If you are willing to work with them over time, I think anything by AK is a winning proposition in the end.
Duke is one of my favorite posters here, always knowledgeable and makes sense, seems very unbiased and open minded, and appears to go the extra mile to bring the best solutions possible to the home audio market for reasonable cost.
Disclaimer: have never heard these speakers, but I like the way they look. :-)
Located in the Chicago area, I'm certainly your nearest AK dealer, and I have the Zephrin 46s on display here which you are most welcome to audition. Tomorrow (Saturday) I'm pretty booked up, but almost any other time is good.
The pair here have a custom paint finish people seem to like a lot.
I have not heard the Zephrin, but I have the larger Dream Maker + separate LCS effect speakers, and they sound marvellous. The most enjoyable sound we've had in our house, by a good margin (and I've owned Dynaudio flagship speakers). Also, Duke/AK has been a pleasure to deal with.
If I might connect some dots here, on how the Zephrins are related to the Dream Makers...
It all started with me being a SoundLab owner (who became a dealer). There was something the SoundLabs did right that I hadn't experienced from other dipoles. I've owned nine other dipole speakers (not counting some DIY designs) that didn't sound as much like live music as the SoundLabs, so there was something they did that went beyond just being a dipole. I think it was their extremely well-controlled and consistent radiation pattern and in particular what that well-behaved backwave was contributing... namely, a well-energized, spectrally-correct, and (when set up properly) fairly late-arriving reverberant field.
I decided to try to do that with a dynamic speaker, and told Roger West that I was attempting to imitate his radiation pattern behavior as a sincere form of flattery. I told him that my goal was to build the second-best speakers, and it still is. Anyway the Dream Makers were the result of that effort, and they are bipolars with well-controlled radiation patterns both front and back.
Unfortunately the Dream Makers have the same placement requirements as dipoles, so they are quite demanding of real estate.
Enter inventor Jim Romeyn. After having heard the Dream Makers, he began using a bipolar setup with two small monitors per channel. At some point he tried laying the second monitor in each pair on the floor and firing it up at the ceiling, to get a long-path bounce before that extra reverberant energy arrived at the listening position. He made sure to "shield" the output of the upfiring monitors so that the "sidelobe" didn't arrive too early.
One advantage of his configuration is, the path-length-induced time delay on the upfiring array of drivers isn't a function of distance from the wall, so placement flexibility is greatly improved.
Well once I heard Jim's setup, I knew he'd evolved the bipolar concept to the next level. He called it "Late Ceiling Splash", for obvious reasons. I built a dedicated LCS system with two separate speakers per channel, one front-firing and the other up-firing. The upfiring LCS modules were optimized for their location relative to room boundaries, and have aggressive directional control built in so that a separate "shield" isn't needed.
The Zephrins are a one-box incarnation of this concept, which in turn is derived from the principles that drove the original Dream Makers. So that's the connection.
dealer/manufacturer/definitely got a dog in the fight
I heard the Zephrins at the RMAF running on equipment I know very well.
They are easy to drive and really spacious. They also play impressive bass (Duke has always led the pack in getting good bass out of his designs). He is also a master of crossover design- his speakers are always seamless and downright musical.
We used the Zephrin's in our exhibit room at the Newport Show last spring with both ours and Atma-Sphere amps. The set up worked quite well. Robert E. Greene stopped by our room twice to hear the speakers and was pretty giddy over the concept and how they sounded. If you can drive to the Chicago are for an audition it would be worth your time.
Disclaimer: I am a previously happy customer (Jazz Modules) and now a dealer for AudioKinesis, same for Atma-Sphere, and manufacturer of Electra-Fidelity Amplification products.
That's an interesting story to me. I have a small 12x12 sunroom that I have been challenged to conquer acoustically for years. It's my wife's room which limits options. I documented in my system thread recently adding a pair of isoacoustic monitor stands that seem to have finally solved the problem using my small triangle monitors, low placement near the floor for bass reinforcement, slight upward tilt and the isolation aspects of the stands. Results in terms of clean bass spacious soundstage and overall clarity and imaging are off the charts compared to anything else I've tried there.
Chicago is a pretty great city, and Brian at Essential Audio is great. Based on my experience with the speakers, these are certainly worth an audition. I need to get out to Essential Audio one of these days to give them a better listen (and to hear some of that iFi gear like the iTube).
Any east coast ak dealers? Baltimore would hit the bullseye.
Roscoeiii, thanks for the kind words! I'd love for you to come for a listen soon. I'm delighted to say Scifi just wrote me a check for a pair of Zephrins that'll be coming his way next month and know he will be thrilled with them. Looking forward to visiting him sometime next year when the weather's warmer to hear his setup.
Mapman, I'm the closest one to you. Catch a quick flight to Chicago if you'd like to come for a listen.
Oh, I'll get over there eventually, though likely not until the new year.
Mapleshade/Pierre Sprey has long made and sold special speaker stands that elevate small box loudspeakers only about 2". He says such siting outperforms the same speakers at normal recommended listening height.
I have long wondered about his unique siting recommendation. It just occurred to me that besides the bass reinforcement, such siting increases delay for ceiling-reflected energy by time length equal to the stand height. A speaker lowered from 24" to 2" increases delay of ceiling reflections about 1.8ms.
If Peirre's stands work, I'd not be surprised if much of the benefit comes from 50% greater delay for ceiling reflected energy. 50% is likely an audible improvement when starting with an original delay time of only about 4ms sited on normal height stands.
AudioKinesis Dealer for models Zephrin 46, Jazz Module 2.0, Dream Maker LCS, and Late Ceiling Splash auxiliary speakers + 60W amp for any make/model pre-existing speaker system (even dipoles). 80 minutes NE of Salt Lake City.
Understood since the holidays are upon us. I'll be here and will be happy to let you audition anything you like.
I was interested in the Mapleshade stands until I saw the Isoacoustics. They are designed for pro use so no fancy materials with those but nice enough looking, similar functionality if used with monitors as floor stands, a fraction of the cost, adjustable, and most effective.