Hello Bish, you can find some helpful reviews and comments at www.audioreview.com and www.audioasylum.com
I have never heard any of the Newform Research speakers but many owners think very highly of them, you will see what I mean after reading the consumer reviews at Audioreview.com.
The owner's group is somewhere on Yahoo. Don't have the address.
My experience with a pair was not too positive. Kind of had a Bose-like perspective with the sound everywhere. They're too tall for ordinary chairs so you have to tilt them downwards to get the focus that you CAN get. But, and this is a big ol' butt, there appear to be lots of happy 645 owners, and, after all, there is still (I guess) a 30 day free trial.
I had the opportunity to listen to them at the New York show last May. I thought they were excellent. Then, after listening to them a couple times, my opinion changed. You see, I thought they imaged really well. Detail was nice too. Even the bass was well defined and better than some have suggested. What I noticed about them eventually was that the music had little to no weight. There was no impact, no three dimensional illusion. In other words, they were great in terms of height and width, but there was no depth, or no focus that I attribute to "depth". I know that I'm in the minority here when I say this, but it is my experience that most ribbons and electrostats do this. Sure, the first time you hear them, it's bewitching. But then you realize that no one's voice is that HUGE. It's just unnatural, and at these prices and this level of committment, I want truth.
Hey Patmatt: Sorry to see you lump Newforms with other ribbons and electrostats. After 10+ years with both, I don't find your truth to be mine. But that's hi-fi.
I'm grateful for the input; please keep it coming. I'm not much given to relying on opinions from owners' groups--they have a vested interest in liking what they bought. And the opinions offered on sites like audioreview often lack weight and expertise.
I'm not a fanatic for pinpoint imaging. I don't hear that in the concert hall and I don't need to hear it at home. My concern is for absolute crystal clarity and lucidity in the midrange. I don't have to know precisely where the second desk violins are sitting but I absolutely have to know what sound they are making. I don't need to be able to spot the stool the guitarist is sitting on within 10cm but I do need to hear every overtone off the E string.
The issue at hand is only Newforms so please let's not get off into a wrangle about Maggies and Quads and MLs and the virtues of estats versus dynamics. All worthy topics but I need expert advice.
Go out and listen; Take a 30day trial.And quit telling people "what" you want to hear in their replys.If you ask-- you gotta take what they give you. Speakers sound different with different amps etc.
What a stupid post:
"I'm not much given to relying on opinions from owners' groups--they have a vested interest in liking what they bought."
I own 645's and my experience is just the opposite of Travis'.
They are one of the best speakers I have ever heard at any price, and I can assure you, I can afford whatever I want. I wouldn't possibly keep these speakers if they weren't great and your attitude toward the Yahoo group is condescending. There are many audiophiles there who own a lot of high-end equipment. Maybe you should hang out there a while and make your mind up based on experience rather than pre-conceived notions.
Pull your throttle back a little, Fiddler.
I'm sure we are all pleased to learn of your affluence but that is beside the point.
It is a simple fact of life that people either like what they buy or they get rid of it. Thus, most people who post to specialty groups already like their gear. I'm interested in hearing from people who have no such vested interest.
In contrast to your gratuitously nasty post, several members of the Yahoo Newform group have written privately to me. They have been extremely helpful, though none of them has been impartial, all being deeply committed to their speakers of choice.
You could learn from their courtesty and helpfulness.
My first response, "this post is stupid", was not directed at Will's first post. It was directed at Will's second post.
"I'm not much given to relying on opinions from owners' groups--they have a vested interest in liking what they bought."
Yes, owners do have a vested interest, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they will have a "favorable" bias toward what they own. If that statement were true, there would be very few used speakers on the market. Many of the speakers that are sold "used" are sold because the owner is unhappy with some aspect of the speaker.
There is probably no better group of people to ask about any product, audio or otherwise, than owners. I had rather have feedback from someone who has lived with equipment over time rather than from someone who has only demo-ed speakers in an audio shop or simply heard them at a friends house. One should also be smart enough to temper both the raves and rants with a healthy dose of skepticism, regardless of the source.
And Will, you completely misinterpreted my remark about being able to afford any speaker I want. It was not to make a point about my affluence, but it was rather to say that I felt so strongly about this "bargain" speaker, that I didn't care how much it cost. IMHO, it is one of the best sounding speakers out there at any price. My endorsement of the 645's wouldn't be as significant, if for example, I could only afford speakers that cost $2,500 or less. The fact that I can afford speakers that cost significantly more, and I still chose Newforms, is theoretically a more significant endorsement.
And your remark:
"And the opinions offered on sites like audioreview often lack weight and expertise."
simply smacks of arrogance.
Certainly there is a percentage of neophytes at AudioReview, but you will find them here too. The way to evaluate reviews at AudioReview, in my opinion, is to look at the reviewers associated equipment, as well as what equipment they have previously owned. Weigh these factors with a good dose of skepticism and you might just learn something from these "lightweights". I can assure you that many to the posters at AudioReview have equipment and expertise that would make you envious.
Both Audiogon and AudioReview have their place. I, too, often find Audiogon more useful than AudioReview, but to foster such snobbery about AudioReview or any other board is simply ridiculous.
Take AudioReview for what it is, just another source of information, nothing more - nothing less.
I feel you may be selling short the value that can be gained from amateur audio reviews. There are many of your opinion, but I disagree. Of course most owners will rave about a product that they own but what is more important to be gained from reading them is a sense of consistency among the reviews of a product's attributes and shortcomings. Not all reviews will reveal this but certainly if a product has been reviewed enough something of value to the astute reader should emerge. Many are vanity exercises but some will give very useful, revealing information. Of course nothing will substitute for an in home audition. My 2 cents.
I had the R630's for about six month and didn't like them. They lacked musical weight for my tastes. They sounded thin.
Fiddler, I appreciate your clarification, as well as what we have communicated privately. Also, Tubegroover, your points are well taken and I appreciate them, too.
I guess I didn't make myself clear, leading people to jump to wrong conclusions. I didn't NEED positive affirmations from owners because I'd already had a number of those, along with some extremely friendly and helpful private correspondence with members of the Yahoo Newform Group and others.
Whenever I am evaluating a new piece of gear, I make it a point to read the negative reviews, especially if my brow is burning with the fever of desire for immediate gratification. Sometimes negative reviewers cause me to stop and think; other times I read what they say and know that their concerns won't be a problem for me.
So, guys, it wasn't a matter of discounting the value of your opinions but rather of particularly wanting to hear what the naysayers and the neutrals had to offer.
With regard to amateur reviews, I value them enormously or I wouldn't be on the 'gon. However, I find the level of knowledge and discernment on the 'gon several lightyears ahead of audioreview. You gotta agree that there's a lot of pretty worthless stuff there. The other day I read an audioreview of a REL subwoofer and the writer said, "This thing's a piece of crap. It won't kick booty on movies." Hardly a useful review of a highly respected name in low frequency reproduction.
What I should have said was that I read audioreview with some discernment. I'm not really arrogant, I just don't suffer fools gladly.
Anyway, I suppose I needed my chain jerked, if only to remind me to be clear about what I mean when I write.
In one word, bad. Demod them and could not find many redeeming qualities. They went back to Newform under their 30-day exchange program. Want more? E-mail me directly.
I also owned a pair of 645s and while I liked them I wasn't as over the moon as some. For the retail price they are good value, but even better value are the Boeringer-Graebener ribbons you can buy new on uBid for around $1500.
To my ears the Newforms lake life and sparkle and the listening height requirements are a little severe for my liking.
I've never heard them and I don't like them already. Fiddler's post was rude. (I won't use that "s" word, but if the shoe fits . . . .)
Will, I'm sure you knew that people who owned them would say they're great, people who have heard but not bought them wouldn't like them and people who once owned but sold or gave them back would hate them. I think what you wanted to know was(were) the reason(s) people have rejected or sold them. Before I bought my Harbeths I emailed former sellers on r.a.m. and asked them why they had sold. Got all sorts of interesting and "informative" responses (too cold, too warm, too bright, too dark - i.e., nobody agreed on what was wrong with them - which told me something about their lack of coloration). I think that's what you want to find out, and some of the posts above have been responsive to your request.
I had Module 30s used with a sub. I really liked them. I compared them to my Merlins VSM-Ms and Green Mountain 1.5s. They offer excellent value, and come amazingly close to these much more expensive speakers. The 30" ribbon was a bit phasey, and the frequency balance changed when you stood up. This is a speaker you have to sit in front of to here a correct sound. No big deal for some, a big deal for others. I imagine the 45" ribbon is better about this. I thought they had excellent detail, imaged very well, and sounded very natural. I sold them to a friend who heard them and had to have them. I do think cone speakers will always give better dynamics than ribbons, stats, or panels. That's just physics. But I didn't think the Newforms were poor in this regard. One other thing....John Meyer at Newform has to be one of the best manufacturers on this planet. He treated me exceptionally well, and I would never hesitate to buy from him again.
"The 30" ribbon was a bit phasey, and the frequency balance changed when you stood up. This is a speaker you have to sit in front of to here a correct sound. No big deal for some, a big deal for others. I imagine the 45" ribbon is better about this."
I think phasey is an accurate description. Unfortunately, the 45" ribbon now sits on a woofer cabinet which houses 2 7" woofers so that to actually focus the ribbons you really must tilt the speaker forwards, a rather unwieldy solution. That's so weird.
My experience with the 645's is the exact opposite of Travis'. Not having heard his Newforms in his room with his associated equipment, I can't disagree with what he heard.
However, in my room, with my equipment, the 645's are simply phenomenal. The soundstage is as much as 30 ft. deep and wall-to-wall if the recording has the information on it. Imaging is rock solid and very precise. Probably the best imaging I have ever heard. The sweetspot is huge. I can sit directly in front of either speaker 10 ft. away and cannot hear the speaker. The imaging just becomes slightly off center.
The detail is fabulous. You can hear every stick hit cymbals, as well as the skin of drums when they are being struck. The only area that I would nitpick is that pianos don't always sound tonally accurate. But I think this could be atributed as much to my upstream components and to the recording itself as much as to the speakers. Plus, the piano is arguably the most difficult instrument for any speaker to reproduce. I have just ordered a Supratek pre-amp and I am very curious how this may affect tonal accuracy.
I did experience some "phasey-ness" early in the break-in period and also when I experimented with positioning the speakers. In my experience, room interactions were the culprit for the phasey-ness after the break-in period.
As far as tilting the speaker forward, I sit in a standardized chair and I certainly don't feel the need to tilt the speakers forward. When I stand up there is a frequency change, but I do not find it offensive. I usually stay fairly-well planted when I am listening anyway.
The thing that has bothered me more about every other speaker that I have heard is that if you move out of the narrow sweetspot, frequency changes occur and imaging just goes out the window. So I will trade the minor inconvenience of a frequency change when I stand up for the ability to sit virtually anywhere in the horizontal plane and still get an incredible soundstage.
The 645's are not perfect (what speakers are), but I truly believe that they are an incredible bargain.
(BTW, John Meyer is one of the greatest guys that I have had the pleasure of doing business with, audio or otherwise. I have never met him personally, but his customer service has been exceptional.)
I bought a pair of the r645's about 8 months ago. Personally, I love them. I've had no problem placing them. They present great clarity and detail, a wide soundstage if not the deepest and good top to bottom tonal balance. I've recently heard other speakers, one nuveau horn design and one well known all ribbon design both of which cost considerably more. I'll keep the newform's. Hope that helps.