When I decided seven years ago to upgrade my audio system, I started by finding a speaker I loved. I searched for almost a year listening to every speaker available in the Minneapolis area. I found Magnepan and MartinLogan to be stunning but too dry and fatiguing for my taste. The midrange was not as deep and rich as I was looking for. Wilson had great sound but beyond the budget I was hoping to stay in. B&W sounded thick and boomy to me and Meridian was electronic and artificial. Thiel, Audio Physics and Dunlavy became the finalists. Being a late ‘60s early ‘70s guy, I came from Marantz and MaIntosh electronics and JBL and Altec Lansing speakers. The size and depth of the sound of Dunlavy along with the exceptional midrange were the final factors in my choosing Dunlavy IV as the speaker I wanted. The problem was I could only afford the Dunlavy III, exceptional midrange but not the ultimate bottom end of the IV. It was about two years after buying the III's that I had the opportunity to upgrade to the IV's. It turned out that over those two years Dunlavy had improved the IV's and had a new model, IVa. They amazed me to find the IVa was even richer and deeper than the old IV model. The Dunlavy IVa speaker consists of two 10" woofers, two 5" mids and one 1" composite textile dome tweeter. Frequency response is 25Hz to 20 kHz, and Sensitivity is 91 dB with an Impedance of 5 ohms. Size is 72" high, 15" deep and 12" wide with a weigh of 190 lbs. each. $8495/pr I believe Dunlavy speakers have no rivals within their price category. John Dunlavy is obsessed with designing the most accurate reproductions of sound. To meet this stringent standard Dunlavy has built one of the worlds best-equipped laboratories in order to test his designs. This has lead to some very harsh discussions between John Atkinson of Stereophile and John Dunlavy. It seems that JA does not like being out engineered by one of the great loudspeaker designers and the result was punishing JD by putting the once Stereophile "product of the year" Class A component into their B class after Dunlavy improved the speaker to JA's recommendation. Despite the politics of Stereophile Magazine, this speaker will hold its own with speakers two and three times its cost. The highs are clear, grain less and extremely extended. JA spoke of them appearing a bit forward but I have never felt that was the case with this speaker, and can hardly believe a comment like that when compared with some of Stereophiles favorites MartinLogan and Meridian. Comments like these only strengthen my lack of trust for this Magazine. The midrange on all Dunlavy speakers is amazingly magical. I have not tried any other speaker that is as pure and life like with the female voice than Dunlavy. They display all the color and texture of the midrange with a crispness and transparency. Bass has long been the contention point of the IV series. The fact that they rate them at 25Hz meaning that it cuts off one organ pedal is hardly an issue for me. On the double bass, even the lowest note is crisply defined with no bloating or smear. The famous subway as heard on Water Lilly Acoustics "Natures Realm" with the Philadelphia Orchestra is deep under my floor forward and to the right. On Cowboy Junkies "Trinity Sessions" the foot pounding on the stage is as if he were in my livingroom pounding on my floor. I have no lack for bass from my speakers, in fact any more might be too much. Sound stage is wide and very deep. Excellent transient speeds, superb impact yet with an effortless smoothness. I truly believe these are the best speakers I can afford and is very much at home in my system. They have never left me lacking or longing for something better. That says a lot for a guy who is always looking for more, but never from my speakers. These are simply great speakers, and their service is exceptional as I found out with my III's, I twice had drivers replaced although it turned out the speakers had nothing to do with the problems I was having.
Associated gear Sony SCD-1 SACD player Placette active pre-amp Plinius SA-102 amps Nordost Valhalla speaker cable Nordost Valhalla and NBS Statement interconnects NBS Statement power cords Hydra power conditioner
Similar products Thiel CS7 series Audio Physic Virgo Wilson Watt/puppy
I have the Cantata's the smaller brother to the 4A. I had them modified with high end caps by Blackie Pagano at tubesville.com What I got was a 100% improvement. He said the parts used were really cheap-he did not change any circuits just parts. I got the same sonic signature but the improvement was off the charts. I wonder what the IVa would sound like with some good parts?
Khaki8, thank-you for bringing this topic to my review. There has been alot written about the quality of parts used in the Dunlavy cross overs. I would love to see a summary of trials people have done that could attach to this review. I also wonder if anyone has talked to John Dunlavy about the issue of parts quality and the idea of upgrading to higher quality. Actually I think I may try to call John to get his feedback.
I just got off the phone with John Dunlavy. Of course being the designer of the Dunlavy speakers he strongly defends his selection of parts used in the crossover. This should not come as any surprise, but let me tell you how he defended his selections. He did acknowledge that he could have used more expensive parts, but he said he selected his parts on their performance and not on cost. The capacitors he uses are polypropylene and have the best measured values of any capacitor on the market, there are simply not more accurate capacitors available. The Inductors he uses are not an iron core because they simply do not perform as well, they tend to saturate at very low levels, thus they are less constant in their values. The air core inductors used again are the most accurate and constant he has measured. His goal is not the "most expensive parts, it is using the parts that produces the best fidelity." As I stated earlier, his goal has always been to create the most accurate speaker possible. He not only uses his ears to test the speaker's performance but judiciously measures every speaker to within +/- 1 dB with a full set of measurements made in his world renowned anechoic chamber. "Every speaker" built is thoroughly measured for all aspects of performance and only then are released to the client. "No other speaker in the world is put through such stringent testing" all in the name of accuracy. John reminded me that the IVa is used in all the major recording studios around the world. This is the speaker that most music today is sounded to, so altering its accuracy with other components will add distortion or otherwise lessen the realism of this speaker. John had commented that he sometimes thinks "people would rather hear distortion or otherwise inaccurate sound rather than the truth." Again I think that remembering the goal of Dunlavy speakers is important, to produce "accurate speakers." I was reminded of a story John has told me before where he sets up a pair of IVa speakers in his large anechoic chamber along with real instruments. The piano is the story he tells where they play a grand piano or a digital recording at 24 bit was played through the speakers. The people they bring in were to detect which is playing cannot identify any difference between the two. If you do choose to modify your speakers you are choosing to modify the accuracy of these speakers, which may be to your personal taste but it is not the goal of Dunlavy speakers. Dunlavy wants to "reproduce music as exact as possible." If the measurements and the listening tests are to be believed then the IVa has succeeded, and any alteration will only lessen those measurements. It is an interesting topic, I guess those who do choose to alter their speakers are trying to solve another problem in their system. I would recommend people look at what other weaknesses might exist in their stereo before looking at the speakers as the issue. As a side note I spent sometime discussing JA and Stereophile. This is a whole other post some day!
All this stuff about Dunlavy saying the parts are great is BS. I know what I heard in my speakers- they were at least twice as good. Every designer says it's the design of the circuit that's more important than the parts. The reality is that the better parts put the speaker into a different price level. I would imagine for every $100 spent on parts the retail price goes up $400. Many of these designers don't even bother learning about the higher end parts because they know they can't afford them. Better parts make better music!
The sound was so dramatically better. The first thing was the music was much more forward. There was more treble more bass and smoother sound. Sorry about my lack of description earlier but I hear things as a whole not the individual parts. The whole was great after the mod.
Just wanted to add a comment re: the mod I did for Mr. Khaki on the Dunlavy's. I have a very high regard for Mr. Dunlavy's expertise as a designer and listener. His choices of parts reflect his opinions re: the sound/parts connection, not to mention cost considerations. My choice of parts is a reflection of my own tastes, and was arrived at by considerable experimentation with my own 1st order loudspeaker designs, and i also factor in cost effectiveness. We are two designers with the same goal, and perhaps somewhat different tastes.
Thank-you blackie, it helps to hear your thoughts. Can you maybe expound on the tonal changes your trying to achieve? I have often wondered how these mods would change the sound, to my ears the Dunlavy sound is extremely natural and right in the middle of too bassy and too treably. What changes can I expect if I modified them. Also, do you simply need the cross-overs sent to you and what are the costs? I love it when the guy who does the work writes in!
There are a lot of things the Dunlavys do well, but there is always room for improvement in anything, my own designs included. I changed nothing basic about the design, which BTW Mr. Khaki LOVES, i simply went for smoothness, richness, improved resolution. he spent about $500/speaker, which is about where the point of diminishing returns was reached. for another grand i coulda made 'em 2% better, muahh ha ha ha!
Jadem, The mod was done because I really liked the sonic signature of the speakers. I wanted to improve on what was there. The mod created a speaker with the identical sonic signature as before but with dramatic improvements evenly up and down the audio spectrum. I'm a believer that better parts can improve an already good design. These are the most satisfying speakers and least fatiguing speakers I've heard up to $15,000
The first time I heard the The dunlavy IV it was the best speaker I had heard. That was about 6 years ago. When I received the speakers I found they were extremely difficult to sound right in my room. I changed to the IVa then the V's thinking I could get the bass right. When that didn't work I went to tube amps and nothing helped although the sound was good it was missing the musicality that I heard in a heavily damped room. I guess they sound good in that anechoic chamber that Dunlavy has a the factory but thats impossible in most houses. Since then I've found speakers that are very room friendly, smaller, and much better sounding from top to bottom at half the price
Snook2 is right, they do take a big effort to get placement right. Once the proper location is found they are great. I set them up on the long wall, and they really need at least 18 feet of long wall as a minimum. I think 28x23 or so would be perfect, but my 18x15 works great.
Interesting & well-documented post J-D (may I add, "as usual"?). You have obviously licked the dual matter of a) driving the IV, b) and setting them up, thereby relieved them of a slight "boxiness" I had heard some time ago. I felt this "boxiness" was out of character with the speaker per se. It seemed to be located in the lower mids while the upper mids were engaging & the bass very clear -- though not extended: as it turned out, we didn't have enough amp power to drive the speakers full-range & the 5-Ohm nominal wasn't helping. When we switched to an YBA Passion stereo, we no longer had boxiness -- but we had phasing! So, we came to the logical conclusion that placement (good for the previous amp) was wrong. It took us the best part of an hr, in a LONG room (~25x15) to get them to play a a full orchestra. When we placed them to satisfaction (or so we thought) we felt we weren't getting the most out of them -- phasing problems (or so we thought). So, we tried different cables (speaker). The only "other" cables at hand were short valhallas. After some weight-lifting (the YBA is heavy & not mover friendly), we managed to connect the valhallas. Bingo! (Then, we had to re-position the speakers, another weight-lifting excercise)
Your Plinius must have fallen in love with the Dunlavy's!
I have had the Dunlavy SC-IV in my listening room after VonSchweikert VR4 originals (after they went out of business I traded to the Dunlavy's). They were a little lean sounding in my room(19 x 17.5). My wife objected to the size and then I went to Proac 3.8's which sounded very musical, but did not give the illusion of live performers in my room so I sold them. I next auditioned the Aletha, Meadowlark Heron i, the SC-IVa, B&W N802, Vanderstein 3A signatures and the Genesis 500. The Aletha sounded more natural than the SC-IVa, particularly at low volumes and a talk w/Dunlavy convinced me that the downfiring 10" woofer was actually easier to integrate into a normal untreated room than the SC-IVa probably due to possible interactions caused by the woofer/floor and woofer/ceiling distances resulting in some bass frequency cancellations. The Meadowlarks weren't bad,but sometimes sounded odd at the transition from bass to midrange. My second favorite in the comparison was the Genesis. Paradoxically, to what I thought, they were very coherent despite a complex driver array. I was also uneasy about the company's financial status and replacement drivers. Whereas the Dunlavy may not use exotic drivers, they are readily available. I have recently heard the Silverline LaFolias in my room and they have a very nice presentation. I do not think they are as neutral sounding as the Dunlavy's, but they have some other strengths. To summarize, once you hear a time aligned coherent loudspeaker, all others sound like speakers and do not complete the illusion of performers in your room (for intimate studio recording) or transporting you to the space in which the recording was made (if large scale orchestral work). Furthermore, once you hear non resonant acoustic suspension without a port tuned to a specific frequency, it is hard not to hear the tuning of a port in such a design. The trade off usually is lower efficiency of acoustic suspension designs which I don't know how Dunlavy overcame (his design is reported 91 dB efficient). My system: Millenium Signature tubed preamp (no longer made but previously imported by Fanfare International) Electrocompaniet EMC 1 with 24/192 upgrade Plinius SA250 MK IV Plinius Jarrah phono stage VPI Scout w/ JMW 9 arm and Clearaudio Sigma cartridge Siltech FTM 4 SG G3 and FTM 4 Gold or Acoustic Zen Silver Reference Mk II or Nordost Valhalla intercon. Purist Audio Collosus Biwire speaker wire Top Gun, Top Gun special, and Top Gun HCFi cords into a Top Gun Super Power Block. Dedicated 15 amp source, and 20 amp amplifier circuits with either Wattagate or PS audio Powerport receptacles No added room treatments allowed (wife), but in a "normal" room with a wood cabinet wall system on one side and 2 large windows with pulled back curtains flanking a fireplace on the other side, none is currently required.
I found the Dunlavy's (powered by the high dollar Theta Monoblocks) to be the most directional speaker I've ever heard - moving one foot in any direction revealed a totally different presentation. If positioned in the "sweet" spot and using a terrific recording they are impressive - otherwise not for me. With less than perfect recordings such as Van Halen's first album will have you leaping for the remote in about 30 seconds - harsh to the point of pain. Admittedly it's a far cry from a great recording but it sounds great through my BAT VK6200 and Thiel CS7.2s.
I audition with both great and crappy recordings as most music will fall between these two - unfortunately there are some really bad recordings of wonderful music. Good speakers sound great with great recordings and pretty bad with bad sources, while great speakers sound amazing with great recordings yet still pretty good with the crappy stuff.
I have a pair of Dunlavy Cantatas that I bought after a visit to the factory and a meeting with John (They sadly went out of business shortly afterward). Of the many interesting things he said, one stood out in my mind. All of his speakers (that he was building at that point) sound the same except for base. The midrange and tweeter response is identical.
I have a friend who has been in the high end audio business for many years, both as a dealer and a manufacturer--at one time he was the #1 dealer for Audio Research in the US. He has heard virtually everything and when he heard my Cantatas (same as the Aletha, only square column), he was completely blown away and set out on a frenzied search to find a pair (he failed). He said without a doubt these were the most natural, dynamic speakers he'd ever heard.
Anyway, what a pity they are no more, but if you locate a pair, buy them. You won't get mine in the near future as I am an addict.
Thenthing about dunlavy's is eventually you notice your favoring certain recordings more than others and then it hits you...they are severely flawed by a mediocre crossover and cheap diffraction padding which limits their dispersion. I had the SC V's for 4 years...when other speakers came in, I realized just how flawed they were...squawky and grainy without subtlety!!
Dave B and Daytrader; I’ve heard these same comments before, and I’m aware that there are people who do not like the Dunlavy parts quality. I have two comments, first is a price/ performance issue. The Dunlavy IV speaker was Stereophile class A restricted. When the IVa came out the bass extension issue of the IV were solved, but suddenly Stereophile downgraded the speaker to class B full range. Given that it was ¼ of the cost of all other Class A full range speakers there was no way Stereophile could have placed it in class A. My second comment/ question is; for the price, what other speakers did you find that out performed the Dunlavy? Please describe how the sound changed when you replaced the Dunlavy.
Sure, sorry for the delay...busy! Everything I've had since has lacked the honky midrange coloration of the Dunlavy's i.e..B&W 801N's, Wilson Watt/Puppy 6's, ML Prodigy's and even my Totem Forests and Winds! At one point during my Dunlavy system I had managed to reduce the coloration quite a bit with a Krell FPB600 mated to an AR LS25MKII and a BAT VK-D5 with MIT Proline connections! Tonal shadings, color and transparency were also less with the Dunlavy's. Imaging was the biggest problem with the massive point source Dunlavy's...nothing beyond the sides and the comb filter effect of their own boxes limited the holography found in most of the other speakers I've owned.
I can't comment on the Dunlavy SC-IVa's since I've only heard them in the show room, but I can certainly comment on the Alethas, which I own and have lived with for a couple of years and known intimately.
I have never heard the "midrange coloration" you mention - it has one of the clearest and pursest midranges that I have ever heard, and I listened to a lot of speakers over the years. The truth of timbre and purity of the midrange allows voices and instruments to sound amazingly real. Several friends that have listened to my system have had similar reactions i.e., this is spooky real.
In terms of imaging the speakers just dissappear in a deep and wide soundstage - the width far exceeds the boundaries of the speaker in my room. But I do currently have a dedicated room for them that I may not have the luxury of in the near future.
I'm not in the least denying what you heard - I just wanted to present another side to this picture. I've heard all three of the other speakers you mention and all are excellent. However, none of them had me remotely wanting to rush out and upgrade my Dunlavy Alethas. Now on the other hand the Avantgarde Duo's I recently heard, did have a very profound effect on me, but unfortunately the size of these things makes them non-feasible for me.
Hi Njp, How do you think the alethas compare to those newer speakers? There a lot of newer speakers (cheaper and more expensive) that have came out since dunlavy out of business. They use more sophiscated parts and have more sophiscated designs!! Some of them even have a very reasonable price tag and received good/ great review by stereophile mags. Most of my hi-end friends, they talk about Revels, B&Ws, Totems, Triangles, VR, etc... I own the Alethas, but had no luxurious to audition any other speakers (only some, but just the low-ends, as in my city in Indoensia, the dealers usually don't have those expensive speakers in stock). So, I am not very sure whether the Alethas are for the keep or I should upgrade/ change. Thanks
The Alethas are superb speakers - enjoy them. They need to be setup and partnered carefully, but if you do so, sonically they pay off big time - they are incredibly natural and coherent, dynamic with an amazing soundfield.
Of the numerous speakers I've heard since, the ones that I thought were outstanding were the Avantgarde Duo's - incredibly coherent, dynamic and natural. If you can, I'd highly recommend an audition. I'd love to own these but their sheer size and visual impact (which I love) are not condusive to my family harmony :(.
I will likely be forced to sell my Alethas in the not so distant future since I won't have the luxury of a dedicated room for them (which is currently my living room). Throwing them in the corners up against the wall kills the wonderful soundfield and makes the bass too prominent. So, I will likely be looking for a monitor or something small in their place.
Neville, i truely feel bad for you. Parting with the athenas is gonna hurt
Tjandra, when i went on a speaker hunt i traveled three states and listened to vandersteens, thiel, aerial, martin logans, revel, hales B&W (801n's couldn't even get in the game though i always allow for the possiblility of a really sucky audition room) Dunlavy IIIs, and a number of others i can't recall right now. The first time i heard the athenas (in a killer room at Audio Vidio Logic in Des Moines Iowa)i said these are the ones. Two more days of travel and listening did nothing other than confirm my original conclusion. I'm so satisfied that i don't even consider replacing them. I have recently heard the Wilson Sophias..wasn't impressed at all, and the Wilson Maxes...which totally blew me away. However the max system was carrying a retail price exceeding $150 k plus the room. Mine is closer to $25k.
Set up on the long wall and paired with VTL tubes in a less than perfect room my athenas totally dissappear. the soundstage can extend beyond the speakers though it is recording dependant. There is good depth to the sound stage and a natural sence of height. within that soundstage the imagining is very defined and stable. In comparison, the wilson sophias for example, sounded like small boxes setting on the floor.
Bass is tight and accurate and capable of getting quite deep when the recording calls for it, the highs are smooth and open with an airyness approaching planers and the mids are warm and natural with no honkiness (and i'm fully aware of how nasty a honky midrange can sound...just aint there on the athenas though i have heard complaints about the IVs and even the Vs from time to time). The highs were extremely sensitive to cables and tweaking. At one point my system had a horrible top end glare with a set of Pro Silway II cables in the CDP position. that problem ended up being cured by vibration control under the CDP. I also spent a lot of time setting up the speakers, not a plug and play arangement.
I've been a part time working musician for over 25 yrs and i go to a lot of live shows. The dunlavies do a great job on lifelike presentation of most instruments and reproduction of the feal of the performance within the limitations of my room and system. the only failings over live shows may be that they are a tad more laid back than the real deal. That may be a result of my system configuration as i prefer laid back for relaxation as opposed to an in-your-face EV sound system type of sound with huge subs pounding my brains out. I'm also fueling them with 185 wts/side which will barely power a monitor for a live system.
With small group Jazz acoustic, roots rock/folk or blues recordings and my amps in triod mode the reproduction of the instruments is extremely accurate. get into rock recordings of lesser quality things can take a harsh turn but that doesn't happen much.
in summary tjandra, for what you'll get out of your alethas if you sell them you will never touch a small fraction of what you have. They were about impossible to beat at full retail.
VTL MB 185 monos on polychrystal stands VTL 5.5 preamp ACR CD-2 CJ Walker table with a Linn Basik arm old B&o reciever for tuner and phono pre (even with this low budget approach to analog the old records still sound great) Harmonic tech Pro Silway II between pre and CDP, truthlinks between amp and pre and between the B&O and pre BMI eels on the pre and CDP, stock power cords on every thing else
Dave b If I read this right you have owned B&W 801N's, Wilson Watt/Puppy 6's, ML Prodigy's, Totem Forests and Winds since owning the Dunlavy’s for years. Something sounds funny here. Then you tell me you used a Krell to mate with the Dunlavy and Audio Research pre-amp. If that is true it must have been one hideous sounding system. I can not imagine a poorer match (Krell and AR), well given that you preferred the Wilson’s and B&W’s, I guess I understand. The final proof I needed to understand what your issues are, was your comment, “. Imaging was the biggest problem with the massive point source Dunlavy's...nothing beyond the sides and the comb filter effect of their own boxes limited the holography found in most of the other speakers I've owned.”. This is proof positive you have either never owned Dunlavy or you had them set up improperly. Either way I do not really care, I now understand where your comments come from, and I wish you luck finding what ever it is you’re looking for. Daytrader, I didn’t expect you had anything else to offer. J.D.
I'm not sure what your problem is daytrader, but I have the bills for all the above mentioned gear..actually only a small bit of what I've owned over the years. My dealers were soundex..(the owner is my friend) and Surround sounds exton, pa. If you have had a chance to own said gear yourself, then maybe you have a bit of understanding regarding the dunlavy's sound. Most reviews of the dunlavy's at the time mention the lack of lateral imaging. When you hear a truly uncolored and refined speaker system you understand the difference. That being said, I liked the dunlavy's alot while I had them, they were big, bold and full of life...exciting sounding! I have a good time playing around with different equipment...it's my hobby! Sometimes the synergy get's one closer to the music...other times not! The krell/ARC combo was actually quite thrilling..one of the most musical pairings I've heard! Perhaps your feelings are hurt for some reason? I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings...or was it all the gear I got to explore instead of just read about!!
I've been testing different geese on the top of my speakers to see if they can help focus the honking. I tried some plastic decoys, but they tended to flatten the honk. I tried some wonderful rubber toy geese, but they made the honky bass to fat. I tried to contact a taxidermist, but he only had one goose, so I passed. I bought some wonderful Gund stuffed plush geese, but I felt they rolled off the top end of the honk. Then I found the perfect solution. two live Canadian geese caught at a local golf course. I leash them to the isolation bearings under my honk'n speakers without the factory bases. these buggers are amazing. they are able to mimic the honk perfectly. So life like! I may get rid of the Dunlavys and simply plug the speaker cables into the goose end. thank gosh David and his friends brought this honking to our attention, without his help I doubt i would have ever tried live goose horns!
Try stacking several geese in a D'appageeso array...smallest goose in the center, working your way out on either side with larger geese. Don't forget the felt around the box edges to aim the resultant HONK straight at your head...sounds best that way!!
Precisely! I've had so many speakers I have no connection emotionally with any of them. Must move on in my search for the next best..it's a sickness, but I enjoy it! Should have been a reviewer I geuss. Maybe Maggies??
Glad you guys could see the humor in that. One phrase that I like in regard to Dunlavy speakers is "Don't shoot the messenger" When I first recieved my 4a's, I thought they were bright and bass shy. I decided to play around a bit with placement and put them against the long wall 12 ft apart and sat 10 ft back. I eventually toed them in until the tweeters were firing almost directly at me. What I gained in the bass was substantial, not to mention a soundstage wider than the placement of the speakers and PINPOINT holographic imaging. Let me tell you, if you own these speakers and they don't image like minimonitors, you dont have them setup right - period. Read the professional reviews, they will tell you the same thing. What was amazing to me was that they imaged like this with mediocre gear. The midrange and high frequencys however were a different story. A move from a Krell to a Pass Labs amp just changed everything, no more glare, no more grain, no more listener fatigue and way more detail. I was literally hearing things I hadn't heard on my cd's before. This told me one thing. The speakers were letting me hear my amplifier, and I have never owned a speaker that showed changes in gear quite like these. A tribute to their honesty. Can you handle the truth? I guess some people can't. Fact: The Dunlavy 5's are the most widely used speaker in the cd mastering industry.
All kidding aside, I owned the 5's for 4 years. As monitors they are fantastic. For rock at high spl's they are very good. For jazz, quite good...again, at moderately loud levels. Classical shows up there timbral problems and grainy crossovers. Not very airy on top. Expressiveness and tension at low volume levels is 'nil. Again, they are great speakers for what they do right...scale, weight, authority and slam. When one goes to a wilson, totem, Avalon etc...then you realize what was wrong! Nothing is perfect however, so enjoy the Dunlavy's for what they do right...we all have different tastes.
I thank both Dave b and Daytrader for getting us past what became a very ugly follow-up to a review. As all things I have heard in audio, no two people hear or enjoy the same things. For my personal taste... ... I will stay with the Dunlavy. As Cmpromo found they are very sensitive to set-up (possibly too sensitive) and very equipment dependant. These two issues along with a very small sweet spot could be negatives for many people, not me however. to my ears their has not been another system that I have experienced that betters the sound of what I have. I need not be right in any other persons mind, only my own in that it is me who listens the most. I simply hoped to share my personal experience with these speakers (and all my equipment) by writing a review. I am happy we all found a place where we could all talk with civility.
A special note to daytrader; I am very sorry you and I got off on an extremely bad start. I apologise hear in public for any immaturity I may have shown, I look at our comments and I am embarrassed for myself. I'm sorry, and yes, I did learn from my near death, I guess I remain flawed however.
I will chime in here, having met JD on several occasions - he is a class act, and while I dont believe he drinks anymore, he knows audio as well as anybody, and more imprtantantly, is a a "good soul" who would be a real asset to any party you clowns are contemplating :) !!!!!
Anybody hear the new B&W802D's...pretty sweet and tasty!! Might just have to get me a pair. I'm turnin my frown upside down and puttin away my floppy feat for good before the ACLU get's after me...thanks for the warning Daytrader.