Well I didn't know about the fedex truck tradition or I could have. I was in the front yard yesterday putting up Christmas lights and stuff when the fedex guy came. I even had my iphone in my pocket. Oh well, I did take this pic.
I"ll take a better picture later. (I don't know why the floor and ST onthe left look slanted. Some photographic optical illusion). You'll notice the absence of any acoustic treatments behind the speakers. A part of being married.
The floor however isn't totally barren, you don't see the wool 9x12 are rug just out of the field of view.
The finish is a dark curly cherry which is almost a perfect match to the TV cabinet which is an Ethan Allen cabinet my wife picked out. (I liked the cabinet as it has hideaway doors that allow full air flow to components). The only difference is the cabinet has a tinge more red in it, but you have to get up close to really notice. You hear and read in the forums how great Jim's finishes are, so you'd think you wouldn't be surprised or have your expectations exceeded, but guess what, you are still floored. The finish is specatacular. Unpacking and the like was rather uneventful, although my heart skipped a beat or two as the box was rather beat up to the point of having holes in it, but interior packaging was fuily intact. In retrospect I think the holes came from fed sliding the box around as opposed to picking it up. The guy on the delivery truck was sliding it out of the back on a dolly before I ran over and grabbed one end to carefully guide it on the dolly.
Speaker set up went fine. As opposed to laying the speaker on its side on a table to install the plinth, I layed it on its side on a couple of couch cushions on the floor. Jim cautions about overtightening the plinth bolts. I used the one thumb ratchet method, never using more than about 1/2 in of moment arm of the ratchet arm. In fact the first speaker I did didn't seem to have a level plinth and I discovered I needed a little more torque on a couple of screws. I wish I had taken the suggestion of putting a little epoxy in them, I'll probably never remove them. I should have ordered banannas before the speakers arrived, but I just used bare wire connection to the Cardas'. I wish they had a hole in the post. like a traditional five point connector, it would have been easier for bare wire. I just had to shave off a little more insulation to get the wire fully wrapped around the post. The Salks were a replacment to an existing 2.0 system so no other connections were necessary. The other components in the audio chain are an Oppo BDP-95 with analog going to a denon 3311ci to the cd input in pure direct mode. I placed the speakers about 10" from the wall toed in about 10-15 degrees. I was limited somewhat in placement which is why I choose the SCST. They did just fine that close to the wall. Now we are ready for the first listening test.... (drum roll please...)
Here is where I departed from Jim's instructions. His instructions suggest first listening to his provided test CD of songs. Well when I fired up the Oppo the disc inside the player was a DVD-audio I'd created from a download of a Linn Records 24/88 flac recording of Handel's The Messiah. My first instinct was to test the Salks and how deep the bass was having come from a set of bookshelf speakers (Paradigm Studio 10s, great bookshelves, but a little short in the bass department). You won't get enthralling bass from Handel's Messiah, but I was instantly captivated by the clarity of the mid range the piece starting with a string arrangement. I couldn't stop myself, I sat there and listening to the whole disc. (about 1.5 hours or so). It was a good test disc, as I had just listened to that same disc a couple of days ago through my old speakers. The difference was very apparent. Its also a good piece to take the Raals out for a spin. Some of the high notes the soproanos hit are indeed amazing as well as some of the high notes of the horn section, particulalry when it gets to the hallelujah chorus. When I decided I wanted Salks, I thought I really wanted the OW2 tweeter. I even inquired to Jim about building a SCST with the OW2 because I also wanted the better F3 from the SCST over the ST. Good thing I listened to Jim. The mid range and the Raal shined. The Handel piece does have some good bass in places, some organ, cello, and kettle drums. The SCST handled it all very nicely. After Handel I wanted to explore something totally different. (I had forgotten about the test disc at that point). What's up... The Beatles White Album. I wanted to see how they rocked as well. One word, exceptional. Starting with Back in the USSR the SCST were amazing. My favorite song on that disc, Dear Prudence, is where Paul's bass really shines. The SCSTs handled it flawlessly. I ended the session right after While my Guitar Gently Weeps (and it did or I did).
The speakers are an easy load on an AVR. I was worried even though I've read this over and over. The 3311ci is 125 wpc. With the Paradigms I had the volume limiter set at -10 db. I thought maybe I'd up that to 0db, but no, that's wasn't really required. about -10db is about as loud as I'd want to listen. After my session was over, I put my hand on top of the 3311 and it was barely warm, just like usual. Cool!! I've toyed with the idea of an integrated with XLRs to take advantage of those in the oppo, but I'll pass, probably
Well, that's about it. I think. I'll try to snap a better picture later.Edited by glangford - 11/24/12 at 4:03am