Need a Great Center? - Salk Sound with Avalons
In the world of high-end audio today, it appears that money, more than anything else, is required for truly reference class speakers. With all the engineering, design, parts, workmanship, advertising, and retail markups, companies need to charge significant amounts of money to turn a profit. This is the inevitable truth for today’s high-end companies, and it is what drives speaker prices up to their exorbitant rates. For this reason, a modest budget sometimes precludes us from buying the speakers that we truly want. However, as I have discovered, there is still a way to get amazing speakers with incredible sound without breaking the bank. I found this at a company called Salk Sound.
I have been looking for quite a while for a center channel speaker to match my Avalon Eidolon Visions. The Avalons are truly wonderful speakers, and finding a center to reasonably match their performance has proven to be elusive – until now. After listening to numerous center channel speakers, many well over $10,000, I determined two things: I needed to spend big bucks to get something really good, and depending on the sound signature, a well designed product with an Accuton midrange would be my best bet. After much time and research, I came across Salk Sound. One of their product lines, the SoundScape, caught my attention because it has the same Accuton midrange that is in the Avalon. After much thought regarding the risk of buying something prior to hearing it, many emails and conversations with Jim Salk and a fellow Audiogon member who owns Salk speakers, and trying to decide whether I wanted an Accuton tweeter (the same as the Avalon) or the RAAL ribbon tweeter that is standard in the SoundScape C, I finally decided to buy, choosing the standard RAAL tweeter and a matching stand. After about two months, since each speaker is custom made, it finally arrived. The workmanship, fit, and finish are beyond reproach and nicer than 99% of the many speakers I have seen to date. Without getting into overly flowery descriptions, I can say that the center sounds terrific, detailed, and given the Accuton midrange (and a world-class crossover), it blends and vanishes amazingly well. I find this pretty remarkable given that this center is under $3,000, compared to $26,000 for the Avalons. Every center I had listened to before hearing this could not accomplish this feat. The RAAL tweeter is extremely smooth, refined, and extended with no edginess. The center comes with two 7” woofers (front ported) that produce detailed, palpable bass (there are other speakers in the SoundScape line with larger bass drivers). Dialog in movies is natural and clear. Music is detailed, dynamic, and refined with none of the weightiness or coloration present in many other designs. I really can’t say enough about this product.
I would encourage anyone who is looking for a high value-for-the-money speaker to check out Salk. If you have Avalons, or any other high end speaker, and are looking for a great center channel, I recommend Salk strongly. If you’re looking for new speakers, again, check him out. I am very difficult to please, and as you can tell, I am a very happy customer.