$2,000-3,000 Tower speaker comparison: Need help picking the contenders for a shootout - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 241 Old 01-25-2013, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Hopefully schedules will allow it so that he can bring the Gallos over. It would be a fun comparison, since the Gallos have such a unique tweeter. I just saw a review on Hometheater mag of the Gallo CL2 bookshelves. The subjective reviewer loved them but they had some screwy measurements.

My wife just called and said the Phil 2s arrived today, so I get to do some more unboxing tonight.

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post #92 of 241 Old 01-25-2013, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LVS View Post

VicTorious, what is your impression of the CL-3s so far? What are you replacing?

NewHTbuyer, since you are down to two speakers, are you going to take Vic up on his offer. I would love to hear both your thoughts on comparison.

So far, so good. I've only got about 10-15 hours of break in time on them, so they should improve. I decided to audition the CL-3 over the CL-4 because I have two SVS PB-1000 subs, which have great range. I've also previously auditioned B&W 683s (which I plan on returning this week and swapping out to audition the CM9s) and I just returned the PSB T6s (and might try the T2s). I've also auditioned the KEF Q700, Q900 and MA RX6. I liked the T6 and Q900, but as of yet, I'm most partial to the Gallo's sound, but I'm looking forward to listening to the Ultras and the Phils and comparing them to the Gallos sometime next week, which might make me up my budget again.
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post #93 of 241 Old 01-25-2013, 07:00 PM
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Oh please please do a shoot out with the SVS speakers vs Tekton Pendragon vs Lore-S vs Songbird and/or Verus Grand.

I would be in heaven...these are the speakers I have been looking hard at.
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post #94 of 241 Old 01-26-2013, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post

Hopefully schedules will allow it so that he can bring the Gallos over. It would be a fun comparison, since the Gallos have such a unique tweeter. I just saw a review on Hometheater mag of the Gallo CL2 bookshelves. The subjective reviewer loved them but they had some screwy measurements.

My wife just called and said the Phil 2s arrived today, so I get to do some more unboxing tonight.

Yeah. I saw that hometheater mag review. Here are the measurements for the CL-4.

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/floor-standing-speakers/floor-standing-speakers-reviews/gallo-classico-cl-4-loudspeakers/page-4-on-the-bench.html
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post #95 of 241 Old 01-26-2013, 09:36 AM
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Have you considered Boston Acoustics? In my speaker comparisons, their models always just seem to have greater clarity than the competition at a given price. They have a M350 tower for $2500.
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post #96 of 241 Old 01-26-2013, 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VicTorious1 View Post

So far, so good. I've only got about 10-15 hours of break in time on them, so they should improve. I decided to audition the CL-3 over the CL-4 because I have two SVS PB-1000 subs, which have great range. I've also previously auditioned B&W 683s (which I plan on returning this week and swapping out to audition the CM9s) and I just returned the PSB T6s (and might try the T2s). I've also auditioned the KEF Q700, Q900 and MA RX6. I liked the T6 and Q900, but as of yet, I'm most partial to the Gallo's sound, but I'm looking forward to listening to the Ultras and the Phils and comparing them to the Gallos sometime next week, which might make me up my budget again.

Vic, let us know how you like the CM9s. I auditioned the 683s and CM9s in the store as well as the PSB Imagine Ts, Triton 2, Totem Sttaf. I thought the PSB was bit to forward for my taste as I prefer more of a laid back sound. My pick of everything that I have auditioned so far is the Totem Sttaf. When you say the Gallo sound, can you describe it? Do you feel they are more forward than the PSB?
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post #97 of 241 Old 01-26-2013, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LVS View Post

Vic, let us know how you like the CM9s. I auditioned the 683s and CM9s in the store as well as the PSB Imagine Ts, Triton 2, Totem Sttaf. I thought the PSB was bit to forward for my taste as I prefer more of a laid back sound. My pick of everything that I have auditioned so far is the Totem Sttaf. When you say the Gallo sound, can you describe it? Do you feel they are more forward than the PSB?

I exchanged the 683s for CM9s, which are less boomy/bassy and less muffled. It feels like I removed a thin damp cloth from the 683s. I also listened to some Tannoy 6.4s, which are considerably pricier, but sound quite nice.

I'm still enjoying the CL-3s. They go surprisingly low for their size, sound like they are coming from a bigger enclosure and aren't hard to drive despite being rated at 4 ohms. Initially, I would've said they sounded bright, but that's no longer the case. I think that has to do with their being more broken in or my moving them from away from the side walls or both. The electrostatic tweeter, or CDT as Gallo calls it, has a really wide dispersion, and I think the higher frequencies, especially the treble, was reflecting off the side walls. So i moved them and that initial brightness is gone; however, you're not supposed to move the speakers more than 2 feet from the back wall. I definitely noticed bass drop off when I did that. The CL-3s sound transparent, airy and detailed and image well. I wouldn't call them bright or forward.
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post #98 of 241 Old 01-26-2013, 07:10 PM
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So any pictures yet of the setup? I'm excited to know what they look like right now! smile.gif

EMP tek 5.1 theater setup, Marantz SR6006, Oppo BDP-95
Salk Songtowers, Emotiva XPA-2, ERC-1.  

This is a horrible hobby!!  My wallet hates me, takes up to much space, neighbors want me to move, but man my house sounds amazing!  

 

 
 

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post #99 of 241 Old 01-26-2013, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitterwaste View Post

So any pictures yet of the setup? I'm excited to know what they look like right now! smile.gif

I will post some in an hour or two after the kids are asleep. Looks good!

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post #100 of 241 Old 01-26-2013, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are some pics:

Ultra boxes: HUGE!



Couple of the Ultra in the box, very well packed:




Next to my old speaker, an Infinity Reference 4 from 1992:



SVS drivers. No pic of the side firing woofers, they have non-removable metal grills:




Next to the Phil 2:



With grills:



Phil drivers:





The whole room..nice!:




The pic just above shows the difference in finish between the piano black of the SVS and the satin black of the older Phil 2 cabinets.




Well, I am stoked to have them here and ready to go!

As far as sound, I don't want to say too much until I have some time to really listen. On Monday I plan to tweak positioning, toe in, try out more or less polyfill for the Phil cabinet, try the tweeter diffuser pads on the Phils, basically try to get them dialed in. I will also play with my spl meter to see how much difference there is so I can try to do level matched A/B comparison.

I also received the Philharmonic demo disc today which has some great tracks. Albert Von Schweikert is also sending me their demo disc.

They do sound different though, of that there is no doubt. The Phils play low, but the SVS even lower. The highs are more airy and open on the Phils.
Nuance likes this.

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post #101 of 241 Old 01-27-2013, 12:08 AM
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Looks good. Can't wait to hear them.
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post #102 of 241 Old 01-27-2013, 04:06 PM
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Very cool, NewHT.

One thing I've learned, having done several comparisons like you're doing, is that speaker position can make a huge difference.

I like what you're doing with the AB --- AB setup, instead of AB --- BA or BA --- AB.

But I suggest you also try them with the Phils on the inside and the SVSs on the outside...and with the SVSs on the inside and the Phils on the outside...
I get different impressions each way I do it, which just shows how important room acoustics and speaker placement are.

Have fun.

For every new thing I learn, I forget two things I used to know.
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post #103 of 241 Old 01-27-2013, 04:29 PM
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$50 bucks the Infinitys come out a head! Now that would be funny. biggrin.gif

Two reviews in so far mention a possible lack of detail up top on the Ultras. I'm very interested to see how the tweeters stack up to each other. No doubt about it the Phils use the RAAL tweeter which is considered by many to be one of (if not the) finest tweeter made. The Ultras use your garden variety 1 inch aluminum tweeter. I'd be suprised if the Phils don't sound better.

-Brian

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post #104 of 241 Old 01-27-2013, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

Very cool, NewHT.

One thing I've learned, having done several comparisons like you're doing, is that speaker position can make a huge difference.

I like what you're doing with the AB --- AB setup, instead of AB --- BA or BA --- AB.

But I suggest you also try them with the Phils on the inside and the SVSs on the outside...and with the SVSs on the inside and the Phils on the outside...
I get different impressions each way I do it, which just shows how important room acoustics and speaker placement are.

Have fun.

I have a plan tomorrow to move one set out of the way and just position each one for ideal listening and then tape the carpet to mark the best spots for the SVS and the Phil's. That way I can spend a few hours with each alone to get a good feel and not have to redo all the work. I will take your advice and when I do AB comparisons try both positions. Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bghead8che View Post

$50 bucks the Infinitys come out a head! Now that would be funny. biggrin.gif

Two reviews in so far mention a possible lack of detail up top on the Ultras. I'm very interested to see how the tweeters stack up to each other. No doubt about it the Phils use the RAAL tweeter which is considered by many to be one of (if not the) finest tweeter made. The Ultras use your garden variety 1 inch aluminum tweeter. I'd be suprised if the Phils don't sound better.

-Brian

Infinitys? Did I miss something?

As far as lack of details, that is a big reason why I wanted to compare a ribbon to a dome. I think it is partly personal preference. Lack of detail to one person might seem warmer and fuller to another. I can't wait to get started experimenting tomorrow.

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post #105 of 241 Old 01-28-2013, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought I would post some impressions after day 1. VicTorious1 stopped by and we did some A/B comparing for a few hours, so I did not have time to work with each speaker individually to find the best spot. For today's session, I had them set up without toe in. The back of the Phil lower cabinet was about 13 inches from the wall which made the back of the mid range about 24 inches and the front baffle about 37 inches out. Any more than that is not practical really in my room. The SVS were lined up with the fronts of the Phils. I also added the top diffuser pads to the Phil tweeter and covered about three teeth.

First off, my thoughts on the looks of the speakers, mostly the new SVS since many of you have seen the Phils. They are imposing for sure. Very solid, sturdy, dense. The metal rings around the drivers are a bit duller than the demo pair at RMAF, more gunmetal, by intention. I think it is an improvement. The finish is very nice. Now, that said, it is not as nice as on some I saw at RMAF, like the $8,000 Salk SS8s, but for 2K, pretty nice. The finish on the satin Phil 2s is more plain, but also nice. As far as any critiques of the looks, the only thing (besides not having a choice of wood grain finishes) that I wish was that SVS went with magnetic grills. With the grill off the looks would be improved without the 4 holes, kinda like the Kef R series. Also, since the front is so smooth, the grill kinda seems to stick on the front visually, rather then being a part of the speaker.

Here are my old Infinitys:



See how the grill nicely fits with edge. If you look back at some of the pics, you can see the Ultra front corners are angled, so a flush magnetic grill would look better. Just my tiny suggestion. I also kinda wish the Phil 2 upper cabinet sat a little bit lower and attached securely to the bottom cabinet to give it a cleaner look.

A far as how they sound, they do sound different, for sure. We listened to tracks from the Philharmonic demo CD, Diana Krall, Nora Jones, U2, Dire Straits, Marcus Miller, Beethoven, Pink Floyd etc.

One thing, neither is better than the other in every aspect, which I think speaks well for the new SVS, since the Phil 2 is known to be an excellent speaker. The noticeable good aspects of the SVS so far are the bass extension, which is excellent and powerful (keep in mind the rear port was probably 20 inches from the rear wall and the speakers were a good 3-4 feet from the side walls, so definitely not corner loaded). The bass is tight, not muddy, although the bass on the Phils might just be a touch cleaner, without quite as much extension. I really liked how the SVS sounded on bass guitar, very full, deep and impactful, and on male vocals. I watched some of the Laker-Thunder game (go Lakers!) last night while I was switching back and forth and found I was using the SVS more, maybe b/c of the male announcers. The loudness difference is not too much, to my ears, with maybe 1 or 2 clicks up on the volume knob needed when switching to the Phils. When I did switch to the Phils, I noticed the speakers seemed to disappear more than the SVS, and the soundstage broadened. Instruments like flutes, bells, etc. seemed to pop out of the air more and be a little clearer. Both sets had good dynamics and hit you hard when the track demanded it (think The Mans Too Strong from Brothers in Arms). Female vocals sounded good on both, but I need to listen to more of those. The difference between the two as far as the high notes and soundstage seemed more noticeable on some of the Phil demo tracks like the acoustic guitars and on Diana Krall (by law, I was forced to use her CD during this comparison. You can look it up if you don't believe me!) . Less so on rock stuff like Dire Straits, U2. Did not do too much classical so far.

On a side note, he brought by the Gallo Classic CL-3s he is trying out, but we did not hook them up this time. He brought a speaker in to show me the grill, and next to the Phils and the Ultras, it kinda looks like a toy due to its much smaller size and weight. It is easy to grab a boxed up CL3 to carry, but I would never try that with the other 2. I reserve judgement on the CL3s though, until I get a chance to hear them, since he said they play bigger than their size.

So, a successful and fun first day. More listening on Wednesday.

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post #106 of 241 Old 01-30-2013, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I just finished about 2 hours with just the Ultra Towers, with the Phil 2s off to the side. I played with positioning a bit, finally ended up moving them closer together and toed in a bit. They are about 8'2" apart and it is about 10'6" from each speaker to my listening spot. That seems to have definitely helped the soundstage and imaging, which actually now sounds very good. I did not boost the treble yet at all. I have been at -25dB on my volume knob mostly.

Overall, the speakers sound excellent. Let me say, I have detected no harshness at all. Some have commented that they are wary of the Al dome tweeters. I find the sound very smooth, not harsh at all.
Some comments about the music I listened to:
I would say that the least impressive music so far has been classical. I played some 4 seasons by Vivaldi and Spacetaculars by Cincinnati Pops (stuff from scifi flicks). I did not feel totally awash with the music unless I turned it up. Some of the super high notes were again a tiny bit recessed. The lower strings and horns and bass were very good.

I played some more female vocalists, Nora Jones, Sarah McLaughlin, and Diana Krall. They sounded great. The instruments and vocals were clear, separate and much more enveloping than earlier. Sarah Mclaughlins voice seems higher to me, so I am interested to see how she sounds on the Phils.

I played more rock, Dire Straits, Def Leppard, Dave Matthews, The Killers. The Ultras shined with this music. Again, the male voices sounded great, the drums smacked hard, the guitar was clear and not harsh. Very fun listening. On Def Leppard Foolin' there is a part with a lot of L to R mixing, so I will compare that to the Phils soon to see how wide the Ultras really sound. Also, on Mr. Brightside there are lots of quick cymbal hits that I will keep an eye on when comparing to see how clear the Ultras are in comparison.

Rodrigo y Gabriella was awesome also. The Ultras seemed to take the super fast playing and dynamics in stride.

I finished up with Uakti, a track called Trilobita, that I heard in the Wisdom audio room at RMAF. Lots of percussions all over the place. It sounded great, really not compressed at all this time.

So, now I will switch them out and play the same tracks on the other set.

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post #107 of 241 Old 01-30-2013, 12:29 PM
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Enjoying the reports....keep em coming.smile.gif

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post #108 of 241 Old 01-31-2013, 02:22 PM
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awesome to hear! I have a feeling these speakers might lay waste to the EMp Teks but it would be cool to see where those speakers fit in at with a 2k+ 2.1 setup so that makes me excited to hear these in action with those!

EMP tek 5.1 theater setup, Marantz SR6006, Oppo BDP-95
Salk Songtowers, Emotiva XPA-2, ERC-1.  

This is a horrible hobby!!  My wallet hates me, takes up to much space, neighbors want me to move, but man my house sounds amazing!  

 

 
 

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post #109 of 241 Old 02-01-2013, 11:00 AM
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Are you bringing the Salk Songtowers along with the EMP Teks?
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post #110 of 241 Old 02-01-2013, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VicTorious1 View Post

Are you bringing the Salk Songtowers along with the EMP Teks?

Just because of the drive its self I would only be willing to bring the EMP tek speakers also I wan't to see how much of RBH they really took to EMP to make the best speaker for the price range and compair it to big hitting speakers. My Vote for all this is SVS will win the day but I want to be shocked and aww for the day with all the speakers.

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Salk Songtowers, Emotiva XPA-2, ERC-1.  

This is a horrible hobby!!  My wallet hates me, takes up to much space, neighbors want me to move, but man my house sounds amazing!  

 

 
 

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post #111 of 241 Old 02-03-2013, 12:35 PM
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hello,
What do you think about the model: " KEF R900 " compare to your new svs ultra tower.
I'm french, it's only in your country that i 've heard about this model.
Big thanks for your answers.
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post #112 of 241 Old 02-03-2013, 01:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Khaos View Post

Swan T900F


http://www.lockwaresystems.com/t900f-121-239.html

Let me know if you have any questions about them. i currently own them and they are incredible.

Yes I would like your opinion on them, what electronics are using to run them also.............
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post #113 of 241 Old 02-03-2013, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I had some family visitors listen for a bit to the two sets.  Their observations were mostly similar to mine.  I tried not to color their opinions by telling them what I though before we listened.  I also tried to adjust the volume as I switched.  The comments regarding the Phil2s were stuff like "clear", "clean", "less colored", "bright", "more open", "singing sounds better".  The comments about the SVS were "warmer", "fuller", "more bass", "nice tone".  For the session the Phi2s  were on the inside of the SVS pair, in an AB....BA setup and the Phil2s had to be moved a bit close to the back wall to not stick out further than the SVS set.  They were split as to which set they liked better overall.  On one song the SVS caused some resonance on a low bass note that sounded bad, but I don't remember that happening before, so I am guessing it is due to its spot in the room.

A comment about the issues comparing two sets.  I do notice the position can affect the soundstage and when they are next to each other the bass is accentuated and more muddy.  But, overall, the sound characteristics are similar regardless of those factors.  I want to get each in the best spot so I can make a fair evaluation of how they each sound at their best, but I think I have a pretty good idea now of the difference of the two sets.  I am curious to see how the SVS measure, because now that I am beginning to get a good feel for the two sets, I am curious to see if measurements reflect what I am hearing.  Also, I have not been too bothered by the sensitivity difference, as far as artificially favoring one set over the other. Maybe that is because these two are not all that different in their specs and quite different in their driver complement.  It would probably be more noticeable with a bigger difference, like if one was rated 86 and the other 92 or something like that.

Anyway, I might get I some more time on Monday.  Then I have Friday off to revisit the sets and do more critical listening to see which I really prefer.

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post #114 of 241 Old 02-03-2013, 03:49 PM
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Just one technical point. You should be able to make the Phil's as bright or even dull as you want by adusting the highs with the deflector pads. If both are used, and placed close together, the highs will be down by more than 10 dB compred with the response with no pads.
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post #115 of 241 Old 02-04-2013, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewHTbuyer View Post

The comments about the SVS were "warmer", "fuller", "more bass", "nice tone".  

You know people pay a lot of money for Tube amps just to make the sound warmer and fuller.

V/R

ROD
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post #116 of 241 Old 02-04-2013, 09:48 PM
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You think SVS Ultra towers is higher KEF R900?
For me, Swiss export for France is 3000 euros to 2000 euros KEF or the SVS.
Sorry for the diction, Thanks...
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post #117 of 241 Old 02-04-2013, 10:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yaglaa Oui View Post

You think SVS Ultra towers is higher KEF R900?
For me, Swiss export for France is 3000 euros to 2000 euros KEF or the SVS.
Sorry for the diction, Thanks...

I really liked the Kef R700, but obviously I heard that in a store not in my home. I think the overall sound was similar to the Ultra towers. The Ultra towers have more bass, but the R900s might match it better. The real issue is price. The R900 cost $5,000. The R700 cost about $3,600. The smaller R500 are $2,500. The Ultra Towers are only $2,000. If I could get a pair of the R700s in my room vs. the Ultra towers, I would not be surprised if those maybe sounded as good or even better, but I would not pay almost double for them.

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post #118 of 241 Old 02-05-2013, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by scorpionrm View Post

You know people pay a lot of money for Tube amps just to make the sound warmer and fuller.

You know..."warmth" is often a term synonymous with distortion. That said, I have heard the previous SVS model, the MTS-01 and thought quite highly of it. I came this close > < to buying them from our 2009 Oregon GTG. I especially liked their ScanSpeak AirCirc tweeters. But I also auditioned a variety of Salk speakers that weekend...including a set with RAAL tweeters. I can't say what differences, if any, may be present between the MTS and the current SVS model you are using in your comparo, OP. But there is no one in this world that can make me believe that there is a better tweeter made than the RAAL. I am a Philharmonic 2 owner and wouldn't trade them for old MTS's...ever.

As in your similar thread on Audioholics, I concur with others that both speakers represent good value for good audio, and that personal preference should prevail. For me...I can't hear squat over 10k Hz, and absolutely love the clarity and neutrality of the Phils.

Good luck in your trials.

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post #119 of 241 Old 02-06-2013, 12:34 PM
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I exchanged the 683s for CM9s, which are less boomy/bassy and less muffled. It feels like I removed a thin damp cloth from the 683s. I also listened to some Tannoy 6.4s, which are considerably pricier, but sound quite nice.

I'm still enjoying the CL-3s. They go surprisingly low for their size, sound like they are coming from a bigger enclosure and aren't hard to drive despite being rated at 4 ohms. Initially, I would've said they sounded bright, but that's no longer the case. I think that has to do with their being more broken in or my moving them from away from the side walls or both. The electrostatic tweeter, or CDT as Gallo calls it, has a really wide dispersion, and I think the higher frequencies, especially the treble, was reflecting off the side walls. So i moved them and that initial brightness is gone; however, you're not supposed to move the speakers more than 2 feet from the back wall. I definitely noticed bass drop off when I did that. The CL-3s sound transparent, airy and detailed and image well. I wouldn't call them bright or forward.

Hey Vic, any updates on whether you are keeping your CL-3s and how you feel they compared to everything else you have listened too? I am still pondering all the reviews and waiting for the next round here including the Emps.
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post #120 of 241 Old 02-08-2013, 10:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Some more observations after another few hours of listening today…

I am feeling pretty torn still about which set I like better. I feel pretty comfortable when I say that the Phil 2s are the “better” speaker if the criteria is pure accuracy and transparency. Probably, most reviewers for magazines would appreciate their clear sound and clean, enveloping high end. But, while that might mean that the SVS Ultras are therefore more “colored” and less pure, they present a very attractive sound. They are rich, deep and powerful.

Another way I thought of to describe it is that, when I just listen to the SVS Ultras, I don’t really notice any real failings. It is only when I switch to the Phils that I say ahhh..the soundstage opened up even more and the highs became clearer. When I listen to just the Phils, I do notice some lack of depth and oomph. That makes the choice difficult, kinda between the technically better set and the one that maybe agrees with me more. Also, in truth, the SVS seem to mesh better with rock music and the deep bass on jazz, which I like to listen to a lot. For classical, I would prefer the Phil 2s.

On Monday, Victor is going to bring by his PB1000 sub and it will be interesting to see how much difference that makes when added to the Phil 2s.

On a side note, I am still kinda regretting that I was not able to listen to the other 2 brands at the same time. It would have been interesting to hear the Ascend with the Raals, to see whether I preferred how that tweeter with the more conventional midrange compared to the Phil 2s with the ribbon-open back cabinet. Looking at the specs though, I probably would have been disappointed in the low end extension on the Ascend towers and would probably feel like they need a sub. Also, I would have loved to see how the higher quality dome tweeter and cone driver in the VR-22s compared to the SVS towers, especially whether they projected a more immersive sound similar to what I am hearing from the ribbons.

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