I am about to buy a pair, and hadn't heard of the new version, though am not surprised to hear of it.... I am eager to hear about them!
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I owned a pair of Salons and was using a pair of large monoblocks from a Canadian manufacturer that begins with a c. The Salons never produced enough bass for me, despitet their large size. Maybe I should have used Levinson with them, because I was always disappointed with the bass until I bought a pair of Genesis speakers.
I have the Salons running off of Tenor Audio 300hp monoblock amps. I have had these speakers for a bit over a year and think they are fantastic. The are flat throughout the frequency range (of course the room always can have an impact on this) and the bass is incredibly tight and fast. I was quite surprised by by Gerryn's comment re the bass. The thing that I think can be improved on is the dynamics and ease of presentation. While the speakers are incredibly fast, they don't have quite the dynamics of a speaker like the Kharmas. Of course, the Kharmas don't quite have the bass of the Salons. To get the right sound out of the speakers you absolutley must have sufficient high quality power to drive them. Don't think about anything less than 300/watts per channel and shoot for more if you can.
I have been running the Salons in my system for several years now, and I agree that the bass performance is outstanding. My system measures flat all the way down to 20Hz. The bass is very accurate - tight and tuneful. The only thing to keep in mind with the Salons is that you need a good amplifier with high current delivery capabilities in order to get the best performance out of them. The impedance dips into the low 3s in the bass frequencies with a difficult phase angle, so you need some juice to drive these speakers properly.
Two things. First, while no one else seemed to have heard anything at the time, I heard about the work going on to redo the Ultima line from a manager within the HSG in late August. The time frame was the same (said perhaps CES 2007). So, it's good to hear that they're still on track even though we're still a year out.
Secondly, the Salons and Studios have been on the market a while so there are used pairs available. However, there will be far more available once the new line is released. You'd have a chance then to hear the new models and, if you preferred the existing designs, you could probably get thpse for a great price. The downside of course is that you'd have to wait until the new ones were out to make a decision.
"Pictures have been posted at Stereophile blogs and Sounstage website. I'm kind of disappointed. From the aesthetics point of view, I prefer the original design a lot more."
I fully agree but the performance of the Salon2 easily made up for it. Best sound at CEDIA (which, I must admit, is not that big an achievement).