At this time, there was a lot of talking about some small bookshelf speaker on the forum which I knew absolutely nothing about. It was from a cellar-firm up in Stockholm made by a man I had had quite a lot of clashes with on the forums before... but seeing a lot of people liking them (understatement) that had been the same people that helped guide me into getting wonderful electronics, I decided to have a go. I did not go to Stockholm to hear them in the designer's basement as was stated you needed to do (go once to listen, no order before having slept on it and then come to pickup as he did not ship), but I got myself a go-between through a guy who'd been to my place (I had a visit for a forum article in the spring the same year, I think) and was going there anyhow... and there was construction-kits on the shelf. So I only had to go to pick them up at his place. This is how the kit looked like once at my place:
My thinking was that:
1) Wanted to know what the hype was
2) Needed something to do with my time - living alone in a house can get lonely...
3) If nothing else - I'd have better speakers for the computer than I had
Painted them in something close to British Racing Green and put them together and then hooked them up instead of the Cantons:
And my jaw just dropped... this tiny little thing played music better than the 12 times more expensive, huge and digitally roomcorrected big brutes. And it had bass too. Deep and clean and amazing amounts from such a small box. And before dismissing me - today this speaker has gotten packaged into a different shape, has updated woofer and a new tweeter and is sold as Guru QM10... you can check what the reviewers on some papers have said about it. I'll just pick one... and I don't often agree with Art, but this time I doQuote:Originally Posted by Art Dudley of Stereophile
“The system built around the Guru QM10 loudspeakers sounded amazing… No wonder: In addition to it’s uncanny bass extension, the diminutive Gurus had great timing, a real sense of flow and momentum and reproduced the spatial element of music with a sense of image height that one seldom hears from any loudspeaker at any price”
If you wonder about the chair mattress - this speaker is designed to be up against the wall, wall to be dampened and the stand has to be within 2" of the specified height for it to work as intended. I did not have the proper dampening, so I used what I had around.
I still have the Cantons, but they haven't been used much since and with the room correction system operating at CD sampling frequencies only, it's been hard to find someone interested enough to give a decent bid, so then I rather keep them for show...
Onto next lesson.... there seemed to be a lot of people with this brand of speakers using very large subwoofer systems and unfortunately those systems were quite expensive. But same designer had made a subwoofer design for the society based on the NHT1259 driver and that was within range - and the guys on the forum got together and bought about all the drivers Madisound had left, doing some calculations on box sizes and what money I had available - I went for 8.
Took a couple of years to build. I actually finished 6 and then the project ground to a halt, so I didn't complete all 8 until summer of 2008(!)
As you can see the mattress is still there.
I hope you can believe me when I say that this system played awesome given the price paid. Subwoofers got a couple of NAD 218 to power them and they've never broken a sweat even after a full day with a house full of hifi-nuts playing loud.
I probably would have stopped here and been very happy. I'm not fond of driving far, so going up to the cellar to listen to other models and the having to go back 6-12-18 months later when they were done did not tickle my fancy. But suddenly a guy close by ran into some financial trouble and had to both move and get rid of some speakers of this brand he'd bought... I had had a small inheritance come in, so I had a little money that I could spend without being too ashamed, so I bought them.
So, the tiny ones went upstairs to our little tv-room... had company of a center and quite a few surrounds plus four bassreflex-subs with 10" drivers - all from the same company.
Downstairs in the stereo I got the only pair yet in existance of the signature fullrange speaker that's been made in stone... I really could not avoid buying this, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. These are the speakers you see in my avatar.
As you can see, I've also made proper dampeningwalls behind now.
These speakers are for me the best imaginable. I do think the B&W 800/801/802 are extremely good speakers too and that would have to be my choice if I could not have these. But for how I listen and the goals I have to reproduce what's on the media with as little change as possible - I don't know anything else I'd rather have - regardless of price. ( Apart from the tightest of tight handpicked selection of new elements for these ones, of course. ) The Guru QM60 is about the same speaker. It has a different kid of bass port and there's probably a few considerations done for series production where mine are less compromised.
If you want to think this is brand-religious ranting, then fine - I accept that. Have heard it before. I'm okay with just stating what I like, nothing else. Given that most the speakers, apart from those two Guru variants can't be bought outside Sweden, it's not like I'm selling anything either.
The home theater setup in the tvroom is great. It's for a two seat couch and it's just outside the kids' bedrooms so even if they sleep very soundly, there's few occasions it can run at full power. The small green front speakers also sets the limit on how loud it can play, most material it can go very high, but some more demanding tracks keeps the safe limit to ref-15 somewhere.
The thought crossed my mind many times to get a projector and a big screen down in the livingroom, given the capabilities there, but the room does not lend itself to home theater very well... from hanging the projector in mid room, to windows and big openings to kitchen and hallway so it can't be pressurized for extreme low frequencies, to no good positions for surrounds, to wife not wanting wall-to-wall carpet in the livingroom...
Which leads us up to the spring of 2012...