Originally Posted by michael630
I was fortunate to visit with Jim Salk on Monday and Tuesday this week and thought I would share some impressions. I will try to be brief.
Jim invited me to his home on Monday at 5:00 PM. He was scheduled to play tennis at 7:00 PM, yet was willing to squeeze me in after a full day at work. Jim is a friendly guy, unassuming and a pleasure to meet. His wife and daughter were home and both were equally as kind. It can't be easy having strangers constantly coming through your home.
I'll start out by saying what most have already said. Jim's speakers are very high quality, produce excellent sound and compare well with other upper end speakers, in fact surpassing many. Add in the aggressive pricing and you have a killer deal.
Jim had the SongTowers and HT3's set up in his basement. The speakers had a black piano finish and were gorgeous. No question (for me) the speakers look absolutely fantastic, much better than the web pictures. This is not a knock on the photos, they are just more beautiful when you see them in person.
His basement has a standard rectangular setup and is not acoustically treated. Jim feels the room better represents the speakers capability in a normal setting. I excitedly asked Jim, what speakers will we be listening to first? Jim's response was, let's just listen and you tell me. I'm thinking, you've got to be kidding me, a quiz?! So here I am, sitting next to Jim Salk, about to listen to his beautifully crafted speakers, trying not to seem like an idiot. Talk about pressure!
I dutifully brought my carefully selected cd's and offered my first choice. Jim tells me that he doesn't have a cd player set up so we will be listening to his music through his sling box. I immediately begin to wonder if I will have heard this music and how I can compare to past speaker auditions. Ok, you get the idea, more pressure!
I apologize for not being able to recall the music played but I didn't feel comfortable taking notes during our meeting. Although I'm sure Jim would have been fine with it. Suffice it to say that Jim served up a broad mix of music that challenged the speakers and showed their full range. My modest request was to hear a male voice, female voice, electric & acoustic guitars, and a full symphony arrangement. Jim provided that and more. I do recall listening to some Ray Charles and an excellent duet between Erick Clapton and BB King.
When the music began the speakers created an immediate exciting presence. The highs were open, rich, yet not harsh, during the entire time. Not once did the music seem stressed or become fatiguing. Bass was surprisingly strong, in fact it was excellent. I looked at Jim and said god I hope these are the SongTowers, because I knew that I could purchase these speakers and be exceedingly happy with them. Adding a high end sub would make them phenomenal for HT. From a critical standpoint, I did notice a very slight (and I mean ever so slight) softness in certain vocals. I immediately mentioned this to Jim and guessed we were listening to the SongTowers. We were.
We switched to the HT3's and two issues became instantly evident, immense soundstage and clarity. Jim mentioned that his opinion of the HT3's greatest strength was transparency. These speakers are fully engaging yet felt effortless in producing every level of sound. This was a noticeable difference (for me) when compared to the SongTowers. The second major difference was the ribbon tweeter. No note was unattainable. It is really cool to listen to speakers of this caliber.
Overall, the SongTowers are definitely the sweet spot by offering such high quality at this price point. For the highly discerning, HT3's are your choice. Beautiful in every sense. A really important point is that Jim will work with you to customize your speakers, be it color, veneer, or even modifying the cabinet. Jim never rushed me during the meeting. In fact, I had to leave to be sure he would make his match. Jim is very knowledgeable and more than willing to answer all my questions. Bottom line, these speakers are worthy of your purchase consideration. It was definitely a fun experience.