I had a brief (about 90 minutes) yet fun experience today. I had some time to kill before a meeting on Wall St. in NYC, so I stepped into Innovative Audio
. They claim to be the #1
seller of Wilson products in the world. They also carry a healthy array of Dynaudio, Avalon, B&W, Linn, PMC, and Spendor speakers among others. They are also a big seller of NAIM products.
Their store is located one floor below street level and you take an elevator to get there. The elevator delivers you down to a main lobby and adjoining this you have two hallways leading to offices and a series of listening rooms. I did not make an appointment and thought I would just take a look around but I wasn't there but a few minutes when a sales rep was pulled from a meeting to take care of me. (I kind of felt bad.) Anyway, I told him I am a Dynaudio/NAIM owner and saw that he carries PMC speakers and asked if I could audition. He agreed, so he put me in a listening room and off we went.
When asked about specific room treatments, he gave me a BS answer along the lines of it being their worst room and that anything in my own living room would sound better than that room. BS. Otherwise, he was a good guy given the situation.
The audition involved FLAC audio files being served locally to a NAIM SuperUniti. We started with some classical before I asked for something with a little more depth so we ended up with tracks like 'Retrograde' by James Blake.
I expressed my interest in the PMC Twenty.23 (quoted to cost $5500) but he wanted me to audition the Spendor D7 (quoted to cost $7000). I must say that I was initially blown away by the D7s in that setup. Then I asked him to switch to the 23s. And then finally asked him to pull in the Focus 260s ($4900). I think he did the latter with some hesitation but I wanted to compare the 'new' stuff with the stuff I already own.
In regards to Dynaudio products on-location, they had the X14, X34, Xeo4, Focus 160, and Focus 260. And that was it.
What did I conclude?
The experience only reinforced my decision to buy Dynudio. I have tried to express my thoughts graphically below:
Each of the vertical bars above represents the "spectrum of sound."
In the case of the Spendor D7, it did a pretty good job filling this spectrum. I was at first very impressed with their capability throughout the range, including offering bass that I could feel.
In the case of the PMC 23, it did not fill this spectrum as well. In fact, the limitations of its smaller cabinet, especially in regards to bass response, was quite audible. But where the 23s truly shine is in the mids. Truly silky smooth. I want to also say that somehow the 23s offered more separation and depth into the music. There was certainly some added clarity there as compared to the D7s even if this did not extend as well in the high/low directions.
And then last but not least: the 260s. The cheapest of the bunch. I was somehow preparing myself to be disappointed. I was wrong. My goodness. The 260s easily bested the other two in terms of filling that spectrum of sound. The bass was there in spades, much more so than either the D7 and especially the 23. The high-end clarity and smoothness and openness certainly bested the other two. Though the mids were not quite as rich as the PMCs. Otherwise, I walked away re-affirmed by my decision. The 260 simply offered the entire package.
What else did I come away with?
1. I would like to make an appointment next time.
2. The rep told me that everyone falls in love with the NAIM SuperNait2. I want to audition one on the 260s.
3. Although I can't afford them, I would like to audition the Avalon Idea speaker.
4. My 'ideal' Dynaudio speaker could look something like this...
-A floor-standing speaker roughly the same dimensions as the 260s.
-Put in a 17cm version of the 'Evidence' bass driver from the Special25. (The S25 had a 20cm bass driver.)
(This smaller bass driver would have a much larger cabinet in the 260 than S25.)
-Put in the Esotar2 tweeter.
-Put in the 11cm mid-range driver from the old Excite X36.
-Make it a 3-way design.