My SoundScape 8 review after 2 months.
I followed this thread for months and read every page. Because I never read any negative Salk reviews I decided that my next set of speakers had to be Salk's. I read a few short SS8 reviews so I thought I could stretch my budget and give them a try.
I placed the order on 17 Nov 12 and received the speakers on 18 Mar 13. Not Jim's fault. Let me explain. The speakers were ready for shipment on 11 Feb 13 but because I was scheduled to travel for a job related training I had to wait an extra month. The speakers were well protected with plenty of foam and cardboard. These speakers made it from Michigan to Honolulu Hawaii without a scratch. The boxes had four deep holes where the foam was visible but no actual damage to the speakers inside.
The craftsmanship and hours put into these beauties was very apparent. They were finished with a perfect deep high piano black gloss. There are no visible seams so they look like they were made out of one single piece of wood. Nice! Heavy (126 lbs each) and solid as well. All around an impressive piece of art.
I power them with a pair of Emotiva XPA-1 monoblocks. The pre-amp is an Emotiva USP-1 and the CD player is an Emotiva ERC-1. I also paired them with a SVS PB13. Since the SS8 arrived I added ATS accoustic panels to my listening room. The living room is 15' by 28' with 9' ceiling. Distance between speaker is 5.5' (limited to that for now), 24" from the wall and my listening position is 11' way. The living room opens to the kitchen which is much larger. I'm coming from AV123 Rockets RS850 to Line Array LS6 (a mistake to sell) to now the very special Salk SS8.
The sound?.WOW! While listening I'm constantly caught off guard by sounds coming from different directions. Most of the sounds some instruments produce come clearly from between the speakers. Piano and synthesizer notes tend to float outside the left and right speaker boundaries (sound stage?). I can also perceive the location of the instruments and singer within the soundstage (depth?). All the instruments have a place within the sound stage (separation, air?). The terms in parenthesis are terms that I hear a lot when reading other reviews but never fully experienced at this level until now. Because my music collection never sounded this way I'm constantly playing CD's that I thought didn't sound so well with my old speakers. While very revealing I still like this new presentation much better. IMHO that is also a testament to my Emotiva equipment. These monoblocks never sounded soooo good. Now every weekend, when I get a chance to listen to music, it feels like a holiday that I look forward to every Monday.
To say that the wait was worth it is an understatement.