Infinity Renaissance 90 questions

Hi fellow AG'ers, I have just pulled the trigger & purchased a pair of Ren 90's in black ash & had some newbie questions for more experienced members. Firstly as they are still shipping from the US, I'd love to know what finish (Black ash or blonde oak) you prefer? In my case, a micky mouse pair came up for sale at the right price in Black ash, so I grabbed them..

Also, I will be initially running my Rens with a Classe Cap-2100 integrated amp which has been bench tested at 235watts/4 ohms. I know most punters advocate giving them 400 watts per channel, so what do you think? (although the Classe has a truckload of current to compensate). I should mention I plan on upgrading to a Ca-2200 pa & AR Reference 3 in a few years, but for now, the Cap will doing regular duties.

Finally, I would be interested to hear from any members who have re-wired their Rens & had a high-end external crossover built & what results you got? I am planning a very high end x-over mod & re-wire of my Rens with Acoustic Zen wire next year and would appreciate any suggestions.

Hail new R90 owner. You've got yourself one of the finest speakers of its day and, dare I say, a real challenger for many current ones. At the price you paid, you certainly can't touch the R90's for 4 times today’s prices.
I have the Black Ash finish as well - the blonde oak never caught my eye. I would love to nab a pair of R90's in the rare black gloss finish though.
I've been running my R90's with my trusty Platinum+ DNA-1 since about 2004 and, while I don't host Block parties, they have been played (on occasion) quite loud - without being damaged by my 'whimpy' 185 watts/side McCormack. Having said that, when I was running them with a stock DNA-500, they really blew me away with how much more they could portray so, giving them more juice will allow you to hear them at their very best.
I have not re-wired mine but have considered it. Don't know of any place I'd trust to have it done - especially in re-doing the crossovers. The R90's are already pretty spectacular and my concern is that they would end up sounding worse. Souping up the parts without alot of time spent listening, adjusting, compensating - IMHO - will just make them unlistenable. Right now, I find these speakers constantly improve when I improve my upstream equipment so, I feel the best bang for the buck is to trust all the R&D, parts that went into these Gems and, spend your tweak dollars on bettering their input.

Enjoy your new purchase - these babies do not disappoint
Hi Jgwilson, thanks for your response. I definitely agree with your comment about how the Ren's compare to what is around today. I estimate you would have to spend atleast $8-10K US to equal them, and goodness knows what to better them, so they are a no brainer. The seller also had left over (brand new) spare High Energy Emits, Emims & Ren 90 grilles which i'm snapping up, so these really should be my speakers for life.

I think the Classe's high current, stable 235watts/4ohm drive should do a "very good" job of driving the Ren's, whilst obviously upgrading to a CA-2200 & tube pre would take them to another level, but on a budget, I feel like i'm doing really well. I agree with your comments about upstream components too; I have a very nice transport, suspended on high end iso feet & running a Nordost Silver Shadow digital cable connected to a Vimak DS-1800mk2 dac (one of the best sounding dacs ever made). And I connect my source (via the dac) fully balanced via an Audioquest Sky XLR cable. The signal then runs through Acoustic Zen Holograph 2 'Custom Shotgun' cables to the speakers. I'm also upgrading soon to a Shunyata Hydra 6 filter & high end Shunyata pc, so system synergy should be excellent. Incidentally, I recently read the Technical White Paper for the Ren's & have to agree; Infinity put an incredible amount of R&D into the x-over network & internal wiring, so i've decided i'm not going to touch it. I'm happy with my current digital source & will wait to see if Bluray Audio takes over SACD.

hi, just to let you know how good then ren 90's are i also have them in black ash and will never sell them they are that good, i had the irs sigmas and liked the sound of the ren 90's better, to me the sigmas woofer did not blend into the emim as nice as the ren 90, the ren 90 just has a nice warmth to the mid bass that is to die for, i also had the mts prelude and when i compared them side by side with the ren 90's there was no contest the rens won, the ren 90's are a more musical speaker and i think the preludes are made for ht, the real joke was when i played jewel live she is playing an acoustic guitar while singing, the ren's ripped an image of her so much better that you would swear she was in the room with you and the acoustic guitar was spot on, i had to laugh, on the preludes the guitar strings sounded like plastic, thats when i sold the preludes, i was running them on a pass labs x-250 power amp, adcom 750 pre, sony es cd player, i would not touch the crossover as infinity used computers to design them and spent countless hours tweaking and choosing the right parts to get a flat frequency response, if you change caps or coils i think you will alter their sound for the worse, i would leave them stock, nice pickup on your ren 90's i saw the for sale ad for the too, the guy also just sold the blond pair, enjoy your new ren 90's.
Hi Okeeteekid, thanks for sharing your views and experience with your Renaissance 90's. It's great to hear you like the black ash finish as well! I have also heard many accounts of the Ren 90's not sounding boxy at all & having excellent coherancy. That is testimony too to the successful collaberation between Charlie Watkins & Infinity in developing the 10" Watkins woofer for the Rens.

I currently own Infinity Reference 60's which had twin 8" IMG bass drivers & an IMG midrange, so I can certainly appreciate the timbral accuracy and warmth the IMG drivers seem to produce; wonderful with accoustic and jazz (eg: Diana Krall). I agree with your statement about Infinity (aka Harmon)'s "hifi" offerings such as the Preludes!...Arnie Nudel must have smashed a hole in his apartment wall after he saw 25 years of his hard work turned into a flea market!

Ah you saw the ad for my black Rens! Yeah, I think that member is known to AG members here. Larry is a Doctor with his own practice & an absolutely terrific guy. He is also an Infinity nut as you would have read & owns IRS-V's, two pair of IRS-Betas, 3 pairs (now 1) of Ren 90's & a pair of Ren 80's. The pair I bought were late-manufacture & used less than a dozen times in 11 years, so are virtually mint which is unheard of for these speakers, so i'm wrapped :)

I'm anxious to see how my Classe Cap-2100 handles the demanding load of the Rens. Obviously the Cap doesn't have anything like as many watts per channel as your big Pass block, however surprisingly it has a lot more current, so on balance it should do a good job, but of course being an Audiophile - I plan on upgrading to it's bigger brother (CA-2200) & a tube preamp next year which, apart from a future upgrade of my current transport (JVC XL-Z1050), will be the final iteration of my high end system :) And yes, I am going to trust Nudel & Christie and leave the Ren's x-over well alone..
Welcome to the club! I have a pair in blonde oak. Look and sound great! I started with a 150 w/ch 8 ohms/ 300 w/ch 4 ohms integrated A308 from Musical Fidelity. It did a decent job in running the speakers but I could tell their was something missing. Then biamped using the integrated for the bass and a Rogue 80 watt per channel tube amp for the highs and mids. Good sound but light on the bass. I then moved to a Musical fidelity A308 pre-amp and A308 amplifier at 250 w/ch 8 ohms/ 450 w/ch 4 ohms. Now we're getting somewhere. The speakers bloomed ! So I figure they love power! I then got another A308 amp and biamped the system. Now at 900w/ch into 4 ohms !! WOW what a difference. !!! The speakers sang! Soundstage was huge and open, bass was tremndous ! Of course, the supporting equipment must be up to par as well as the cables. I now run the speakers between two systems. The one above and a vintage Luxman CL-35 II tube preamp and the monster Luxman M-6000 rated at minimum 300 w/ch into 8 ohms. I couldnt even guess what the 4 ohm rating would be. The mids are just beautiful ! The more high quality power you feed them, the better !! Good luck !
Hi Olp88, thanks for sharing your experiences with your Renaissance 90's. I always find it interesting to hear the excitement and genuine enthusiasm owners have for these gems. You're certainly feeding your Rens plenty of juice! I agree, I believe they need lots of good, high quality power. I am kind of starting out in a similar vain to yourself with a high current Classe Integrated. I am passionate about the ultimate fidelity of my system, hence buying new Classe gear; very clean, smooth tube-like warmth & very high current. I did weight up the bi-amping option, but that adds considerable cost & I would have had to have sourced earlier model gear on A'gon to achieve that within my budget. I am getting all the weak links in my system sorted out before I upgrade amps & am planning to upgrade 6 power cords to reference pc's & a new high end filter - your system is only as good as the juice you feed it! The more vs fidelity battle on amps was easily resolved for me (pardon the pun) Fidelity one! So I plan to upgrade next year to a big Classe CA2200 & Audio Research tube pre-amp :) I thought that will sound stunning & always leaves me room to bi-amp the system with an AR tube PA one rainy day :)
I have actually built external crossovers for my Renaissance 90 EMIT tweeters using Mundorf SIO caps and copper foil inductors. There was quite a jump in efficiency and I had to slightly alter the tweeter amp gain to compensate. For single amp drive you could pad the EMIT with a slightly bigger resistor (0.5 > 1 ohm).
The main benefit of the upgraded crossover was improved dynamics. I also modelled the crossover frequency response in LT spice and found that there was a 2.5dB peak at 2.3KHz. I was not surprised to see this because I had always thought that they were a bit too forward in the presence range. I have heard that there were changes made to the crossovers during the Ren 90's lifecycle that corrected this but I'm not 100% sure. However, the Ren 80's are using diferent values and do have a flatter crossover response when modelled.
I subsequently modded my crossover values to achieve a response +/- 1dB from 1Khz to 20KHz. To do this correctly you need to change a 33uF cap in the EMIM crossover to 30uF and also insert a 0.22R in series with the cap. When I did this mod I also noticed that the 10 year old 33uF electrolytics had expanded slightly at each end. I replaced them both with Blackgate 30uF 50V NPO electros and there was an immediate audible improvement. The MF seemed more pure and imaging was much more accurate. The other fine tune necessary is to add a 1uf in parallel with the 5.6uF pp film cap in the EMIT crossover. Both of these changes combined will result in a much smoother sounding upper mid range and a far more seamless transition from EMIM to EMIT.

More recently I have disconnected the EMITS and am using Raal pure ribbon tweeters which sit on top of the Ren 90's. This also necessitated some fine tuning of the crossovers but the result is really stunning. I have also designed a DC bias system for the tweeter crossover so that both SIO caps are voltage biased at 33V DC.
The main improvement from the Raal tweeters stems from the much wider HF dispersion and far more extended treble, but they also seem cleaner, less grainy and sweeter sounding, but then again they are also very expensive. IMO the EMITs used in the Rens are a very good tweeter and with the 2 component changes mentioned above the response will definitely be flatter.
Hi Timpani, I was really interested to read that earlier run Renaissance 90's had a 2.5db peak at 2.3Khz. Interesting! That does support Infinity's motivation to introduce later revs of the crossover. That also put a smile on my face as the pair I bought were late-manufacture/late sale examples which would have had the later x-over, thus not requiring mods for (hopefully) a long time to come. It would take a very skilled audio engineer to do in a couple of weeks what Infinity spend hundreds of hours to perfect, so on reflection, i'm happy to laave it well alone.
Melbguy, If you're completely happy with the tonal balance then it's good advice to leave them alone.

FWIW I'm using a 10 year old Meridian 557 to drive the Woofers, Mid Bass's and EMIM's and I designed and built my own amp for the tweeters because I couldn't find anything commercial with the smoothness and refinement I was after. The EMITS can sound a bit metalic with some SS amps and my own design - using a mosfet output stage with bipolar drives in CFP configuration results in a very sweet fluid treble while the gutsy Meridan gives me the dynamics and control from the mids and down to the sub bass.

I find the Ren 90's a tour de force when it comes to 3d imaging. I'm yet to hear another large speaker that can present a 3D image the way these can.
That's an interesting set up on your Rens Timpani. Speaking the obvious, but smooth watts are very important for the Emits! I can certainly understand the popularity of running a ss amp on the Watkins & tube power for the highs, but I feel that running separate amps for lows/highs creates phase issues and (personally) I feel using tube amps introduces microphonics which muddy the sound of highly revealing speakers like Rens.

What interested me about your hand-made tweeter amp was how similar in concept it sounds to Classe amps which employ Jfets in the input stage, Mosfets in the driver stage & Bipolars in the output stages. It's certainly rewarding and exciting to invest in that level of amp, but more fun if you can design and build your own!

Incidentally, I have a friend who is an Infinity sceptic. He actually sold a smattering of Infinitys back in the 90's (eg: IRS Epsilon), but he never heard Renaissance 90s. His common line is that Infinitys "lack coherancy". His favorite speakers are ML's, and in fact he tried to persuade me to buy a pair of CLS 2z's off him recently. I felt they had inherent weaknesses in that they are absolutely reliant on an add on subwoofer & good room acoustics. My response to him was "just wait till you hear the Rens!"
Re the phase issues, yes you are correct and my adapted tweeter crossover uses some conjugate matching to minimise the sharp phase transitions. Infinity's are not everyone's choice and your friend may have a valid point, however, the issue of coherence can be minimised with careful attention to speaker placement and the right choice of a listening room. Any 4 way speaker will need more distance to generate a coherent wave and the ren's are no exception. One big advantage of planar drivers is that the impedance is flat and resistive not only within but also well outside the operating range, so passive crossover design is far easier to get right and can be achieved without RLC networks that rob efficiency and introduce other side effects. Planar driver impedance also remains constant with power which is a source of non linearity with cones or domes. Every design has strenghts and weaknesses and the 90's are not perfect but they really don't do anything very wrong and what they do very right is difficult to live without once you have lived with them for a while. BTW from my brief experiences with Classe amps I think they are an excellent choice for the Ren's but I'm sure you will hear improved dynamics when you upgrade to the CA-2200. I would like to hear that setup. BTW I live in Sydney and bought my Ren 90'S new back in 1995 from Audio Excellence. The RRP at the time was $7999 but they gave me a nice discount. I have owned many other speakers including B&W 801 but these are my fav.
I own a pair in blonde oak. They are beautiful and sound incredible. Female voices on them are so good that the realism is down right scary.
Timpany, thanks for sharing your technical experience with the Ren 90's. As most fans of these speakers would know, there are basically no reputable critical reviews to be found online, and therefore no lab reports're relying on Infinity's semi-technical white paper; so I and i'm sure many other Ren 90 owners would appreciate your comments.

I was interested in your comment that planar driver impedance remains constant with varying input & your point that this is otherwise a source of non-linearity with cones as one of the technical achievements of the Infinity/Watkins woofer was how the secondary motor was only allowed to operate in the low bass region where the impedance was much to high anyway, thus flattening the impedance peak at resonance and lowering it to a correct level (which provided a less reactive load with less phase shift, thus largely eliminating non-linearity in a cone design).

Also picking up on your comment about the difficulty of achieving coherancy in a 4 way speaker design, Infinity appear to have gone to great lengths to design a unique cabinet and grille which virtually eliminated resonance and diffraction and provided unimpeded and ideal dispersion of the musical signal. If Infinity didn't achieve quite the level of coherency as ML's CLS2, then in a single, conveniently placeable tower, they got bloody close!

Yeah, I was telling Mum the Rens sold for $8000 here way back when & I should land my pair for about $4100 with shipping/fees included, so still a good deal.


ps: I'll keep a note of your your request to hear the Rens once my system is finally complete. By the end of next year, I plan to add to my existing JVC/Vimak front end with a Reference 3 pre-amp, Ca-2200, AR/Jorma cables, Running Springs filter, SRA platforms & new maple cabinet.. "Phew!"
Melbguy + others

IMO the only real shortcoming of the emit tweeter is the narrowing dispersion at very high frequencies. This results in a rolloff of high frequencies above 10KHz at > 25 degrees off axis and a rising response - on axis. For this reason the amount of 'toe in' becomes very critical in achieving the right tonal balance which makes then Ren's more of a 'one person' speaker because the sweet spot is very narrow. I have experimented (in the past) with ribbon super tweeters (sitting on top of the cabinets) to supplement the dispersion above 10Khz but I found that it was best to cross over (via a passive network) just above 10KHz, but the additional crossover introduces time alignment complications which can take plenty of listening time to fully optimise. However I was able to acheive excellent results using Raven R1's as super tweeters with a first order crossover at 10KHz. This made the horizontal dispersion really wide and gave the treble more 'air' creating an even bigger soundstage. Unfortunately the trade off was poorer vertical beamwidth (due to the distance between the EMIT and the Ravens) and this made listener height more critical. However I did persist with this setup for some time because it worked better in my room. I'm now using Raal ribbon tweeters which sit on top of the cabinets and the EMITs are no longer connected. This avoids the interactions between tweeters but the larger distance between the EMIM and the Raals does reduce the vertical sweet spot. I will probably (ultimately) go back to using the EMITs with the Raals purely as super tweeters because the EMITs IMO are better than all of the pure ribbon tweeters I've tested in the low range (2 - 6 KHz). The Ravens in particular are very poor performers below 6KHz where they sound very thin and dynamically very lacking. They are a very over rated tweeter IMO but they do work well as super tweeters due to the 50KHz BW and performance above 10KHz is pretty good.

FWIW I'm about to embark on an upgrade of the caps in the Watkins woofer crossover. The bass is sounding a little bit spongy these days which makes me think that the caps are lossy and need replacing. I will provide feedback to this thread on the outcome of that upgrade in the hopefully not too distant future. I do have the schematic but getting the correct value caps from a reliable manufacturer might be a challenge.

Here is a link to the Ren 90 crossover schematic. I would advise downloading this while it's available. Note there is an error. The 5 ohm resistor in series with the EMIT should read 0.5R.

Thanks Timpani, am not contemplating any refurb of my crossover as mentioned at this stage, but your comments are interesting. Also, which version of the Ren 90 crossover is that, as there were obviously several revisions throughout the production run for the Rens?

The xo changes did not seem to find their way into an updated schematic but there must have been errata's sent out to distributors. The only schematics I have been able to find have all had the same values as those in my early gen 90's. The changes I am aware of are in the EMIM LPF (2nd pole) and there were also some updated values in the woofer XO to provide a bit more punch and speed in the bass - at the expense of a little extension. None of these changes make any radical difference but the changes to the EMIM do make the response slightly flatter through the crossover region and address a 2-3dB spike at 2.3kHz. Bear in mind that the values chosen in the EMIM / EMIT crossover are mostly all 5% standard values - which are easy to obtain and result in a lower production cost so there is actually some scope for fine tuning. If you look at the crossover schematics for the IRS Sigma EMIT / EMIM XO you will not find any standard value caps or inductors - hence the higher price tag. Fortunately though the solen caps in the EMIT XO are all very HQ and ditto the EMIM with the exception of C4. This cap is somewhat critical because any capacitance modulation here will result in some audible distortion, which is why I changed it to a BG. The Sigma's address this by using a polyprop cap in parallel with a HQ electro. This is a 50% improvement but I'm sure the Epsilon uses pp throughout.
In summary, the Ren 90's are using the exact same EMIT + EMIM drivers as used in the Sigma's and nearly the same quality of crossover components - save for one cap. The main difference seems to be that the Sigma's do have fine tuned component values for a slightly more linear response - but remember that subsequent revisions of the Ren XO have largely addressed these so if you are not aware of any colourations then any modding is probably not worthwhile. FWIW I have never heard the Sigma's but it's unlikely that they would offer any significant improvements over the Ren's.
i have owned the sigma's and thought that the woofer did not make a smooth transaction into the mid bass driver, i always felt that the upper bass was lacking thus the reason i sold them, from the midrange up i thought that the sigmas sounded slightly better than the ren 90's probably because they used higher quality caps in them, i now have a pair of ren 90's and i actually like the sound of them better than the sigmas, i also have a pair of kappa 9's that i replaced all the old solen caps in the crossovers tweeter section with new solen caps and after the break in period, well let me say that the new solens sounded like crap and they are the same ones used in the ren 90, i called sonicraft and asked them which caps do they think would sound the best in my kappa 9's and they recommended the wonder dynamicaps over my preference the mondorf silver oils, the fellow i spoke with said that he would sell me either one but that i would be waisting my money if i went with the mondorfs, that the dynamicaps would match the kappa 9's much better, so i bought and installed the dynamicaps in all the crossovers tweeter sections in my kappa 9's, omg what a difference in the sound you hear everything, when i used to compare the kappa 9's to my ren 90's i always thought that the rens from about 5k to 10k sounded much better more dynamics than the kappa 9's, but not anymore, i used to like to listen to my rens but now when i compare them after having done the mod to the kappa 9's the rens sound like you have cotton balls in your ears and i just don't like to listen to them anymore, i wonder if you replaced the solen caps in the tweeters crossover section in the rens with the wonder dynamicaps how much better they will sound, has anyone tried replacing the caps in the rens crossovers tweeter section ? if so what where the results?.
Hi everybody,

nice to see so many enthousiasts for Infinty's Renaissance 90.
I bought them in 1995 in black ash, mostly because of their marvellous mid range and the stage imaging. Until summer 2008 I had a Treshold Fet nine + OCM 200 (some 250 Watt /channel) to drive them. I choose this combination after having heard a couple of different things, beetween them there was also a Classé Audio (which number ?? I can't remenber).
In August last year I had at home a Audio Research Ref 3 and Jeff Rowland's Capri & monoblocs 501 (1000 watt per channel at 4 Ohm) ...

Oh my goodness, this was incredible, I discovered 13 years after having bought them how really they can sound. This was a shock (a beautifull one ;-) ) the staging became completely holografic, the musicians are just playing there in the middle of the room in front of me, I can zoom with the ears beetween the instruments, the sound never gets hard, and the stage is deep and wide.

I think these elegant beasts need a lot of power, the more they get the better they are under control and only in these conditons they can show their best.
Now I have upgraded everything in my system, I use Rowlands Capri, Monos 501 with their PC1 (a unit which makes the 501 sounds even better). Perfect and precise bass and mellow middle & high range. (I hear mostly Symphonic Music, Opera & Jazz).

At your place I would definitively try Jeff Rowlands Monos 501 , you will just wonder. Maybe you could also consider Nuforce. From this point you have then to build your system like a french dinner in a 3 stars Michelin Restaurant, choosing the right I.C. & P.C. which matches with your taste and you will have long years of pleasure ;-)

Infinity's Sigma is a little different as it is a dipole speaker, one Emit is on the back and the bass and mid speakes are bigger than Renaissance's ones. I have never heard them and would be happy if somebody could tell the differences beetween them.

Furthermore I wonder if somebody could tell which speaker in 2009 has similar sound caracteristics or is a succesfull further development of the R.90.
Hi Okeeteekid,

Thanks for the comments. Yes as indicated in an earlier post I made a dedicated EMIT crossover using Mundorf SIO and copper foil inductors. I have also tried Claricaps. My favourite are the Mundorfs but they need a special DC bias generator to sound their best. I'm sure there are quite a few caps that sound better than the Solens but IMO they are not too bad and if they do err it's on the polite side so they might be more listener friendly for most people. But then it's more about personal choice when it comes to caps and there always seems to be a diversity of opinions. Nice work on the K9's though. They are a great bang for buck speaker.
hi timpani,

i may try your tweeter crossover mod in the future on my ren 90's, like i said after completing the k9 mod and comparing it to the ren 90's, you can really hear how the high frequencies roll off on the rens, being that the k9 has the smaller and faster semit in it, i don't know if you can get the rens to equal the k9's performance over 10 k, but i think i can equal or better the k9's dynamics as the rens tweeter is a little larger.
The main issue with the EMIT as I see (hear) it is that they become very directional above 10kHz and they are too hot on axis and too rolled off when off axis. The tonal balance from 10KHz down is best when 30 dgrees off axis and for that reason I have always found them to sound most accurate when firing directly down the room without any toe-in. These emits are the same as used in the Epsilon but in the Epsilon they are used with a specially designed dispersion membrane which increases their horizontal and vertical dispersion and eliminates the hot on axis response, making them more accurate over a wider listening window. As you would have read in my previous posts my ultimate recommendation is to use a supertweeter to augment response above 10kHz but you need to have some technical expertise to implement this correctly.
If you want to experiment another option is to slightly modify the existing EMIT crossover. If you can locate the 5.6uF solen capacitor then solder a 1uF 2% polypropylene film cap in parallel with it. Then locate the 0.5 ohm (2x1 ohms in parallel) closer to the EMIT crossover input, and remove one of the 0.5 ohm resistors so that it becomes 1.0 OHMS. (Do not touch the 5W 0.5 ohm resistor at the crossover output.)
This mod will remove a saddle in the response between 4 and 8kHz and will allow you to toe the speakers in a bit further without them sounding as peaky in the 10 - 12kHz region.
i tried firing them directly down the room without any toe in and i also find them to be more accurate and to me the sound stage also improves, but with 1/4 of an inch toe in i find that they image slightly better in my room, do you angle your speaker back? i like mine about a 1/4" angled back, a laser comes in handy when measuring, i also like them with no angle at all, its amazing how 1/4 of an inch angled back can effect the sound, thanks for the advice, i think your right, the super tweeter is the way to go.
Yes I agree with you re the tilt. None or just a little works best for me too. I also discovered early on that close proximity to side walls kills the soundstage. You need several feet (1m) as a minimum.
I have them 1.30 from side walls and 1.50 from rear. With the "toe in" you can decide how deep you want the stage to be ...

furthermore only the right amplification will produce a completely holografic stage imaging
I only ever feed my system from CD / SACD source but there are many CD's (old and new) where the soundstage is so wide that it wraps around - 360 degrees. Instruments often appear to be behind my listening position - and no I'm not using any pseudo 3D encoding. I wonder if anyone else gets this experience from their Rens. Indeed a friend of mine who owns Krell gear driving B&W800S speaker ($$$) claims that the Ren's are somhow creating an artificial 3D experience. I don't buy that though. I believe the Ren's are one of a select few speakers that can actually recreate the actual recorder soundstage.
Hi Okeeteekid,

Thanks for the comments. Yes as indicated in an earlier post I made a dedicated EMIT crossover using Mundorf SIO and copper foil inductors. I have also tried Claricaps. My favourite are the Mundorfs but they need a special DC bias generator to sound their best. I'm sure there are quite a few caps that sound better than the Solens but IMO they are not too bad and if they do err it's on the polite side so they might be more listener friendly for most people. But then it's more about personal choice when it comes to caps and there always seems to be a diversity of opinions. Nice work on the K9's though. They are a great bang for buck speaker.
Hmmm Okeeteekid, Clavil's comments make me think you mod on your K9's may have cured an efficiency problem. Those monsters Clavil is driving his Rens with, and the similarly superb results owners report from similar set ups makes me think that if you can overcome the Ren's efficiency issue, you can really see what they're capable of. I know the Kappas are preferred for those wanting a "big" sound and more bass slam, but I can't believe that, given sufficient high quality amplification, the Kappa's tweeters could be more revealing than the High Energy Emit which Cary Christie described as Infinity's best tweeter to date. The thing is though, the Rens MUST be connected with upstream components purer than holy water & MUST be driven with a LOT of very smooth, clean power. Plug in the wrong amp, and the Rens sound just "ok". But your experience is interesting. I just wonder if with a given set up, the Rens wouldn't outstrip the me, save for the above caviat, they should sound more revealing...

With the above said, if you have hit the jackpot with your current set up, fantastic! It's just a shame you're not in Timpani's neck of the woods, otherwise I might have been able to come over for a listen one day :(
Melbguy1, with the upgrade that i did on my k 9's, if i compare them to my ren 90's, it's not even close, with the k 9's you hear so much more detail that when i switch to the rens you don't even hear what the k 9's are revealing, it almost sounds like the rens tweeters are broken, the rens sound like you have cotton balls in your ears as compared to the modded k 9's, i think that it is the sound that the solen caps produce because when i put new solens in my k 9's they sounded much like the rens sound(dead) if you heard the difference you would not believe your ears.
Melbguy, you mentioned how sensitive the rens are to electronics. That is definitely the case and has enabled me to hear subtle changes in the preamps I've designed over the past 10 years. Although the power amp usually offers the biggest contributor to SQ I have also heard great power amps ruined by poor preamps and front ends. One power amp that was really outstanding was a ME1400. I had Trevor Wilson from Rage audio up here one day demo'ing one and I have really never heard any amp since to drive the Watkins woofers the way the ME1400 did. Unfortunately the ME1400 was going to set me back about $8000 so I resisted the purchase - just. That big ME amp could apparently output more than 60 amps so I think there's a message in there - that high current is the way to go to get the best out of the WWs.
Hi Timpani,

I was wondering in your response: "These emits are the same as used in the Epsilon but in the Epsilon they are used with a specially designed dispersion membrane which increases their horizontal and vertical dispersion and eliminates the hot on axis response, making them more accurate over a wider listening window." were you referring to the silk membrane which is described in the breakdown of the High Energy Emit in the Ren's technical white paper?

I was also curious about your comments about the dispersion of the Emit in the Rens as Infinity state in their White Paper - "The new High Energy Emit is operated with a relatively narrow frequency band which assures maximum dispersion within its operating range" & this..

"The High Energy Emit's new mechanical structure permits also permits the driver to be used at lower frequencies than previous Emit drivers enabling it's speed and transient capabilities to become even more meaningful to the overall balance of the system. Crossing over the High Energy Emit lower also results in better dispersion because the Emim midrange driver is removed from the system before it can acoustically beam from the shorter wavelengths generated at higher frequencies. The High Energy Emit also features newly designed vertical apertures that provide wide dispersion and permit high frequencies to spread evenly and broadly throughout the listening area."

So given the above statements, I had an impression of the Ren's Emit offering a wide sweet spot and a large, expansive soundstage, so I was surprised to read your observations :S I guess proof is always in the pudding as they say however. I found out today my Rens will be arriving in about 2 weeks :))
Hi Timpani, I completely agree with your comments on the quality of upstream components (particularly amps) & the need to feed the Watkins high current, that's why I like the Classe so much, it gives you enough watts in a single pa, but a truckload of current to boot. For me, the Classe combined with a Reference 3 pre-amp is a match made in Heaven for the Rens :)

Okeeteekid, it was great to read your comments on your K9s! What is exciting about your findings is that, taking me as an example, I purchased a superb example of Ren 90's with a long-term view. I would be happy for them to be my speakers for life, but of course at some point in the future age will catch up with them. The Watkins and midrange drivers will require re-foaming, the internal caps will degrade & the wiring will oxidize, so it's encouraging to see how much more potential there obviously is there. In my case, I plan to do quite an extreme, external crossover connected with something like Nordost Supreme Reference for the short run to the speakers, but will leave the drivers alone. The guru I would get to do the speaker re-design is a guy in Australia who Timpani would have heard of - Dallas Clarke. To say he knows his stuff is an understatement! My only question is, would there be more value in spending $4000AU on a RS filter & pc or investing something like $3000 on the speaker re-design, re-wire & external crossover & just plug my high end pc's directly into a kmart powerboard connected to the wall? Would like to hear your view on that..
Melbguy, My comments need to be taken in correct context and with allowance for the fact that I have recently been playing with tweeters that have a 120 degree beamwidth at 20kHz. The EMIT's are probably as good as many or even most dome tweeters in terms of dispersion and everything you point out about their develoment is correct but I am pretty sure that they were refined further for the Epsilon and the dispersion was the major criteria. I recall reading this in the Sterephile review about 10 years ago now (how time flies). By adjusting the amount of toe-in you will certainly be able to fine tune them nicely but just don't expect a really huge sweet spot. But as I have said before the EMIT's are fine tweeters and by far and away the best planar tweeter I have ever heard. I have also heard several of the Kappa series and IMO the Rens are more accurate and detailed and because the EMIM and EMIT are of exactly the same design they are able to acheive that rare feat of almost perfect integration from mid to treble which IMO is by far the most important crossover point in any speaker system. In most respects the Infinity multi planar driver approach is better than most of the full range planar designs due to the mentioned beamwidth > frequency issues and also because planar drivers make it possible to implement the near perfect passive crossover - due to their flat and wide resistive impedance. In other words it's almost as though there is no crossover and that's why (when set up correctly) the Ren's + IRS Infinity's sound quite a bit like an electrostatic speaker.
I can understand that the next 2 weeks will be a long time
but all the very best for eternity after that. After all, 'Infinity' is forever.
i feel the speaker is the last of your components in a system that is heard and the most critical component in your system, you can run a kmart speaker on the worlds best electronics and it will sound ok but if you run the worlds best speaker on "kmart" electronics i feel it will always sound better than the after mentioned.
i feel the speaker is the last of your components in a system that is heard and the most critical component in your system, you can run a kmart speaker on the worlds best electronics and it will sound ok but if you run the worlds best speaker on "kmart" electronics i feel it will always sound better than the after mentioned.

Sorry I don't agree, and especially in the case of the R.90 a weak electronic will show you 10% of these speakers. I gave my Fet nine + OCM 200 (from David Belles) to a friend who has a couple of 20 years very modest & old Canton bookschelves speakers, you should hear how they are sounding now! ... we were very surprised.
It's like with cars do you prefer to have a Ferrari with an engine of Mini or a Mini with an engine of Ferrari?
My choice is done ;-)
It's an age old discussion point. The safe statement is to say that any system is only as good as the weakest link. However, as a part time amplifier designer I can say that there is infinitely more scope for design variations with amps than there is with speakers, which is the opposite to what most people might expect. It's also a fair point to state the amplifier > speaker interface and the complex load presented by the speaker can and does induce distortions in every amplifier - but very differently depending on the ampifier design. This can be a huge source of confusion for audiophiles who spend a great deal of time changing their power amplifiers for the best possible result only to find after an upgrade of speakers that the amp sounds mediocre when compared with one they had previously discarded. Of course these statements are most true of low to mid priced amps but they can also sometimes apply to very expensive designs. I regard Krell highly because in my experience they produce close to the the same sound regardless of the speaker load presented. When you hear differences between speakers you can be far more certain that they are indeed differences between speakers. Not too long ago I was visiting someone who loved AR preamps. He was demo'ing differences between interconnect cables to the power amp and he believed that his AR must be better than his Krell because it was showing up big differences while the Krell did not. Of course the reality was that the different cables had very different amounts of capacitance which was exposed by the relatively high output impedance of the tube preamp. Unfortunately I was not able to convince him that this was the case. That's not to say that I don't believe that cables can make a difference but from my experince as an amp designer I have found that a small change to an amplifier gain stage - even a small change to a resistor value can result in a far bigger change than you can get by changing cables.

if you where to run your Fet nine + OCM 200 on one of those cheap speakers with all paper cone drivers, tweeter included (vintage radio shack), and compare them to the ren 90's driven by any bottom line brand receiver, i think that the ren 90's would still sound better, someone should run a blind test. LOL
Hi Timpani, You're right. Thanks for clarifying what you meant..I had that "Ah ha" moment!..Kudos to the IRS Epsilon & Carie Christie..what a genius (shakes his head with smile). Yup well I say if you spend $14000.00, you deserve a little extra sugar in your coffee (or an extra membrane in your Tweeter!) Damn straight Timpani, we are getting old aren't we! I can still vividly recall old Stereophile articles going back to the 80's (scary). Your comments on the Rens and Emit/Emims are very interesting!

I digress, thanks for the tip on the set up of the Rens. I'll start out at 90° and then work in small increments up to 1/4 of an inch as Okeeteekid suggested. I do agree with upstream electronics & the weakest link theory. Weighing up weather to plug all my high end pc's into a cheap powerboard, or invest in a high end filter, i've decided to snap up RS's new Jaco 'Elite' power filter. The new Elite incorporates much of the guts of the Dmitri filter & other design features and does look good. I also like the idea of being able to buy high-end US grade Oyaide plugs on my pcs (otherwise unavailable to the OZ market), alas I wont hijack a thread on the 90's..there is another chewing on that subject.

After upgrading all my cables, power supply & isolation this year, it will be fun saving for my big Classe & AR next year. Now that certainly is a Ferarri (with a pretty sexy body too).
Timpani, what a difference a day makes in the life of an audiophile. After weighing up the benefits $4000.00(AU) was going to make to my system invested in either a line filter or in a high end re-design/re-wire & external x-over mod to my Rens, I realized ok, they're in great shape BUT they are 14 years old, and wiring and caps would have degraded to a certain extent...added to which, that's an opportunity to replace $8 per meter internal cable with $800.00 per internal wire & replace the 5% standard value caps with the best sounding sounding caps around. All the comments from IRS-Sigma owners I admit at first made no sense to me, but with your clarification, yeah obviously their superior crossover does make a noticeable difference. The re-design I am planning however is on a much higher order & results should be stunning. The new x-over will make the Rens more efficient as well. This is significant in itself in with this mod, I should be able to achieve the same stunning results as guys like Clavil running a single big iron amp & pre. I think that is a smarter solution to bi-amping, do you agree? And yes, I will proudly wear my gold medal for the backflip, thank you!
Hi Melbguy,

I actually responded to you on AK which you will see before you read this but it was without the benefit of your latest comments here. IMO 4K on a line filter is insane but even more so in your case if you buy the Classe CAP because it is so well designed. Read my other comments and digest them. The mods will work out fine if your AE knows what he's doing but the best approach - be it single or bi-amp may not be apparent until the design work is partly underway. I'll explain further tomorrow.
Hi Timpani,

very interesting!

concerning Krell I had a strange experience, I heard following set up:

EVO 900 + preamp EVO n° ?
EVO 505
MIT Oracle
Magico V3
all in a prepared room

and it was ... bad to very bad!

I know a little bit the Mini magicos and the V3 and never before I heard such a dry sound ...

could it be that everything is still more complicate ... like between humans with personal "sympathies and antipathies" between speakers & electronic ?
Hi Clavil,

I've not heard the latest Evo amps but from my experience the really big Krells usually don't sound quite as nice in the mid / treble as the smaller Krell's. My favourite Krell is the FPB300 which is also pure Class A. I heard that the Evo are now class AB ?.

Sometimes a room can also cause a dry and rather bland treble - if there is too much carpet and soft furnishings as well as room treatments that absorb too much treble.

Hi Melbguy1,
Need to give you an update. Switched out amps to a Luxman M-05 Pure Class A 105 Watts per channel into 8 ohms. When I said wow before, double it! The bass extension has been the best I've heard through them. Seems that the best power combination I have found is a tube pre-amp with a hefty class A amp. Hope this helps.
Hi Olp88,
I have an update of my own! I sold my Renaissance 90's a couple of months ago. I thought to myself "Do I really want to stuff around extensively modding these things, getting them re-finished etc and worrying about spare parts?" & came to the conclusion no I don't. The other thing which became very obvious once they were set up is their need for a big iron amp, or bi-amping which I currently don't have the inclination to do. In their place, I bought a pair of Marten Coltrane Alto's (2004) which retailed then for $24kUS. They use the same Accuton drivers used by Kharma & Talon, extremely high order crossovers, Jorma #1 internal wiring (incl: Bybee quantum filters) & awesome piano black carbon fibre monoqoque cabinets with no parallel surfaces, bi-wired WBT binding posts etc & have similarly impressive frequency response & speed as the Rens.

That Luxman does look beautiful! (although these days, given I run fully balanced components, the Lux would be a bit old school for my needs). My Classe Cap-2100 is doing regular duties for now, but my dream set up would probably be a pair of class a Pass monoblocks & a Modwright tube pre-amp run fully balanced, but have too many other priorities upstream/downstream for now!
I just saw this discussion now, are any other Ren 90 owners/enthusiasts still here?
Still here !
still here
Hi, I owned the R.90 and am sure that black ash version was
more expensive. Regarding the X-over I would only subsitute
electrolitic caps. Ie when you eventualy want to sell them
you will never get the money spend on exotic parts back.

The black ash was the same cost as the blonde ash.

It was the piano black finish that added an additional $3k to the cost. The piano black is extremely rare.
'natural filter', my next Infinity was the Sigma while my
son got the Renaissance. The tweeter of Sigma was covered
with a peace of felt (the stuff for hats) with a small cut
in the middle. I made a 'copy' of this filter for my son and fastened the thing with the double sided tape on both
adges. The result was a much better dispersion above 4Khz
and more linear fr. responce. In the user manual of the Sigma was the explanation of this filter. I sold my Sigma
4 years ago and bought the Usher BE-20. So I am alas not
able to 'reproduce' this explanation. I hope that sombody
else will provide this info as well as the dimensions of this filter with the 'cut in' size.
Another owner still here.