Opinions on Dunlavy Aletha Speaker

Whats people's opinion on the Dunlavy Aletha or Athena speaker.
For best results follow dunlavy's directions and set them up on the long wall, close to the back wall , approx 10-12 ft between speakers and leave at least 3-4 ft between the speaker and the side wall. Ten feet to the listener. Putting them on the short wall with less seperation kills the soundstage..they still sound good just not nearly as open. I use them with VTL amps and Pre and heard them with ARC VT100 and a Pass labs 60 watter (don't remember the model). Some folks like solid state with them, i like the tubes (but probably not a CJ rig). They are a very open and airy sounding speaker, almost electrostatic like but smoother in the high end. Compared to some speakers such as aerials 10-Ts they may be a little tipped up in the high end depending on what you use for cables and what your room is like but they never get harsh or fatguing. Violin sections in large symphonic works are not as silky as the real deal but my cables probably play a part in this (HT pro-silway) Some folks say the bass is heavy but in my system that is not the case, if anything they can be a bit week in the bass. A lot of that may be a power/amp thing though because late night sessions with ambient type music using lots of drums and traditional instruments packs a well defined tight bass. Compared to most other speakers i listened to they are very well balanced. Soundstage recreation is outstanding but don't expect much extension to the outside of the speakers. (I did hear a few things on a late night session that led me to think that the right room treatment may help expand the soundstage beyond the speakers but i don't have time to persue it) the speaker is neutral to maybe a little forward in presentation. When i first set mine up they seemed to lean more towards the forward side but new power cords for the CDP and preamp, and a bunch of setup tweaking removed that tendency to a large degree. My main complaints may be related more to recording production than the speakers but they tend to spread out pianos further than reality should allow. Most instrument images are well placed and very stable but pianos tend to appear about 25 ft wide at times. Vocals can be a bit forward as well depending on the recording. I have spent years listening to lots of live music and working on and off in bar bands (rock to blues) and the athenas can capture the essence of a live show. I went looking for a speaker with a well balanced and very open presentation and the athenas won. For comparison i also auditioned Revel F-30, Aerial 10-t, and 7-B, B&W 801n, Hales rev 3 i believe) , Vandersteen 3A, magnaplaner (don't remember the model), Dunlavy 3 sig. I also listened to Revel salons and eggleston andreas (? the top of line eggelstons). For the money the choice was easy considering my goals in a speaker...athenas. There was a pair of cherry demos on this site for a good price. Audio-video logic are great guys to deal with with good prices as well. good luck
Hi Twilo; thanks for this thread-- I've been interested in this speaker too, and Piezo, below, has an excellent response. Piezo; thanks for your detailed post on the Athena speakers. You've answered many of the questions I had, and your comparison list of other speakers is excellent. BTW, I have Vand. 3Asigs.-- If I may ask a couple questions; I have a 14 X 22 room, and could not put them on the long wall, so would you still recommend them? And do these speakers have good pace, rhythm, and timing? ie do they "boogie" on blues/rock. Thanks much, and Cheers. Craig.
Hi Garfish, I just moved into a house with your room. . I originally set the athenas up on the short wall in my new house since that's where the power was. Things sounded horrible relative to my old set up but most of that i think is due to no isolated power line and a 5 minute set up job. My wife has since rearranged the room so my speakers are back on the long wall but nothing is set up yet. In a few days I should be able to let you know how the comparison goes based on an equally short set up job. . I had experimented with some asc traps for dealing with first reflections and they seemed to close up the soundstage in much the same way as placement along the short wall. I think room lenses may be the treatment of choice..need to get mine built some year. The athenas like room to breath but if you never heard the comparison between setups you probably wouldn't miss it. I couldn't honestly think of a speaker i would trade them for at the moment. I also listented to girshman avent guardes and contour 3s ...can't remember the manufacturer at the moment..old age brain fade sucks.! With blues/rock such as SRV, Tinsley Ellis (if you don't know him get storm warning), roots rock (Dave Alvin) ect the pace and timing is all there. They sound great with traditional jazz and blues as well. I've been a guitar player for 27 yrs and a blues player for 15 of 'em and the athenas can put you in the club. Ambient style world music with lots of poly rythems (eg the esoteric stuff that you find on Sounds From the Hearts of Space) sounds incredible...the louder the better. With hard rock the jury is out. My rig does OK but i think most rock albums are produced for far more forgiving systems. I have some Extreem that has been revealed a bit to extreemly while I also have an AC/DC album that sounds great..that production thing. I originally had the Vandy 3s high on my list after spending 18 yrs and counting with a set of 1-b. The athenas keep the boxless quality of the vandersteens and add to it while breathing a bit more of the boogie factor into the mix. remember the system thing though. The speakers are very revealing both in terms of what is on the source and upstream changes in equipment. try i bet you'll like em. have fun
I agree with everything Piezo has written (for more info see thread @ Audio Asylum where I compared them to my Genesis V). Had them a couple months and ended up keeping the Genesis, as they did some things better than the Dunlavys (depth and palpable presence), albeit at a much higher cost. That said, I would highly recommend them at their price range. I listened to them in my 16x24x10 room and DEFINITELY preferred them along the long wall. Used them with Pass amps, which were a good match, but think I'd go with tubes to sweeten up the top otherwise. Also used Roomlens which helped focus the players. Sat them on granite slabs w/ Pulsar points.
Piezo; thanks again, and please keep us up to date on your Aletha placement. One of the music aspects that I am looking to upgrade, over my Vand. 3As, would be in the area of "speed", which means better PRT. I consider the 3As a little slow or sluggish in the mid-bass and rhythm departments. Richards; I'll look up your review on the Asylum. Thanks. Craig.
Hi Garfish, I finally got the system hooked up with the speakers along the long wall. Approx 11.5 ft between the speakers and between me and each speaker, min 4 ft to the side walls. Total set-up time was about 2 minutes for speaker placement so they have a long way to go but the improvement was huge. Much of the magic that was gone from my last room has returned even with the lack of dedicated lines and a huge room liveliness problem. I had said earlier that you probably woudn't know the difference if you never heard them on the long wall but the difference is so great in terms of openness that it would be an injustice to you and the speakers if you couldn't at least try em there.
Piezo; Thanks for the up-date, it seems from yours-- and others experience, that the Alethas really do beg to be placed on the long wall. I'm a big blues/rock fan too, and I wouldn't want to shortchange the speaker design by squeezing them into cramped space. Thanks. Craig.