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post #601 of 2204 Old 03-29-2008, 06:10 AM
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For those of you that enjoy a detailed review, I hope you will visit my new thread

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1013221
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post #602 of 2204 Old 03-29-2008, 06:37 PM
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Another Saturday another round of auditions. The first shop was Quintessance Audio. The owner Mick and his shop were top notch. Very knowledgeable and I've never seen anyone take 20 minutes to setup the speakers with a laser level. This was not only to set the toe-in equal but to also make sure the drivers all fired at the same angle.

Related electronics were well above anything I'll probably ever own.
Room 1
Audio Research Reference 3 Tube Pre-Amp

Audio Research VT200


We initially listened to some tracks on his mac-mini connected to a Wavelength Cosecant USB DAC

Then my demo CD via a Meridian G08

First up, Revel F32 $4,000 MSRP


Very nice sounding speaker. Solid from top to bottom. This is a true 3-way speaker with a 1" tweer, a 5.25" midrange, and 2 6.5" woofers. Very concise and clear separation and impressive bass for a smallish tower. I didn't any have preconceived opinions going into this audition but I left very impressed. The only negative is cosmetic. Even the wood veneered versions still have the rear 1/3 of the speaker in black.

Second speaker, Sonus Faber Grand Piano $4795

I've already heard these but wanted to hear them again on very nice electronics. I still enjoyed the speaker but after hearing the Revels, the Grand Piano dropped down a rung.

Lastly, was a dream speaker. Revel Ulitima Salon 2 $21,998.


In a word wow. This was in a different room with a Jeff Rowland Concerto pre-amp, 112 stereo amp, and Audio Research 3mk2 CD player. The soundstage on these speakers was amazing. The whole room was enveloped in sound. If my budget was about what my last car cost I would have left the store with this setup. Always fun to listen to really high end gear. These weren't 4 times better then the F32s, but there definitely was a very noticeable sonic difference.


Stop 2 was Audio Consultants, I went here to hear B&W as it had been awhile since I last heard them. I heard 4 different B&W speakers. I'll keep my impressions brief as speaker auditioning is exhausting and many people are familiar with these

B&W 704 $2,400

Sounded like very overpriced speakers. Tiny soundstage, shrill sounding, not a fan

B&W 804s $4,500

Ok much better, still not up to the Revels or Sonus Fabers, but that perhaps could of been a function of lesser quality electronics and a untreated listening room with 40 different speakers all lined up.

B&W 803s $6,000

Ok, finally starting to live up to the B&W name. I could very happily live with these speakers, except they are a lot more expensive then comparable offerings from Revel, Sonus, and Dali.

B&W 803d $9,000

Wow, the diamond tweeter really shines. These are VERY nice speakers and if they were $4500 instead of $9000 I would be very happy for a long time with these.

So after hearing nearly 10 speakers now I have my list narrowed down to 4.

Revel F32
Dali Helicon 400
B&W 803s
Sonus Faber Grand Piano

Based upon sound, price and cosmetics the Helicon would be the speaker I'd buy if I were to buy a new model today.

Lastly, my wife has been wife me for every audition besides the Dali and she has been a trooper. Today she was even using words like soundstage and veiled
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post #603 of 2204 Old 03-29-2008, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow, ChicagoTC you lucky dog! Not only did you get to hear the Revel Salon 2 (I still haven't heard any Revel speakers) but your wife is going with you to auditions! Mine says "Okay, bye Honey, have fun," when I tell her that I am going to audition speakers... Last night she asked me how much the HT3's were going to cost, and when i told her she blushed and said, "What?! Are you serious??? ...Thats more money than you spent on my engagement ring! Now, I feel cheap! or rather you were so cheap!" She was half joking, half understanding that I had a lot less money when we got engaged. Her father is an electronics junky (even more than me) so she is kind of used to my latest obsession. At least she was laughing about it... And she was grateful that we wont be having a room full of speakers. She would prefer to have sound emanate from thin air, but I love to look at speakers (a whole wall of them would be awesome ). Since I am blowing my budget on my fronts it will be a while before I get surrounds, and the old (circa 1982 or 83) Technics speakers that I have will be going to storage, along with the other POS speakers that occupy floor space in our living room, for future use in my studio/shop/garage when I get a house or warehouse space.

I just thought of a funny thing I saw back when I lived in Detroit. A buddy of mine had a loft, right on Jefferson, that overlooked the street. On weekends, in the summer, ton's of people would cruise by at about 2 mph, three floors down, right underneath his window. So, we would hang out and watch and listen to them all showing off their cars, trying to get girls phone numbers, or shakin' their booties in the back of a pick-up... you get the picture, right? So, some "Home slice" rolls up in a late 70's Caddilac or Lincoln convertible, top down, white w/red interior and white "corinthian" leather seats. The back seat has been replaced entirely by several facets of white painted plywood into which has been mounted about fifty different sized speakers. He had tweeters, woofers, 6x9's, midrange drivers... you name it, they were there. We saw him commin' from about 50 yrds back so we figured he would be kickin' some tunes, but didn't hear anything.. As he got closer we could see a little transistor radio sitting on the dashboard barely making a squeak. Dude's rig was bunk!!! Truly a sight to see, but it didn't work. I feel for the guy, now. I am glad that there is the internet now to help educate us all (this was in the early 90's, so he had no chance of help other than his own creativity) and provide us with a place to share our experiences, and impressions of something that we all seem to enjoy... Without the forums I would probably end up like that guy, lots of money invested in something that doesn't work. Well maybe not, but you guys get the point, right?

So thanks to everybody reading and posting.
Cheers, have a great weekend,
Funk

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post #604 of 2204 Old 03-29-2008, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rydenfan View Post

For those of you that enjoy a detailed review, I hope you will visit my new thread

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1013221

Cool, of course I will check it out...

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post #605 of 2204 Old 03-29-2008, 08:46 PM
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ChicagoTC, ever check out the Revel F52?
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post #606 of 2204 Old 03-29-2008, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfromcanada View Post

ChicagoTC, ever check out the Revel F52?

No I have not, I try to limit auditions outside my budget as to prevent unwanted credit card consequences. The salon listen today was completely the dealers suggestion. They had just setup this room and he was like a kid wanting to show off his new toys. I'll say it again, if anyone in the Chicagoland is looking to audition high end gear,you owe it to yourself to visit Quintessance Audio.
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post #607 of 2204 Old 03-30-2008, 04:08 PM
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@ChicagoTC, great write-up. I had the same feelings as you regarding the F32's, a fantastic sounding speaker. Have you heard any of the Salk speakers yet? I have a pair of SongTowers on order and would love to hear thoughts on how they compare. I will be able to say myself in a few weeks, but it makes for fun reading while I wait
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post #608 of 2204 Old 03-30-2008, 06:03 PM
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I could post this in multiple "speaker search" threads...but wanted to simply say THANKS to everyone that has posted in this and other threads (Brandon, etc.). I never would have taken my "journey" or known about the amazing variety of speakers available if not for people like the group here. I'm glad I took the time to drive (one trip was 6 hours) & audition speakers...a few of which included
Kef 207s
Theil 3.7 and 2.4
Dynaudio confidence C1 and contour S3.4
Paradigm Studio 100
PSB T6
Focal Chorus 836v and Electra 1007be (would like to hear 1027/1037be).
Aerial 6
B&W 804s, 803s, and 803D
(I would have liked to audition Salk but perhaps sometime in the future).
In the end, for my ear and taste the Dali Helicons won me over.
Thanks again.
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post #609 of 2204 Old 03-30-2008, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twodown View Post

I could post this in multiple "speaker search" threads...but wanted to simply say THANKS to everyone that has posted in this and other threads (Brandon, etc.). I never would have taken my "journey" or known about the amazing variety of speakers available if not for people like the group here. I'm glad I took the time to drive (one trip was 6 hours) & audition speakers...a few of which included
Kef 207s
Theil 3.7 and 2.4
Dynaudio confidence C1 and contour S3.4
Paradigm Studio 100
PSB T6
Focal Chorus 836v and Electra 1007be (would like to hear 1027/1037be).
Aerial 6
B&W 804s, 803s, and 803D
(I would have liked to audition Salk but perhaps sometime in the future).
In the end, for my ear and taste the Dali Helicons won me over.
Thanks again.

I'm leaning the same way. I haven't heard the Contour 3.4 or Aerial 6 or 7b and would like to. What Helicon did you buy? I'm guessing the 400 based upon the general budget in your audition list.

Oh yeah, Salk V3s are still on my list.
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post #610 of 2204 Old 03-30-2008, 07:02 PM
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For me, the Contour 3.4 and Aerial 6 were not even close to the Dalis. Revels were on my list but no chance to audition. Budget ended up being a sliding scale...purchased rosenut (love the finish) 800s, C200, and 300s for 5.1 system (bless my wife).
On the wife note: she did get new rug, recovered a couch, new shelves, and I had to paint today
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post #611 of 2204 Old 03-30-2008, 07:08 PM
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twodown, great to see you in this thread

That Rosenut sure is pretty...

I am curious about your Aerial audition. Did you get a chance to hear any of their larger offerings? I have heard the 7's and 9's and enjoyed them very much, but it was too brief an audition to make any real judgement.
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post #612 of 2204 Old 03-30-2008, 07:23 PM
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Well, hello again rydenfan

I did not get to hear the Aerial 7b or 9 which was my initial intention (they only had the 6 available for audition). Although I did like the aerials, for me the 6s did not present the dynamics of the 400s and the soundstage was much better with the Dalis (neither room was treated).

Disclaimer: All the speakers I auditioned were good speakers and I could have been happy with many of them. The Dalis simply gave me the most enjoyment and presented what I was looking for in a speaker.
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post #613 of 2204 Old 03-30-2008, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twodown View Post

The Dalis simply gave me the most enjoyment and presented what I was looking for in a speaker.

That, my friend, is what it is all about! It could have very easily been the same for me with the Helicon 800's, but I heard the HT3's and did not feel a need to look any further. Congrats on your new speakers.
Cheers,
Funk

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post #614 of 2204 Old 03-30-2008, 08:44 PM
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ChicagoTC,

Were the Revel Ultima Sound 2 the best you have heard to date?

Thx

I'm just a caveman. Your modern world frightens and confuses me.
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post #615 of 2204 Old 03-31-2008, 05:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kokishin View Post

ChicagoTC,

Were the Revel Ultima Sound 2 the best you have heard to date?

Thx

If those speakers are within your budget, you truly owe it to yourself to hear the Aerial 20T's. Simply amazing!
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post #616 of 2204 Old 03-31-2008, 06:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kokishin View Post

ChicagoTC,

Were the Revel Ultima Sound 2 the best you have heard to date?

Thx

Yes they were without a doubt. However, it wasn't a fair fight. These were $23,000 speakers being played with Rowland electronics in perhaps the best treated room I've ever been in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rydenfan View Post

If those speakers are within your budget, you truly owe it to yourself to hear the Aerial 20T's. Simply amazing!

Yes, they are within my budget if I decide not to pay my mortgage for the next year
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post #617 of 2204 Old 03-31-2008, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoTC View Post


Lastly, my wife has been wife me for every audition besides the Dali and she has been a trooper. Today she was even using words like soundstage and veiled

Good review buddy. Looks like the Helicon's still remain at the top (well, besides the very expensive Salon 2's). Cool!

HAHA, my wife would probably never come with me, but she has certainly helped me achieve my purchase goals in the past. In fact, the system that I currently have was made possible because my wife scored me a killer deal and got me the stuff as an early Christmas present. She's a great woman, and sneaky too!

I sure hope you get your "dream" speaker. I'd sure loved to hear the Salon Ultima 2's some day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by twodown View Post

For me, the Contour 3.4 and Aerial 6 were not even close to the Dalis. Revels were on my list but no chance to audition. Budget ended up being a sliding scale...purchased rosenut (love the finish) 800s, C200, and 300s for 5.1 system (bless my wife).
On the wife note: she did get new rug, recovered a couch, new shelves, and I had to paint today

WOW! Sounds like an awesome system. Congrats man!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoTC View Post

Yes, they are within my budget if I decide not to pay my mortgage for the next year


My journey to find the "perfect" speaker
Dr. Olive's Blog

 

 

No matter what measurements tell us, a loudspeaker isn’t good until it
sounds good. - Dr. Floyd Toole
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post #618 of 2204 Old 03-31-2008, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoTC View Post

Yes, they are within my budget if I decide not to pay my mortgage for the next year

TC, I should have been more clear. Not knowing kokishin, I was thinking maybe they were within his budget

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited over to a guy's house here that runs Aerial 20T's on Pass Labs X600.5 monoblocks. One of my top 2 or 3 audio experiences for sure.
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post #619 of 2204 Old 03-31-2008, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rydenfan View Post

TC, I should have been more clear. Not knowing kokishin, I was thinking maybe they were within his budget

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be invited over to a guy's house here that runs Aerial 20T's on Pass Labs X600.5 monoblocks. One of my top 2 or 3 audio experiences for sure.

Gotcha, I couldn't sleep at night if I spent that much on speakers. I could afford them like a car payment, but I sure couldn't enjoy them knowing how much they cost.
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post #620 of 2204 Old 03-31-2008, 01:12 PM
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Anyone audition Cary 306 SACD Pro? I have Gamut Di-150 Amp and Dali Helicon 800 MK2. I have been debating between Esoteric and Cary. Interesting thing about Esoteric is that people either love or hate. Love for its detail and accuracy. Hate for its too lean and unemotional.
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post #621 of 2204 Old 03-31-2008, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason530 View Post

Anyone audition Cary 306 SACD Pro? I have Gamut Di-150 Amp and Dali Helicon 800 MK2. I have been debating between Esoteric and Cary. Interesting thing about Esoteric is that people either love or hate. Love for its detail and accuracy. Hate for its too lean and unemotional.

That is pretty much dead on. I may be one of the few (if only) that has auditioned both. The Esoteric is indeed very detailed; however, for my tastes it was too analytical and almost a little "digital." The Cary is very, very good however occasionally a little too much midrange. If you are shopping for a player of that caliber the Modwright transporter gets my highest recommendation. It is what I know use
http://www.modwright.com/products/in...?product_id=28

Fell free to PM me if you wish to discuss this further.
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post #622 of 2204 Old 04-04-2008, 03:23 PM
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Chicago TC,

Thanks for the good read! Glad to read you are getting out there and letting your ears be your guide.

Great thread.
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post #623 of 2204 Old 04-05-2008, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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ChicagoTC recently spent a lot of time in a very selfless way. He compiled all of Nuance's reviews from his My Journey to find the "perfect" speaker... thread, along with his own reviews and all of mine from this thread. He compiled them into a Word document that you can download (with or without pictures) from the first post in his new, and apropriately named thread:

Nuance, Funkmonkey, ChicagoTC Speaker Reviews

Nice one TC-
Cheers,
Funk

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post #624 of 2204 Old 04-10-2008, 06:08 PM
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It's bittersweet to annouce but my journey has also come to end. It's odd but I'm happy and sad at the same time. The journey and auditioning was a lot of fun and I'll miss that, but I'm very happy to have made a decision I should enjoy for a long time. I gave the go ahead to a dealer to ship a pair of brand new Dali Helicon 400s, and a brand new C200 MKII center in rosenut color.

I still wanted to hear Salk V3s, Aerial 7bs, and some Totem offerings but at the end of the day I got a deal on brand new speakers that would be quite a bit cheaper then most others I auditioned. I was auditioning many speakers outside my planned budget with the plan to buy used. The Dalis are brand new and will carry the full warranty from an authorized dealer.

Stock photos will have to do for now, but I'll be sure to post actual shots once I get the speakers. Between these Dalis' and the D-Sonic amp I have coming in I'm done upgrading for awhile





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post #625 of 2204 Old 04-10-2008, 07:51 PM
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Congrats on the Dali's. I have heard lots of good things about them. Did you hear the 800's? Just wondering if there is a significant difference. I am going to Chicago this summer (my home town) and want to auditoin Dali, Usher and may be some others as well. No dealers carry them near Cleveland. Right now I am using Definitive 7001's driven by a Mcintosh mc252. I know some people don't like bipolars for music at all. It took some carefull positioning but I really like mine for 2 channel music. They produce a open, dynamic soundstage, Nice image as well. Gives me the "you are there" feeling. I am interested to hear some of the brands discussed in this thread. I heard some highly regarded music speakers the other day and I have to say I was not impressed. I wont say what they were, don't want to knock 'em.

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post #626 of 2204 Old 04-10-2008, 08:23 PM
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ChicagoTC -

Awesome!!! I am very happy for you pal! It doesn't get any better than this...we're all getting our dream speakers!

My journey to find the "perfect" speaker
Dr. Olive's Blog

 

 

No matter what measurements tell us, a loudspeaker isn’t good until it
sounds good. - Dr. Floyd Toole
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post #627 of 2204 Old 04-10-2008, 08:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Congrats TC!!! I am sure you will be happy for a long time to come. Who knows, if the dealer I went to had the 400's, instead of the 300's I might have taken them home as well.

Cheers,
Funk

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post #628 of 2204 Old 04-10-2008, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g_bartman View Post

Congrats on the Dali's. I have heard lots of good things about them. Did you hear the 800's? Just wondering if there is a significant difference. I am going to Chicago this summer (my home town) and want to auditoin Dali, Usher and may be some others as well. No dealers carry them near Cleveland. Right now I am using Definitive 7001's driven by a Mcintosh mc252. I know some people don't like bipolars for music at all. It took some carefull positioning but I really like mine for 2 channel music. They produce a open, dynamic soundstage, Nice image as well. Gives me the "you are there" feeling. I am interested to hear some of the brands discussed in this thread. I heard some highly regarded music speakers the other day and I have to say I was not impressed. I wont say what they were, don't want to knock 'em.

Thank you and no I never heard the 800s. The one place I went only had the 400s and Icon series. Honestly, I never considered them anyways. They are large speakers that require an equally large room. My current "theater" is in my basement and the area is 14'x21'. Our house is on the market and once it sells a unfinished basement is a requirement in the new house. Here I will build a dedicated room, but probably not much bigger than what I use now.

The 2 dealers in Chicagoland are Decibel in the city and Edge in Palatine. I wasn't overly impressed with the Decibel, Edge looks much nicer just from website pictures.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance View Post

ChicagoTC -

Awesome!!! I am very happy for you pal! It doesn't get any better than this...we're all getting our dream speakers!

Thanks, I'm pretty excited. If the shipping gods work together the Dali and D-Sonic will show up on the same day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by funkmonkey View Post

Congrats TC!!! I am sure you will be happy for a long time to come. Who knows, if the dealer I went to had the 400's, instead of the 300's I might have taken them home as well.

Cheers,
Funk

Thank you. Perhaps someday in this yet to be bought house I can pick up a pair of ST's for 2 channel in the living room. Great WAF factor and beautiful speakers that will fit well with a wife friendly 2 channel setup.
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post #629 of 2204 Old 04-11-2008, 01:06 AM
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Great choice ChicagoTC! A buddy of mine has the 800's and they are very (forgive my use of this often overused word) "musical" speakers, and they have some of the best treble on the planet. Nice sparkle and extension with no edge. Just make sure you *don't* tow them in. The treble on the Helicon's is balanced to fire straight ahead.

I've also read some outstanding reviews on the IcePowered amps (which D-Sonic uses).

You should have a plug-n-play system there. Just turn the key and drive off into the sunset with the top down.

Good stuff.
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post #630 of 2204 Old 04-11-2008, 05:57 AM
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Congrats buddy!! And welcome to the Dali family
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