Well now, this is serious fun, isn't it. https://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
Time to get real, though. I've heard the Guarneris many times at Sound By Singer in New York, on the best tube equipment and front ends money could buy. The Guarneris, which I like, -- and I'm one of the very few you'll find who will say that about a small mini monitor that costs $10,000US (!) -- are not even remotely in the same league of music reproduction as the latest top of the line Thiels, or Dunlavys, or Revels, or JM Labs, or B&Ws, or Dynaudios, or Aerials, or ProAcs, or Sound Labs. Or my personal favorite, Wilson W/P 6s. The Guarneris have their charms and I admire your exquisite taste and style for owning them. But they'll never run with the big boys even if you stick VTL's monster Wotans on them. (Actually that might sound pretty good and look very tricky to boot. Horribly expensive, though.) By the way, Sumiko, the U.S. importer of Sonus Faber speakers, bought $30,000 Levinson 33 monos because they thought the Guarneris and Extremas sounded best with that amplifier. Not Nagra, not VTL, not ARC tubes; Levinson.
Let me refresh your memory, if I may. The Guarneri was a one-time special edition speaker built as a tribute to the great violin makers and to showcase the craftsmanship of contemporary Italian wood workers -- it was never meant as an attempt at the state of the art in sound reproduction. Not even Sonus Faber would make that claim, given the compromised drivers and tiny size of the speaker. The Extrema, which is no longer current, or the Amati Hommage, is what would and should be compared to Wilsons and the other state of the art speakers I mentioned.
Music may be about "soul" as you say, but audio technology moves fast and the limited edition Guarneris, which were never really intended to be the last word or at all cost effective, are just not even to be considered anymore in the U.S., unless you really would like to make a decorating statement (which is a perfectly good goal, IMO). There's just so many better ways to spend your money today and still get "soul" and vastly greater performance. Obviously.
And if it's "soul" you want, I'll put Watt/Puppy 6s on your favored Nagra tube equipment and I'll bet you that you couldn't bring me a single serious audiophile or music lover who would honestly call the Guarneris equals. Even you'd be very impressed.
How can I be so sure? Well, first of all, despite your hazy comments, I'd say you've never actually heard this great combination. Second, when Nagra has come to the U.S. for trade shows in the past, they have used Watt/Puppies exclusively in their demos. You didn't know that did you, but I've heard it for myself. And that was version 5.1, a much more "analytical" sounding speaker (as you put it) than the current W/P 6. So, it appears that Nagra might disagree with your conclusions about my "cold, analytical, introspective" musical taste.
I'd also be willing to venture that Nagra has a new pair of W/P 6s on order with Wilson. Frankly, I don't know if that's true; it's just an educated guess. Would you care to wager?
So, I'd guess that you probably heard the previous 5.1 version and you didn't like it, couldn't understand what all the fuss was about, and why they cost so much. That's fine. Lots of people didn't love that Wilson speaker, including me.
But the truth is you haven't actually heard the new W/P6s with any of the amp/preamp combinations that I have, have you? Certainly not the Nagras you mention, nor the ARC reference combo that you stated is vastly inferior. Nor VTL 450s, a line I assume you like. Nor monoblocked BAT VK60s, a fabulous combination. Nor McIntosh's new tube effort, the 2000 (not my cup of tea). Nor VAC Renaissance 140s or the equally good 70/70. Or Levinson's 335, 336, and 33H with either the 380S or the new reference 32 preamps. Or CJ Premier 8a monos with the CJ ART. Or Wadia's PowerDac system.
Well, I have heard all of those with W/P 6s. And before I bought my current solid state gear, my setup was CJ Premier 12a tubed monoblocs and a CAT SL1 Signature Mark III tubed preamp, components that would extract more from your Guarneris than your solid state Micromega preamp processor and no longer current VTL 120s, I'm afraid.
So the question remains: Where and with what equipment and music have you heard the new Watt/Puppy 6s that you're so certain are cold and analytical?
Ultimately, I'm too old to truly mind your slights about my taste. And I certainly don't mind if you don't like Wilson speakers or Audio Research amplifiers. You're hardly alone there.
But you seem quite biased and have offered no support for your extraordinary opinion that the tiny Guarneri is better than the new W/P 6. So I'm starting to think that perhaps you've just presumed that Wilson's new speaker sounds just like the previous versions and that's why you dismissed it.
[This message has been edited by PF (edited May 29, 2000).]