I suppose one man’s endgame is another man’s entry level.
14 responses Add your response
I have been enjoying my Hales Transcendance 8 speakers for 21 years also. I have upgraded everything in the system over the years except the turntable and arm. During this time of improvements I never once thought about changing the speakers. I mean that this never even crossed my mind as I planned and executed improvements to the system. Still going strong and impressing me daily. They do a lot right. Only concern is failure of parts and what to do if it occurs, or find a replacement speaker. I do have relationships with local high end dealers and I do take the time to listen to their brands when I do business with them. Bottom line,I still would not switch unless I have to. Enjoy what you have.
I love Hales speakers.
The T8s are still one of the best speakers I’ve ever heard (it was my favorite when debuted at CES) and I owned the T5s for a number of years.
Paul Hales had a magical way with those drivers, making such a coherent, lush sound, an absolutely magically grain-free midrange and highs, with incredible soundstaging and imaging. And a timbral accuracy I still rarely hear from other speakers today. They were the speakers that showed me metal drivers could actually sound wonderful.I think they are competitive with anything today and definitely in the "end game" category, depending on the individual of course.
So why did I sell them?
Well...I’m an audiophile. Nuff said ;-)
But to be more specific: the two nits I had with the Hales were that they were so smooth they smoothed away a bit of presence and texture to the sound. There wasn’t quite the textural presence of some other speakers I liked. Also I found the sonic images weren’t as dense and palpable as I preferred.
I found for me a better combination of timbral accuracy, image density, dynamics and texture with Thiel speakers (which I still own).
But I still loved the Hales sound so much I tracked down rare-as-hens-teeth Transcendent 1 monitors and the T- Center channel for my home theater (in fact, bought some directly from Paul well after Hales folded).Best decision I ever made. I’d never give them up as they provide such a smooth, gorgeous, timbrally beautiful sound for home theater. I even bought extras in case any of them break!
Though I still have Thiels (2.7) I also added Joseph Audio Perspective speakers which use the similar SEAS drivers (though newer versions) for the midrange/base, like the Hales. There must be something about those drivers because they have the same grain-free timbral beauty as the Hales. But I'm getting a bit more texture out of them as well.
You have upgraded everything but the cabinet. So it cant be end game can it? Even then, it would still just be a wooden box with drivers in em so it cant be endgame.
An endgame would be a golf ball floating in midair unaffected by gravity. It would reproduce tones from 20hz all the way up to 20khz without any sign of stress or strain. Maximum volume would be equivalent to a rock concert. It would have an omni directional polar pattern so no lobing whatsoever. There would be no out of phase soundwave only the sound produced by the ball.
It would sound so perfect that it would make Magico and Rockport and Quad electrostatics sound like a broken toy. It would produce holographic imaging and infinite depth, width and height. You could sit behind them or in front, stand up or sit down and still enjoy PERFECT sound either way.
There would be no pesky box coloration. PERFECT impulse response. Perfect time cohesion. Perfect phase cohesion. It would sound so clear that you could play them 24/7 and never get tired. It would be eternal heaven.It would be the holy grail of every audiophile. It would make Magico and Wilson audio go out of business due to the sheer embarrassment of selling such expensive speakers that sound nothing like PERFECTION. Master Kenjit will go down in history as the finest audiophile that ever lived!
I owned Hales Sig 2's for about twenty years. In some ways they were a speaker that had few peers, yet they were also in many ways frustrating to own. I was never fond of the weight ( both in the bass and in their actual heft) and the lack of true bass. OTOH, once I sold them, I quickly realized the bass ( or lack thereof) wasn't the real issue, but how truly dreadful the MB Quart tweeter was. That tweeter was tremendously limited in its extension...and because of that, I believe the speakers were non-resolving in the highs. I only realized that after I heard a far more resolving and accurate tweeter...
I think the T8s are end-game level speakers. I found a guy selling a great pair a few years ago and would have tried them out, but their size just didn't fit where I'd have to put them in my room.
BTW, some Hales fans may be aware that just before Hales folded (and later went in to pro sound), Paul Hales produced a flagship Alexandra speaker, shown only once I believe at CES 99. You can see a photo of it in this report:
I've always wanted to hear that speaker to see how far Paul pushed his design at the time. Some reports said "best I've ever heard."I actually know by acquaintance the fella who managed to scoop up that one existing model! (Never heard them, though).
@prof I saw the Alexandra speakers at the Stereophile show that year, they were a static display. If I remember correctly, Paul was there and I briefly spoke to him about the speakers. I'm not sure that the Alexandra's would sound any good, particularly by today's standards...those aluminum drivers and the beryllium tweeter would be the problem, IMHO.
I would have some confidence in the sound of the Alexandra. Paul was really focused on timbral accuracy and smoothness at that period, and his transcendence speakers - all metal drivers - where a marvel. I can't imagine he'd suddenly stumble on this design. One or two who heard it raved.