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Thursday, 10 August 2023


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“ I should have done something that simply earned money effectively, and then pursued my interests as hobbies on the side.”

I should have met you many decades ago to give you your advice earlier.

I wanted to make a living as a photographer, the pay was too unreliable. I sold beer instead. I pursued photography on the side.

For anyone looking for decent/clean amps:

1-Little power-Fosi Audio V3 (with 48V PS: 141W at 4R, 89W at 8R)- $110

2-More power-Buckeye 3 Channel Purifi Amplifier (265W at 4R, 172W at 8R)- $1600

Not long ago I invested in major upgrades to my system, from sources through DAC, amplification, cables and speakers. Without going into to all the detail, and since this post is about speakers, I chose the Triangle 40th Anniversary Comète. These speakers are so good, especially for the price and are more “full range” than the LS3/5As. While some might prefer the LS3/5As (which of course is perfectly fine) since the two speakers are simply different, the Triangles are worth considering for someone building a modest (by audiophile standards) system in a small to medium size room.

There is something about photo GAS and high-end hi-fi that seems inextricably linked, at least for those of us of a certain age. Of course there are significant differences - one being a creative endeavor and the other being a means to experience others creative endeavors, but the willingness to devote endless amounts of time and, sometimes ungodly amounts of money, to wring out the last degree of perfection defies, for many, rationale thought.

Of course, your post stirred up my long ago stereo system that was as far as I was willing to take it: Magnepan 20 speakers, Spectral preamp, VPI turntable, and Classe 400 watt amp (the Maggies were terribly inefficient and needed gobs of power) along with sound traps, etc. When people came to my home and asked about the crazy speakers, I'd sit them down in the sweet spot in a darkened room, and put on a well recorded album with a small group whether jazz, classical or vocal (I.e. Seal's Kiss From a Rose or If I Could). They'd be shocked by the sense that the performers were right there.

Alas, when I moved 5 years ago I brought that with me - now maybe 30 years old and due to your article I have a desire to put it all back together. But I long ago realized that I was chasing the elusive goal of audio perfection and became truly happy with what I had, admittedly already over the top.

Many years ago, I read a number of reviews of the recently introduced Impulse H2 horn loaded speakers. So I got onto them to find out where I could hear them for myself.

They directed me to a chap (Jimmy Hughes), who was at the time a reviewer for a popular hi-fi magazine. It turned out that he lived within spitting distance of the Barbican arts venue. There are a number of arenas there, all of which are first class and very well designed, so there is plenty of choice.

It was a nice evening, and the speakers sounded good and not too hideous to look at (wife approval), and I thought that I might save my pennies and buy a pair. In short, a good evening, well spent.

Anyway, just as I was leaving, I told him that he was so lucky to live within five minute's walking distance of such a great complex, and I said that he must spend a lot of evenings listening to the real thing. His reply was...
"...Actually, I rarely go there, the acoustics are not to my liking"
After which regardless of my opinion of what I had heard from those Impulse speakers, with my own lugholes. There was no way that I was ever going to buy them, and I didn't.

Funnily enough, and before I read this column today, I had been thinking of scanning the various outlets to see whether any can be picked up for not much cash, as since retiring, I don't have many spondoolicks, and a change is as good as a rest, if they were cheap enough, I could put them in another room.

Finally, he was also the guy that thought that CD's were no good until a portion of the edge had been attacked with with a permanent marker pen... it took me ages to get those marks off. He was also the guy, who told me that speaker cable was of no consequence and neither were spikes. He used cheap bell wire and the speakers had casters.

Although I don't go mad with speaker cables regarding biwiring and all that stuff... I do find that it is necessary to use chunky stuff from QED or Linn/Naim, not to wire them out of phase, and to follow the manufacturers recommendation regarding positioning.

Needless to say, I no longer read those magazines, nor do I take web reviews that seriously. In truth one can get used to the sound from any set up, and be happy, until someone starts to badger you with their "you must get this/these" shenanigans, and doubt starts to creep in.

I live in Beckenham on the outskirts of London, and the parish church has taken to hosting some pretty good live acts.

Like Mr. Hughes, I can walk to them, so recently, I have seen Manfred Mann, Tom Paxton and The Tallis Scholars. Varied stuff, and all good enough to excuse the seriously painful (on the cheeks) pews.

I've always favoured the improbably huge "Dominator" speaker cases in "Ruthless People." Go big or go home!

Several British companies make close variations of the BBC sealed-box monitors. I got the Spendor A1's for their modern components, careful crossover, and adherence to the basic BBC concept.

They perform fine in a typical modest living room at any reasonable volume. Huff's warning is rather overdone.

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