Dahlquist DQ-20 Fan club Rant
I just need to say - I have been using DQ-20's for the past 5 years, and recently got the "upgrade bug". So for the past month I've been running around to showrooms and auditioning the latest crop of under-$5,000 Miracle Speakers all of which have glowing reviews, of course. And I've been checking out used speakers that went originally up to $12,000. And you know what - I've given up.
With the disclaimer that everyone's ears are different - I must say that there' justs nothing out there that beats the DQ's (for my particular ears) overall sonically.
There are plenty that have lots of high end zip in the showroom, because they've got metal dome tweeters which will fatigue you real fast at home. Hence so many of the "latest and greatest" hitting Audiogon with bizarre explanations by the owner as to why he's selling 4 month old speakers.
Nobody ever says - "I made a mistake, these suck, but you'll just love 'em. Listen to how real the triangle at the back of the orchestra sounds!"
And there are some that have MORE bass, because they put a big round hole in the cabinet - called a port - that goes, Whoomp, Whoomp, Whoof. (Could somebody let the dog out, please!) To be fair, there are speakers that go lower with good accuracy - but it's nothing that can't be dealt with by adding a pair of quality little subs. And the bass the DQ's do have is tight.
And there are speakers with nicer wood veneers - you want the birdseye maple veneered MDF instead of the cherry veneered MDF - Oh, that's another $1600! Just don't tap the top of the cabinet with your fingernail, you might dent it!
There are NO speakers that I have heard that have sweeter, more coherent, more real midrange and near-highs, period. In combination with my Velodyne ULD, the DQ's can rock, they can do gorgeous vocals, and full orchestra is probably as good as you'll get below $10,000.
There are speakers I've heard that image great, but that is most certainly one of the Dahlquist's strengths, too.
The only thing I truly would wish for in the DQ's is just a bit more zip in the highs.
It's disappointing. I really wanted the fun of some "New Toys", but there is a magic to the DQ's which I assumed was available elsewhere - it's not. My Spicas had it, but they did have much greater limitations dynamically and frequency-wise. I'd have to say that the Vandersteen 3a Sigs were the closest to having that magic and coherency, but not very exciting - and the Green Mountain Continuum 3 was overall the most impressive (but just not quite right for my tastes.)
So what am I gonna do? I'll experiment with the Regnar capacitor upgrade, but I'm not necessarily going to touch the crossovers - that's probably where the magic is coming from. And I'll try a bi-amp configuration. Maybe try a more "modern" Scanspeak tweeter.
And I have this crazy idea to take two pairs, remove the grills, and stack them like quads (on a custom welded rack) with one speaker upside down, so that each set ends up in a D'Appolito configuration. I'd be willing to bet that would be an approx. $1500 set-up that would knock your socks off.
Any other ideas or suggestions out there? I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's done the Regnar (or other) upgrades. Cheers, Chip