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Discussion Starter #1
I wanted to post my impressions of Salk Sounds Veracity HT-1 speakers.

After having lived with them in my home theater for almost a year now,

I feel my comments may be helpful to anyone considering these excellent

speakers.


First, a bit of history. I have been a music and movie buff for more

than 40 years. I own well over 1000 CD's, 400 DVD's, and more albums

than I care to count. I became interested in "good" sound when I was in

college and my first stereo system was a Dynakit amp, AR turntable,

and AR speakers. Over the years, I have owned various brands of

speakers, amps, preamps, and receivers. Commercial speakers that I have owned

include AR, KLH, Boston Accoustic, Martin Logan, and Snell. More

recent additions have been Triad, Energy Ascend, and RBH Status.


I became interested in the custom and DIY speaker builders when I read

a post by Jim Salk on this forum about the percentage of cost of the

drivers and parts to retail price in a typical commercial speaker. I was

intrigued by the very high quality drivers and parts used in a typical

custom-built speaker.


After studying the backgrounds of some of the individuals in the custom

speaker building field, I decided to contract Jim Salk to build me a

pair of Veracity HT-1's. Once the decision was made, Jim kept me

apprised of the progress weekly, and consulted me whenever any decisions were

needed.


When I took delivery of the speakers (shipped and boxed very

carefully), I couldn't believe the quality of the woodworking and attention to

detail. Awesome!


My current set-up is in a dedicated home theater which I also use for

music (50/50 split). My preamp is a Sherwood Newcastle P-965 (that

replaced a B & K 31), B & K 7270 amp, Denon 2200 DVD payer, dual turntable,

DVDO HD video processor, and a NEC 10 PG projector. The room was built

with soundboard and has other accoustic treatments (bass traps, etc.)

I have two subs (HSU and SVS) and use Triad Silver in wall surrounds

for the rear and side speakers.


How do the Veracity's sound? They are the best speakers I have ever

owned. They are extremely smooth and detailed. Clairity in the midrange

and highs is remarkable. I attribute this to the very expensive

drivers used in these speakers. Since they are a two way, they will not

plumb the deepest bass. They do not lack bass, however, and the bass is

very tight - no boominess in these speakers. They have the most dynamic

range of any speakers I have owned.


I would characterize these speakers as neutral. I would not recommend

these speakers to someone who wants a warm or more laid back sound.

They are not forgiving speakers. A poorly recorded CD will sound poorly

recorded. However, play a CD like "Riding With the King", by Eric

Clapton and BB King, and you will swear they are in the room.


I will end by using the phrase everyone sees in all the magazines -

highly recommended.


Randy Bessinger
 

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Randy, Have you tried any blind listening A/B style tests against other speakers that you would consider, for lack of a better term, a worthy competitor ?


Also, What does a pair of those sell for ? They sure are an attractive speaker !
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Craig,


No I haven't. Mainly because I am lazy:) The speakers cost between around 2k give or take depending on such things as real wood baffle option, veneer chosen, speaker terminal and some other choices mainly cosmetic.


I know you have done lots of test. How do you go about doing a blind comparision of speakers-at least how would you do it in a normal home setting?
 

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Level matching is, of course, paramount. I personaly prefer two distinct listening sessions in an evening.


Have speaker set "A" set up, and volume set so a 1000 Hz signal is at 75 dB ... then the person who handled the adjustments leaves, and you listen to a complete Disc through those speakers.


Then repeat with speaker set "B" ...


Take notes, and over a few nights, you will find out which you truly prefer.


Yes, it is a major pain... but well worth the efforts.


OR... since you spent $2000, just enjoy your speakers. :)
 

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Only $2k, for Salk speakers??? Man, I've long assumed they were out of my price range, but I just thinked again! Hmmm....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If you look at the cost of the drivers I think 2000 is relatively cheap compared to comparable speakers. Expensive ribbon tweeters. Expensive Seas Excel drivers.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Quote:
Originally posted by craigsub
Level matching is, of course, paramount. I personaly prefer two distinct listening sessions in an evening.


Have speaker set "A" set up, and volume set so a 1000 Hz signal is at 75 dB ... then the person who handled the adjustments leaves, and you listen to a complete Disc through those speakers.


Then repeat with speaker set "B" ...


Take notes, and over a few nights, you will find out which you truly prefer.


Yes, it is a major pain... but well worth the efforts.


OR... since you spent $2000, just enjoy your speakers. :)


The problem as I see it is if you compare then "naked"-no sub, then then how do you prevent picking the one that is more full range? If you add a sub, then you have to make sure each is optimally adjusted (or am I making it harder than it really is?)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Randybes
The problem as I see it is if you compare then "naked"-no sub, then then how do you prevent picking the one that is more full range? If you add a sub, then you have to make sure each is optimally adjusted (or am I making it harder than it really is?)
I look at it in money terms. For example, let's say you get a pair of ACI Sapphire speakers with a Force subwoofer, which list for $2050, and a pair of the HT-1's for $2000... that is a fair comparison.


Pick a price range, and perhaps keep finish in mind, (meaning a Vinyl wrapped or a Matte finish vs. a *Real Wood* finish), and look for the best you can find for you.


Using the above example... One person might find the ACI trio better, with its deep bass ability. Another may think the HT-1 is more articulate...


What blind testing does, is keep any bias from entering the equation. And be "bias", I don't mean you a purposely deciding ahead of time that one speaker or another will win... I mean anything that will cause what you *think* to sway your hearing rather than just your ears....
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Makes sense. I have plenty of speakers on hand to blind test, so will do it when I get less lazy:)
 

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Randy -


Thanks for the kind words.


Craig -


There are two points I would like to make concerning your post above.


First, I don't think the ACI Sapphire's with the Force subwoofer is a "fair comparison" with the Veracity HT1's as you state.


These speakers are not in the same ballpark. The Vifa XT18 driver in the Sapphires is a good driver, but it is definitely less detailed and has higher distortion levels than the W18EX drivers in the Veracity. And there is no comparison where the tweeters are concerned.


This is not to say the Sapphires are not a good speaker. ACI offers very great products and Mike is a superb speaker designer. The Sapphires are simply not a high-definition reference monitor like the HT1's.


I build a other speakers that are similar in performance and price to the Sapphires and, when combined with one of my subs, would provide a more equitable and "fair" test.


About the only thing you could determine with a test like the one you described is whether or not the tester preferred a full-range set-up to a more accurate and detailed 2-way.


The second point is more philosophical in nature.


In theory, I favor of the concept of blind testing. But, when it comes to evaluating a high-definition monitor like the Veracity HT1's, there is a flaw in the procedure that may hinder the quality of the decision-making process.


There is a factor at play here that I would describe as the "listener's reference standard." This is a very real phenomenon that can actually prevent a person from making a good judgment in a relatively short listening session (a single evening). Allow me to explain.


Our notion of what constitutes great sound is based primarily on past experience. Each of us has a built in "reference standard" that we use to evaluate sound reproduction. And this reference standard changes over time as we are exposed to better sound reproduction. Not to pick on any specific manufacturer, but many unsophisticated consumers are of the opinion that Bose cubes produce great sound. It's not that they are wrong, it's that they have not had the opportunity to spend extended time with a better speaker. Their built-in reference standard has not had an opportunity to mature to any great degree.


When you are first exposed to what I would call a high-definition reference monitor like models in the Veracity line, in many cases they will not sound exactly the way you think a great speaker should.


For example, they may lack the warm distortion a person is used to hearing in a lesser speaker and wrongly assumed, all along, was part of the music. In this case, the tendency may be to think there is something missing in the high-definition monitor.


I have had a few customers (experienced audiophiles) at first interpret this relative lack of distortion as a flaw in the Veracity's design. After spending about a week listening, however, they began to realize that their previous "reference" speakers were actually adding distortion that should not have been there in the first place.


In this extended listening process, these individuals actually upgraded their personal "reference standard."


When they later returned to their old speakers, they found them veiled, lacking in detail, slow and bloated in comparison. They never would have noticed this deficiency without having had an opportunity to spend time acclimating to a speaker with minimal distortion. But once they did, they would never choose to go back.


Here's another example of how this comes into play. When most people adjust the volume on their system, they unknowingly turn it up until they reach a certain level of distortion, perceive it as being too loud, and back off to what they regard as a perfect listening level.


I try to warn new Veracity users that they will not receive these distortion cues, so they need to be careful with playback levels. They will have a tendency to play music a lot louder than they think. After issuing that warning, a number of users reported that this mirrored their experience with the speakers.


My point here is that when evaluating a speaker as drastically different performance-wise as the Veracity, most people need to spend some time adjusting to higher levels of detail and accuracy and lower levels of distortion and veiling, before they can fully appreciate the differences. And once they do, they are very unlikely to prefer their previous "reference standard."


That being the case, one or two evenings spent in a blind listening test may not be the best way to evaluate a high-definition monitor if you haven't had previous experience with this level of performance.


In the end, the purpose of a test such as the one you suggest is to help select the system that will provide the most enjoyable long-term listening experience. So it would make sense to allow for whatever "break-in" time is required to establish a proper "reference standard" to base that decision on. This will insure that the decision made will be a good one, whatever it is.


On final comment: Although a blind test is a great concept in theory, users with an advanced internal "reference standard" will be able to instantly recognize a high definition monitor like the Veracity when compared to a speaker with lesser drivers. So. in actuality, it would not likely be a truly "blind" test in the first place.


- Jim
 

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Jim, I never said that the two speakers were comparable. I said they were the same money. When real people look for a product, the rational thing to do is to decide a budget, then find the best product, for them, within that budget. Some may prefer that full range sound, while others will go for detail.


I also did not suggest some form of comparison between ACI and your speakers... I said "for example".... "For example" means it is a hypothetical situation, I have never heard either speaker system, and I make NO judgements between them.


As far as your assertion that comparing the Sapphire/Force to your HT-1's is not "fair", that is the the buyer's decision.


I also never suggested a single evening would suffice in order to determine a "winner", I said over a few nights, which WILL allow the person to make a decision based on many hours of listening.


Finally, If a person can quickly determine that, using your "upgraded personal reference standard" approach, that yours (or anyone else's) speaker system is superior through blind testing, that is wonderful. It is STILL blind testing. Which means no bias will enter the equation.


By the way, My reference standard is live music.
 

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Craig -


Just a few obervations.


I know you never said the speakers were comparable. But if a person prefers a "full-range sound" within that budget, they shouldn't consider the Veracity HT1's in the first place.


Yes, it is true it is that what is "fair" is the buyer's decision. That does not mean this comparison makes sense.


I'm glad you stated "over a few nights." That is a good start. I would say about a week with each speaker would really draw out any subtle differences and allow the listener to adjust to the given speaker's performance. Then there will be no doubts.


Lastly, I was thinking about the speakers in your "example" and frankly don't know how this would constitute a "blind" test. I could tell instantly which speaker I was listening to and most people would have little trouble after a short time. Even if they couldn't see the speakers, it wouldn't take long to determine which they were listening to. Which means bias could still enter into the equation.


I'm also glad your reference is live music. That is what lead me to develop the Veracity line in the first place.


- Jim
 

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In Craig's trials he has heard neither speaker before hand and has someone else set them up and select which pair he is listening to.


Obviously, this doesn't work when comparing them to speakers you already know intimately.
 

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The issue is often "frame of reference". People tend to compare new speakers to what they know. When comparing two speakers, this complicates things even more. I agree that live music is the best reference but aural memory is notoriously short. AR did live versus recorded tests 40 years ago, and most people couldn't tell the difference. Just some random thoughts.
 

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Craig -


No offense intended. I just didn't see the test you described as being all that valuable for the reason noted below.



Tex-amp -


I don't know Craig and am not familiar his testing methodology, so I can't comment. I was reacting to the comparison in his example and simply didn't feel it was a meaningful endeavor. It would make more sense to me to compare a 2-way to a 2-way and a full-range to a full-range. The systems in the example were differnet enough that I wouldn't think an unbiased test would be required to sort it out.


tonygeno -


I agree fully. You need to remove this "frame of reference" bias (I refered to it as "listener reference standard") in order to make an accurate assessment. Based on customer feedback, I believe this takes more than an evening with each speaker.


- Jim
 

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Craig -


The first round is on me!


- Jim
 
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