ACI Sapphire II: review

I suggested, that Audiogon provides the "space" for reviews! However, nothing happened so far, and i will take upon myself to, maybe, start the "new" thing here on A-gon! I've been "living", with this speakers for about two months, and i feel "free" to share my "expiriance" with fellow "audio-entusiasts"-on budget-! Yes, these speakers cost around 1k (DIY available for <700)factory direct through Audio Concepts "Sapphire II" are older version of ACI "Sapphire III". The differences are, in the selection of drivers and tweeters. The older "Sapphire II" uses for mid/bass "Focal" 7K011DBL (discontinued) and "Focal" T120KT(modified) kevlar tweeter. The newer "Sapphire III" uses, "Focal" 7K4211DB for mid/bass, and "ScanSpeak" 1"hand-damped textile dome, ferro-fluid cooled tweeter. Both, mid/bass, "Focal's" are 7"kevlar sandwich layered cone, with rubber surround. Apparently, the new "Sapphire III" has somewhat "smoother" highs! ACI "Sapphire" are two-way **"aperiodic" loaded monitor with sloped baffle. Freq. resp. 64hz-20khz +/-3db anechoic Sensitivity: [email protected]/1meter, Impendance:6ohm,(smooth impendance curve from, 4.6ohm, min. to 9.2ohm max) Size: 16"h x 10"w x 10"(bottom dept)Weight 60lbs, pair. RMS power:15-200wpc. The enclosure is made of 3/4 Willamette, high density (, and with *extensive interior bracing. It passes "knucle rap" test! The crossover is "first order" tuned at +/-6db, and made of high quality parts. Everything looks very good from inside-out! The "craftsmenship" and parts quality, far exeeds the price tag on these "handsome" monitors. But, how about the sound? I had opportunity to test, and compair "Sapphire's" with Linn Tukan minimonitors, and Monitor Audio CE-3 gold, slim floorstanders, in "reverbant" than, idealy "threated" and later "stuffed"(dead) 20'x 15' room. The amp was Linn Majik integrated(33w-8ohm) the Cd player Linn Karik II, and various cable (kimber PBJ, Linn "analogue" Transparent The Link, Linn-400 speaker cable) In compairason with Tukan, i felt i listened more of my "source" components than the speakers. More "neutral" and less "in your face" of the speaker. Hwever Linn Lajik was "accused" of being not too "involving" amp, so Tukan might have ad some "dance" to it? But i didn't feel that i had lost anything! Only slight midrange "detail", that Tukan is better at...but at cost of "listening fatigue" on the long run! Natural timbre was what "Sapphire's" were wery good at. Monitor audio was slightly "euphonic" and forgiving but had "punchier" bass (two 6' mid/woofers) but not as defined as "Sapphire". Tukan in comp. with both hardly had ANY bass! As i said "Sapphire" is much more neutral of the two. I had more pleasure listening Sapphire's than Tukan's or MA, at long periods of time, in different settings, be it:Lively room (wood floor, less furniture)or acousticly "ideal"(rugs, bookshelfs etc...)ACI's far exeeded my expectation in correctness in Timbre, neutrality and musicality! On John Williams "The Guitarist" the performance of Carlo Domeniconi (trac-6) the great amout of air and energy could be felt, out of his guitar, without being "offensive". Just a natural "bite" of the acustic instrument. The same was for the Wagners "Siegfrid funeral" as the orchestra was building up, and the final "climax" was easy for "sapphire" to explore sudden exursions. On "Bossa Nova" compilation of Brasilian music on Verve, made ACI expose less than perfect "recording" with not of hint of "forgivness". Voices on Mozarts, Magic flute" were present and easily "traced" as they walked the stage, back and forth!! On "Passion" The Last Temptation of Christ soundtrack, the flute, duble violin finger cymbals were not smeared, the fine detail of "obscure" instuments could not have been mistaken for anything else. The Luke and Locomotive and Robert Lukas explored the best out of ACI Sapphires! Life's energy, and havent hear the slide guitar, till you hear it through the Sapphires. The same was with Dave Brubek's "Take Five", the sax had that "bite" (i said that already)that you'll deffinitely give you goose-bumps! Over all ACI Sapphire are "Best Kept secret" in the Hi-end world, especially with the performance it can stand "neck to neck" with some finest speakers more than twice the price. The only speaker that poses the similar traits as the Sapphires is Tylers Acoustics Tylo, but with more detail than ACI, However, at the bass range even though the spec's "stoped" at 64hz, my "stereophile" test dics no. 2 went down to 32 hz!! Highly recommended option for "audiophile-music lovers" withthe search for speaker that can live long, long, time with, even if upgrade their source or amplification...i know i will! For the proffesional review's check: for more info on ACI sapphire:
**Aperiodic: Refers to a type of bass-cabinet loading. An aperiodic enclosure type usually features a very restrictive, (damped), port. The purpose of this restrictive port is not to extend bass response, but lower the Q of the system and reduce the impedance peak at resonance. Most restrictive ports are heavily stuffed with fiberglass, dacron or foam.
Eldragon, I commend the detail of information, and thoroughness of this review! To compare these to not one, but TWO other speakers of similar size, is a nice touch. I can NOT believe that you had the patience to compare 3 different speaker systems, in three different room acoustic contexts! Isn't that NINE different comparisons? I like how you make your observations of the performance of these speakers with specific music, just like a review in a mag! Makes me want to buy all those discs...again, just like a good component review in print. I couldn't agree strongly enough: A speaker that can reveal highly specific characteristics of each recording, and also of the front end and amps, AND YET REMAIN NON-FATIGUEING and musical over long listening periods, is a speaker to be happy with over the long haul! And it's always great when you can get the bass to go LOWER than the specs say it ought to. Be glad, that doesn't usually happen, only occasionally. When it does in a context like this (where there are already so many other pluses like value and musicality), it is like the icing on the cake...a thick chocolate icing...
Thanks Carl! I can tell you this is the first component, that i bought, based solely on the reviews! And i am not intended to do it again! My wife just started talking to me couple of days ago! Moving the furniture, back and forth, borowing my friends Monitor's everywere...mess!! It took over a month like that! (between me and you, if you want your wife or girlfriend to move-out, just do what i did) Thanks again! Dragan
> I can tell you this is the first component, that i bought, based solely on the reviews! And i am not intended to do it again! < I MEANT NO REVIEWES, AGAIN
In addition, i upgraded the ac cords on both Majik, and Karik, with the API EF 313, and the ac filtter by ULTRA-MATE, and the sound quality has jumped "gratifying notch" from the sound i had, when i auditioned these speakers! I believe i am "squeezing" a max out of my amp, and i cannot be more happier!
Good for you! Power cords make a huge difference, whether or not there are miles of steel cable upstream from them or not (as one other guy says, elsewhere). The reason is simple: they are still in series with the power that is supplying your components.