My reaction to the review was virtually identical to yours - I was very puzzled by it. I have heard the Perspectives many times and find them to be stunningly good performers along with the less expensive Pulsars and the much more costly Pearls. And no, I don't own Joseph Audio speakers but have always been favorably impressed by them being driven by tube or solid state electronics. Jeff Joseph's response to the review was positive and very professional, a real class act!
I also would have wanted to know why the Joseph speakers did not work at all in Eric Lichte's room, as Atkinson mentioned at the start of the review but on which did not elaborate. All in all, I'm confident that Mr. Atkinson called it as he heard it. I've never felt he was influenced by his measurements (which I think he generally takes after his listening is done). It may be that this particular speaker is a bit fussy as to room interaction and amplification (I was surprised that a high quality amp like the mbl didn't seem to work well with them, for example), and thus a good dealer, as mentioned in the review, is advisable to get the best out of them.
The review wasn't an over the top rave, but it was overall very positive. The way I took the review was that Stereophile thought the Perspective was a very good performing loudspeaker, but it's not a particularly high value. Not when compared to other brand's $5k loudspeakers, nor when compared to the Pulsars. Atkinson regularly responds to question on the Audio Asylum website. Go there and ask him for more info.
I read it a couple days ago and was a bit puzzled by it as well. The review did not seem positive to me even though he recommended it with caveats. I had the feeling he was a bit shy about recommending it with the less expensive Revel speaker in the same issue.
Agree with Rcprince about the questionable pulling of the review from Eric Lichte. He implies that it's due to the boost in the presence region, but given the size of the room I suspect it's more due to bass integration issues. Again curious since the Revels seemed to work perfectly there. Hmmm. Where I might disagree is that although Atkinson may take the measurements after the listening is done, I question whether it affects what he eventually writes in the review. Again, a very high correlation for me. And fussy to room interaction? How can Jeff Joseph consistently earn high marks at shows if this is the case? Surely a reviewer with months of time can do a better job than a day or two in a hotel room -- no??? Joseph uses Bel Canto Class D amps in a lot of their show demos, and if they don't make the speakers sound "on the lean side" I wonder why they sounded that way with the MBL amps (and presumably the Pass amps as well given his overall assessment). Again, just doesn't make intuitive sense to me given my experience.
Onhwy61, the review was certainly not a rave as there were no superlatives I could see throughout the review. And I'd take out the "very" from "very positive" and "very good performing" in my assessment of the review. At best he seemed to deem them "good performers." And I think you're being kind when you say "not particularly high value." It pretty plainly paints the Perspectives as a relatively poor value given the review of the Revels (and his comments on their respective measurements) and the other speakers mentioned in the conclusion paragraph.
We all know these reviews are what they are, but I'd also bet that both Atkinson and Lichte heard what they heard. So, what I find myself wondering is, were these just bad reviewing circumstances or are the Perspectives a rare miss on the part of Joseph Audio and maybe in need of some tweaking? The Perspectives are strong contenders among others for my "end all be all" speakers (albeit maybe eventually augmented with a couple subs), so I'm very curious about this less than stellar review.
By modern Stereophile standards I consider the review an outright pan. These are speakers that apparently could not be made to sound good in Lichte's room, had a tweeter that failed and needed to be replaced and then performed unevenly in Atkinson's room. IMHO, a read between the lines points to a flawed speaker that was difficult to recommend, particularly at the asking price. On the other hand, I'm not sure anything written in Stereophile means all that much these days so, to sum up--it was a pan but so what?
I just read it the night before last as I was listening to music before bed. I have never heard them, but have heard the Pearls a few years back, which I thought were very nice.
I have read so much hype and enthusiasm for the Perspectives, I was also surprised at the review. Atkinson seemed like he was either struggling to say something/anything was exceptional about them, or deliberately writing the review in such a way as to subliminally warn the reader that these speakers were not all that they could be.
As far as Jeff Joseph was concerned, he seemed to be trying to make a panicked attempt at a positive response that wouldn't sound bitter or desperate. He self-consciously used every out of context positive quote that he could cull
from the review.
Tepid would be a kind word for my overall impression of the review.
It just clicked that this kind of incongruity with general experience happened once before relatively recently with Lichte's follow-up review in 2010 of the Totem Forest speakers:
"But while the Forests' imaging greatly improved with the addition of ballast, I never got them to create the truly holographic soundstages LG wrote of. Sound tended to lump up around each speaker instead of being spread evenly between them."
This is exactly the opposite of any experience I've had with Totem's speakers (and apparently LG's too) and seems eerily similar to the incongruity I'm sensing now with the review of the Perspectives. That Atkinson was also not overwhelmed with the Josephs is definitely a concern, but I'm wondering if there may be something with Eric's setup that just doesn't work with certain speakers. Very odd indeed. I'm not at all looking to defend the Perspectives here, but something just seems a little weird here. Looking forward to more opinions/experiences.
FWIW, I think it's all subjective and in the context of a system and room they are played in. My friend has a pair of Pulsar's which he raves on about and I heard them in a showroom driven by Theta solid state. I found them pretty bright and grating but don't think my friend has tin ears.
As far as the accentuated presence range of these speakers goes, Jeff Joseph is a canny listener, if not a canny designer, and no doubt, matches his speakers with complementary gear at shows and comes up with a very fine sound.
Reviewers must slot a product into their existing system architecture and this can lead to a less than favorable result. That's really pretty simple.
The fallacy here being that a given component has a sound, when it only has a sound within the context of a system. And that context can make it sound favorable or not so wonderful. Very few components will sound great in every context.
As far as this whole imaging/soundstaging thing goes, if stereo reproduction is a parlor trick, then this imaging thing is a parlor trick within a parlor trick. IMHO, it is more an artifact than anything concrete. Concrete as in stereo, meaning "solid".
An audiophile friend has both the pulsar & perspective JA speakers. He uses Octave V110 integrated amp on them. The sound is very good, not outstanding, as these speakers are missing the bottom 2 octaves (no pun) of bass. Nothing that cannot be corrected w/ a small subwoofer (like REL!).
I do want to audition the Pearl 2/3 series. Anyone have a local dealer/retailer that actually has them for audition?
All The Best.
I lost respect for JA many, many years ago, when he was pimping the hell out of ML gear. Every unit I tried sounded awful in my room to my tastes. I think he should just stick to measurements, I think he's deaf.
Me thinks that if you were to graph the brands reviewed in Stereophile over the years, one might come to the conclusion that if a company does not advertise heavily in Stereophile [with some exceptions] that there is a we bit of review bias going own. Throw enough money into a magazines coffers and anything will sound good,especially the bottom line.
Cynical? Maybe,but I call it the way I see it...
Jafant, since you've had the opportunity to hear these in a home system (I unfortunately have only heard them at shows to date), other than the missing bass how do you categorize their strengths, weaknesses, and overall presentation/performance? And I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd be very interested in your assessment of the differences between the Pulsars and the Perspectives -- with deeper bass obviously a given. Thanks for thoughts.
The sound is very good, not outstanding, as these speakers are missing the bottom 2 octaves (no pun) of bass.
Bottom TWO octaves? Unless you are counting the 11Hz - 22Hz octave, something is wrong with your friend's set-up if these speakers are missing 44-88Hz.