I am just waiting for somone to ask this question. The direct answer to your question is that they sound Exceptional....
I have not seen any reviews on these speakers but here are my initial assessements after 45 hours of continuous playing time. Here is a quick snap shot and I will go into greater details later. I do not have the owner's manual for my samples so I dont know that is the recommended break-in period is but I expected to be longer than 40+ hours. If you're in the market for a pair of speakers in this price range, do not buy until you have a chance to audition these speakers.
The Adagio is beautiful, sonically and cosmetically. It stands about ~50 inches tall... You can get the specs from AZ.
Created a very good three-dimensional space, wide, deep, and very stable with a large sweet spot. Female voices such as Diana Krall, Salena Jones, Partrica Barber... never sounded better. The highs are so extended, airy and detailed that I actually hear a lot more stuffs that I have not heard before with my reference speakers, the Andra II. The integration of the drivers/crossover are very seamless across the entire sound spectrum. The decay of transient is unbeleivable when listened to the pluck of the guitar string on the SACD, Friday Night In San Franciso and the crash of a cymbal on track 11 of Particia Barber, Blue cafe. Anyway, I have to take my kids to baseball now but will be back later..... I am not exactly sure what the heck is the under-hung driver
Anthuan.In the June/July issue of The Absolute Sound Sallie reynolds has a review of the Adagio. She says these speakers are so good they're difficult to write about. Her only minor pick is they don't do 16hz but only because there not sopposed to. In the same issue she also did a review of Tyler Linbrook System II. She had some small picks on these. I was dissapointed that she did not make any direct comparrisons between the two since they both are in the same issue and about the same price.Can you tell us more about how your Andra II and the Adagio compare? Are you one of the lucky people who have two systems or do you swap out speakers in the same room?
they are very good. I heard them. They require about a week of continues play to break in to a degree that they become listenable though. After that, it just gets better.
Recommend tube electronics with them. I heard them with Bel Canto integrated and Blue Circle integrated and Blue Circle hybrid integrated sounded better, although Bel Canto was no slouch.
Speakers are beuatifully finished, they look great.
At the time, I found no shortcomings for a speaker with a proce tag of $3700, but now I heard the price went up. I don't know how much they cost anymore.
I think these speakers are suitable for a wide selection of music, including classical, jazz and rock.
I would not hesitate to recommend these speakers.
check out this other post I left some comments on right after I auditioned these speakers. My memory was fresher then than it is now about how they sounded.
I see these are scheduled for a review by Chip Stern at 6Moons. As always it will be interesting to hear another perspective. I believe the price has gone from $3700 to $4000, still a good price for outstanding speaker. I'm going to make an effort to hear these if there are any in my area. BTW: I didn't see these on the Acoustic Zen site.
where are you? If you are in NY/NJ area, I can tell you where you can audition these.
Rja, I am in the Twin Cities. Please let me know when is the good time so you can audition these speakers. Mustang, I will get back to you later regarding the comparison of my reference speakers. I just have not had time.
Rja, that's too bad. I am assuming you won't travel to NJ just to audition these speakers.
Audphile1, your assumption is correct. Not sure exactly WHAT I'd travel to NJ for :<)!
yeah...me too. if I only didn't work there...
I'm in NYK. Where can I hear them?
Also, pertaining Sallie Reynolds or Anna Log or whoever writes TAS reviews, give me a break. There were no fewer than 4 speaker reviews in current issue. They love everything. The Revel F52 is not only good, it's their Revel fave. The Focal is a masterpiece even though it's Focal's entry stuff no less. The Adagio is so good it's beyond description. The $599.00 pair matched with the $400 Cambridge electronics approached high end. The Tyler's, magical. No measurements at all. Almost no hard facts. Are they biwirable? Anything about placement? Just airy-fairy stuff like they make the hairs on the back of your neck waltz.
Plus, specifically pertaining to Adagios, can't fail to notice the Adagio ad pages earlier. And the wording in the review comes straight from the ad, the stuff about lack of distortion and what not. I have no reason to doubt the Adagios are good, but TAS reviews are totally useless.
Dgolly, I have to agree with you about the review. It was a little "lite" from an information standpoint. However, the review did tweak my curiosity enough that I will try to hear them. As always I'll make my develop my own opinion.
....but where in NYk can I hear them? They aren't even mentioned in Acoustic Zen's website. I assume it's the same company.
FWIW, I was in Kansas City last week, and Al at Primus Audio was extremely gracious and allowed me about 4 hours at his place to hear some big-bang-for-your-buck speakers. Here are my thoughts on those speakers, as I wrote elsewhere...
(BTW, the real purpose when I went to Al's was to hear the VS VR-4Jr's - I'd never even heard of Dali or that Acoustic Zen had a speaker before Al set them up for me.)
Al at Primus Audio in Kansas City was kind enough to let me spend about 4 hours at his place last week while I was up there, and I got to compare four solid speakers in the +/- $2k-$4k range.
I listened to a pair of Von Schweikert VR-4Jr's, Dynaudio Focus 220's, Dali Helicon 400's and the AZ Adagios. I spent about an hour with each speaker, and listened to six widely differing tracks, relistening to what are key passages to my ear several times in each track.
The Adagios won hands down. The Dynaudios were very pleasant but not at all transparent, and the Dalis had a nice top end (I really liked that super tweeter above 12.5k) but were only moderately transparent. The Adagios were next; more on that in a minute. I saved what I thought would be the best for last: the highly-regarded 4-Jr's that I'd been dying to hear because of their reputation on the 'net. Unfortunately, they disappointed me with a bit of boomy bass (the room was well treated, for those wondering, but did have a 6dB rise around 60Hz, although none of the other speakers sounded boomy) and they sounded very slow and weighty. The soundstage wasn't what I had heard it to be, either; it was pretty narrow to my ears. Imaging was excellent though. Maybe the problem was I listened to them right after the Adagios.
In short, the Adagios were amazing for a $3700 speaker. Lightning fast with beatiful decay - thanks no doubt to the circular ribbon tweeter - and they had surprising bass for just two 5 1/4-inch woofers. (The manual says they are 6 1/2" drivers, but we measured them, and the actual cones are 5 1/4; the 6 1/2 includes the metal mounting plate around the cones.) My only complaint was the soundstage seemed a little narrower than I'd like, and they almost seemed *too* fast and light to my ears. They disappeared very nicely though, which surprised me since they don't have a narrowed front baffle, and I found myself eventually letting my mind shut down and just enjoying the music instead of constantly trying to "hear deeper" into the music.
Al told me these are "transmission line" speakers and that really helped the cones keep pace with the ribbon tweeter. Whatever it was, I'm still amazed at the speed of those speakers.
Frankly, the Adagios were the only of the 4 speakers I heard that I thought bested my Murphy-modified nOrh 9.0's. At $3700 I don't see how I can not buy a pair when I upgrade, unless the Ridge Street Audio Sasons I audition this weekend can blow the Adagios away. The Sasons are $1500 more, but they'd have to be truly amazing for me to steer away from the Adagios as my next speaker.
Howard,very interesting post.Thank you,for it!I have a friend considering the A/Z's.
Also,could you post your opinion of the Ridge Street speakers,when that occurs?
Sirspeedy, thanks! Will do on the Sason impressions.
I thought you should know that Sallie Reynolds is the person who did the recent review of the AZ speakers. Anna Log sadly passed away about 2 years ago. I had the privilege of meeting her at NJ Audio Society meeting about a year before she died.
Sorry to hear about aforementioned passing. No personal disrespect meant.
You mean to say there was a reviewer and the name was really Anna Log?
No, Anna Log was just her professional name. Her first real name was Valarie. Sorry, but I'm not sure of her last name. I think it was Kurlycheck.
All the best,
I'm the dealer in Chicago so take what I say with a grain of salt and bias on my part.
That said, I've found the soundstage to be as wide and deep as some of the best speakers I've heard. The limitation seems to lie with the associated equipment that your using to drive the speakers. I've put several solid state amps in and while the sound is very good, the soundstage slightly clapses. I put a Grommes 360 monoblocks in and the soundstage becomes almost larger than life. The presentation becomes 360 degrees, almost like surround sound depending on the CD your playing and the way it was engineered.
I've also found that the best sounds with these speakers come from a combination of a solid pre and a tube amp. I've had the speakers at least 6 weeks now and they have 400 hours plus on them. It took around 100 hours to really get comfortable with them with minor changes over the next 100 hours.
FYI - the solid state amps/class D amps I've tested with include the Luminance KST-150 with some small upgrades and the NuForce Ref9.02's. Preapms used include the Modwright SWL 9.0 SE, H-Cat, Heron Audio VSPT2. Source equipment include a highly upgraded Gyrodec SE with ORBE upgrades, April Musics Stello DAC and CD Transport, Sony XA777ES SACD/CD player and the Modwright 3910 w/Absolute Truth Modifications. Cabling is Revelation Audio Labs for speakers and interconnects and some power cords, also, Virtual Dynamics David and Power 3 power cords.
From your experience, can the Adagios be driven by low powered SETs such as the Art Audio Carrisa?
I have a 14x14 room with 10ft ceilings.....can these work in this enviorment? If not do you have any recomendations? I have a budget of $ 5000 for a quality 5.1 set up I listen to 50% MUSIC AND MOVIES.
The transmission line terminates in an opening on the front of the Adagio, so I don't see why they wouldn't excel in a 14x14x10 room. My new living room will be 20x14x10 and I'm certain they'd be magic in that relatively small room.
I too would be interested in minimum power requirements. I am looking to match my 22 watt SET with new speakers and am leaning to Daedalus. I like AZ cables and would be interested in the speakers too, if they can be driven by 20 odd SET watts
I wonder how the Zen Acoustic Adagio stacks up against the Zu Cable Druid? Anyone done a comparison?
Aggielaw, could you give us an update on the rsa sason speakers you were going to audition a couple of weeks ago. thank you.
For those interested, F2Audio, just got in a pair of Adagio speakers. Note: we are dealers located in Northern VA / Washington, DC area.
We just set them up today, so no listening notes yet. Over the next week we will be driving them with solid state, digital, and tubes to see what they can do with various electronics.
A couple of people have asked me about the Sasons in addition to and/or compared to the Adagios. Below is a copy-and-paste of an email I sent to someone this morning.
I'm sure I'll get flamed for my assertion that the Sason "might be the best speaker on the planet" but based on my experience (which, admittedly, isn't as vast as many on a'gon) I believe the Sasons may be the best speaker (to my ears) because they sound less like a speaker and more like life than any other speaker I've ever heard - and by a wide margin.
One note on the Sasons before I copy and paste: the pair I heard were in a very small room (maybe 12x10x8) and only had 60 hours on them, so they were nowhere even close to broken in. I think the Adagios I heard only had 100 hours on them or so. The bass response on the Adagios may get even better with more time on them, and the bass was already surprisingly good, as I may have written before.
I'm happy to tell you what I think of the speakers. Both speakers have such distinctive strengths that I don't think opinions could vary much as to the character of the speakers, although some people may prefer one over the other.
As background, let me say first I currently own nOrh mini 9.0's with the Murphy-designed optimal crossover, hand-build with the best components available by Jim Salk. The nOrhs are known for their fantastic mid-bass, soundstaging, and imaging. I've not found a speaker (of any kind) at $5k or less that I like better overall than my nOrhs (although I've found several that I'd take over a stock pair of nOrhs in a heartbeat.) The only exception to that statement might be the Adagios.
Let me start by saying the Sason is unlike any other speaker I've ever heard. I've not heard Maggies, but I've heard Conrad Johnson and Martin Logan speakers plus a host of dynamic driver and line array speakers, and the Sason doesn't sound remotely like *any* of them. There's so much air, and the image is so holographic, it's eerie. I've listened to several speakers that people say "convey a sense of air" and they all still sound generally like other speakers, just a little better at instrument separation. The Sasons are so much better at separation and air that it can't even be compared with any other speaker that I've heard. I listened to some $100k McInosh line arrays the same day I heard the Sasons, and let me tell you, the Sasons are almost as good, and even better in terms of air, soundstage, and space. I haven't heard the $20k monitors that people say the Sasons can compete with, but after hearing floorstanders that range from $500 to a hundred thousand, I find myself seriously doubting there is another speaker in existence that can compete with the Sasons in terms of soundstaging and "air" or separation of instruments/performers.
The only concern I have with the Sason is the pair I heard only had 60 hours on it. I believe Rob and Steve are using highly-modified Scanspeak drivers, which are notorious for taking hundreds of hours to break in. Even the stock Scanspeak drivers in my nOrhs took probably 500 hours to get really settled in and sound like they do now. So although the air and soundstage is already presented at 60 hours on the Sasons, it sounds like you aren't getting anything below about 500Hz on them. You hear the sounds and know they are there, but it's not "right" yet. I'm sure once the Sasons break in the tweeter cools a little (not that it's really hot now, especially compared to a stock Scanspeak tweeter) and the woofer really comes to life with a tremendously rich mid-bass and bass, but that will take at least a couple hundred hours, and then they won't really be all they can be until 600 hours (which is Steve Rothermel's assertion.) I have a hunch that, due to the modifications to the drivers, it may take a bit longer than that. I have to tell you, though, that if the Sason drivers break in and sound as good tonally as my nOrhs - and they should sound even better (otherwise why modify them, unless that's the secret to the air and soundstage) - these speakers will, to my ear, be the best speakers on the planet in my experience. I fully expect that to be the case, and if it isn't I will probably return my pair and just stick with my nOrhs for now. But I doubt I'll have to return the Sasons. They're magic, plain and simple.
Now that I've gushed about the Sasons, let me do a short comparison of them with the Adagios. The Adagios have a ridiculously "clean" sounding top end. The ribbon tweeter they use bests every other tweeter I've heard (including the Sason's) in producing a clean, lightning fast top with amazing decay. High-pitch percussion, such as cymbals and triangles are perfect. Overall, the Adagios are just so fast, detailed, and transparent that I just closed my eyes, tapped my feet, and enjoyed not just music, but life. I had so much fun listening to the Adagios that I stopped listening intently for every little nuance and just enjoyed them. They're the only speaker, Sasons included, that have ever made me do that. I'll bet the Adagios mated with an REL ST-series sub would be a combination that could last a lifetime.
In conclusion, I would have to say that unless the new $7500 price tag of the Sasons doesn't bother you at all, I'd go with the Adagios. They don't do the air like the Sasons - nothing does - but the soundstage and imaging are amazing and they're the most "fun" speakers I've heard. And at $3700 (or even at the new $4300 price) they are a steal compared to their competition. If you want what might be the best overall speaker on the planet and are willing to pay $7500 for it, go with the Sasons. The Sasons will compete with anything at any price, and best almost all if not all the others, so at $7500 they're a steal. $7500 is $7500, though. That's a lot of money.
Please feel free to send me any questions you might have. I'm happy to help in whatever way I can.
Aggielaw: I currently own nOrh mini 9.0's with the Murphy-designed optimal crossover, hand-build with the best components available by Jim Salk.
Now I am confused. Does salk make a line called nOrh? I went to salksound.com and could find no mention of it.
Another question for anyone, is there a link to Adagios on Acoustic Zen's site? You'd think so but I didn't find it.
nOrh is a company in Thailand (www.norh.com). The nOrhs feature top of the line Scanspeak drivers and a very rigid marble (or synthetic marble, depending on the model) cabinet, but the stock crossover for their best models aren't very well-designed and use cheap parts. Dennis Murphy optimized the crossover for two nOrh models (the 9.0 and mini 9.0), but didn't have time to build me a pair of crossovers himself, so he and "Marbles" over at audiocircle referred me to Jim Salk. Dennis Murphy and Jim Salk have worked together on several speaker projects, including most of the current models you see on salksound's website (www.salksound.com) and Jim took Dennis' specs plus my desire for the absolute best crossover that could be made and voila! I, along with a handful of others who have shelled out some serious money on crossover parts and expert labor, have probably the best-sounding nOrh speakers in existence. :)
I've emailed AZ about the conspicuous absence of the Adagio on their website, but received no response, and the speaker is still not listed. It has been out for almost a year, though!
Anybody compared Adagios with other speakers people gush over at A'gon: Zu, Tyler, Salk, Daedelus, etc.?
There aso many speakers that are supposed to be "a steal at their price" or "the best up to 2-3 times the price" that some accumulation of A/B experience seems necessary.
Hi Aggie and all.
Since there were a few questions asked about the Sasons here, I'll follow up a bit on Aggie's comments
Aggie, glad you enjoyed your brief time in Arizona with the Sasons. Wished you could have heard them in full bloom in a larger room. With good ancillary, proper set up (in a small or large room) and appropriate break in time, the Sasons are over the edge.
Just a couple of things that may be good to know.
First, yes, these puppies take a good while to break-in and is why we offer the 45 day return policy. As to why the Sasons take a good while to settle not only has to do with the drivers but the X-over as well. The Film and Foil type Capacitors and the 10 gauge Air Coil Inductors used throughout the X-over simply take a long time to break in but once these do, they are magic....bass included as one might expect with such large gauge Inductors. Wished it could be different but to do things that would alleviate some of the break in time would be to compromise the design and it's performance. That's not what we want to be about.
Aggie mentioned these may be one of audio's best kept secrets. Quit a statement and we're flattered. They may stay that way. Why? Because when you plunk your $$$ down for these, you're buying performance, not an ad campaign, marketing or other extraneous overhead that also comes with product. So, you'll probably never see the Sasons plastered all over the audio mags to create more image than substance and the buzz that can create. Whatever buzz there will be will come from our big mouth or end users who share their experiences via word of mouth....a (slower but) more sure word we believe. We'll take substance over image any day though I think the Sason offers both.
In the end, this is why we can offer these at $7900.00 (not $7500.00...Ooops!) direct from us after July. Aggie didn't mention this but up until July 1st, we trying to make a few waves by offering these at $5400.00! We can't do this for ever but we're willing to take a hit for a little while to make it easier for folks to prove our claims. If you're curious, we have an ad HERE
Cheers to all!
Aktchi, you're presenting a rock-solid list of speakers, IMHO. I've not heard the Zu (something about a single-driver speaker scares me despite the benefit of not having a crossover) or the Daedelus (of which I'd never heard before your post.) Jim and Ty both make excellent speakers. I would compare Ty's main line of speakers to the Adagio to some degree for their "cleanness" throughout the audible range, but the Adagio's speed and decay is a whole different league.
I haven't heard Jim's speakers yet, but hope to hear the HT3's while on vacation in Houston later this month. I'll let you know what I hear, if you like.
Aggielaw: ...the Daedelus (of which I'd never heard before your post.)
I erred in spelling---the correct spelling is DAEDALUS---which will matter if you search A'gon. I suggest reading these threads to begin withDaedalus DA-1Daedalus DA-1: How Good Are They?
I just came from an extended audition with them in a well-insulated medium sized room and they are definitely the real deal.
On the first CD soundtrack, things started off mixed (although generally excellent) with most of the "O" Cirque du Soleil soundtrack auditioned sounding quite nice, but cymbals sounding harsh to my ears. Detail was definitely a strength though.
Things improved immediately on the next CD with female vocals featured (on a jazz soundtrack). Erin Bode sounded absolutely fabulous on the Adagios! The speakers also handled the low bass strums of the double bass instrument in the CD wonderfully. Detail was exceptional, and the speakers exhibited a nice cohesiveness that is rarely seen anywhere near their price point. The harshness noted with cymbals on CD 1 was not present at all (so it could be the recording).
Male vocals also impressed on the Mark Knopfler CD played next. Definitely among the best I have heard in their class, if not the best.
Finally, we closed out with a track off of the latest Allison Kraus CD "Lonely Runs Both Ways," and her voice sounded just as I would have hoped it to. We played the same track first on a different brand's speakers that were much more expensive (brand and speaker names withheld) and the Adagios clearly improved on their more expensive competitors... I would describe it as having a vail removed over Allison's mouth when we switched to the Adagios.
So how do these compare to Tylers? It depends on which ones... When compared to my Linbrook System Is, the Linbrooks have a bit more midrange detail, are a bit warmer, slighty faster and get lower (even though this is also a strength of the Adagios)... They are also more expensive.
The closest Tyler competitor price-wise would probably be the Linbrook System II, and I really could go either way as to which I would choose (this is a tremendous compliment to the Adagios, as I love the System II and would consider it my reference at its price point). I guess it would depend on what mood I was in at the time, or the associated electronics. I like the looks of both equally as well.
While the Adagios are not going to replace the Tylers in my main rig, I told the dealer (and meant it) that they have gone to the top of my short list for my bedroom system that I will be building in the next year. Excellent speakers!
I bought a pair of these speakers for my son and they are awesome. Right out of the box they are great. I picked them up yesterday and after a full night of listening I just can't believe how good they are. I am only waiting for them to get better as they break in. I will only have them at my house for about a week because they will go to my sons house on Saturday. The imaging is incrediable and the sound stage is as well. My two small complaints is there low end the fact that they are a little small for my big room. I will report more as they break in.
Aggielaw, I first heard the Adagios at RMAF driven by the Red Dragons. I went back repeatedly while making only one visit to the Zu room. I had not heard of the RSA Sasons but was going on with your evaluation until you talked about the MacIntosh multi-driver speakers as being better than the Sasons. Wow! I went into the MacIntosh room at CES having learned of them from a dealer in Arizona. I could not leave fast enough! They were loud but just awfully muddy and confused. I suspect the multiple drivers
Your standard for just settling back and toe tapping with the Adagios is my ultimate standard. I should also say that given the comments I am hearing about the Red Dragon mono blocks, they may have been contributing to the sound I heard from the Adagios.
For those asking about being able to drive the Adagios with tubes, we (F2Audio) have now run them with the Cary SLI-80 (in triode 40 watt mode), the Cary 805 Anniversary (50 watts), and the Vincent SP-T100 hybrid amps (100 watts). None of the amps had any problem driving the speakers. Unfortunately, we do not have any lower-watt amps. The main thing to note is that the speakers sounded varied (while still maintaining its overall open and clear sound)with each amp, preamp, and associated tubes. To me, that is the sign of a good speaker...it passes along the signal that it gets.
Yesterday, I A/B'd Adagios vs. MBL 116s.
The A/B wasn't for comparative reasons - I'm looking for two pairs of speakers pursuant to a re-organization of my stuff (Don't ask).
Anyway, these speakers have a very similar sound; very dynamic with neutral octave to octave balance (though neither does subterranean bass) and impressive imaging/staging. Both sounded terrific, although, to my ear, there is a certain "presence" or "body" to the MBL that the Adagios don't quite capture. OTOH, I could certainly understand anyone who preferred the Adagio or felt that the comparison was essentially a toss up.
At $22K in rosewood, the MBLs cost 5X as much as the Adagios. On the basis of performance, I imagine it would be hard for most people to justify the price delta relative to the marginal advantage offered by the MBL (for those who ajudge the difference an MBL advantage).
OTO OH, the MBL is a pretty striking looking product. While the Adagio features beautiful cabinetry coupled with an akward grill, I thought the MBL is, visually, a work of art.
At $22K the MBL's should be a "work of art" and do everything well too! That's a very expensive speaker. The fact that you say the MBL's don't do subteranean bass is crazy to me. A speaker at that pricepoint should not lack thunderous low end.
Maybe the accompanying equipment is lean sounding?
For those in the Upstate NY area, you are more than welcome to come into Response Audio as well to audition the Adagio speakers.
I will not post my thoughts on these speakers. Being a dealer for them, I realize most will consider my opinion to be biased. I think those that have the chance to audition them personally, will be able to justify the reviews as well as other's comments within this thread.
My Adagios are currently being powered by tube amp ranging from 20 watts up. Soon enough I will have the Manley Labs MAHI mono blocs and Shrimp preamp running the,
I brought in the Adagio based on Jjurzec's comments as he is my Midwest affiliate and I trust his ears 100%. I can only say that I agree with everything he said.
The bass limitation I heard was not due to the room or ancillary equipment , it is by design: The 116 is spec'd to 32hz (no tolerance cited). This is certainly extended bass, but not subterranean. What's there is very good indeed, but for full range reproduction, MBL wants $40K+ for their model 101. In between, the MBL 111 splits the difference at app $30K.
By way of comparison, I'm also looking at the Vandy Quatro which offers full range bass at $7500 to $10K (Quatro Wood). The difference in bass impact was clearly evident on a couple of the tracks I've been using for demo purposes.
Despite all of the above, and the fact that the Acoustic Zen Adagio seemed awfully close in performance, I completely understand why a price insensitive buyer would choose the MBL. It is a very seductive product (visually and aurally) and if your choice of material doesn't contain truly deep bass, you may find that the 116 is perfect for you.
I liked it a lot, but, given its limitations and my reluctance to pony up for the 111 or 101, I'll probably go a different way.
For those of you asking me questions about the power requirements of the Adagios, let me first apologize for not posting a reply sooner. I spend very little time on the forums and in fact only realized there where questions pending because Bill at Response Audio let me know.
I have run the Adagios using the Grommes PH-26 integrated amp. It uses EL-84's and runs at 1.8 watts triode/6 watts tetrode. The Adagio's work at 1.8 and 6 watts, if you have a really small room and don't want to go very loud you'll be fine, especially at 6 watts. Just don't go into high levels with material that has wide swings in ranges such as symphonies or if your going too, keep the normal listening volume at a lower range. If you don't the amp will clip.
In my 16' L x 14' W x 8' H room the 6 watt setting plays at reasonable levels as well but with deep bass or again, major swings you may notice some issues with clipping if you push the volume limit.
My guess is that if you can control your levels and live with a volume that a spouse can still talk to you when your listening in a smaller room, and 8 watt SET amp would be fine. If you want to have more headroom to work with I think 15-20 watts would be a better starting point. The transformers on a tube amp will also play a role in what your SET can deliver in your environment.
I currently demo them in two configurations, 1)with a pair of Grommes 360's using KT-66's which output around 35-40 outstanding watts and 2) with the Red Dragon Audio Leviathans at 500 watts. I pair them with either the H-Cat preamp or the Heron VTSP-2.
FWIW and if you want to follow up with me on this off-line as I won't talk about the following on-line in a forum, I am one of the few dealers that have dealt with the Daedalus and SP Tech speakers. I've also had the chance to hear the Sason's so if you have questions feel free to follow up with a email or you can call me on our business number (www.jamnaudio.com for info).
I'll try to make it a point to check out the forum a little more often in case any of you have more questions for me.
I felt compelled to write this post, potentially my last. Why, because these speakers are so good IMHO, that I am finally and offically off of the hi merry go round. These are most musically satifing speakers I have ever heard, are they perfect no, are they a TREMENDOUS value for the money YES!! These speakers are fast, musical, have good bass and the most wonderful highs I have ever heard. All these years I thought I had to live with a certain amount of grain in the music, but no more. I have always blamed it on my ic's or some other component up stream... not so. I could make a very long list of other speakers I have owned and heard, but as we all know its personal preference when choosing speakers, so I don't see the need. My advice is you should listen to these speakers before buying anything, if you don't you are doing yourself a huge diservice. My system if a Cary Sli-80 F1 and a Cary 303/300 cdp with Oritex ic's.
I've had the A.Z. Adagio's for 3 months now and JUST LOVE THEM!!! I drive them with a Canary Audio CA301mk.2 tube amp. 22 watts per side, 300B, Class A, Triode, Push Pull. Preamps are a severely modified E.A.R 864 tube unit and a stock GaMut C-2R S/S unit. My room is 35'3"L x 17'3"W x 8'H. My system/speakers is close to one of the short walls. I can play Rock or Classical at VERY LOUD LEVELS WITH NO PROBLEM!!!!! They sound great! They replaced Von Sch. VR4Gen3HSE and I'm not looking back!!!
I guess it is time to go and check these speakers out for myself.
Chip Stern just posted his review of the Adagios on 6moons and they received a Blue Moon award. I know these awards are subjective as heck but every "award winner" on that site that I have experienced is spot on. I like the Zu line of speakers and will always have a pair on hand because they represent the absolute best value for extreme high efficiency but the Adagios are just SOOOO much more refined. I understand that Acoustic Zen is set to introduce a matching stand mount monitor voiced similarly to the Adagios for use in home theater. I do not have a home theater setup, just 2 channel setups.
My primary system for the record, I run Adagios (replaced B&W 802d) with a McIntosh MA2275 (replaced BAT VK 300XSE) and a Cary 306SACD (replaced Cary 306-200), AZ Silver Reference II IC's (replaced Redge Street Poeima !!) and AZ Hologram II speaker cables (replaced Synergistic Res Ref), Furutech Evolution power cables (replaced Synergistic Ref A/C master couplers) and a Running Springs Audio Duke power conditioner (replaced Richard Gray).
This setup is so coherent, dynamic, uncolored, natural and clean. Detail without overanalysis....I am back to listening to music instead of equipment....and you all know what I mean. The Acoustic Zen Adagio loudspeakers are tube friendly without excluding quality solid state. You do not need a ton of power as the meters on my McIntosh MA2275 (75 wpc KT88 tube integrated) never hit 7.5 watts except on dynamic peaks (I run off the 8 ohm taps) listening at a moderately high level (too loud to converse with someone in the room, not so loud that the walls shake).
Audition these speakers and decide for yourself. I was skeptical until I tried them in my home as there is very little info on them, and zilch on the Acoustic Zen website. I have heard that the next version of the Adagio will not have as extravagant a finish as the maple burl finish on mine. My wife flipped out positively when I moved out the B&W 802ds and replaced them with the Adagios. She is not an audiophile but she preferred the Adagios to the 802ds once they were set up and she has no clue about the price difference (she stated she could hear things on the Adagios that "sounded more right" to her than from the 802d and the Adagio bass is real sounding to her and not so "fake"...her words, not mine B&W disciples...she also likes my Zus although they are not comparable to the B&Ws in her opinion, just different). I have heard that Acoustic Zen did not want to generate more demand for the speakers than they could supply, thus the website exclusion. Seems plausible and when you hear them, you will likely agree if not purchase on the spot.