Feedback on Classic Audio Reproductions T-5


I've just come off a thread about high efficiency speakers, and I'm looking for feedback about the Classic Audio Reproductions T-5 model. However, information about these speakers is minimal at best. Are there any owners or those with listening experience of the T-5s?
kennythekey
I've heard his T1 with Atmasphere amps pushing them and they were outstanding to my ears. I'd heard his larger models the previous year and was very impressed. Alas, I have not heard the t5.
Yes, I've heard good things about the larger models, but only the T-5 will fit into my room. One starts to wonder if there are lack of owners due to lack of info.
...and Classic Audio has not had the T-5 at any shows that I have attended in the last few years.

Few owners. Dearth of feedback. Little opportunity to hear them. Not a recipe for success.

Have you looked into AudioKinesis' Planetarium Alpha?
Have you looked into AudioKinesis' Planetarium Alpha?

Great recommendation! I've heard Duke's Planetarium system and was amazed by the sound coming from those small enclosures (the link you provided shows a Beta version which is larger than the ones I heard which use the same drivers in a smaller enclosure and are currently on his site as the Alpha). They'd be on my short list too. Daedalus would be another good bet for high-sensitivity speakers - outstanding speakers, and beautiful and unique craftsmanship!
Thanks for the correction, Jax2. It was the larger floorstanders to which I was referring, not the smaller multi-box version. I guess I meant the Planetarium Beta model.
These might be an even better option from the Audiokinesis line as they don't require subs:

Rhythm Prism
I can see where your confusion came from because Duke has identified them as Alpha on that thread - on his site it is different though. Sounds like either the Alpha or the Beta would be a very good candidate - very impressive speakers (I can attest for the smaller version). Duke's a great fellow to boot...as is Lou at Daedalus. There look at his Ulysses, if you have the space to let them breathe. Otherwise the DA-RMa are also excellent giving up a bit in the low end to their larger brothers.
05-31-10: Clio09
These might be an even better option from the Audiokinesis line as they don't require subs:

Rhythm Prism

Very interesting. Have you heard these Clio09? Thanks for pointing them out.

The way Duke is implementing multiple subs as satellites is extremely effective in integrating the lows with the rest of the system. It is not your typical sub setup. I can't explain the technical side of it, beyond that there are four subs (optional "Swarm Bass System") that integrate far more seamlessly than any sub setup I've ever heard. It definitely requires more real estate in your listening room though, but it is highly effective.
Tvad - I have looked into Audiokinesis but at their Jazz Modules that are less. I wasn't aware, from their website, that this model even existed. I'll check it out.

I've researched "most" of the high efficiency speakers including Duke's and Lou's. I'm just hoping to find someone who has actually heard or even owns the T-5s.
Hey guys, I get it...The speaker that Tvad links to is a new one that Duke doesn't have on his site yet, but he's already priced it at $6,000.
I've researched "most" of the high efficiency speakers including Duke's and Lou's. I'm just hoping to find someone who has actually heard or even owns the T-5s.

Give John Wolfe a call and see if he can refer you to some owners and or enlighten you beyond the info on his site. You could also try Ralph at Atmasphere as he's pretty familiar with all of John's speakers and exhibits with him frequently.
...but he's already priced it at $6,000.
Kennythekey (System | Threads | Answers)
That's in the ballpark of the T-5, isn't it? Perhaps even a little less expensive?

In the past, Duke has offered home trials for his speakers. Not sure if he's offering it with these new models, but if so it'd be a good opportunity to hear them in your system.
Good ideas.

The T-5s are actually twice the money, but they're small enough for my room. I've been saving my dough and will now wait until RMAF where I can listen. Another contender may be the Horning Aristoteles if I can blow by my original goal of $6K and dig deeper.

Tvad - I've read your threads on the Audio Notes and have a question. How much would I give up if I can't get them in the corners or create decent space behind my head?
How much would I give up if I can't get them in the corners or create decent space behind my head?
Kennythekey (System | Threads | Answers)
IMO, you'll give up a lot. They really need corners.

What's your objection to the AudioKinesis possibilities? You don't seem particularly enthused by them.

Have you considered Sonist Concerto 3?

I've heard the Horning Aristoteles. On rock and pop, I thought the bass didn't quite cut it. Kind of loose and "slow". They fared better on classical. Just my opinion...
Jax2, I have not heard the Rhythm Prism's, but Duke designed them with the Jazz Module in mind and likens their sound to them. I own the Jazz Module and have been thrilled with them. Problem is Duke can no longer get the TAD-1101 drivers, so for others the Rhythm Prisms may be a great alternative, and at a lower price point.

I've heard the Swarm with the Planetarium lineup. I agree this sub system has significant advantages over traditional sub set-ups. However, for my Jazz Module they are not required. I also have a small room so real estate is at a premium.
It seems like there's a bit of a disconnect in the discussions of the Audiokinesis Planetarium Beta (or whatever he's calling them) that I initially linked to at the beginning of this thread. The speakers discussed on the last page of that AudioCircle thread have built-in, downward firing subwoofers in the bottom of the cabinets.

Duke states, "My customer couldn't spare the floor space that the multisub system demands, so I built them as floorstanders with the bottom half of each speaker being a built-in downfiring subwoofer."

Therefore, they don't appear to take up more room than Jazz Modules, do they?

Is there an issue with having built-in subs versus having speakers without the built in subs if the performance is similar?
Jax2, I have not heard the Rhythm Prism's, but Duke designed them with the Jazz Module in mind and likens their sound to them. I own the Jazz Module and have been thrilled with them. Problem is Duke can no longer get the TAD-1101 drivers, so for others the Rhythm Prisms may be a great alternative, and at a lower price point.

I haven't heard the Jazz Modules, but heard the Dreammakers and was pretty floored by the sound and scale. Duke designs some nice kit. So if he can't get the TAD-1101 drivers does that mean the Jazz and Dreammaker will be discontinued?

Yet one more good direction to check into is Coincident floorstanders, which I use currently. You might want to mention which amp your using, the size of your room and the kinds of music you listen to. All those things may help narrow down the choices and get you some more input. If you go to RMAF you'll probably be able to hear many of these options.
Is there an issue with having built-in subs versus having speakers without the built in subs if the performance is similar?

I don't think there's an issue necessarily, BUT, separate subs allow you to strategically place them to take advantage of different rooms while not having an effect on the ability to optimize the imaging abilities of the main speakers. Multiple subs, as in the four in his Swarm Bass System, tends to blend better and be a smoother integration - that according to Duke and to my own ears. I didn't read the thread; are those active or passive subs that those speakers have in them?
If you go to RMAF you'll probably be able to hear many of these options.
Jax2 (Reviews | Threads | Answers)
I agree. There's no shortcut to shopping for speakers like these being discussed. If you have the time frame to wait until October, it's extremely beneficial to attend RMAF with a short list of speaker candidates. It seems like an expensive hassle (at least it did to me), but I promise you it's worthwhile.
Multiple subs, as in the four in his Swarm Bass System, tends to blend better and be a smoother integration...
Jax2 (Reviews | Threads | Answers)
I understand that point. To be more specific, I was addressing Clio09's comments regarding floor space and the Jazz Modules. The Planetarium Betas don't appear to take up more floor space due to their built-in subs. It wasn't clear to me from Clio09's comments if he was aware of the built-in subwoofer model, or if perhaps he was aware and he had a reason that they weren't a suitable alternative to the Jazz Module.
Tvad, that's an interesting point about the Horning's bass, and I am going to RMAF. I'll ask Jeff with High Water if he plans to bring them.

Duke's Planetarium model w/built-in subs looks intriguing, and he could use that price point. Not sure if he'll have them at RMAF since it's a prototype that he may not add to his line.

The CAR speakers also use the TAD drivers. Is the problem with the 1101 driver or with the TAD line?
Tvad, I was mistakenly thinking of the other speakers in the Planetarium series that required the Swarm sub system. Now that I have referenced the link I see the speakers you referenced were originally a one off made as a special order for a customer, but are now part of the product line.

Since I've never heard them I can't comment. The down firing subs seem like an interesting idea overall and a more than suitable alternative to the Swarm. Personally, I have an aversion to subs, not just due to space constraints but I don't place a heavy emphasis on deep bass. Having originally been a long time Spendor user the mid-range is what attracts me to a speaker. In the Jazz Module case the 32hz rating and adjustable bass port provides enough bass for me.
So if he can't get the TAD-1101 drivers does that mean the Jazz and Dreammaker will be discontinued?

Good question and I really don't know the answer. At one time I believe Duke told me he had enough of the drivers left to make a few pair of the Dream Makers. It's not so much that the drivers are not available, its more a matter of the high minimum order one has to place to acquire them from TAD (Pioneer).
The last time I heard the T5 was quite a while ago at a show. They are easy to drive, in a lot of cases 60 watts may be all you need. They are 16 ohms so making power with a tube amp is easy with them.

The thing is, John has been updating the T-3 and T-1s with field coil drivers and new crossovers, but I have not seen that happening in the T-5. Prior to that though, the big differences between the T-1/T-3 and the T-5 were these: the bass was smoother response in the T-5 owing to the dual woofer, but did not go as low (31 Hz) and it is slightly less efficient.

The T-1 and T-3 both got dual woofers at a later time.

Now as to Duke: in hearing his speakers recently, I am not sure that there is any particular advantage to the T-5, as Duke's speakers are similar drive-ability and bandwidth. His designs perform well out of their price points as far as bandwidth and resolution, so I think it is sound advice that Tvad has been offering. OTOH you might contact John and see if he has any field coil offerings for the T-5, if so I would keep them under consideration as the field coil drivers are something special in the resolution department.
Beautiful...Thanks, Ralph!

I am working out a possible plan to hear the T-5s but they won't be at the show. I will contact John about which version of T-5.

Thank you for your input about Duke's speakers.
The Jazz Modules and Dream Makers will continue on after I have run out of TAD woofers, as I've found a suitable replacement.

Classic Audio Reproductions was the company that opened my eyes to what a good horn-based system could do. It has been a while since I heard the T-5s, but they were extremely dynamic and I enjoyed them a great deal. John's driver layout is unconventional but in my opinion very intelligent. For example, his twin woofers are spread far apart, which is the same principle that I carry a bit further with my Swarm. Just for the record, Ralph Karsten was the first person to point out to me the advantages of having bass sources spread out within a room. Not bad for an amp guy!

I appreciate your comments in the posts above, Tvad and Jax2 and Clio9 and Ralph.

Duke
Thanks Duke, and I'm sorry to hear about your Step Father.

Good comments about the T-5s, but don't forget that I still have your speakers on my short list!!!

I spoke to John about the T-5s that I may have an opportunity to hear. They are the original models (2001), so no field coils.
The T-5's will be in a seperate room 4085 at the Flamingo
T.H.E.Show Las Vegas Jan 10-13th 2012. Using Allnic electronics. Along with the new T-7.
Room 4087 will have T-1.4's with Atma-sphere electronics
Classic Audio's T-5 and T-7 room has been changed to 4091