I was floored by these at RMAF. Absolutely gorgeous midrange. If I was looking for monitors, these would definitely be on my shortlist.
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I agree with Madfloyd. I heard the Pulsars at RMAF 2009, and I was extremely impressed. I liked them so much I made it a point of listening to their full range big brothers in the next room, the Pearl 2. I thought the Pulsar and Pearl 2 were some of the best sounding speakers at the show.
Can't offer an opinion comparing them to Avalon or Magico or Wilson or Revel. That's too subjective.
I suggest hearing the Pulsars yourself. It will be well worth your time.
I have owned a pair of Pulsars for several months now and have enjoyed every minute with them. The Pulsars produce a surprising amount of bass for their size. Initially, I though that I would need to supplement the bottom end with a sub. I tried the two different subs that I own, an M&K and a Focal Sib. After a lot of listening, I found that I actually liked the Pulsar better without the sub. It completely took me by surprise. That being said, my listening room has been acoustically optimized by a professional company (A/V RoomService), so that might have something to do with my results. Perhaps a higher end sub would change my opinion, like a JL Audio, but for now I am very, very content with listening to the Pulsars "naked".
I'm going to play devils advocate for a moment. Please note that I'm not trying to stir the pot. I'm just trying to grasp why on earth these relatively compact monitors are priced at 7 grand..
I mean, we've seen the Seas Millennium tweet / Seas Excel mid woof combo for nearly a decade now. This speaker doesn't look much different than anything else that I've seen out there. Sea's drivers? Check. A pretty/finely tuned MDF box? Check. Crossover Wizardry.. also check. Throw in healthy margin for distributors and dealers, and I could see the Pulsar's fetching around 3 to maybe 4 grand. But 7? What on earth makes them so different from everything else that uses the same above recipe?
Hell, not having even read the reviews, I'd guess that the sound flows more to the 'linear' side of the audio spectrum. The Excel driver has always been known for great bass and its general lack of warmth throughout its midrange presentation. I'd also guess that the mids could be described as very open, nicely detailed, and sports great pinpoint imaging. The highs are probably also well detailed, have a bit of natural 'grit' and texture to them, and are otherwise smooth when paired with the right gear (particularly of the tube variety). Bass is probably impressive for the size, but nothing earth shattering as far as compacts go.
Overall, I'd guess it to be a great speaker, but one that sounds pretty much like every other speaker that contains the same formula. Hell, some of you have heard them / owned them. Am I completely off in the description? And does anyone have any legit insight as to why such a speaker would fetch such a high price tag? I'm genuinely curious.
For what it is worth, I purchased a pair of Pulsars with the intent of using them in a second system. Initially, I put them in my main system (alongside my Revel Ultima Studios) to break them in and push them with my nicer amp and see what they could really do. Long story short...I ended up selling my Revels and the Pulsars are now my main speakers. Value is a matter of perception. In my case, I perceive the Pulsars to be correctly priced, perhaps even a bit on the low side. Others may disagree and that's fine, but I would respectfully suggest not to fall into pit where judgment is by looks alone. These speakers are the real deal.
I've heard great things about them as well. Thought about buying a pair. Only thing that concerns me is the resale. JA is not a no name brand but the Pulsars are a little pricey and my perception is there's not a huge demand for used JA speakers. Of course, I go through a lot of equipment, so it's a concern of mine. I expect some loss but I don't have a feel for how the price on these speakers will hold up. What if they're worth only $2500 on the used market? That's a jagged little pill to swallow. I don't audition equipment anymore either. I see something, read about it, and buy if I think I'll like it. So no-audion $5k monitors aren't really in my comfort zone. But I encourage you to try them and let us know how they sound. :)
I realize that you did not ask for other options, however, the always well-thought-of B&W 805s have a new version just out, the 805 Diamond, that is getting absolutely rave reviews. I have not heard them, but have been trolling various forums and the early returns are that they are spectacular. There is a current thread here on agon about the new Diamond series, and the 805 is mentioned there by some people who have just heard them. I assume you will have no trouble finding a dealer near you that has them. I've heard great things about the new Marten monitor as well, but they are even rarer than a JA speaker. Anyway, please accept my apologies for intruding with another suggestion, but it may be worth checking out. Good luck.
I heard these things at CES 2009 and 2010 and I was amazed by the bass and midrange response. I think each year I asked Jeff Joseph where the sub woofer was, and there was none. I have heard SRV's Tin Pan Alley and John Mayer's Gravity and I have listened to these tracks many many times. I think I was amazed by the imaging, along with vocal clarity. At $6999 its over my budget but doesn't mean I can stop thinking about them.
I did some research into the SEAS Millennium drivers and yes you can build your own system using the same drivers for about 2k in material. I think what makes Joseph Audio stand out is their crossover. You are paying money for that patented infinite slope crossover by Richard Modafferi. If someone buys it, reverse engineer it, and manufacture it in China then we can get for almost at cost. Odds of that happening is nil. Basically you are paying a 'consultant' to fine tune those drivers to make it work in harmony. I heard that the SEAS DIY kits sound very harsh.
I think there is a used pair for sale at $5400. My consolation prize was a used pair of RM7Si's until I can afford 5-7k for a pair of speakers.
I agree completely with Rumadian. These speakers are way over priced for what they are.
The drivers alone cost $200 each at Madisound. Don't tell me Joseph Audio is sprinkling over $6k of fairy dust on these.
I have actually heard these in a domestic like setting very recently at the recent Capital Audiofest.
I thought they sounded was quite nice and fast. There is a good new review here:
The reviewer gives a good accounting of the sound as I heard them but is rather lazy in learning what makes them tick. He just rehashes the PR blather about crossovers, etc. Again $6k for a furniture box and crossovers?
I recently decided to research and purchase a similar type speaker for my dedicated two channel system. This eventually led me to buy the Ascend Sierra-1 speaker. I am very impressed by this speaker. It's fast like the Pulsar and it costs $800 for a pair delivered to my door with 30 day return option. Is it better or equal to the Pulsar? Who knows? I think it is damn competitive to what I remember hearing when listening to the Pulsars.
The Pulsars would probably be very competitive if priced under $2k. At $7k, given the hundreds of options out there, I just can't get very enthused.
I would concur they are pretty highly priced, but therefore they are up against stiff competition---at 7k+ you have the Dyns, B&Ws, and Focals of the world which have in house drivers. the market will prove if they are worthy.
Although i would agree that monitors in general have become very expensive----monitors used to peak out around 5k 5-7 years ago (Wilson Cubs were the top echelon at like 7500)---now that seems like where they start.
You must be out of your mind if you think the Sierra's are anywhere near as good as the Pulsar's the drivers are top notch,and Jeff Josephs steep sloped crossover is the best untilazation I've heard out of the SEAS metal drivers.At last years RMAF the Pulsar along with the upper end Green Mountain monitors, Eosteric monitors,and the 1s playing in the Monarchy room for $2300 were the best monitors at the show.The best monitors I've still heard to date are the Dynaudio C1 on multiple occations to,i dont think the Pulsar is at that level though,But nothing I've never heard is including the new Focal Utopia monitors, Wilson Duette and the Maggico.
Had a chance to hear these at Stereo Exchange in NYC against the B&Ws. I felt the Pulsars were the hands down winner. I was immersed in the sound. They were an experience that were pretty impressive. The 805s just could not hang with Pulsars and I thought they were worth the money. A speaker you would not worry about resell value because you would not want to ever sell them.
Even though I haven't heard the Pulsars, I have doubts the Sierra-1's would compare to them. I've had the Sierra's for a few month and found the bass boomy and midrange very recessed. I'd like to compare the Pulsars to my Tyler Acoustic D3M's, which is a phenomenal speaker and great value.
$7K is a lot of scratch for a monitor but they do look gorgeous.
I have a pair. They sound better than almost anything I have ever owned, including speakers costing twice as much. I did not pay for component parts, but rather for music with my eyes shut and calculator turned off. Instead of analyzing the cost of the lacquer on the speakers, or the Cardas binding posts, listen to them; you may agree with me on just how remarkable they are.
The Pulsars are truly outstanding. I owned a pair for about 4 months, using them with a pair of subs, and with digital crossover and room correction courtesy of Lyngdorf. I've owned many fine speakers over the past 40 years, up to and including SoundLabs A-1PX. No speaker has engaged me in the music the way that the Pulsars did. Notice the past tense there. So, what did I do? Dumped 'em, dumped 'em like yesterday's newspaper. Why? To purchase their larger brothers, the new Perspectives! My listening room is very large at 32' X 15' X 9' (avg...it's vaulted). Even with the subs, the Pulsars could start to hit their limits at high volumes and/or large peaks. let me emphasize the words 'start to'. The upshot here is that if you're considering using them in a more mormal size room, go for it.
I'll lend a word of caution here. The quality of the mid and upper bass is so good that mediocre subwoofers need not apply.
Is this really so good? Can I use these words "Ultimate Bookshelf Speakers" to describe? How much they can go loud and remain stunning without distortions? I own a pair of Denton, they go as low as 45hz, it seem not much different from Pulsar, but then the Denton distort at extreme volume level. I'm curious how well Pulsar compare to Sierra-1?