Hey Doug how ya been? Just what are you gonna replace my friend?
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the chapmans T7's are one of the best loudspeakers ever made 'period'. along with hales, they are without a doubt a speaker that should have taken the audio world by storm.......i currently use gradient revolutions in my main system, and also have castle harlechs and klipsch heresys (all splendid), but those t7's did it all and did it well.
I have not owned the T-7, but a friend of mine did. He used to drive them with a Cary 300B based amplifier and the matching Cary preamp. He was also able to run the speakers with the same amp with 2A3 tubes. You dont need high power with the T-7's. They sounded great with 300B and 2A3 tubes. Try a low powered SET amp. Bet you will enjoy your system.
Hi. I have known Stuart Chapman Jones of Chapman Sound Company for about 20 years. I live on Vashon Island in Washington State about 3 miles from Stuart.
We have spent countless hours in years past in my living room and his shop auditioning various equipment and putting his speakers through their paces and exploring new ideas that he had.
He built a prototype speaker for me back in the mid 1980's that ended up weighing 350 lbs each by the time we were done. They were in a constant state of upgrade for about 4 years. Each time Stuart had a new idea or a new driver to try or whatever, we would make the change on one side of my speaker system and then decide whether it worked or not or if we liked it or not. If we liked it, he would make the change to my system for the cost of parts. All of that "research" not only benefited his bread and butter T7's and their little brother the T6, it also gave him another model called the T9. Only a few pairs of these were built because of their size and cost. These were basically a one piece "user friendly" version of the monsters that he had built for me.
Stuart knows his business very well and is very good at what he does. Each speaker is built by hand by him. He winds his own voice coils, and he tests each driver by hand and pairs them up so that each finished pair is as much a mirror image as you can get. He did each step of the process himself except for the wood oiling which he finally started having someone else do for him at a separate facility, and the cloth socks that slip on the speaker. He had a seamstress cut and sew those for him. Each speaker was a labor of love for him and anyone that owns a pair of Chapmans has something to be proud of.
And one small correction. Chapman Sound did not go "belly up" as stated in the original question. After building speakers by hand by himself for many years, Stuart took his business in a different direction. Last time I talked with him he said he was doing complete custom installs for clients on an individual basis. I think he is building speakers still, but it's just the custom stuff now. He is still working from the same shop location as always and has the same address and phone number...he just isn't building production speakers any more.
Now to the question about what amp/preamp to use. I have heard the T7's run by everything from Onkyo integrated amps to tube mono block amps costing tens of thousands of dollars and every kind solid state and tube amp and preamp combination you can imagine. The beauty of the Chapman line is that not only do they sound fantastic and are equipment friendly, but they can take a serious pounding from some heavy hitters and not even flinch. And unless they are abused, they can last a lifetime.
My huge speakers have gone to live with another friend of ours and I now have a pair of Chapman T6's. These are just slightly smaller in stature than the T7. They have a side firing 10" woofer instead of front firing and do not have the transmission line like the T7. They are 89db instead of 90db like the T7, and the bottom end is 30hz instead of 28hz like the T7.
I'm running them with a Jolida 502A integrated tube amp that will be on it's way in 2 weeks to Bill Baker at Response Audio in New York for a Reference Modification upgrade. This amp is a good example of bang for the buck equipment...just like the Chapman speakers.
I think as long as you have the best equipment that you can afford, and an amp with sufficient power (minimum 50 watts per channel required for T7)you will be a very happy camper. The T7 is capable of some amazing sound and you certainly can't go wrong with a pair. Just make sure your amp will drive a 4 ohm load and sit back and enjoy the show.
Hey everyone, thanks for all the informative and kind thoughts.
I just last night had a fantastic discussion with Stuart himself for about an hour! What a gentleman, who really knows sound, from the way he's built speakers!
I'm actually toying with an insane idea...to obtain a pair of T-77's. They are the flagship speaker of the line. In the stratosphere costwise for me at $6k range. I'm so impressed with the T-7's that I would actually buy the T-77's unheard, IF I can afford them someday.
To that end, Chadnliz, I'm selling EVERYTHING of my two channel system. Yes, everything is up for sale. Not on Agon yet, but I'm giving first dibs to my friends who are just getting into audio. It's all going...Vandy 2W subs, twin Outlaw 755 multichannel amps, several sets of Harmonic Technology speaker cables and interconnects, two pair (4) Eminent Technology LFT-8A speakers, Rogue 66 Magnum tube preamp... Basically, look at the pic of my HT and everything you can see will be gone.
This is a BIG change for me. I've only done this sea change of equipment one other time in 20 years. It will be a completely different system. I hope it works! I will not have heard it in its entirety until it's done. I'm not even 100% sure of all the components it will have, but at this point, Chapmans will be front and center!
In a nutshell, I'm moving from Bombastically giant soundstaging to laser focus imaging. That is what the Chapmans have in spades! I sure hope I like the change. You'll see my virtual HT morph as I show pics of the new setup.
I'm thinking of keeping a set of Eminents because they are so fantastic at soundstage! It would be worth it to have them as my planar speakers and the Chapmans as my box speakers. The electronic heart of system will now be PS Audio pre/Amp. This is a digital amp, my first. So, that will be interesting too.
We'll see how it all goes. By this weekend, all of the equipment may be sold. Anyone wants a pair of E.T's for $850 with Sound Anchors speak now...