Nearfield Acoustics Pipedreams

Has anyone heard these before?
What are the problems with a line array?
Any problems with the crossover?
What kind of amplification to use?
Are the subs powered or passive?

I heard a pair bi-amped with Levinson 33's & 33h's.

The owner was kind enough to let me sit in his chair.

Never heard anything like it

I might have thought I was on stage.

Can't go wrong IMO.

The biggest problem with large line arrays is the image size. You can easily experience a 3 foot wide nose on a singer whose head is the size of your room. Tapered response from the drivers helps alleviate this, but not all line arrays have that.

However, for realistic volume levels and dynamics they are as close as a cone speaker can come to a horn. You do have to sit far enough back from them for it all to get too, but generally you can get a very nice and large sweet spot (not the head in a vice thing).
Actually, Jflacken, I sold more pairs and spent more time with them than anyone I'm aware of.
Back in 1999 thru 2001, when I was managing Nicholson's Hifi in Nashville, TN, I brought the line in from Craig Oxford who was the owner of Nearfield and a Nashville resident.
Your questions, past 'has anyone heard them':

'What are the problems with line array.'
Great question--typically the problems are 'launch' issues, with multiple drivers some cases 42 tweeters and 21 midrange drivers in such close proximity, the cancellation effects are said to create a comb filter.
That means that the response is really uneven 'looking like' a comb, up/down/up/down, in terms of amplitude.
That can be, is always disconcerting. There was 'supposedly' a remedy to this, though the remedy was never explained to me.
I did NOT hear this kind of problem, and I'm very tuned in to frequency response (neutral being my favorite).

'Crossover problem'
You're talking about the external crossover?
Early units did have 60 cycle issues, but that was quickly taken care of.

'What kind of amplification to use'
Pick the 'flavor' of sound that you prefer, (I won't go there). These are very revealing speakers, so the core sound that you pick will be what you hear.
The towers are VERY efficient, as I recall, mid ninties.
Once I used a Gryphon Callisto on the towers and various others on the bass units...the Gryphon bested, Ayre, Mac, Krell, conrad johnson, and it wasn't really close musically. That made me a lifetime Gryphon fan (well, that and the L1 Preamp from back in 1990--another story).

'Are the subs passive or powered'
My last answer made it clear, they're passive.

This is a very, very interesting speaker.
They are the MOST DYNAMIC speaker I've heard including many horns. Maybe not as 'fast dynamic' as some horns, but dynamic as hell!

They stage for me in such a way as to be the imaging champs of all time, placing instruments in a time and place in space--in front of, behind, beside...all over the room, with the towers being incidental to the sound.

They were, in my opinion, fantastic speakers when set up correctly.

Kenyonbm, said, "I might have thought I was on stage." I can't add to that.

Good luck and good listening.

recently someone in TAS mentioned that the Pipedreams subwoofers never matched well with the midrange...

maybe they were improperly set up?

I would say that there is a real size differential in the sub diameter, versus the midrange diameters, therefore a possible speed issue...however.
That, and they cross over at 60 Hz as I recall.
Was it a perfect blend, NO, but in my opinion, outboard subs are never as seemless as single unit loudspeakers.
With very careful movement, (parts of an inch) back and forth, one can time/phase the speakers into a very seemless sound.
Not everyone can do it at first, but if one carefully listens, experiments and is dilligent, the work will be worth the effort.
Johnathan Valin, who is a dillitante of the first order, had a love affair with the Pipedreams some years ago. I'm forgetting the actual text quotes, but it was as real as Sandra Bullock and Jesse James, and lasted longer, I'm thinking.

If you trust his ears, (I do some times) read the review and use it as a guide.

These speakers, when set up carefully, correctly, can be magic.

good listening,
Notice an unusual amount(4) for sale right now. At most, one set comes up every 9 months to a year.

Makes me wonder if dealers are closing out inventory.
I have always liked these speakers, snd agree with Larry that properly set up they indeed can be magic. I cannot hear the comb effect, the bass was outstanding, and the soundstaging and dynamics were superb. There was some talk that the crossover was a weakness in terms of its transparency, but I never really noticed it. I would have loved to own them, had I the money and a proper dedicated room for them in my house.

I too noticed all the different Pipedreams up for sale, and was curious about the biggest one, as it has a different subwoofer pictured (the ones I heard had the "depth charge" shaped subs, and one for each channel), with only one sub and no crossover pictured; I would ask about that before making an offer on that particular system.
It's funny--one sale inspires another, then another--so much so that it's feast or famine. People, and rightfully so are cautious when multiple 'anythings' appear for sale...I think its only happenstance.
The bulk of units, to my knowledge were sold from 1999 thru 2001 about a three year run. If that's the case, we're ten years down the road, the economy is slowly heating back up and some are looking to move up maybe.

They were well made--beautifully done cabinetry and NA employed really great QC.

I loved those speakers.

Lrsky, if I am not mistaken there is now limited production on some of the bigger Pipedream models.
03-29-11: Rcprince
I too noticed all the different Pipedreams up for sale
The thing that catches my attention is that all four are sold by two dealers at almost 1/10th original retail price.

Although, none look to be current models.
I own a pair of 924...I use Edge NL 10.1 with them and love them. I also preferred a Rel powered sub, and that is what I use for the bottom end. I think they are the cleanest, most dynamic, and best soundstaging I have owned. That includes Apogee, Acoustat, Thiel, Vandersteen, and Genesis. These are really fun.
I think you will notice that usually the ones for sale are through HigerFi...
04-07-11: Rkochies
I own a pair of 924...I think they are the cleanest, most dynamic, and best soundstaging I have owned. That includes Apogee, Acoustat, Thiel, Vandersteen, and Genesis.
That's really interesting Rkochies. I have been going back and forth between line arrays and Apogees(Diva, Duetta Sig, or Scintilla) for my next speaker purchase. The amp demands have kind of kept me away from the Apogees and lack of feedback from many array owners has kept from those.

Can you give a little insight into the difference in musical presentation between the Pipedreams and Apogee or Acoustat?
Sure...I owned the Duetta Signature many years ago. I bought them new. About the only thing that would drive them satisfactorily was Krell, so I owned Krell. They mated well and I loved the open sound of the Apogees. It was addictive. I think they were my favorite speakers.
Well, along comes Pipedreams and for the first time I got back the Apogee, fast,dynamic. I think I was surprised cones could do this. I also had Krell until recently..a holdover from my Apogee days. Don't get me wrong...good stuff, but the Edge is more graceful and relaxing..not as strident.
The difference in presentation between Apogee and Pipes is size and clarity. You also have a much bigger listening area. Now we also have powered subs that weren't around in the old Apogee days, so I have a greater frequency range coverage. Don't get me wrong..Apogees are great. I just think the Pipes are better in almost all regards..cleaner, as fast, more coherent, better soundstaging, and easier to mate with electronics. Bob
Anybody out there compared the Pipes to Epiphany Audio's speakers? I know Valin did like the smaller ones, but I was curious about the Pips 20 21's? Bob
Thanks Rkochies, I was leaning that way simply because of the amp demands that larger Apogees place on a system. Not to mention, w/ two 70lb playful dogs, the danger of a toy or one of them damaging a panel is fairly high.
can someone help me where can i get parts for my pipe dreams especially the drivers tweeters and midrange.
the model i have is the older version which has 30 tweeters and 15 midrange.

please help

I have a full set of 60 tweeters from the original Pipedreams that are in good shape - you can contact me directly.
Darkmoebius..did you ever buy a pair of Pipedreams? RKochies
For you Pipedream owners out there, a question. Do you prefer them set up with the tweeters on the inside or outside?
I have Reference 18's. when I purchased them I had called Craig Oxford to discuss the speaker and he said: "You have our test mules!". He went on to tell that as of the time I bought them, they had the absolute best and newest components.

I run them with Levinson 33's and 33H's, and a full Levinson reference frontend. 5 years now, and I have no desire for different speakers. No regrets. I can't hear any comb filtering, and the sound is very dynamic. Large orchestral works lose nothing during loud passages, all instrument always have their own space. I'm coming from large apogees, Infinity Betas, and other high end speaker offerings. The "pipes" are as good today as they were when I bought them.
These speakers, IMHO, are some of the best ever created...I agree completely with Beemer's statements regarding 'scale' on large orchestral works.
They do what MBL's do, in terms of dynamics but with fractions of the power.
I'm not comparing them to one another...that's a longer, more detailed post.

Good listening,