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TAD Reference 1, Rockport Altair, Evolution Acoustics MM3 - Opinions?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I have long debbaterat on which speakers I want to buy and the price range I do not want to exceed.

For some strange reason there doesn´t seem to be a barrier that says stop purely on price

A while ago I had the opportunity to listen to the TAD Reference 1 for a whole day in a shop here in Stockholm. That was certainly the best I've heard
in my life, but the price tag was beyond what I ever thought about paying for a high talker.

Now I have the chance to buy a demopar of these speakers and I am very eager to strike.

Is there any reason to hesitate and test around other speakers?

Two other speakers that has long interested me, but there is no chance for me to listen to are:

Rockport Altair
Evolution Acoustics MM3

The impression I got from what I've read is that they are certainly candidates as "the last speaker."

The Rockports Altair is not available in Sweden, just the models under. The MM3 doesn´t not sell in Sweden.

Does anyone possibly have listened to all three or TAD and any of the others that may come up with some suggestions?

Altair and MM3, I'm able to buy used.

I am greatfull for every input on these three speakers, and if anyone heard two or all three of them.

Sebastian
post #2 of 23
I've heard the Rockports and they seemed well balanced and accurate, but they were also dry and analytical. There's a renowned manufacture of speakers in Lisalmi Finland. You should audition their products...particularly if you appreciate effortless dynamics and you-are-there live concert recordings.
post #3 of 23
I heard the TADs a few years back at CES. While I suppose it possible that there are better speakers out there, if you have an opportunity to get these at a reasonable price, it's almost like tempting fate to pass on them.

Just my $.02.

Thanks,

Nick
post #4 of 23
TAD's fascinating.....

For decades, TAD has really pushed hard in the area of very high performance driver design. For many years, their expertise in Beryllium, and the specific manner in which they implemented it into their designs kept them at arms length from the competition in subjective characteristics of their HF.

Currently, their magnetic aspects of the LF drive units are really first rate low distortion pieces. However, the real key here is the proprietary coaxial MF/HF drive unit, and how it launches it's acoustic output from 250 on up in a coherent manner, with no off axis polar lobing. I'd consider the biggest differences in these designs you mention exist in the transfer function of your room, both below the transition, and in the all important lateral returns. With the coax, the combined sound power should maintain it's spectral coherence with the direct energy.

I'd guess the TAD is a bit more analytical and monitor like. However, our psycho-acoustic memory being as inept as it is,....a side by side demo, which isn't at all likely,.... would be the only way to truly determine the relative differences in exact voicing.

I'm just a fan of the theoretical point source, and depending on your room, listening distance, sidewall distance and composition, preferences on playback level, some loudspeakers are more easily integrated than others. I'm most certain you'd be more than happy with most any of these choices. The opportunity to acquire the TAD's at somewhat of a discount is certainly a bonus, but in my opinion shouldn't drive your decision.


Interesting conundrum....

Additional thoughts?



Best of luck
post #5 of 23
What store in the USA even carries TAD loudspeakers? They are about as rare as kryptonite. I have seen pictures of them but have never seen or heard them.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
I should have specified that this is in Sweden. I live in viking country
post #7 of 23
First, I would never ever buy a speaker in this pricerange without listening to it.

I have listen to Tad R1 in Vimmerby and they sound really good. But as you live in Stockholm I would suggest that you contact this guy for a demostration: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1327408
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by inky blacks View Post

What store in the USA even carries TAD loudspeakers? They are about as rare as kryptonite. I have seen pictures of them but have never seen or heard them.

The only way I got to hear them was when a buddy/dealer purchased them to demo. He decided to keep them for his personal theater.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Nin74: Offcourse I´ve heard the TADs, twice actually so I am fully aware of the sound. I will contact your friend offcourse, eventhough I´ve heard IÖ speakers several times.
post #10 of 23
So a pair of evolution acoustics MM3 showed up on audiogon today for a fair price and I could not resist inquiring. Turns out the seller will take my two JL F113 subs as a trade in. Tempting! This is definitely the last speaker you'll ever buy.

This could be a huge step up from my Eidolon Visions. Only concern (besides $$$), would these be too big for my room (13 x 25)? The Trinnov room correction will take care of most room issues - but still.

I have a hold on them until the end of the day. Yes or No?
post #11 of 23
do it!
post #12 of 23
TAD was alwas my favorite room at CES. Great sound.
post #13 of 23
There are some good deals out there on the TAD/Pioneer EX series right now. Was thinking of getting 3 S2-EXs for my LCR, but they only sell them in pairs.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by edorr View Post

So a pair of evolution acoustics MM3 showed up on audiogon today for a fair price and I could not resist inquiring. Turns out the seller will take my two JL F113 subs as a trade in. Tempting! This is definitely the last speaker you'll ever buy.

This could be a huge step up from my Eidolon Visions. Only concern (besides $$$), would these be too big for my room (13 x 25)? The Trinnov room correction will take care of most room issues - but still.

I have a hold on them until the end of the day. Yes or No?

Yes! Hope you took the plunge.

-K
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanFrancis View Post

do it!

What the hell. I bought them. Life's too short. My mid-life crisis kicking in. Thankfully, I have no mistress or Porsche to maintain. Officially graduating to the major league of 2 channel. This will be interesting. Anyone interested in a pair of Eidolon Visions?
post #16 of 23
can't wait to hear your reactions to the Trinnov treatment of those - similar to my CAT speakers in my 2 channel rig.

My guess is that the subs will be tightened quite nicely, I've never used the Trinnov on just 2 channel high pass... please report back!

Dan
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanFrancis View Post

can't wait to hear your reactions to the Trinnov treatment of those - similar to my CAT speakers in my 2 channel rig.

My guess is that the subs will be tightened quite nicely, I've never used the Trinnov on just 2 channel high pass... please report back!

Dan

Will do - to get these monsters to behave in a relatively small room Trinnov will be particularly effective I suspect, althoug there are many reports of these speakers shining in small rooms (including a hotel room at CES) without any correction.

Definitely made the right call scooping these up on a whim. Seller had three buyers lined up behind me after one day advertising on audiogon, and the new ones are back ordered for months.
post #18 of 23
Hi Sebastian,

I have had the chance to listen to the Tad speaker line for 4 days at a trade show.

I thought that were the most balanced speaker in terms of low, mids and highs I have ever heard. Their imaging and sound stage projection were absolutely breathtaking.

If you don't buy the demo pair, I will.

Cheers,
Mike
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanFrancis View Post

can't wait to hear your reactions to the Trinnov treatment of those - similar to my CAT speakers in my 2 channel rig.

My guess is that the subs will be tightened quite nicely, I've never used the Trinnov on just 2 channel high pass... please report back!

Dan

Since I will no longer need bass management (my subs will go) with the Evolution Acoustics, another idea is the run Dirac live room correction on my PC / music server. I could ditch the the Trinnov, as well as my expensive USB converter and go straight from PC to USB input on the DAC. $8K worth of hardware gone. Tempting.

I would lose room correction capability for my MCH system (which I now do on 3.1 channels using A/D conversion in the Trinnov), but I am 90% 2 channel. Tough call. I may download the trial verison of Dirac PC and see how well it works. No desire to buy an expensive calibration mic just for this experiment though - always something....
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by akatora View Post

Nin74: Offcourse I´ve heard the TADs, twice actually so I am fully aware of the sound. I will contact your friend offcourse, eventhough I´ve heard IÖ speakers several times.

So what did you think about IÖs largest top system, i68es-s combined with the barely capable bass system InfraZ-4?
post #21 of 23
OK. So I got the MM3's up and running. No positioning optimization, no room correction, no tweaks, just dumped them in 32" from sidewalls and 60" from the back. And right out of the box they trounce the Avalons Eidolon Visions. Does everything the Avalons do and them some. More clarity, dynamics, deeper bass and better highs, more efforteless, more musical. Could not be happier. Next week will be tweaking and figuring out EQ. Also will be building floor to bottom corner bass traps, now that I have space in the corners without my subs.

The center channel is the Linn Klimax 340A I got a few months ago. Another magnificant speaker that worked miracles for my system.

Fun fact. Behind my main rack is another rack with 2 x PS audio P5 regenerator, 1 x Trinnov Processor, 1 x SIx shooter. Behind the amp is is my CAPS 2.0 server, and offramp 5 converter + powersupply and a hard drive. Don't even ask about the cabling mess. If I ever have to dig out a P5 to change a fuse this will be a 4 hour project. Patently insane......

399
Edited by edorr - 7/17/12 at 7:42am
post #22 of 23
That looks like a nice setup!

Have you changed anything from the time of the post?
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Komorok View Post

That looks like a nice setup!
Have you changed anything from the time of the post?

Yes, major changes across the board.

For multi channel, I sold the Marantz ud9004 and CBIII / Six Shooter combo (this was my analog input into the Tinnov doing A/D conversion). I now go digital direct into the Trinnov using a modded Oppo (top right shelf) that has 4 x S/PDIF digital outputs. This is a huge step up. I still needed something for satelitte TV, so I bought a Meridan 561 SSP, which has 4 x S/PDIF digital outputs as well. The new Oppo 103 would make this SSP obsolete, because it has an HDMI input. So I could run my TV receiver box directly into the Oppo 103 over HDMI and ditch the MEridian. As soon as a digi out board for the 103 becomes available I'll go this route.

Since the Trinnov is only 4 channel, I am running my surrounds through another DAC. This is the Bel Canto DAC3 you see at the center ofthe bottom shelf. I synch up the volume control of the Trinnov and BEl Canto using an iRule macro. Trinnov has RS232, Bel Canto Inra Red.

So if you add my my empircal audio offramp 5 for stereo, I have three digital sources going into the Trinnov, so I am using a digital router (Z-system Z8 - behind the rack) that switches these inputs before the Trinnov. Trinnov will be releasing the Amethyst, which has multiple digital inputs. If it is not too much more expensive than the ST2-Pro I'll get on, take out my router and reduce complexity.

Next, as good as the PS Audio Perfectwave MKII is, I decided to take a step up and get the EMM Labs DAC2X (top left shelf). This was huge improvement.

Then, as you'll notice I build two massive corner bass traps. This lifted a null in the 50Hz range by 6db, greatly alleviating the load on the Trinnov processor to smooth out my bass response.

For good measure I upgraded my older Transparent Reference cables with the latest MM2 version, and replaced the PS audio Duet conditioners on the woofer modules of the speakers with Shunyata hydra 2.

I'm sure I forgot something......

Although I found the digtial volume in the Trinnov to be equivalent to my expensive preamps (which I ditched), the MM3's are far more sensitive than my old speakers, so I need far more attenuation in the digital domain now, potentially loosing resolution. So I just bought a Switchman 3 MCH preamp to see how it compares with digital volume control. This will be here next week.


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