I heard his largest speakers at RMAF '07 playing with, I think it was, Art Audio low-powered SET amplification. It was one of my favorite rooms. The speakers were full range, coherent and very engaging. They did everything very well disappearing like ghosts and throwing a huge stage. I spent quite a bit of time listening in his room. I have not heard any other examples from his line though. Also notable is the cabinetry, which is superb. He uses solid woods and does just beautiful joinery, albeit very distinctive from expectations one may have from the seamless veneer finishes of most speakers.
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I'm using a pair of DA-1.1's which is the largest speaker in the "whole house"/home theater line. What Jax2 says is true--the Daedalus speakers are really very special. The DA-RMa is intended for use in high quality two-channel systems. I'd give Lou a call to discuss--he is a straight shooter who will provide helpful guidance on your system needs regardless of whether it leads to a sale.
Hi folks, I thought I would chime in on the daedulus posts. My first
speakers from him many years ago, were for acoustic instruments (guitar).
His speaker made an acoustic guitar with good pickup retain the sound
of an acoustic guitar. Other stuff I looked at made my acoustic sound like an electric.
Anyway, years later, Lou Hinkley was convinced to enter the audio
world and I found out about his made for audio speakers.
I was able to demo his DA-1 at my house. Two days later I bought them.
What do they do? Super efficient. Dynamic as hell. Sounds like real music.
What some are going to say, they don't image great. The design is two tweeters , one 10 degrees offset from the other. What happens is
you loose the pinpoint image What you get is still a good image but
the person next to you on either side hears what you do,huge soundstage.
Build quality is superb. Solid hardwood way better than MDF with veneer.
PS. HIs new stuff is even better.
I agree with your description of the DA-1's--I had a pair for a number of years and would describe them as you have here. The new DA-1.1's are a whole other animal. The new model retains all the superlative characteristics you cite above but adds much higher resolution, more extended high frequencies, better (leaner, tighter) bass and vastly improved imaging and soundstaging--sounding in this regard more like a traditional "audiophile" speaker but with a much wider sweet spot. You are correct, however--even the new DA-1.1's do not have real focused (pinpoint) imaging. That is why Lou builds the DA-RMa and the Ulysseys, which do not have offset tweeters and thus provide more precise imaging than the whole house designs. I would encourage anyone interested in the Daedalus speakers to give a listen to both model lines and/or talk with Lou about your room and listening habits--some of us "audiophiles" actually prefer the "whole house" models like the DA-1.1's since they image really well but allow people throughout the room to enjoy the music.
You guys have the Daedalus sound down pat. However, the Ulysses does have offset tweeters while the DA-RMa is a single tweeter design that does not position the tweeter off axis. None the less, the Ulysses do pinpoint imaging with the added benefit of sounding very engaging from off axis listening positions.
How good are Daedalus speakers? I have a good friend who is going through the figuring out phase of buying stereo equipment. One week it is this and the next week it is that. However, when he is in the mood to hear great music he comes here. At some point in time he will figure out that the reason he comes here is because of these speakers, although my room and the rest of my gear is pretty damn good.
With my experience limited to shows, a short audition at Lou's workshop and an extended weekend home audition; I agree with the impressions of the other Daedalus owners and would add a couple of my own.
In MY system, the Ulysses' had plenty of high quality bass. I was impressed by the ability to follow the bass line but if you're looking for the last 1/2 octave with a 'physical' presence, this speaker may not be for you.
I would agree that the house sound does not emphasize pinpoint imaging. However, I found the imaging very natural and not hyperdetailed, which for me is fatiguing.
The noise floor was clearly lowered in my system.
People who are less enthusiastic about the brand would cite potential integration issues related to the use of multiple drivers. I did not detect this problem in my relatively small room, but can only speak to this with the Ulysses and not to any of the other speakers in the Daedalus line.
I heard the DA1's on 2/14/09 in a very large room driven by some Manley monoblocks and a VTL pre and thought they were just fabulous. This was at a meet and a lot of recordings were played. We were seated at the end of a very large triangle, much larger than the average listening room, and they presented a convincing stage with no sweat. They were quick, coherent, and capable of HUGE dynamic swings. I dig em!
Thanks for all the positive comments! There will be a review in Stereo Times in a couple of months on the DA-RMa.
In regards the offset tweeters, the Ulysses does NOT have offset tweeters, there are two but they both are flush with the baffle. On the DA-1.1& 2.1 the tweeters have an angle of about 10 degrees horizontal.
I have some notes on the site about the bottom half octave (below 28hz), and all my systems integrate very well with a sub because of the smooth roll-off in bass, though few people have found a sub necessary.
Anyhow I'm sure there will be more feedback on the DA-RMa as word gets out. I'm biased but I do think these are one of the best deals in audio.
I don't really follow the different mags and online journals enough to know which would be most open to and best qualified to review your gear. I thought Bound For Sound did a very good job with the original DA-1. They also seem very old school in terms of advertising and the influence it may have on their product reviews. Six Moons seems to review gear that is "off the beaten path" and so may also be worth considering. You know much better than I about how the mag review process works. I'd just hate to see them reviewed in the context of a home theater system since the DA-1.1's really excel in a two-channel application. On another note, you raised the issue of using a sub with your designs. Not that I need one--the DA-1.1's have plenty of bass for me and my space--but perhaps you could discuss what type of sub you have used successfully with your designs in case people want to get that last bit of low frequency response that is not reproduced in your DA-1.1's or Ulysseys.
My system uses Lou's Ulysses speakers being driven by Pass XA100.5 amps being driven by a ModWright LS36.5/PS36.5 preamp. I also use a pair of Art of Sound Jazzmon subs in an 18' x 23" room. These are 12" subs using an ACI driver in a closed cabinet. I have used them successfully with both Beauhorn and double stacked, Wayne Picquet re-built, Quad 57 speakers. Both of these were easier to blend with the subs than Ulysses and this is with the subs doing only below 27Hz via a Marchand X over and being operated with very little gain.
With almost all of the music I listen to, I don't need the subs and this particular night, as we were comparing the sound of my Marantz SA7S1 CD player with that of a Berekley DAC being driven by the Marantz and driving the amps directly, I didn't use the subs. The folks that were over hardly believed that the subs weren't on and we listened to everything from jazz, to rock, to classical and to solo guitar. My listening room is 18 x 23 and the sub doesn't add to the sound of the system, unless there is content there, which there usually is not.
These speakers do not need subs to sound great. Really, Lou's DA-RMa speakers don't either. My subs are fast, but if you ask them to do even 35Hz and turn them up even a little too much, they slow the sound down with Ulysses. This tells you one thing about Lou's speakers and that is that they are fast. They are also warm, dynamic, detailed and the most natural sounding speakers I've heard or owned. They are also beautiful and get even more so as they age.
I had to stop by Dan Wright's new workshop in Amboy. He had a pair of Lou's RMa's there (per my previous post). We listened to them in Dan's gorgeous listening room with Dan's new amp and a very modest digital front end with a handfull of program material. Like Lou's other speakers, the RMa's sounded great. They are definitely a full-range speaker, but they did not reach the lows that the larger speaker I heard at RMAF was able to reach. Very understandable given the volume difference and the additional drivers. These are damn fine speakers, seamlessly integrated and go plenty low overall (being driven by 150w into 8 ohms of SS power in a moderate to large room). I would have guessed they were dropping off at the high 20's. I would say only a real bass head would want a sub with them. On the warmer side of neutral I'd say, and fast enough to keep up with whatever is thrown their way. All the characteristics of the larger speakers I heard. As with the larger speakers these reflected the same gorgeous, solid build quality I'd seen at RMAF. They are unique in this respect..not your typical hard-edge, modern veneered glossy box...these look like a classic piece of furniture. The craftsmanship is peerless.
I have had some E mail contact with lou, who has been very helpful. I am planning a trip to RMAF to hear whichever speaker he brings this year. I have a couple of questions for Daedalus experts:
Firstly, with a cluttered 20 by 20 ft room with the speakers, of necessity, about 18inches from music racks behind, should I consider the DA1.1 or Da Rama floor stander, both of comparable price. The Ulysses is definitely bigger and I would'nt get it past the management in my house.
I enjoy all musical forms, especially Opera I suppose, but really everything.
Secondly, I usae a 22 watt Viva Solista 845 SET at the moment, not necessarily for ever. There has been a lot of discussion about power requirements. Bound For Sound, an online magazine I have great respect for, claimed you needed power. Yes with 95db + sensitivity, they could be run on 10 watts, but with multiple drivers, they really responded and deserved, a lot of power, 200watts plus. If I get the Daedalus, it will probably be my last speaker, yes I know we all claim that, but I mean it, I think. So what is the ideal match to Daedalus speakers, integrated and tube, if possible.
Thanks for any opinions
So what is the ideal match to Daedalus speakers, integrated and tube, if possible.
Man, if anyone could answer that question, Lou would be the man. He knows his own speakers best. Being a musician himself I'd put my faith in what he had to say on the subject.
When I heard the Ulysses at RMAF '07 (I'm pretty sure it was the Ulysses - his largest at the time) I believe he was using a SET amp (I can't recall whether it was Art Audio or WAVAC, but ask him). That pairing (RMAF '07) was outstanding. Very lifelike in scale and impact...beautiful soundstage....he pushed them pretty hard for us and they never seemed to break a sweat, nor did they become harsh or fatiguing in any way at all...They seemed to do everything right as far as the music I'd brought to listen to. I'm sure we spent the better part of an hour in his room listening. It was a very nice combination.
In an entirely different pairing off; I just learned that Dan Wright (Modwright) is considering getting a pair of Ulysses for his listening room at his workshop. They'd be his main showroom speakers. I can tell you the RMa's made for a great pairing with his new 150 watt SS amp there...can't wait to hear the Ulysses in that room! One other note in reading my RMa observations above...the Ulysses also have a more impactfull midrange from recollection, without giving up any purity of midrange that the RMa's also offer. Damn fine speakers, both!
The short answer, since I've become too wordy as usual, is that they occur to me as versatile speakers since they could sound great with both low powered SET and 150 watts of refined SS power. It's been too long since the RMAF experience to state my comparisons are spot-on, but I did make some notes on the experience then and remember it well. I hope these general impressions are of some help.
My speakers work best with amps which can deliver good current, a 20 watt amp with high current will outperform a 200 watt amp with low current. My older designs such as the original DA-1 needed more current than the DA-1.1 and other present models. One of the many changes in 2007 was to reduce the system insertion loss, this improved the compatibility with amplifiers, sensitivity, extension and sonic openness. The DA-RMa is probably a better choice for low watt tube amps, though David Gill of ART AUDIO has a pair of Ulysses and loves them with all his amps.
Hope this helps
I can confirm what Lou is saying here--when I went from the original DA-1's to the new DA-1.1's among the many improvements I noticed was a decided increase in speed, dynamics and openness. Though I had not changed amplifiers (or anything else in my system) it seemed as though I had doubled the power output of my amp. So while my ARC 150.2 does not qualify as a high current design, putting out a mere 20 amps peak, the new speakers presented a much easier load and so the amp took on greater ease and authority. I'm still shopping for a good quality high current design to replace my 150.2 and am curious what impact that will have on my system. I'll keep everyone posted.
I'm still shopping for a good quality high current design to replace my 150.2 and am curious what impact that will have on my system. I'll keep everyone posted.
Per previous posts; definitely put the new Modwright amp on your short list. You can read my feedback and impressions, among others,on this Audiocircle post of that amp. You can also contact Lou to get his impressions of it - I believe he's ordered two of them to use bridged after trying out the amp for a while at his place. Disclaimer: Dan is a client of mine. There's also a pending review on 6Moons where you can see more very nicely done internal photos of that amp (the link is on that same thread).
I'll give it my best. In my experience speakers have to do a number of things really well to totally "disappear". First, they have to be tonally correct. At one point I owned a pair of Spendor S-100's. A friend came over on day who had not heard them yet. He walked in the door and from the entry way (without being able to see the speakers or setup) he remarked how it sounded like someone was playing a saxophone in the other room. The Spendors were so true in the midrange that they simply "disappeared" by faithfully reproducing the sound of the instrument. The Daedalus speakers do this as well as any I've heard. Another thing a speaker needs to do to "disappear" is recreate a soundfield wherein the speakers do not cue your ear as to their location. This my DA-1.1's do very well but are not in the same league as the best I've heard in this regard. Perhaps this has to do with the offset tweeter arrangement used on this model. Or maybe this is attributable to other components in my system that are not allowing the speakers to do the kind of disappearing act they are able to perform. It may well be that Lou's reference models (Ulysses and DARma) are better in this regard. I cannot say for sure. I do know the reference models are intended to image more precisely and I would expect that they create a better soundstage than the "whole house" models like the DA-1.1. In addition, a speaker must be totally coherent in order to fully disappear, otherwise you are able to hear drivers handing off to each other thus drawing your attention to the speaker and not the music. The Daedalus are the most coherent multiway speaker I've ever heard--period. Finally, in order for speakers to disappear the box cannot contribute to the sound you are hearing. Lou's cabinets are very dense and, while they may contribute more noise than some of the exotic materials out there, I do not sense that they are contributing to the sonic landscape. To summarize, my Daedalus disappear darn well--better than nearly anything I've heard--and the reference models are probably up there with the best that are available.
Another thing a speaker needs to do to "disappear" is recreate a soundfield wherein the speakers do not cue your ear as to their location. This my DA-1.1's do very well but are not in the same league as the best I've heard in this regard.
That is what I wanted to know.
Another thing a speaker needs to do to "disappear" is recreate a soundfield wherein the speakers do not cue your ear as to their location. This my DA-1.1's do very well but are not in the same league as the best I've heard in this regard.
A couple of comments based on above: Soundstaging will be profoundly affected by the room and setup, and of course the system behind it. No offense meant at all to Dodgealum, but the room in his system pics does not look like it's optimized for two channel listening (though a very nice WAF runaround on the corner bass traps!). Neither is mine for that matter. I too have to deal with a large TV screen between my speakers and that is a huge compromise. I usually put a large absorption panel in front of my screen when listening and that does help some, but ideally I would prefer to have nothing in between my speakers. I'm of course, assuming he's still using this room in his system pics and basing his comments on that.
As far as the DA1.1's not being up to the best soundstaging speakers out there; well, I would not expect a 3-way floorstander with five drivers to compete with a great 2-channel monitor or a single-driver speaker in this specific area that Dodgealum has isolated (sounstaging). That would not be a reasonable expectation IMO. A more specific comparison may be more useful in this context.
As far as my own limited experience with Lou's speakers, which has been limited to RMAF '07 (I think Ulysses) and Dan Wright's listening room (RMA's), in neither case did the speakers call attention to themselves in any way imaginable. Both threw vast soundstages and both were in very nice rooms (Lou scored one of the better [larger] rooms at RMAF that year, while most of the [smaller] rooms are quite challenging at that venue). No doubt coming into any hotel room is quite challenging, but the larger rooms there in general did sound better. Dan's room is excellent and well sorted out.
Hope that helps, Grant.
Some changes have taken place in the past 3 years (what a surprise.)
SPEAKERS: I still have the DA-1's...though planning to replace with DA-1.1
CDP: Still with the Electro
PRE: VAC Renaissance Mk II
AMP: VAC 300.1
CABLES: Kubala-Sosna...been upgrading within the line...now a mix of Expression and Emotion.
Still a wonderfly musical system...now all tubes and a few notches better.
...kept the H2O amps for a 2nd system that has not taken place...any buyers?
I agree fully with both your observations. My house is modest and there is no extra room that could become a dedicated listening area. Perhaps this is making lemonade out of lemons but I don't think I'd go the dedicated room route even if I had the space. My wife and I like having the music where we get to use it daily--in the living area which is adjacent to the dining room and kitchen. I love to listen while I cook or while we are having dinner etc. This is why I chose the DA-1.1's instead of the Ulysses--they are more suited to an open floor plan whereas the Ulysses is more about listening from the sweet spot. Having said that there is no doubt that I do not have my DA-1.1's optimized for two channel listening. I'd love to have a larger room and move them further into the listening space. I also wish I did not have a large entertainment center to contend with between the speakers. All these things I'm sure diminish the ability of the speakers to "disappear" in the way Tvad would like. I will say, however, that the DA-1.1's are very forgiving in terms of placement and I'm getting really good sound--I've heard many, many other systems in many other rooms--just as things are. Though I haven't had the pleasure of hearing them, I'd also agree, Marco, that Lou's reference series speakers are probably among the best available in terms of the kind of disappearing act that Tvad would like to attain.
One last thing--not sure I got the tube trap reference--none are used in my room.
You and I are in the same boat, Dodgealum. Probably like many here we have to use what we have the best we know how. The tube trap reference was referring to your runaround of using, perhaps unknowingly, substitutes for actual tube traps. Your corner bookshelf and a house plant probably do a very similar service in breaking up the two back corners of the room :-) Again, no disrespect was intended in the least bit in anything I said. Since Grant seemed to be asking about one area of performance, and you made a very specific response, I just thought that I should point out that your observations (as anyone's) should be put into perspective. Grant's response occurred to me as very 'finite', though he may not have meant it that way.
By way of a personal example; I've had several pairs of Silverline SR17 monitors over many years. I've used them in perhaps half a dozen different rooms with various systems. In some they did an astounding disappearing act (which I believe is a strong suit of that speaker), while in others their soundstaging abilities were limited by the room, the system or both. Had I only had the less ideal room/system to judge them by I would probably opine that they were lacking in that area. So there is yet another consideration in reflecting upon answers of such a query. Just food for thought, I guess.
Gotcha! The bookshelf and plant are there for "decorative purposes"--I never really thought of them as having any sonic benefit but I suppose they do help to some degree. Thanks for clarifying and absolutely no offense taken regarding any of your remarks. Someday I'm going to head out to Lou's shop and see what his speakers can do in a dedicated space with the right electronics. It may be a real eye opener!
I just took delivery of my new ebonized walnut DA-RMa's this afternoon; Lou tells me they need another 70-100 hours to really sing at their best. After about 1 hour I'm really pleased with the sound, soundstage and imaging. These are replacing my JM Lab Micro Utopias (modified with all cardas wire and solder) which are very nice in their own right but are going into a second system.
The DA-RMa's are certainly throwing a taller, deeper soundstage than the Micro Utopia's. So far imaging is very similar (and good). As far as doing the disappearing act, I certainly don't hear any boxlike colorations, and even this early on, I haven't had any speaker sound this 'natural' in my setup.
Just excited enough to throw out some very early impressions!! And of course I chose it, but IMHO Lou's ebonized walnut cabinet is absolutely stunningly good to look at!!
My experience confirmed what Lou has told you about break in--they just kept getting better over the first 20-30 hours and then at around 100 hours the midrange just opened up right before my ears. My DA-1.1's sounded great right out of the box but boy once you get through the break in period things really get special! Rrsclyde, what are you using for the rest of your system? Congrats and enjoy!
Thanks Dodgealum :). My setup is as follows:
MW Transporter for a digital front end, Cary SLI-80 integrated amp and a REL Strata III sub x'ed over at about 36 hz at the moment. I will probably be hooking up a solid state amp tomorrow evening so I'll feel better about letting the system run 24-7 the next few days to speed up the speakers' break in.
OK, my DA-RMa's now have a good 2 weeks on them, probably a total of 150 hours or so. This isn't intended as an exhaustive review, just a quick addendum to my post above. In summary, I'm very pleased with their sound. I'm certain I don't have things optimized as far as room placement, sub x-over etc., but these guys really sound natural and musical. I've just left the sub's x-over at 36hz, with very minimal gain--I'm not a basshead by any stretch of the imagination, but for me with minimal supplement by the sub, the bass is fine, very tight & quick also.
The Micro Utopias that the DA-RMa's replaced are very nice in their own right, but the DA-RMa's just sound more like live music, less 'electronic' for lack of a better term. As I noted on a different site, the Micro Uotpia's excel at high end detail (even tho mine have been modded to smooth the top end out a bit), but I've found that I haven't lost any detail with the DA-RMa's, yet the overall resolution of the DA-RMa's is significantly better....don't know if that makes sense to anyone else, but its my best attempt at describing that particular phenomena :)! To me, part of the high end detail I heard with the Micro Utopia's was slightly obscuring other areas. The mids and treble with the DA-RMa's are to die for, with great resolution as noted, but NEVER fatiguing (completely in line with everything I've ever read about Daedalus spkrs).
Soundstage is bigger, more 'air' between instruments. Overall pinpoint imaging of instruments/singer within the soundstage is about the same I'd say--maybe a slight nod to the DA-RMa's due I'd guess to the better overall resolution throughout the frequency range.
I've swithched back and forth between my Cary SLI-80 integrated and my Pathos Classic MkII integrated quite a bit this weekend. Both are very good with the DA-RMa's, but my overall preference is with the Cary. I will say that the DA-RMa's easily let me hear differences in various NOS 6922's used in the pre section of the Pathos.
Again, I'm no reviewer :), and certainly don't have 'golden ears' (I can't tell you how many times I've spent $ on different cables/tubes, tweaks and really WANTED to hear a difference and justify the expense and couldn't!), but the above is my somewhat feeble attempt to provided what little insight I can about the DA-RMa's sound.
I listened for a while without my sub being switched on, and frankly didn't even realize it! Of course, once I turned it on I could tell it was contributing to the sound (remember I have it crossed over fairly low and with very little gain at this point), and yes I preferred the sound with it on, but the DA-RMa's were certainly not bass deficient (to my tastes) even without being supplemented by my REL.
Hope that helps some; of course IMHO with subs (and speakers too) your room and setup are going to have a huge influence on how well the spkrs and/or subs load the room in the bass octaves...
David12: In my experience if you have the choice it is better to go with a full range speaker than use a monitor and a sub. Proper integration of a subwoofer is tricky and compounds variables like room size, dimensions and construction. Even a good sub, like the Rel (I used a Stadium III for a while with my Harbeth Compact 7's) can be a challenge to work with. Lou's speakers are very coherent throughout the frequency range and I'd hate to see that compromised by application of a subwoofer. Your room, at 20 X 20 is fairly large and could easily take the DA-1.1's. Mine is 14 X 23 and open on one side and these speakers fill the room beautifully without overpressurizing the space. Rrsclyde, if you can't tell whether your sub is on or not you have probably got it set just right! I always mucked up the sound with my Rel trying to "hear" it--hey, I paid good money for it now let's hear this thing rock! Wrong approach. The best sub is the one you don't know is there. Hey Lou, how about some input for guys using (or thinking of using) subs with their Daedalus speakers?
Thanks to both of you, a misunderstanding, dodgealum. I was not planning to use a sub with the Da-rma, just wondering what sort of base I would get out of it, whether I would notice the loss of a bottom octave as comared with the DA 1. I realise the DA1 is a different line, but the Ulysses is too large to get passed my wife