My friend has a pair of Sarastros and had a hard time getting them right in his fairly good sized room, about 15 ft x 22 ft x 12 ft.
It could be due to the fact that the room is on top of the garage, so his floor is very "bouncy". He's worked with several acoustic consultants, even bought these frequency measuring equipments to try to resolve some acoustic issues. One of his biggest challenges was getting the mid-bass and bass to sound right. He's tried different kinds of room treatments, different setups, reversing directions of the listening room, but always run into some issue where a specific frequency disappears or has too much of.
He just bought a pair of Avalon Isis and they seem to be less "interactive" with the room, both from the measurement results and actual listening.
The best setup of the Sarastro I've heard was at the last west coast Stereophile show in L.A. several years ago. They were powered by all Nagra products. I was shopping for a pair of speakers then, and spent quite a bit of time listening to these. You can hear a pair these days at the Denver show in Artemis' room. But the setup sound pretty bad.
My experience in L.A. led me to audition and purchase a pair of the Parsifal Encores. Salons and Studios were on my short list too prior to hearing these. But I thought the Parsifals sounded more refined. I just looked at the pair for sale. The finish is gorgeous! You seldom find a pair with these upgrade finishes.
The Parsifals may not have the scale (the larger Strastos can produce).But I think they sound more coherent than the Strastos, and have more flexibility in terms of setup as you can turn the bass unit to fire forward into the room. I had some lengthy discussion with the designer from Virtual Dynamics two years ago at the Denver show as he was using a pair of Parsifal Ovations in his room and they sounded very nice. He has both the Parsifals and Sarastros, but he told me that he personally preferred the Parsifals for that reason. Also these were designed to sound good even at low volumes. And I can attest to that as I had to turn the volume down listening late at night in the living room.
Few things to note regarding Parsifals if you are seriously considering:
- Regarding set up, Verity suggests setting up the bass unit firing towards the backwall first. I had some bass issue at first. But after putting some diffusers/absorbers behind the speakers, it was fine. So I've not had a chance to try firing the bass unit forward.
- Double check with the seller before you pull the trigger. The ad did not specify which year these were made. Post-2001 version has the newer, more desirable Scanspeak tweeters.
- There are a few worthy and cheap upgrades from Verity worth considering: new jumpers by Discovery cable. I think it costs less than $100 from Verity. Ovation platforms to use between the monitors and the bass units. I think Verity charges like $2-$300 for these. Or get the custom-made ones from Symposium. The Ovation platforms have these sticky pads and they are a pain to remove if you ever decide to pack away the speakers. I have just packed mine away for the house remodeling project. It took some crazy ideas and lots of prayers to pry the monitors off these things. (I slipped an old necktie under and pulled really hard)
- Verity said these are fairly efficient. But I think in order for them to bloom, you need at least 100 to 200 watts. I am driving mine with a Pass X350.5. I tried with my Pass Aleph Os after getting the OK from Verity. But I didn't think the 40 wpc class A from the Aleph was enough.
- I did not like the sound of the supplied brass footers. I had success using BDR #4 cones. Virtual Dynamics suggested to elevate the Parsifals at least a foot above the floor, and I am in agreement. Just haven't figured out how to do it. Virtual Dynamics was having a pair of stands custom-built. But I did not attend the Denver show last year to hear how these sound first hand.