'97 RMAF? I thought this was only the 5th year(starting in 2003) that this show went on?
67 responses Add your response
...but quite ordinary sounding and very overpriced.Are you kidding!? LOL! Unfortunately I know you're not.
Aside from insulting the senses of well respected and keen eared manufacturers who've heard the Sasons - including Ultra Fi who partnered with us at the show - and 99% of the folks we've heard feedback from directly and indirectly over the last three years, all I can possibly say to that is "WOW!!!"!
Jfz, good question. The speaker is the final common pathway so I can only make somewhat of a valid assessment of the speaker, not the upstream components. I can't make any real valid assessment of the upstream components unless I already know how the speaker sounds (ie, something I own and listen to). Eventhen, room interaction screws things up. It's a mess in reality.
Maybe it's just me, but while I found the RSAD speakers nice enough at RMAF2008, they didn't come anywhere close to justifying their asking price to me.
Whenever you commit to a speaker of that size, regardless of what the package offers otherwise, you are giving up the foundation of the music. It seemed you're first and foremost paying for a cabinet that requires a lot more work than most other products. On my own cost/benefit scale, that money is better spent in other areas, but hey, that's obviously their raison d'etre. They were far from being the only manufacturer I failed to see the value in.
The other thing I want to say is that they, along with "the best loudspeaker on earth, period" folks employ those velvet ropes to cordon off their loudspeakers. There were some really competent and/or exotic loudspeakers from the likes of Krell, Maxxhorn, Acapella (horrible sound, but $200K), etc. that you could go right up and put your fingers all over - and I did. Did YG and RSAD really feel it so important to keep the great unwashed away? Again, maybe it's me, but it comes off as the height of arrogance.
All that being said, I spoke to the speaker designer in the room, and he was truly a gentleman.
Trelja, everyone has their set point for value. Obviously, I think Sasons are high value given the amount of manual work and quality of the components that goes into making a pair.
I thought the Ultra Fi 20 watt SETs were not the best to show off the Sasons low bass - "foundation of music" as you put it. The Sasons I am told by Robert, Steve and Sason owners will go down to the low 30s. But I would have to hear that for myself.
I don't think their cabinet is their only "raison d'etre". Seems like a lot of thought and work went into the crossover parts, wiring, speaker/cable interface, and customized drivers as well.
Yea, I agree with you about the velvet rope thing. But I think the electronic did not belong to RSA and the speakers were Roberts personal pair. I touched the speakers but Robert has no problem with that.
Sound and musical taste is a highly personal matter. For me, the Sasons and Podiums just let me listen to the music and enjoy. Unfortunately, I couldn't say that for Acapella, YG Acoustics, Scaena, etc... hi fi explatives galore like "You can hear that bell way off to the side!, but couldnt enjoy the music through them.
Since when does Fi make 20W SET monos?The amps used for the show were a pair of customized Daytona monoblocks by Larry D. Moore of Ultra Fi. About 12 watts a side. Normally you wouldn't partner Larry's Daytonas and RSAD's Sasons together but these amps are amazing within their limits - which definitely bellies their 12 watts. I like the amps and as far as dynamic/multi driver speaker designs go, Larry likes the Sasons. I have the amps here for a while until Larry sells them. I intend to write a full review of these beauties if I'm able to get enough time under my belt with them here. I already know this: I'll be sorry to see them go.
In a room size of what we had at the show and playing music at realistic levels consummate to the recording venue, listening distance from the speaks and room volume, it worked out very well for the show. For folks who prefer and are locked into "hi-fi spectaculars", the RSAD/Ultra Fi room probably wasn't for them. Nothing wrong with that preference mind you, just not what we wanted to present.
Hey Paul, I mentioned in another thread before the show I hadn't forgotten you. If you're still interested, now we can set up a time for you to visit at your convenience. Shoot me an email or give me a call. It would be fun.
...employ those velvet ropes to cordon off their loudspeakers. There were some really competent and/or exotic loudspeakers from the likes of Krell, Maxxhorn, Acapella (horrible sound, but $200K), etc. that you could go right up and put your fingers all over - and I did. Did YG and RSAD really feel it so important to keep the great unwashed away? Again, maybe it's me, but it comes off as the height of arrogance.I understand what you're saying Trelija. As you experienced with Steve, we really ain't snobs. (Right Darren?) As a matter of fact, the stanchions were purposely not in front of the speakers but back and off to the insides of the speakers so they could be inspected and all. Believe me - they got touched (is it wrong? LOL!) The stanchions served two purposes: 1.) Not my amps / Big tubes / high voltage - you get the picture. 2.) They did dress up the room pretty nicely. To me the aesthetic of the room environment is an important part of the whole playback experience. I hoped we provided a comfortable setting to enjoy what we presented.
Sorry Robert, I stand corrected about the amps.
No worries Drac (Michael?). I get a little dumerically nyslexic sometimes myself. ;)
Jfz, "final common pathway". Think of your speaker as the faucet in your home and the water comming from it is the sound. The water travels from the cloud, to the mountains, gets collected in multiple steams, rivers, to the aquaduct, to the reservoir, to the treatment plant...to your home faucet. Like the faucet, speakers are where the final music (water) comes out of. So it's hard to judge how upstream component sounds - it's like trying to determine where the water came from upstream. All you hear is the speaker in the end, so that's what I can make a valid assessment, unless like I said I already know the sound of the speakers beforehand from personal experience. Sorry, but that's the best crappy analogy I can come up with.
Thanks again, Dracule. I understand (and understood) the analogy. Seemed confusing to call it the "common" pathway, though; i.e., if one switches speakers, there's no commonality at that (final) point anymore. My point wasn't at all about whether it's hard to judge upstream components, however - which of course it is. You were talking about speakers in your initial post, and I didn't see how you judge *them* independently, given diffences in upstream components, rooms, etc. I personally don't see how one makes a "valid" comparison of two different loudspeaker systems unless everything else stays the same. Even then (as I'm sure you know), there are combinations that work better together,etc. In the end, I guess, I disagree with "All you hear is the speaker in the end...".
To put things into perspective, let's compare the Sason to another highly regarded 2 way speaker - the Magico Mini. I have heard these speakers at a dealer in Massachusetts within a dedicated treated 2 channel audio room (cost for the room alone topped $200k) with some of the most expensive electronics known to man (Boulder, Spectral, Nagra, etc). The Magico Mini has impeccable build quality, but the sound IMO was not as open and natural as the Sason. Now they cost almost 3x the cost of the Sason SI. Obviously, a valid comparison is a side by side shootout using the same electronics, but very few are able to do that.
Mapman, what you say may be true. But I don't think lots of speakers will sound as good as the Sasons - not in my 23+ years in this hobby. Synergy is very important, but very difficult to achieve by the consumer unless he/she has the cash to try many combinations. My last speaker was purchased based on audition at the '04 Stereophile Show in NY. It was the Hyperion 938 which I love to this day. It sounded great when I set them up in my home - different room and electronics. A speaker that is not so finicky in set up will sound good in most rooms and gives credit to its designer.
What made them spectacular? Simple. It was the most enjoyable listenng session I had in a long time. So it's highly personal.
I wasn't at the show to hear the new Sason SI to provide any further commments on the sound
But I have heard the Magico Mini in a similar room to mine with very good electronics and much prefer the Sason (which I currently own)
For the money, the Original Sasons were ridiculously underpriced and the Mini would be overpriced imo
"Synergy is very important, but very difficult to achieve by the consumer unless he/she has the cash to try many combinations. "
Synergy is key.
Focusing on this at all times in the end will cost you less to get to a good place than otherwise.
Without it, the best individual components alone may also be the biggest waste of money.
That's why its called a stereo "system". Its the overall combination of components (including the listening room) and how they synergize together that matters most.
"So it's highly personal"
As is always the case.
I wouldn't put too much sense into what others think
If your ears like it that all that matters
I'm a big fan of Ridge Street Audio Designs and everything i've heard from them thus far has been a home run. I'm sure the newer Sasons in a correct setting will impress those who thought they were "ordinary"
Trelja - I've spoken with Jonathan on the phone and would concur that he's a great guy. If I ever return to N.J. by car, I'll certainly make a point of stopping by New Tripoli for a look.
Apparently, from what you've said here, you have good familiarity with the speaker in question. What does it sound like, in your estimation, and how does it compare to Oris, AvantGarde, Acapella, Haigner and any other large horn system you can think of?
Macojack, I happen to stop by the Oswald room. Very unique lookin huge horn speakers, but I liked the sound. I was clear and dynamic but obviously needed a bigger room for the sound to open up. They sounded much more natural than the AvantGarde at the show. I think Jonathan (or whoever was showing off the Oswalds) went to the AvantGarde room to listen. When asked by the AvantGarde people what he thought about them, I think he answered "they sound interesting". The huge Acapella sounded bloated in the bass.
Macrojack, I really, really liked the Oswalds Mill horn loudspeakers at RMAF. In fact, it was easily one of my favorite rooms. My only problems with the design were the extreme looks/low WAF and what must be an absolutely stratospheric pricetag, though Jonathan assured me I could afford it.
As far as sonics go, the Oswalds Mill horns were the most natural sounding loudspeaker of this type I have ever been around. They combined the immediacy/suddenness along with large variance between quiet and loud that a horn should provide, with the lack of irritating or unnaturalness. I felt it truly to be a coup of not small measure. Given their extreme looks and the poor quality of the rooms at RMAF, that surprises me. I have no idea how much they cost, but if I had the money, I would most definitely make the drive up to give them another listen.
The Avant Gardes seemed to have an "amplified" nature about them, where even acoustic music took on the feel of being played through electronics, along with that feel you get when you listen to a Victrola. It wasn't necessarily a bad sound, and oftentimes, it worked. Just that when you are listening to some music, because of it, it leant kind of an unnatural quality to the sound.
Personally, I thought the Acapella room was the worst sound at the show by leaps and bounds. Other than their ability to completely dominate a room and make a visual statement or play at jet engine volumes, I have no idea what anyone could see in such a product.
I don't have any experience with the Oris or Haigner, so anything I would say in relation to them would be a lie.
I don't get the Acapella design. Seems like a lowest common denominator design, a mishmash of horn and dynamic drivers that would compomise the best qualities of each.
This is just my impression from what I have seen and read about them. Never actually heard a pair.
In comparison, at least Avantgardes are pure horn designs that have a chance of doing something exceptional with the distinct merits horn technology provides.
Just my impressions....I could be way off base having never heard either.
Emailists, I did hear that system on two occasions, both times analogue sources. Sounded very natural, warm and smooth but lacked imaging and staging. Considering all the god awful expensive electronics (Wavac, Continuum, etc), I expected a much more but I think it needed a much bigger room. The plasma tweeter does emit a lot of heat - the speakers are ventillated at the top where the tweeter sits.