April 13, 2012

Yo! Greatness. YG Carmel Loudspeaker.

The YG Carmel in my man cave.

I had admired the YG Carmel loudspeakers since their demo, driving by all Nagra electronics during the last KLIAV show. Even during the hostile show environment, the baby YGs manages to shine, with a captivating "golden" tonality. When Mr Aw of The Audio Store told me that I am to bring these gorgeous babes home, I just couldn't refuse, challenging logistics aside.

You see, each of these all aluminium compact loudspeakers weights 40kgs or so, despite the diminutive 1 meter tall slim tower design. It needed the strength two strong men to bring them up to my first floor man cave. The Carmel looks like the sort of speaker that Darth Vader himself would buy, in it's all black anodised enclosure. From certain angles, these YGs actually does have lines similar to the Star Destroyer! In my man cave, it certainly matched the all black chunky styling styling of my Pass Aleph 0 mono blocks. This Carmel is a two way design, using a Scanspeak ring radiator tweeter and that top of the line Scanspeak Revelator paper cone mid/bass driver, popularly used in other high end speaker designs too.
Darth Vader himself would buy this YG speakers to match his Star Destroyers! The non-parallel surfaces serves to break up internal resonances and back wave.

The YG Carmel is easy to set up in my room, due to familiarity and an unfussy quality inherent in the speakers it self. I tried moving them a couple of inches up and down from the usual position that usually works. I ended up placing the Carmel 42 inches from the rear wall and 18 inches(measured from the corner of the front panel) from the side wall in my 10 x 12ft cave. Due to the speaker's strong low end response, I had to place them 2 inches further in to my room than usual. I also plug the speaker cables to the top(tweeter) terminal rather than the bottom(mid/bass), bi-wire able terminals. The YG Carmel rest on three threaded and adjustable floor pointed spikes, which I leveled out in my room.
The review pair is serial no. 85. Note the WBT style speaker cable terminals for bi-wiring or bi-amping. I used my Siltech Classic Anniversary 550L jumpers to match my resident Classic Anniversary 330L speaker cables.  

With a rated 87db sensitivity, the YG Carmel required me to turn up the volume level more than usual, compared to when using my 89db rated PMC Fact 8 loudspeakers. However, my 75W rated Pass Labs never sounded like it was struggling to power the YGs. In fact, with the YG's in my system, I heard greater bandwidth, higher linearity and more transparency. There's seemingly never ending head room built in to these speakers, because at volumes when my Fact 8 starts to sound harsh, encouraging me to back down, the Carmel just goes on and on, which is especially nice when I indulged in the heaviest rock/metal tracks, like those from Guns & Roses and Metallica. Even when at near concert like volume settings, the YG's never sounded like it's on the edge, there was never a trace harshness, or woofer bottoming out symptoms.

Tonality wise, the YG is chameleon like, which is rather true to source, as that it reflects the sonic character of the up stream components, such as amps and sources, as in true to the recordings played. Like I mentioned earlier, the YG powered by all tubed Nagra electronics during the last KLIAV gave an impression of "golden" hued tonality. I never heard any kind of "goldenness" in my system. With my all solid state Pass Labs amplification, the YG put on a more direct, and neutral tonality, if still a little on the warm side of things. I say neutral not as in the clinical kind, but more of the "get out of the way" kind, if ya know what I mean?
This is an excellent audiophile quality pop/vocal album. Maeve O'Boyle has that scotch soaked, dark, throaty vocals which makes her songs sounds that much like her life's experiences.  

Initially, the Carmel had highs that were a little sticky around the tweeter, a sign that the review pair of speakers was not fully run in. However after two weeks of continued playing had the tweeter opened up like a blooming petal. The highs had a softly, gently, cultured quality that is presents music in a slightly darker than usual back drop. The highs wasn't the kind that particularly grab one's attention, yet all the details, and subtle elements that make music so much more realistic is there for your discovery. If any thing, I rather call this YG highly coherent, from the highs to the mid bass driver.

Again, the mids were initially a little shut in, but that quality disappeared with time. I observed that the mids are probably not as beguiling or voices don't come across as attractive as my resident Fact 8, but that's a Brit thing. If I had to make a judgement call, the YG is probably the more reserved and uncoloured in it's mid range character but likely to be the more accurate sounding of the two. Please don't mistake my above judgement by implying the YG is a dull speaker. Far from it, in fact that earlier mentioned coherence factor goes a long way the tweeter hands over to the mid/bass driver that is one of the most seamless I've heard till date.

The YG earns extra brownie points in it's bass department. Though spec to deliver no lower than 35Hz, it actually sounds like it's diving lower, kicking harder and delivering healthier bass output, which makes the PMC Fact 8's spec look rather optimistic.  As a sealed box design. which usually sacrifices sensitivity for bass accuracy, I think YG made a well judged call on this matter of compromise. The bass response never overwhelmed the other reproduced frequencies higher up, or boom in my small room. It is always well controlled, even at rock concert like play back volumes.
The Scanspeak ring radiator tweeter, housed inside a shallow wave guide, and the 7 inch mid/bass Revelator driver sound seamlessly coherent. That star grille is attached by embedded magnets. 

I played all kinds of music thru the Carmel and always experience different sonic character based on the recording. If a recording is warm sounding, like Linn Record's All My Sins, performed by Maeve O'Boyle, than that's what you'd get. If it's an excellent piano recording like Black & White by Danny Wright, then the grandness of scale in the piano is portrayed vividly. Danny's piano play uses a lot of staccato techniques for an exciting effect, and the YG's delighted in it's performance. As the "worldly" Eminent Monk commented, a speaker that could deliver riveting piano performance like this, is what separates a pair of great speakers from the merely good.

Demure in size, but projection of scale is somewhat larger than life, in typical American high end fashion, reminding me the likes of Wilson Audio. This YG speaker will project an illusion of sound stage that is larger, with much depth and layering effect, if recording permits.  The YG sometimes made me feel like I am listening to the limits of my system, rather than the limits of it's own. It certainly deserves to be partnered with the best amplifiers and sources available, for best hifi experience.

Another look at the YG Carmel, also available in anodised silver.

It is always a headache when one sets up a high end system in a small room. What speakers does one choose to partner with the best CD players, and amplifiers? One can choose a small reference grade stand mount, at the expense of reproducing the lower frequencies. Or one can choose a high quality, small foot print, un-obtrusive nearly full range floor stander like this YG Carmel, priced at a whopping RM$53,600.00/pair. This is small high end speaker performance at it's finest available today, and that I do not doubt the YG Carmel one bit.

YG Acoustics is sold by The Audio Store, contact Mr Aw at 03-78872233 or 019-2682559.

38 comments:

Unknown said...

Large than life scale on Carmel
Generally well executed large speakers produce life like scale and not " larger than life as you mention.
Those larger than life are normally recorded and you will hear a larger that life . Try the Sarah Vaughn live recording and you can see a more appropriate scale.
This excerpt from Stereophile - on JM LAB Grand UTOPIA elaborate on this : Focal-JMlab Grand Utopia loudspeaker Page 2 | Stereophile.com
www.stereophile.com/.../focal-jmlab-grand-utopia-loudspeaker-page-...Once again, I assume JMlab didn't want my (or your) ears directly on the axis of the ... by a pair of Classé 1000s bridged for mono, they produced extraordinary bass. ... Images were never larger than life unless they'd been recorded that way (eg, ... scale and level of accuracy, the same fine realism, as full orchestras and live ...

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Big E,

I must say, the YG looks very good in yr audio cave! :-)

junchoon2989 said...

i agree w CCSI, a perfect match. time for BIG E to upgrade??? :)

vulture-for-cheap-2nd-hand-fakta-lapan,
wps

Big E said...

Unknown,

You're right about the scale thing, it's probably more of a recording artifact.

However, the YG's does consistently project imaging scale larger than most other speakers, just like em' Wilsons.

I am just telling it as what I heard.

Felix,WPS,

As good as the YG looks and sound in my room, I am not in a position to do any upgrades this year.

I'm hoping to re-examing the tweak side of things, should time, and budget permits.

Ken said...

Looking at the size, I don't think the YG gives a larger than life soundstage.

I suspect that the soundstage you get from your PMC speaker is smaller, hence you feel the imaging to be larger than life with the YG.

One of the reasons of "larger than life" soundstage could be due to inadequate power from the power amp.

tan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big E said...

Ken,

Oh....I forget, that you're one person who knows sound by looks!

Have you heard the YG Carmel in person?

The imaging scale the YG projects is certainly larger than my PMC, which is on the smaller side of life size. That much I agree.

Kindly elaborate, for the benefit of all our readers here, how does an inadequate power amp result in larger than life imaging?

Should it not be the other way round?

Tan,

I certainly hope to try your suggestion, provided the dealer will allow.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

I am curious.

Is a slightly "larger than life" scale a negative attribute in hifi?

Ken said...

Big E,

Quote "Demure in size, but projection of scale is somewhat larger than life, in typical American high end fashion, reminding me the likes of Wilson Audio." Unquote

I cannot understand why you are asking me to elaborate when you are the resident reviewer here.

I personally think that you should be the one explaining to us, not the way around.

But since you ask, you mentioned that the imaging of the YG is larger than life, which practically means that it is bigger what yr PMC speaker is capable of, right?

Ken said...

Felix,

Larger than life does not necessarily be wrong. It really depends on the listener's preference.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

Thx for clarifying my question.

I think what Big E meant was how does insufficient power cause a larger scale. I think that's what you meant when you said,

"One of the reasons of "larger than life" soundstage could be due to inadequate power from the power amp".

I was kinda curious too.

Ken said...

Felix,

Since you ask so nicely, I will explain to you ;-)

When you are using an insufficiently powerful amp, the imaging of, especially the vocalist, will be poorly defined. Some listeners would view this as "larger than life" which to me spells out loudly to me insufficient power because you cannot create a well defined imaging.
You can know this just by reading the review.

That is why I always try to get the most powerful quality amp that I can afford.
You want your system to be able to handle the great music, and you tell me you are feeding it with less powerful amp which is just barely powerful enough.
You do know that there is a higher chance of blowing your woofer when you pair it with low wattage amp than a more powerful brethren.

If a low wattage amp is what you need, then I do not know why people like Boulder, Krell, D'Agostino and Pass for that matter, bother to make humoungously powerful amp.
You see, the YG speaker is not exactly a horn speaker or high efficiency speaker.

If you read the review again, when Big E increase the volume, the speaker can handle or "take the abuse" but I sincerely doubt that the amp can dish out anymore. The Pass amp that Big E use may be suffficient for his PMC speaker but unfortunately, not so with the YG speakers.

Big E said...

Ken,

Thank you for your explaination about the possibility of a larger than life imaging due to insuffiecient power amp issue.

However, I did not heard any blurred outlines around the image. The imaging focus was good infact.

I already agreed earlier that the YG throws a larger sound stage and imaging than my resident PMC.

Like your good self, I do not associate larger than life scaling as a bad thing, as live amplified concerts tend to sound larger than life!

I am also well aware that I was listening to the limits of my system, rather than the limits of the YG, as clearly stated in the review context.

I believe I've been as honest as I can(though not perfect, as it's very difficult to describe sound in plain English) in describing the sound of the YG Carmel.

So what's your beef?

Unknown said...

Your Quote "Live amplified sound larger than life " In my opinion may not be totally accurate. As mention earlier with my little experience as a musician, audiophile and dabbling with midi player and recording we know for sure that through several techniques we can make vocal or certain instruments sound larger than life; by increase in saturation, layering up, parallel processing and the secret weapon was the transient especially in making the drums more bigger than it is by enhances or attenuates the intensity of both the attack and release phase of every transient in your sound. Simply put this means you can make things snappier or softer and by altering the release phase you can make things tighter or appear larger.
Most opera recordings or live Chinese or western classical recording could be a better feel of the original intent in terms of scale , I think.
Larger than life may not be a bad thing but to conclude that YG Carmel have that weakness may not be accurate assessment if the recording is at fault. So one need a more repeated evaluation to see if the speakers like YG or Wilson or etc have that weakness, I think some poorly engineered design may have this fault.
On the Nordost QXV2 - there are possibilities these current tweaks removed certain frequency with gain in mostly the higher frequencies resulting in "just there" sound - more presence in midrange and highs. I agree with Ken & Big E - power amps quality and quantity is very important.

Ken said...

Big E,

I have explained my opinion already. I do not want to sound like a broken record in repeating my explanation again.
Suffice to say, you are a reviewer (not a newbie), and you have reviewed quite a number of gears, so I do not need to explain things so thoroughly, right?

I like to play my music loud and inadequate wattage is one of the things I am particularly sensitive to. Your review spoke loudly on this.

You can also read Unknown's first and also the most recent post for more explanation. I thought it was a logical explanation which I agree in some aspect as I have cds that do sound like that.

Quote "I am also well aware that I was listening to the limits of my system, rather than the limits of the YG, as clearly stated in the review context."
I agree with this unequivocally!

mikelau.2 said...

I am of the opinion that larger than life imaging is not a good thing unless its a bad recording.

junchoon2989 said...

unless u guys r talking about clipping from severely under powered amps:

http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?1444-Getting-a-3D-holographic-presentation-from-40.1&p=16424#post16424

i think it depends on how the recording engineer/producer wish to convey the larger/smaller than life thingie, no?

cheers,
wps

Puchong wong said...

lyetwele tchnitAn eminent monk said the dumbest question an audiophile can is"does my hifi sound good?"everyone will answer,"if I tell you the truth you also don't want to believe".But everyone's'truth'is different from one another also,so how to belive?

Ken said...

PCW,

It is not a question of whether people believe you or not. It is a question if people can understand what you say or not

OdioSleuth said...

Ken
What you just wrote is on the verge of getting personal, so please watch it. Thank you.

Ken said...

OS,

I don't understand how my posting was being construed to be personal.

What I said was you can like a sound or preference but if people do not understand what you are trying to convey with the sound, how can you expect them to understand.

Anyway, I feel Big E's posting to me was sarcastic "Oh....I forget, that you're one person who knows sound by looks!"

Be fair.

tan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OdioSleuth said...

Ken

I don't want to get into a long debate with you on what you wrote. Your writing is there for everyone to read and one can form one's opinion. If you think people keep misunderstanding what you write then you probably should re-look at the way you write to convey your points more accurately.

If you feel that because a person is sarcastic to you so you can do the same, sorry, 2 wrongs don't make a right.

So, again, with all due respect, i advise you please watch how you write your comments.

Regards.

Big E said...

Ken,

I offer my most un-reserved appologies to you, if you felt I was being sacarstic(with my comment about you knows sound by looks), but that was what you told me personally many years ago!

You have mentioned that having reviewed so many hifi equipments over the years(not a newbie), there's no need for you to explain things thoroughly.

I know how equipment sounds, but I do not know if you know what you're writting, i.e. as in do I really understand what you're tryimg to say in your writing?

I asked for further eleboration because I do not know, or wish to confirm!

The Eminent Monk preached, "let go of one's status, be humble, in the quest for knowledge". I am a life long philoshophy student of the Eminent One.

I am being humble again now, for which you have not answered my quest for knowledge yet, have you actually listened to the YG Carmel for yourself yet?

Ken said...

Big E,

Apologies accepted.
And if I have offended you in any way, I would like to apologise.

I am a guy who always try to make it a point to explain my opinion so that people understand what I am trying to convey. I can accept that some people may never agree with my opinion but I hate it when they start to be brash about it.

I made a comment based on your review which has revealed a lot of things about your system.

You see, there are hundred, maybe thousands of new gears being churned out monthly. How can we go to listen to everyone of them? Who can? Do I have to listen to the YG to know that they have sound much better than the PMC? I don't think so. They cost so much more than your PMC, so I expect them to sound better. Who wouldn't?
Is it important for me to have listened to the YG to comment on it? I don't think so.
I did not say that YG sound poor. I am not saying that your PMC or your system sound poor.
If the YG sounds the same or worse than your PMC, I think the whole YG corporation should shut down.
That is why I unequivocally agree with your comment. It was never meant to be a sarcasm!

I suspect that one of the reasons why you find that the soundstage, imaging to be larger than life with the YG is because the PMC may be giving you an overall smaller imaging size.
I had that sensation when I moved from Epos ES14 to QLN floorstand speakers. But I notice that the imaging size seems to plateau when I moved from QLN to the ATC SCM100. Maybe if I listen to the Grande Utopia or Wilson Alexandria, it may be different.
I suspect it could be due to the room size that I am using but I doubt it.

I am of the opinion that the weakest link in your system is your power amp. Try to get a more powerful amp to review and hear the difference with the YG or your resident PMC. Listen to the grip that will be apparent when you listened to challenging music.

You can argue that I am dissecting every word that you wrote on your review but when you wrote a review, you expect that to happen. If you cannot accept a debate, then do not let readers blog on it. It is a democratic world we live in and I know, we have to live with certain rules but we are not exactly "killing" each other. We are debating!
That is how we improve.

What I can say is that your overall writing skills have improved since I starting reading the reviews.

Ken said...

OS,

I personally think if you want to make a right, you should nip the wrong in the bud.

Don't just go for one side!

OdioSleuth said...

Ken

Big E has offered his apology. The 'bud' is already made right.

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

Ken,

Pretty strong words. And based on purely and a lot of assumptions and speculative at best, imho.

"You see, there are hundred, maybe thousands of new gears being churned out monthly. How can we go to listen to everyone of them? Who can? Do I have to listen to the YG to know that they have sound much better than the PMC? I don't think so. They cost so much more than your PMC, so I expect them to sound better. Who wouldn't?
Is it important for me to have listened to the YG to comment on it? I don't think so.
I did not say that YG sound poor. I am not saying that your PMC or your system sound poor.
If the YG sounds the same or worse than your PMC, I think the whole YG corporation should shut down.
That is why I unequivocally agree with your comment. It was never meant to be a sarcasm!"

The same things can be assumed by others about the TAD CR1 against your resident ATC SCM100.

Just like how readers think they can question the reviewers unreservedly and openly, reviewers have the right to question readers as well.

I am still trying to grasp yr explaination about more power=better scaling. I had thought that there were other factors involved as well.

From what you are saying, it seems to me you are also saying that the PMC FACT 8 may be more "correct" than the YG Carmel.

To be honest, I never liked how the YG looked but after Big E's review, I would definitely try to get a listening session with the Carmel at the next KLIAV show.

HS said...

I would like to add my 2 cents worth. In the world of audiophiles the saying "The test of a pudding is in the eating" holds most truth. With the internet one could be an expert overnight and could make almost believable debates. With the puddings, we have armature cooks, professional cooks and chefs all exerting their knowledge of the puddings. Some like it sweet, some dry. Others prefer it full rather than lean etc etc. Unless the majority who have eaten your puddings and commented your puddings are really good, your comments on puddings shall just remain as a comment without much weight and hopefully others could see through it. When I mention "you" it is not directed to anyone but it is just for us to reflect upon ourselves.
This post is not meant to offend and no one should feel offended unless it is self guilty conscious.
Enjoy your hobby;)

Capernaum Creative Solutions Inc. said...

HS,

Wow. Sounds like what my "yoga" master would send me over email. :-)

Somehow, your post reminds me of the group Right Said Fred. Didn't they sing, I'm Too Sexy?

Big E said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Big E said...

Felix,

You're certainly the sexy one! Ha! Ha!

Ken,

................. ah! I don't know what to say anymore.

Ken said...

Big E,

Errrr..... ;-)

mikelau.2 said...

ssWhy should hifi be such a touchy hobby ?

Is it meant to be ?

The blog calls for comments. Therefore should readily accept such comments or rebut where so required so long its not personal or downright offensive.

Similarly if one makes a comment he or she must be willing to accept brash or even seemingly foolish comments too. Otherwise its best to stay on the sidelines ?

Lone Stim said...

Hi there,
I had a pair of Darth Vader's Carmel as well! No regret to join "The Dark Force"! It serve me with its ultimate depth, wide sound stage and ultra dynamic that I was hunting for years! Blind eyes test has passed the 3D effect in my 15X18 man cave. Cheers.............

Big E said...

Mike,

I'd rather be touchy with the ladies! Ha! Ha!

It's no fun to touchy fellow audiophiles, however the Eminent One tends to have a touchy habbit with a few people!

Lone Stim,

What a nick! I very stim the YG too, but financial muscle not able to measure up yet. So it will have to remain a distant dream up grade in the not too distant future(I hope).

After spedning more than a month with the Carmel, I understand why you enjoyed it so much. You're one lucky fella indeed!

May I invited my self to listen to your pair(if possible) so to compare notes a bit on the YG?

Lone Stim said...

Big E,
"Sa-wat-dee, sabai dee reu?" You are welcome to Chiang Mai! Actually not many audiophiles can find here and I really need some friendly advise on my set up. I have few set up with me here in my various man cave. I am not a branded follower but I love to compare music playback from my very budget system to other better system with me. Sometimes I find myself just can't make any huge different in each system I had! "BLUR" so call! Temporary stop listening for few weeks and concentrate to my work is my only solutions! Laew phob gan mai, Big E.

Big E said...

Lone Stim,

Sawasdee!

I like to visit Chiang Mai! Do give me your e-mail contact and we can take it from there, or you can send me your contacts to the e-mail listed on this blog site.

I may be making a business trip to Bangkok soon, and can hop over to lovely Chiang Mai!