Both are great speakers. And I have heard both at shows, but I associate neither with these desires: "a big, open, uncompressed presentation with prodigious but controlled bass. I want some serious dynamic impact on percussive transients."
They aren't slouches in those areas, but I'd look at other speakers if those are your priorities. Volti comes to mind. As does the Vapor Nimbus.
I only heard the original Crescendo at RMAF 2007 powered by a pair of Halcro DM58 amps. The bass in that setup with Robert's program material was the hardest hitting, most concussive bass I've heard from any speaker. Very impressive! The overall sound was damn fine as well.
Most of the show reports since then list Triode labs amps which may not have the power of the Halcro's. That might explain the other responders opinion but who knows.
The Crescendo sounds terrific with the Triode Labs 845 amplifier on the 3 separate occasions I've heard them, pure musical excellence. The Halcro has more power but that is only one factor of many that matter. I'd take my chances with the Triode lab based on my listening experiences. I've heard the Ulysses and believe it's a very good speaker as well. It was driven by a Mod Wright transistor amplifier which is a nice amp but the Crsecendo had an advantage with the Triode Lab amplifier pairing IMO. I'd like to hear both speakers directly compared driven by the better amp.
If you share your general location you may be able to find someone nearby who has speakers for you to listen to?
FWIW I use the Crescendos for both 2-channel and home theater at reference levels (85dB dialogue, 105dB peaks) and have tested running them set to LARGE to confirm they can handle it.
- I'm a dealer for Acoustic Zen, after being a customer first, so weigh my words as you wish.
Not a direct comparison I know, but I switched from AZ Adagoios to Daedalus DA-RMAs 4 years ago and the difference was night and day. Lou's target at Daedalus is to get as near to live sound as possible and they certainly do that. They are very fast neutral and uncoloured, in comparison with the Adagios, which are very good too by the way, but not in the same class at all.
Thanks for all the replies and info! @David12, I might have to check out those DA-RMAs. BTW, in perusing the Daedalus site in the past, it seemed to me that some of their speakers were for specific room types or specific applications, and I wasn't sure if they would match my room and setup.
@Nek, I am in East Texas. Interesting that you wrote about running your mains as LARGE, as that is how I run my system. After a series of unsatisfactory center channel speakers, I just resorted to a "phantom" setup. And I also send the LFE to my Legacy Audio Signature IIs, which go down to ~20hz. My Krell amp has plenty of juice for doing that.
I agree with Roscoe that these two speakers aren't ideal with your requirements. Both are more intimate sounding, despite size.
@Mtrot I haven't left them running LARGE, but that's also because I have custom subs (4x15" drivers in a sealed configuration; 4000W) I built myself that will hit 115dB peak at 5Hz, flat response through a simulated Linkwitz-Transform. I do have a large, open room.
I would see no problem with keeping Crescendos set to LARGE if you are listening to movies around 75dB with 95dB peaks at your seat, assuming you sit about ~10-15 feet away from the speakers. You could go higher in volume but I think that's probably about the point you will get better results from really beefy subs. You can't cheat physics. :-)
I've owned the Ulysses. Nice speakers with exceptional cabinetry... but I agree with Roscoe and Kiethr in that they don't excel in the areas you desire. I sold mine to go back to Harbeth M-40.1's.
fwiw, Mtrot there are several speakers that do provide the sound you're looking for.
First are horns like Avantgarde. Second are Zu Definitions. I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but they are big, open, with great tone and dynamic as hell with sealed bass. They won't win over the nuance/reticent speaker crowd like Harbeth/SF/Audio Note and won't image or resolve like a microscope Magico, so its personal taste.
I guess I should clarify a bit. I didn't mean I was looking for the characteristics I stated above at the expense of other qualities of good speakers. I simply am looking for an overall good speaker that will be an improvement over my current speakers in those areas. I also have my doubts about the quality of the crossovers and other internal components and wiring of my current speakers. It may be that, since my speakers are pretty old, that there are a plethora of current or recent models that will achieve that.
One of the reasons I even mentioned the AZ and the Daedalus is that I read reviews praising them for the qualities I am looking for. But I do want a nice soundstage and imaging as well.
Hopefully, this clarification may move the AZ and Daedalus up in the hierarchy of possible choices, but I am open to other options as well. As I said above, whatever I get needs to be a sort of "jack of all trades", as they will be used for both music of many genres, as well as HT.
Acoustic Zen-heard both at RMAF.
Plenty of bass for my tastes and refinement to boot
If you have any specific questions about AZ I can try to answer them. For myself, these were the speakers I heard and immediately knew that I wanted. None of the other speakers I'd heard jumped out to me the same way. Regardless of price.
Like you, I wanted something that could run double duty for music and home theater and that narrows the choices because a lot of nice speakers have low sensitivity coupled with a maximum power handling that equals SPL less than reference level movie playback. (Or reference level 1812 Overture playback.)
Since you might be a few hours away from the nearest dealer in Texas, you could email or call Robert at AZ and ask if he knows of any customer in East Texas that might be willing to have you over to listen. Before I was a dealer I did that.
I love my Crescendos. For me they sound best in a little larger room. I have them in a 15' x 22' x 17' high room and they sound fantastic. When I tried them in a 13' x 17' x 8' high, they sounded good but not as good as in the larger room. They are a good size full range speaker. I would never consider switching them unless I moved to a smaller space. I know many like them with tube amps but I prefer a lot of SS power even though I don't usually play them over 30 watts.
Mtrot, The DA-RMas are no longer made, the Athena is pretty much the same model, made as a floor stander instead of a large monitor.
When I auditioned at RMAF in 2009, I checked it against the Ullyses, with the same amps and rerally could'nt detect much difference, both excellent.
I have not heard the Daedalus but own the Crescendos and love them! They do everything quite well and will immerse you in a deep/wide sound field with unbelievable touchable imaging.
No more speaker shopping for me...
I am selling my Ulysses (original) currently, if you are interested.
About 9 months back I was struggling between the Daedalus and AZ Crescendo's. I had only heard the AZ and really liked them and thought they would be a good match with my Atmasphere speakers. Well I've had over a dozen speakers in the last 12 years and after living with the Crescendo's MK2 now for 9 months I have not been disappointed!
I had a Daedalus Ulysses which I sold due to space constraint. Now I've a Daedalus Athena. Athena works better in a smaller room and images better. However, Ulysses is definitely more dynamic than Athena. I listen to many genres of rock music that requires grunt and visceral dynamics. I am very happy with how Daedalus handles such music. I'm sure there are speakers out there for the similar money which has more dynamic impact, but I feel like Daedalus speaker is truly versatile and handles all genres really well. I use them in my home theater system and don't feel the need of a subwoofer. I've no experience with Crescendo but looking at online reviews it seems they must be great speakers too.
Thanks for the input on the Athena and Ulysses. Yeah, I'm reading that, for a system which includes both two channel and home theater, the Athena is better because of a wider dispersion. It seems the Ulysses may do better for people sitting in the sweet spot.
Interesting thread! Like you and some others here, these speakers (and the NOLA KO's; keep them in mind, they are cheaper too) were on my short list for new speakers. I think the Daedalus are a little smoother than the AZ, and probably a little more effecient and easier to drive. I think the AZ are a bit more dynamic (with the right amplification) and have slightly better bass. I'm sure I would be happy with either one, but I found a much better price for the AZ, and I think if you check around you would too (consider calling AZ direct and see what price you can get from them).
Mtrot I think if you ask dealers you will get some great discounts, we have always been better than buying direct from AZ and yes we know he sells direct into areas where there are no dealers.
Call around and give some dealers a try.
have you considered any dynaudios.
yes, I actually have a pair of Audience 82 in the bedroom system,but I don't crank them very loud because my wife is usually in there with me, so I really haven't been able to get a good feel for whether they're going to have the sound I would like in the family room. Also I don't know which Dynaudio model I would have to get in order to Compare to my Legacys.
Geez, there are SO many great options out there, and now I have read reviews and user reports about another speaker that force me to give it strong consideration. It is the Vapor Audio Nimbus. Dang, great drivers by Acuton, RAAL, and that 15 inch woofer, great cabinet and crossovers! And the cost is lower than the other options. From the reviews, it may be the sort of speaker I am looking for.