I headed to Miami yesterday and on the way back to Orlando I stopped in Ft Lauderdale and was able to audition a few speakers on my list. Pure Audio caters to a rather rich crowd (professional athletes) and had several outstanding rooms available. Two audio only, one combined audio/HT and a dedicated HT that was as good as some theaters I've been to if not better. I avoided the dedicated HT room!Music
More of the same with some added Metallica, Pink Floyd and a Gospel group that had some deep bass passages (wish I could remember the album/name of the group).Electronics
The combined audio/HT room had an Anthem D2/P5 setup with a Panansonic BD as source. The audio rooms all had T+A electronics; A1530 amp, P1230R pre, and the Music Player - FLAC through an Apple server. The T+A gear tends to the warm side and the transport is rather nice.T+A Criterion TL series TS 200
($8K MSRP) Played through the Anthem gear
Nice cabinets in walnut, solid construction. I agree with Funkmonkey and do not care for the grill at the bottom.
Most are aware of Funk's audition of the TS 300. I agree with everything he said with one caveat. This speaker is extremely fatiguing to me. The highs were harsh and created discomfort to my ears. The hairs stood up and I felt a ringing sensation in my inner ear.
I tried to move around a bit and see if that helped, but I couldn't find any location to just listen. The room is professionally treated equally to all other rooms and I didn't experience this affect with any other speaker. Gustavo said this was the hardest speaker to setup for audio he had ever had.
We shifted to the HT setup with JL F113 subs and magically it was awesome for movies?
Maybe it's Anthem gear, or the speaker is perfect for movies?? I didn't like it. Sorry Funk.Dynaudio Sapphire
You know the price. Played through T+A setup.
Gorgeous speaker. Incredible cabinets in Mocha. I could live with this look forever.
Rydenfan and Hifisponge have extensively auditioned this speaker here. I agree with their assessments. Great for Jazz and vocals, and with instruments specifically the piano. One of the best with instrumentals I've heard. I didn't care for it with Rock.
There was something missing with separation of vocals and instruments in Pink Floyd's The Wall. It wasn't muddy, just not as clear as I would like.
I like this speaker and will get a 2nd audition this Thursday. I don't know if the price to performance ratio is worth it???Avalon Acoustics Ascendant
($9,750 MSRP) Played through T+A setup.
Incredible cabinets in Ash, he also had Cherry. Solid as a rock with veneers and finish equal to the Salk HT-3. I like the angular look, it's differences from the norm make it very attractive to me. My wife hates the look!
This is a natural, musical and warm sounding speaker. In a good way! Vocals are equal to the best I've heard (Salk HT-3). The separation between voices is incredible. On Pink Floyd's The Wall, you're able to pick out the kids voices.
Sound staging, clarity and imaging are as good as the Salk's if not better. The Ascendants completely disappear and you are surrounded by the music. Acoustic and electric guitar are spot on. The piano on this speaker equals the Salk and Sapphire.
I found the Ascendant seamless from the highs to the midbass. It does lack the lower bass punch of the Salk HT-3 and Sapphire.
This was the winner of the day!!! Incredible speaker worthy of a listen.
I've got a ways to go, but as of now the top two (in order) are the Salk HT-3 and the Avalon Ascendant. If the Ascendant had the lower bass punch of the HT-3??? Maybe the Avalon Indra$$$$$
More to come