Classic Audio T1 and T3 field coil loudspeakers


Has anyone had the opportunity to listen to the latest versions of the Classic Audio T1 or T3 loudspeakers? The latest versions offer optional field coil woofer, midrange, and tweeter. I know they were on demo at the RMAF, but I was not present. Any opinions would be welcome. Thanks,
lewm
I heard them in 2 rooms. In the big room, the bigger pair was being driven by Atma-sphere MP1/M-60s. When I got there, Ralph was playing Sara McLachlan's "Angel" which is a favorite of mine, w great attack and decay on the piano.It was breath-taking and achingly beautiful as one of our long running threads is titled. I forget the other room , maybe Modwright electronics. Anyways the big model with the all tube/OTL was amazing; the other less so.
Agree with Swampwalker, the T1 was superior. The T3 had field coils only on the mid and high horns, the woofers were not field coil.

There is so much presence and immediacy with these speakers, it's scary. Everything else sounded slow and opaque by comparison.

The bass was almost overpowering with the T1s, but that was probably the room set up. The bass was articulate, but I've heard more resolving bass. The highs might be a little edgy, but overall they sounded amazing!
Hello Lewm,

I have heard both speakers on several occasions, the T.1's with field coil drivers are very special IMO, and worth seeking out an audition to form your own opinion.

During me decision to purchase T1’s which took well over a year, I auditioned the T 1’s with various amps, Atma-sphere, Shindo, and Esoteric, and a few different cartridges Air Tight Supreme, Air Tight PC-1, Van Den Hul Colibri, and a Koetsu Coralstone. The T'1's easily resolved the character of each combination.

I find these speakers to be very transparent to the source, they convey tone colors much like an electrostatic speaker, but with huge dynamics. They also really allow the energy of live music to be conveyed in a way I have heard very few other speakers. Despite being "lively" there is a smoothness about them. In hi-fi jargon that seems like an impossible combination, lively yet smooth. I suspect this type of sound is what field coil drivers bring to the table. I will leave that part of the discussion to the technical people.

I have heard vocal, folk, rock, large and small scale classical music all done to my immense satisfaction on the T1’s. These speakers allow you to explore all genres of music, instead of gravitating towards a narrow type of music which many systems tend to gravitate towards. Some of my former systems are included in that generalization.

Since these are horn speakers it is worth mentioning that they can convey a wonderful vocal without the typical mega phone horn sound. When I heard vocals with a Koestu at the helm and Atma-sphere driving, it was a very special combination. The midrange "sweetness" of a Koetsu was very complimentary to the Classic/Atma-sphere combo, which if it needs anything it is a slight sense of "sweetness". Perhaps adding the Koetsu is a coloration, but in this combination it is magical addition....to me. However, what really sold me on these speakers was with the Air Tight Supreme at the helm playing classical music. For me that was the first time ever on a stereo system I was able to really enjoy large scale classical music. It was large in scale, dynamic yet had a sense of delicacy. I was done once I heard classical music on these speakers.

In summary, these speakers are not a one trick pony, they shine on all types of music and at low and high volumes. These field coil Classic T'1's, are something special, and worth jumping on an airplane to audition.

David
Too bad that the T1s with all field coil drivers cost ca $50,000, according to Ralph. The T3s with field coils can be had at a much more down to earth price, but are still expensive.
Hello Lewn,

Actually, CAR offered a RMAF show special on the T.1's for 28k.

David
David, Thank you very much for your thoughtful and thorough remarks. No doubt the T1s are something to aspire to, but even at $28K the price is over my head (besides which I would bet those show special units are sold). I AM still interested in the T3s cum field coil drivers, however, even moreso now that I've read your post.

You sound a lot like Ralph in describing them; he was ecstatic. I am coming from a lifetime of listening to full-range ESLs. Now I am open to trying something different, but I don't want to give up any of the transparency and coherence that I have with my Sound Labs.
Thanks, David, for the interesting comments. Can anyone suggest T3 room size guidelines, and how much do the T3 go for ?
Jtimothya, I have T-3s at home. The T-3 as an all-alnico unit is $15,500. You can add the field-coil drivers as options. The midrange is the most important (that's what I have right now- next step is the super tweeters), that puts the cost at $18,000/pair. To add the tweeter makes it $21,000 and finally with the field coil woofers $28,500/pair.

The T-3 uses the same drivers and crossovers as the T-1 and has similar cabinet volume. It differs in being narrower and taller, on account of its use of a JBL horn which is not as wide as the one on the T-1. That is why I have the T-3 at home- the wider dimension of the T-1 would not have worked in my space. In sound and measurement the two horns using the same driver seem to behave nearly the same.

The speaker is easy to set up in smaller rooms as long as you can have a listening chair at least 8-10' from the speaker- they aren't so great near-field. We've set them up in some smaller hotel rooms with good success- you can back them up against the wall (mine are 6 inches from the rear wall) without loss of air or soundstage effect.

You could set them up easily in a room that was only 10 feet wide as long as you could get at least that far from them. If you have your listening chair against the rear wall there would probably be too much deep bass reinforcement, so for a 10 foot wide room one would hope that it was at least 13-17 feet in length. Of course big rooms are easy and the speaker is so easy to drive that a 50 foot long room could be filled with ease.
Agree with Dlanselm and Ralph...the A-S/Classic Audio/Triplanar room was one of our favorites!

Best,
Sam
Thank you Ralph - very helpful info!

just refreshing this thread with more recent anecdotal and subjective feedback, as it is well deserved


simply hearing the Classic T series loudspeakers, as said, is worth the trip.


Muhammad could not go to the mountain, so the mountain was brought to Muhammad.


no. I’m not Muhammad. not even close. yet the above edict was fulfilled at the February 2019  Florida Audio Expo  when John Wolf demonstrated his T1s and T3s with Atmasphere power, Tri-Planar Tonearms and Purist Audio Design cabling.


the setup resided in by any account a very large room, within the Expo Venue. a room size Bill Gates might have in his house, a true auditorium. 


on my first day at the Expo, I had decided to make a ‘bee line’ to this exhibition given all the hype I’ve heard from folks on these pages and elsewhere about Atmasphere and Classic Audio  pairings.


Stevie Ray Vaughan was on tap as I entered the room and the sound was immediate and engrossing. and why shouldn’t it be? there was a ton of money behind those sounds, but then isn’t there always when a startling reach out and grab you audio moment is heard?


reading and re-reading the above posts my expectations were fairly lofty but the presentation satisfied them all but one.


I spent much of the time there speaking with Mr. Wolf about the diffs between his T1  and T3 and the associated options for the T3.


I regret not taking the time to get into the sweet spot but felt I’m not a player for the T1s anyhow and did not want to delay another from it.


In our conversation John laid out as much info as I could retain and then some and was as   ?    plesant a person as one could hope to meet.


all of the audio adjectives listed here are accurate. I’m not a fan of panel or electrostatic speakers in general, though I can appreciate what they are capable of having heard many. I don’t care for the shouting attribute which seems more the norm in horns whose designs aren’t quite able to overcome this characteristic.


 I want music to soar and pop when it is supposed to. I want to feel the bottom end whack in my gut. I’m unable to accept a top end which is shrill or edged, bright or inordinately pronounced. and I simply can not live long with a mid range which veils or distances vocals deep into the sound stage or diminihshes the mids in preference to bolstering the lower and upper ends.


and I so love a tight, taut bass line which has a well defined leading edge  where one doesn;’t have to strain to hear strings being strummed, plucked or picked, on a dog house bass or even on electric bass.


despite the cavernous room the bass was remarkable. blended. appropriate or comensurate with the balance of the music. satisfying.


I gotta say hearing the T1 as they were setup the sound hit all of the hot buttons for me. 


for the first time I was not annoyed by the ease  of the demo which was akin to the usual presentation of many panels or stats, ease of the presentation which is surely noticeable, for it was as well sufficiently punchy and tight where and when  ordered. likely, the order of punch or smack elevates in a smaller room. 


it was in a word, unique to everythingn I’ve heard to date. slaughtering all of my preconceptions, groundless resentments, and  conveying not just the music and its melody, but its soul. I keep thinking if the sound were a tad  more strriking  that would be perfect, but as it is or was, is as close to what I could want as a destination arrangement.


“you don’t always get what you want….”


sadly, I was unable to return to hear the T3s later. so in time, there will be perhaps something special to look forward to at another show, or next year at Florida Audio Expo 2020. hopefully sooner.


congratulations Ralph! Thank you John.


Pardon  me, but I gotta go now. I ‘ll need to mastermind a plan to take down a diamond mine, or a major bank somewhere, as it seems I am a bit short on the entry fee for the whole setup.


Bumping an old thread...

Can anyone comment on the sound of the T3 vs. the classic hartsfield collection? I saw a doubled up Studio Standard II that looks interesting but there’s not too much information out there on that model (everything I found was for the corner horn version).
The Hartsfield is very nice but lacks the bottom octave that you have with the T3 and T1, although the Classic Audio Loudspeakers version of the Hartsfield its making considerably deeper and better bass than the originals! Its the usual trade- more efficiency, less bass. To really hear what the Hartsfield does it should be placed in a corner.
Thanks Ralph.  Appreciate the input...
Does the Hartsfield project a bigger image/soundscape due to its width? Do either the t 3.3 or hartsfield play loud enough for larger rooms, say 36x25? Are their any owner reviews of the T 3.3? Thnx. 

"Does the Hartsfield project a bigger image/soundscape due to its width?"

Do you mean, because corner placement would put the Hartsfields further apart?

Soundstage width is related to setup geometry. The T-3’s would not be in the corners so if they are placed close to the sidewalls theoretically they could subtend a slightly wider angle, but normally I would expect the Hartsfields to cover a wider angle. I never heard a "hole in the middle" with either of them (or the T1), regardless of room size.

I noticed more soundstage depth with the T-1’s and T-3’s than with the Hartsfields.

"Do either the t 3.3 or hartsfield play loud enough for larger rooms, say 36x25?"

Oh yeah. Both of them, but the Hartsfields especially.

The Hartsfields have the most impact of any speaker I have heard. Heard them on two occasions, both of which were truly memorable. Once was at T.H.E Show in Las Vegas (concurrent with CES). My brother and his wife, and I and my wife, stopped by the room. Our wives couldn’t resist the call of the Hartsfields and both got up and just started dancing. I resisted the urge but my butt was shaking in its chair.

Note that the levels of the midrange and tweeter are user-adjustable. So if the top end sounded a bit "hot" to someone under show conditions, smoothness is just a knob-twiddle away.

Duke
@duke,

Thank you for the reply. It is really helpful in supporting my inquiries as I journey into new speaker frontiers. I assume the Hartsfields have to be close to corners for optimal bass, somewhat like the new Klipschorns. I heard the Hartsfield at the Capital Audio Fest along with the T1, what a show that was. Both the T1 and Hartsfield played effortlessly in the room they were setup in with Atmasphere amps driving them. I have been all over the map exploring different speakers to make my next move. Your comments make my salivate to own a pair someday. 

@cal3713
T3s

natch, ralph is THE source on this matter hereabouts and I whole heartedly agree with his comments based on what I’ve heard from the cA speakers and CA maker John Wolff..

I did hear the T3s this year at FLAX 2020 with Atmas MP1 amps as I recall.

to date, both visits to FLAX events showed the CA & PAD & Atmas using purely TT as source. no digital source was evident.

comparing that little session with what the T1s and atmas top tier ‘nova’ power train supplied, in the same room as last year’s visit where the T1s were then kicking it I found the T3s coming this year in noticeably a step below with their insights and organics. some or all of this account could well rest with the tunes being demonstrated at the time, and or due to the fact atmas number one Nova power plant was not in the signal chain, or these T3s were not outfitted with FCs as were the T3s.

however, this is not to say the quick take event was negative in any capacity. moreover, it simply imformed me the T3s reproduction of the signal they receive will remain without audible violation. and true to the upstream components abilities.

although decidedly horns top to bottom they do not yield usual horn characteristics in their presentation.

These 2020 T3s are quite transparent windows thru which to enjoy your music library regardless its contents and I’d say even with digital sources.

that said I’d not go so far as to indicate they would patch or poor recordings and magically transform them into something better.

I saw a line on CA loudspeakers in an article some time ago which accounted for their sound as being dynamic as point source speakers yet as easy and detailed as panels or Stats.

… and i agree honest injun!! these ain’t your Grand pa’s or even your daddy’s horns.

not sure if the T1s qualify as destination fare for anyone, though were I to own them, given what John and ralph have said here on their ease for fitting to rooms, their utter transparency and tonal honesty, their abillity to run off of lower powered amps, the adjustability for each transducer, and choice of any automotive color possible, i’m hard pressed to see why I would be thinking of some other units to replace them with later.

given the CA horns take the glass completely out of the window for the involving and exciting presentation entertaining different amps and amp topologies from time to time would be far more interesting than chasing replacements.
@blindjim,

This really makes for a compelling reason to get any of the series
”although decidedly horns top to bottom they do not yield usual horn characteristics in their presentation. ”

Thats been my concern reading about and listening to other speakers. I recently heard the Klipsch 2 way jubilees and they could play loud, but not sure they are up to the musical qualities that I seek, definitely don’t want shouty, or ear piercing sounds. Your right, the CA are in a class by themselves. 
From https://www.avshowrooms.com/florida-audio-expo-2020-awards-show-report.html

Classic Audio, Purist Audio Design: John Wolff gives us a room walk-around naming the components including the Classic Audio T3 loudspeakers. Also, something new from Purist Audio Design, Jim Aud talks about the Corvus Diamond A/C chord connected to the preamplifier and the Corvus Diamond balanced cable for the reel to reel. We debuted “Killing me Softly” from Anne Bisson’s latest album “Keys to my Heart” on LP. The system delivered a huge soundstage with detailed and delicate vocals along with excellent tone. No shout, whatsoever. Amplification by Atma-Sphere.