer to get the same bass response the Spirit-1s offer?  You'd never get the coherence with a sub, and the final cost would probably still be higher.  Everything is a trade-off, but when you consider the performance and the fact that they aren't texture painted rectangular boxes, I think the value is still there.  Besides, although you like wood, I think you or anyone would really be impressed with the quality of the black piano finish.  Now those puppies are sharp!

In retrospect, I suspect the Spirit-1 SE's would have been a bit more to your liking.  Although the enclosure issues would remain, I think their superior performance may have been more to your liking.  Thanks again and…

Take care,  :D
-Bob

PS.  Those that are interested can find a more detailed response and analysis to sfox7076's observations here: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=85189.msg828541;topicseen#new

PSS.  Bill… Thanks for setting me up.  :thumb: You must be frick'n psychic!!!  :o

Charles Xavier

Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #25 on: 5 Oct 2010, 10:12 pm »
The Spirit 1 's have landed. Piano Black. Beautiful well made cabinet. Bob has also tweaked the crossover to bring the midrange up to the same level as the bass and the highs so these are slighty modified than the tour version .Excuse the dust and smudges,I couldn't wait to set them up

Break in time :bowdown: :banana piano: :weights: :dance: :hyper: :rock: :singing:











eclein

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #26 on: 5 Oct 2010, 10:24 pm »
Enjoy Charles!!!!! Congrats!!! :thumb:

ltr317

Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #27 on: 6 Oct 2010, 01:50 am »
 :thumb: :thumb:

lonewolfny42

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #28 on: 6 Oct 2010, 02:56 am »
Very nice.....I look forward to your future comments....happy listening !!  :beer:

stlrman

Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #29 on: 6 Oct 2010, 01:18 pm »
Congrats and Enjoy!!   :thumb:  :thumb:

jrg4785

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #30 on: 6 Oct 2010, 03:12 pm »
Congrats!

JP78

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #31 on: 6 Oct 2010, 06:19 pm »
Professor Xavier, :)

I think a lot of readers would really enjoy it if you started a new thread and posted some more photos / listening impressions / updates along the way as you get these dialed in!

Also, I can't tell, but is that a GIK bass trap in the corner? How do you like it?


Charles Xavier

Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #32 on: 6 Oct 2010, 07:31 pm »
Professor Xavier, :)

I think a lot of readers would really enjoy it if you started a new thread and posted some more photos / listening impressions / updates along the way as you get these dialed in!

Also, I can't tell, but is that a GIK bass trap in the corner? How do you like it?



OK I will start a new thread soon.Gik bass trap works well . Openback and helps with the boom issues in that corner

Charles Xavier

Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #33 on: 6 Oct 2010, 07:42 pm »
Congrats and Enjoy!!   :thumb:  :thumb:


I was very tempted to cancel my order and pic up your Mini's. Sorry

pumpkinman

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #34 on: 6 Oct 2010, 08:55 pm »
Charlie looks good I really like the stands,nice fit.......Bill

ricardojoa

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #35 on: 7 Oct 2010, 01:57 pm »
Sfox7076, nice review. I think that the salk tower with dome tweeter would be a better match for the spirit1. As for looks, IMO the salk win even with the standard finish. It also seems to be u get more with ur moeny from the salk. Still, base on your1 review, the spirit is still a good candidate specially the way and other have described the bass department on these bookshelf. I think they can give some jaw dropping  reaction when doing demo.


eclein

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #36 on: 7 Oct 2010, 02:01 pm »
So Charles how do they sound??

ted_b

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #37 on: 7 Oct 2010, 02:12 pm »
Ricardojoa, you have some pretty strong pro-Salk comments vs the Spirits.  When did you hear the Spirits, and with what electronics?

mfsoa

Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #38 on: 7 Oct 2010, 02:26 pm »
Charles,

I'd love to hear these, maybe on Oct 23d? We can use a speaker to anchor the other room, or can pop them into the main system too.

We'll have some form of Cherry amps there to use w/ them, I'm sure.

-Mike

ricardojoa

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Re: Post Your Spirit-1 Impressions Here
« Reply #39 on: 7 Oct 2010, 03:08 pm »
Ricardojoa, you have some pretty strong pro-Salk comments vs the Spirits.  When did you hear the Spirits, and with what electronics?

Really u think so?
Nah, i dont think im strong pro salk nor spirit. Too bad, i have never heard neither of the speakers but i like the way the salk looks better.