Originally Posted by ChicagoTC
Ahh beautiful speakerporn! Well done They look very much at home, do you live on a golf course?
The speakers are very beautiful and my pictures can not do them justice. There is not a blemish or flaw to be found anywhere. Yes, I do live on a golf course as you can tell by looking at the photo backgrounds. It is a private course in a beautiful area known as Holly Lake in the "Pinney Woods" part of eastern Texas. I was lucky enough to retire at an early age back in 1995 so all I do now is travel, hunt, fish, play with my home theater stuff and golf nearly every day - a pretty good life I must say and I've been very lucky.
I was able to play Jim's demo cd disk yesterday on my OPPO dvd player which has better sound processing than most dedicated cd players. I have an Onkyo receiver and used Audysey to configure the proper settings as to speaker distance, db levels, equalization, etc. Audysey identified the Song Towers as "Full Band" speakers which is not surprising. I guess because the STs are so "Full Band" they are taking over some of the work normally reserved for the Center Channel. I have a large Cambridge Soundworks center that has shown up on Audysey before as "Full Band" but now the crossover frequency was set to 150HZ. What impact this would have had on the configuration I have no idea. I have Polk Bravo II surrounds and a dedicated 15" sub I use for movies.
I do not believe very much in DSP and other sound gimmicks. I like to listen to music in 2 channel stereo and movies in DTS or Surround. They can have all that other processing stuff although I must say that watching tv shows with the "TV Logic" mode enabled does help intelligibility. Well, that is the background.
The selections on Salk's audition disk, which he includes with each order, must have been very carefully selected because they really show off the qualities of these speakers from the start. If there is one word to describe the sound it is "clarity". There is no boom or "muddy" factor. They have a great sound stage and image especially if toed in a bit at around 40 degrees. I tried 20 degrees and the sound was too centralized and targeted. My speakers are about 10 feet apart on either side of my 104" Carada projector screen and 14 feet from the listening areas. I left the Audysey settings as they were for the musical review although I can almost bet I will have to tweak the subwoofer up a few db levels for my movie and home theater test this weekend.
As impressive as the "clarity" of Jim's disk was, I was more impressed with my music. I am an opera buff and listen mostly to classical music. In opera the vocals mean everything and I was initially drawn to Salk because of his emphasis on the mid-range. I played several cd selections of the late American tenor, Mario Lanza. Before, the power and richness of Lanza's voice was always apparent but it seemed to take on a new dimension with the STs, especially in the upper reaches. In the monologue from Otello, Lanza ends on a powerful high B. He attacks the note, hits it squarely and holds it for a very long time. All that could be heard very well on my old Cambridge speakers but something new happened here that I had sensed before but never got the full impact. About a second after ascending to this high note, the Lanza voice suddenly "blooms" forth not only with increased volume and power but with a "hallo" of sorts around the note. Italians call this added brilliance quality "squillo", a ping that serves as an exciting enhancement to the sound. This is not heard clearly on every speaker but on the Song Towers, this "blooming forth" sounded like a burst of sunshine as the voice soared upward and onward, pouring out gold from the singer's throat. My Cambridge speakers hinted at this but never captured it as did the Song Towers.
Tchaikovsky's third movement from his Symphony #6 was another revelation. Each note of each instrument could be identified and the climax never stressed the speaker one bit, even at a somewhat louder than normal level. These speakers are very efficient. Finally, Cecilia Bartoli's wonderful "A Portrait" disk was brought to life. Here, some of the selections are fast in a coloratura way with jumps, trills and musical quaivers that most speakers muddy up. The Song Towers "clarity" factor came in to play as the notes were all like bells, no matter how fast they were sung, how close together they were or how far the leap to get them there. The overall sound was seamless.
I know wanting something to work well often clouds the impartiality of a reviewer so I called in someone with far better hearing than me for another opinion. I asked her to bring two disks, preferably of her two favorite male and female singers. We listened to several selections from her Barry Manilow's "70s hits" disk and Celine Dion's "The Colour of My Love" concert. She commented immediately at the "presence" factor. She said the sound was so natural and the sound stage so "in front" that it was like being at the concert. She said she noticed, for the first time, individual sounds to the background instruments that she simply ignored before, thus adding to the overall enjoyment of the songs.
This weekend it will be the home theater test with Transformers, Godzilla remake and U-571. Although these speakers are very musical, I am sure they will do quite well with movies and these movies will put them to the test.