January 9, 2011

Best Speakers 2010.

Speakers are about the most personal choice one can make in hifi purchase. Every pair of speakers will invariably sound different by comparison to the next pair. They all have some of their own tone colour signature somewhat, and the way they load a room can make or break the system's sound, regardless of what equipment lies in front of the hifi chain.

Since we did not get much speakers to play with this year, I'd thought we'd highlight 2 models that we use as our every day reference, which are still available from their respective dealers if one is interested.

Eggleston Works The Nine, is Odiosleuth's daily reference speakers. They portray big sound and are tonally warm with some of the smoothest high frequency reproduction. Vocals are presented in a full bodied manner that few speaker can match. However, The Nine will also allow one to revel in the gorgeous tonal palette of classical instruments. This pair of heavy Eggleston also needs a big room to sound it's best, and will certainly benefit when partnered with a pair of beefy mono block power!

The PMC Fact 8 is my recent purchase as a result of it's review. For me, their transparency and speed are both prized quality but also their Achilles heel. They will reveal poorly matched or even just less good equipment in the front of the audio chain. The PMC is tonally neutral but can present female vocals in a seductive manner. One area that will certainly split opinions of those who heard the Fact 8 is the bass. It seems many don't like the bass character of the ATL(Advance Transmission Line) tuning, while some thought nothing of it. For me, the best part is that the PMC extends pretty low in the bass area without overloading my small room, thanks to it's adjustable passive cross over feature.

There are a few other speakers which we've heard(but not rviewed) this year and feel are very good at various price levels and would like to make a quick mention of them here. The honours go to:

1) Magico Q5, makes the most beautiful and beguiling tonal qualities I've ever heard from any pair of loud speakers.

2) Wilson Sasha, as a further refinement of the W/P concept, the Sasha possesses all the classic slam bang W/P qualities that are so endearing but adds warmth and dimensional refinement to the mid range, which makes the Sasha nearly the most complete Wilson speaker ever.

3) Focal Utopia Skala, brings huge sound stage and pin point imaging to the fore. That further refined Beryllium tweeter design sounds warmer yet more transparent now. A speaker to take on the Wilson Sasha, but only more refined in execution.

4) TAD CR-1, is possibly the best sounding stand mount monitor in the market today, as we've all heard it sing at this year's KLIAV Show. Need we say more?

5) Raidho C-3, is not the speaker for bass heads, but if refinement, wide band width response, ear cuddling soft tonality and utter transparency is your thing, then this is right up your alley.

6) ATC SCM 100 ASL(Active), is great value for money, even if it's not quite cheap! But think of all the money you'd save on high quality muscle amp? This big bad boy(if a little un-cultured) of a speaker will do the disappearing tango party trick and can rock with vengeance too!

7) Epos Encore 50, is surely the biggest bargain big speaker in high end dome today. Priced at RM$20k or so, it gives all the above contenders a seriously close run for their money in all hifi related and musical parameters. It's that good!

By the way, all the above are big, big speakers that'll require premium space to work well. Yes, even the TAD CR-1 monitors are quite big, even if they do look deceivingly small.

More best of 2010 to come.

No comments: