Review: Intuitive Design/Pitcher Sound Labs Summit PSL 624 Speaker

Category: Speakers

Intuitive Design Summit model number PSL 624 (PSL=Pitcher Sound Labs)

Part I: Introduction

The Intuitive Design Summit Loudspeakers are almost certainly the last loudspeaker I will ever buy. They have completely blown away even my most ridiculously unrealistic expectations. This review will humbly attempt to do justice to these utterly magnificent, stunningly transcendent masterpieces of sonic transduction. I am a consumer with no affiliation to any audio retailer or manufacturer. My only goals are to inform the audiophile community about these and to pique its curiosity, possibly to the point where some people may actually to give these an audition—something they so richly deserve.

The review has seven parts:
1. Introduction;
  2. Synopsis (just read this if you want to get the main points without
suffering through the whole tome);  
3. The fleshed out, fully detailed narrative (extremely long and thorough, beware);
4. Photos;
5. Personal anecdotes and observations of others;
6. My poem: “Pitcher Perfect—The Fabulous Summits” (I had to do it!);
7. Disclaimer statement. (This is really stupid but is intended to preempt shill

Part II: Synopsis

The Intuitive Design Summits are a two-way, dynamic loudspeaker with a custom, proprietary, chambered, 1” soft dome tweeter; a 7” carbon pulp midbass driver; a first order crossover; capacitors manufactured on site by Intuitive Design; a granite cabinet; and the granite Path Stand System. Mine have Stillpoints and inverted risers under both of the speakers and both of the Path Stands, which in turn are placed on 18 x 12 x 3 inch, 75 pound granite surface plates.

Dimensions and weights, etc. (Rounded off):
Speakers: 19 ½ x 13 ½ x 11 inches, gross shipping weight=84 lbs (each) with boxes
Path Stands: 18 x 13 x 11 ¼ inches, gross shipping weight=92 lbs (each) with boxes,
but without the sand poured in
Overall, in our room (see photo with 4 foot “yard”stick): height is 43 ½ inches
Distance from back wall is between 26 and 28 inches to the BACK of each speaker
Room dimensions: 20 ft 10 in x 15 ½ ft x 9 ft (ceiling height)
Speakers are parallel to the longer wall.

These speakers are the best I’ve heard, with a unique and profoundly powerful
combination of high end smoothness and detail. The imaging is utterly three dimensional, stable and holographic, practically beyond belief. Off axis dispersion is outstanding, and yet the precision of the imaging seems to be completely unaffected by this. The entire sonic spectrum down to around the 40 hertz rolloff is presented with stark, vivid realism that is uncanny and seamless.

It must be noted that the superlative sonic attributes come to their fullest fruition only
when the Dodson 217 Mark II D DAC is in the signal path. The superb bass response is contingent on outstanding amplification, such as that provided by the Odyssey Extreme Monoblocks, which are rated at greater than 200 wpc, and are probably closer to 300, with outstanding current delivery, as assured by the presence of 360,000 microfarads of capacitance.

Part III: Fully Detailed Narrative


I am 43 years old and have arrived at audiophile nirvana. The audiophile journey began in my teens, listening to speakers like the original AR 90 (never even got to hear the legendary AR 9’s). I vaguely remember a General Electric system, then a Panasonic system, 10 wpc solid state receiver with an 8 track and large, 2 way speakers with a passive radiator and soft, boomy bass, which I thought was great at the time. The first real system I had was during my 20’s, and included a Parasound receiver with preamp outputs, the legendary B&K ST140 amplifier, and what must have been the original (or near original) version of the Paradigm 9SE loudspeakers. Years passed and my audiophile interest was again piqued by loudspeaker listings on Audiogon. I ended up with Paradigm Studio 100 V3 speakers augmented by a Rel Storm 3 sub-bass unit and driven by Odyssey Extreme monoblocks, with a Rotel RC 995 preamp, and Dakiom Feedback Stabilizers. I was actually fairly satisfied, but not utterly transfixed in paroxysmal ecstasy like I am now.

Duane, a dealer who I’ve known for over 10 years, had been talking about a 3,000 dollar speaker that sounded like a 10,000 dollar speaker. (The Summits are about 3,500 dollars and the Path Stand System is about 1,500 dollars). I listened to them even though I was fairly satisfied with the Paradigms. I couldn’t believe the synergistic combination of smoothness, detail and bass reproduction combined with an excellent soundstage. Dynamic range was practically identical to that of the Paradigms and the mid bass was better. Given their price, I became upset and finally caved in and bought the Summits, plus upgraded the preamp, and added the Dodson.

As currently configured in my system, with Odyssey Monoblock Extreme amplifiers, an Odyssey Extreme Tempest Preamplifier, and the Dodson 217 Mark 2 D DAC with upgraded 218-like software, these are the finest loudspeakers I have ever heard, with the closest competitor being the old, three box version of the Audio Physic Caldera, fed by about 7000 dollars of front end electronics, including Spectral products. Those retailed for about 20,000. I listened to those several years ago and did so only once, but did use some of my own source material (Police, Synchronicity 2, Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, gold disc). It’s a close call, the memory is less clear than before, the systems are different and there was never anything like an A/B, but the subjective impression of profound sonic excellence imparted by the Summits is even more powerful that imparted by the Calderas. Previously, there was nothing close to the Calderas, in my mind.

Other speakers I have listened to much more recently, which were great, but not as great as the Summits, (in my own, unscientific, subjective and possibly flawed opinion ONLY), include: 1. Totem Winds: Just a great loudspeaker, with great tonality and detail, great soundstage, but seemed inferior to the Summits with respect to soundstage height and, in retrospect, mid bass punch); 2. JM Lab (either Mini or Micro Utopias, whichever sell for around 5,000; these had the Be tweeter): Very detailed and fairly sweet high end, excellent midrange and soundstage, but quite lacking in the bass, seeming to roll off at a rather high frequency, and showing some softness and just a hint of boominess, not acceptable to me, even knowing they’d have been supplemented by the Rel; 3. One of the upper level Aerials, I think it was the 7B: Really a fine loudspeaker with true finesse and sweetness on the high end, and a very respectable soundstage. These seemed a little rolled off on the high end and possibly slightly lacking in sonic detail. Sonically they reminded me of some of Dale Pitcher’s earlier designs in the lower to middle echelons of the Essence lineup. Those were a very “nice” loudspeaker with no glaring weaknesses, but they never blew me away like his Summits do now.


1. The Summits have the most amazing combination of high end smoothness and detail I have ever heard in any loudspeaker, at any price, bar none, especially when the Dodson DAC is in the signal path (it is possible for me to listen A/B by switching inputs on the preamp between the player directly or through the Dodson). This confers an incredible, unique and stark realism that is practically indescribable. It is a consistent feature irrespective of program material, including rock music, classical music, jazz, bluegrass, folk music, and even other things like the Cybergenesis theme from the Terminator Soundtrack. Sumiko has a song used its by dealers in setting up systems called “Say a Prayer for the Cowgirl.” This is a well recorded track and sounded very good through the Paradigms. It sounded utterly real and qualitatively different—starkly so—through the Summits. The Paradigms made it sound like the woman was in the center of the soundfield, singing into a microphone. The Summits made it sound like her voice was being magically amplified with no microphone or any hint of electronic artifact whatsoever, i.e. she was THERE in the room, floating as if she were a singing ghost, with normal timbre, only louder than a typical unamplified human voice

2. The soundstage is truly 3-D, with uncanny depth, height, width, and stability, with the WIDEST SWEET SPOT I ever remember hearing, so much so that—get this—THE IMAGE IS PRESERVED, EVEN WHEN SEATED OUTSIDE OF THE LATERAL CONFINES OF THE SPEAKERS! Yes, that is really true. Last night we listened to Mozart’s Symphony No. 41, Jupiter, (Phillips Digital Classics, DDD), preformed by the “Orchestra of the 18th Century.” I was seated off center and outside of the plane of the edge of the right speaker. It was STILL like listening to the orchestra. I was amazed, able to perceive central imaging, off center imaging, and actually place the instrument sections of the orchestra both side to side and front to back. It was absolutely unreal. The soundfield hung in space as a stable, 3-D image, even from that position, seeming to become a holographic entity unto itself, rather than a well crafted psychoacoustic illusion based on auditory cues.

DEPTH and HEIGHT: These consistently convey depth of soundstage, the likes of which I didn’t even know could possibly exist in a stereo system. The tympani seemed to come from the back of the room on the Jupiter piece. With Dueling Banjos, the two banjos are placed very precisely and three dimensionally in space, every single time, as follows:
The first banjo is about 2 feet in front of, three or four feet to the side of, and one to two feet below, the second banjo. Both banjos sound exactly like banjos in the room, and they stay virtually locked in their respective positions throughout the piece, even when they start playing really fast, together. The taller one on the left may move in about a foot or so but that’s it. The various notes from the first banjo seem to emanate from different positions along a short diagonal corresponding to long axis of that banjo itself.

WIDTH: These are the first speaker I’ve heard in over 10 to 15 YEARS that project an image convincingly outside the lateral edge of the speaker, as perceived from the sweet spot. I first perceived this when the speakers were on brass spikes on top of the stands, which were on spikes coupled to the floor. Dale suggested granite surface plates and Stillpoints with inverted risers. I was wary but did it anyway and the image outside the speakers actually became MORE convincing and stable (base also improved, necessitating a downward adjustment in the Rel’s crossover, and detail sharpened still further). This lateral projection occurs with the Carlos Santana Song, “Black Magic Woman”, during the interlude near the end, where two separate sets of bongos are playing simultaneously. One set is projected outside of the right speaker, seeming to emanate from above the Rel, and the other is projected about one foot inside of the left speaker. Both also are projected about one or two feet BEHIND the speakers as well, and these images remain stable throughout the song. Other instruments are placed appropriately and stably in positions elsewhere on the soundstage.

3. BASS: The bass from these speakers is far better than any monitor I’ve ever heard, and in fact is more like that of a floorstander. The low end rolloff is stated to be around 40 hertz, and the bass with these is actually even better than what I heard from the Paradigm Studio 100 V 3 speakers that I owned for about a year. The crossover is set at 27 hertz, not 28 like I had thought in an earlier post to a thread. The midbass punch is just as excellent as that of the Paradigms, and just a tad richer without being soft or fuzzy. I had had concerns about a two way system going so low, but the midrange doesn’t suffer at all. Dale Pitcher had mentioned some potential “Doppler issues”, potentially introducing distortion when the 7” carbon pulp driver has greater excursion at higher volumes. I have simply NOT been able to hear this, ever. I think that they are actually “Doppler NON-issues.”

Part IV. Photos—See below.

Part V. Personal anecdotes and observations of others, including non-audiophiles.

1. Alien abduction-like, lost time:

I was listening to these and it was getting later, around 9:04 on a school night. I wanted to listen to only one more song, for about 5 minutes. I listened for about 5 minutes, and glanced casually at the clock, startled to see that is was about 9:53. Then I remembered having listened to not just one but several songs, losing track of time. No aliens. It was kind of weird, though.

2. Closing my eyes, images of musicians playing instruments, moving and singing spontaneously appear in my mind’s eye, unprompted by me.

3. Our 10-year-old daughter’s friend was listening and asked why the loudspeakers suddenly sounded so “good”, after we got the Summits. Our 12 year old son said that it was weird that such a small speaker could sound so great, even compared with a larger floorstander. My mother in law is NOT an audiophile and NEVER had asked me to play the stereo (married 17+ years), but did just that when she heard “Dueling Banjos”. My 75 year old mother said that following the setup of these speakers, it was the first time she’d ever been able to detect a sonic difference out of all the other upgrades and tweaks. She thought that bass and separation were better.

A close family friend of ours, Rose, had this to say:

“The Intuitive Design Summit listening experience provides sensory delight in every sense of the word. The sound is ingested, swallowed whole, distributed to the senses, and the eyes watch while the sound dances overhead, just in front of the minds eye, just barely out of physical reach. There is a definitive head and heart connection, which delights the soul and the even the “average” listener will delight in the effect.

“The sound penetrates the senses, notes dance in the field of vision, while the auditory nerves carry the sound deep inside the chest/heart where the feeling is indescribable. I have never in my life ever heard or felt the notes in such a strong sense. The experience has been one of the most intense feelings I have ever allowed to wash over me and over take me.

“I do not consider myself an audiophile. Instead, I would consider myself a dilettante.”

Part VI. The Poem, “Pitcher Perfect: Ode to the Summits”

i know there are those who will think this a shill
but please understand that these loudspeakers thrill

so before you post pot shots, loud and shrill
please take a quick listen, if you will

your soul will shine, sparkle and glisten
if only you’ll give these fine speakers a listen

for then you should find my words to be true
but ‘til you listen, you won’t have a clue

the time’s getting late as I look at the clock
but I just had to tell you---these loudspeakers ROCK!

Part VII. The “Disclaimer”

Disclaimer/conflict of interest statement: NOTHING at all, I am just an ecstatic customer who’s been waiting anxiously to post this UNSOLICITED review. It was and is totally and completely my idea, which occurred to me AFTER purchasing and setting up these speakers. It is absolutely, positively NOT a shill. I swear to God.

(As a courtesy that had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with this review, which I had already planned to write, Dale Pitcher was kind enough to send to me four small sheets of ERS cloth in an attempt to solve an RF problem, which I had contacted HIM about. They did not work in that application and are not in use. It should be obvious to even the most hardened cynic (and/or dullest moron) that this act of courtesy does not constitute compensation or a quid pro quo. It seems absurd even to mention it, but having navigated through some of the threads on this site, I’ve chosen to include this distracting and ridiculously trivial “disclosure” as the default course of action.)

Associated gear
Dedicated circuit with two pairs of Porter Ports 20 amp outlets in a 4-plex configuration.

Groneberg Reference Power Cords for Osyssey Stratos Extreme monoblocks, plugged directly into the Porter Ports (because that's what Klaus told me to do :) )

Groneberg Reference Powercord for Odyssey Tempest Extreme Preamp.

Some higher end Transparent Reference cord for the Dodson 217 Mark II D DAC.

Previous generation 10 amp Powervar

Onkyo Integra DPC 8.5 universal player.

Groneberg Digital Reference interconnect from cd player to DAC.

Audioquest (Python ???) interconnects from DAC to Preamp.

All other interconnects are Audioparts mas Signature, cryo treated interconnects.

Speaker cables are Audioparts Mas Signature Hybrid Reference bi-wires, with spades, stacked at the speakers' binding posts.

Cable to the Rel Storm 3 is Signal Cable Speakon. Rel is plugged with a "regular" power cord directly into the wall.

A Parasound R/EQ 150 has been modified so that it can be in the signal path but emulate a hard wire connection when set on bypass, which it usually is.

The Onkyo universal player, the DAC, the preamplifier, and both monoblocks sit on Audiopoints by StarSound Technologies, and the points sit on the matching discs.

Stillpoints with inverse risers support both speakers and both stands, with the whole assembly sitting on huge granite surface plates (I got the 75 pound plates for about 130-something dollars, including shipping, on ebay).

First generation Dakiom Feedback Stabilizers are put on the back of the CD player, the DAC and inside of the Rel, spliced into its amp.

Second generation Dakiom Feedback Stabilizers are on the back of the preamp and the back of both amps.

All connections are treated with Quicksilver, from Extreme A/V.

Similar products
Paradigm Studio 100 v3, Paradigm S8's, Aerial floorstanders (I think 7B but am not sure), JM Labs Mini or Micro Utopia Be monitors; Totem Winds--all recently before buying the Summits, and I owned the Studio 100's for about a year.

Long ago I listened to Audio Physic Caldera Loudspeakers.

I auditioned the Paradigm S8's in my home, courtesy of Steve, the wonderful dealer who sold to me the Paradigm Studio 100 V 3 speakers, for which I still have a soft spot in my heart, and respect in my mind. The S8's were an incremental improvement over the Studio 100's, with a smoother and more detailed high end, better bottom end extension, and very similar soundstaging capabilities. I felt that they were a very fine loudspeaker, with absolutely no glaring weaknesses. They probably extend lower than the Summits, but I am not sure. For my wife and me, the difference over the Studios was insufficiently compelling to trigger their purchase, but they are most certainly a very fine and balanced loudspeaker worthy of of due consideration, IMO.
Really enjoyed your review accompanied by so much that really rings true about being a long time audiophile in a world that never quite rewards constant striving to finally get it right. Even your references to the unannointed around us finally hearing a difference made me laugh out loud, because it is so true to life. Thank those small children for confirming we're not crazy, after all.
I applaud your willingness to convey unabashed enthusiasm for your favorite product(s) here on a site that too often seems besieged by cynics who think all such praise is suspect.
Having felt this same joy of discovery more than once over the years, take this response as encouragement to post again when "the next big thing" comes your way.

Wow, thanks for the kind words! Everything said in that review was true, and I would have to thank you, as well for having that same courage to post your thoughts on the clock thread. I had a similar tweak experience with respect to Dakiom feedback stabilizers. The clock thread was actually posted in an attempt to get some information, and the wording in the original post was intended to stir things up a bit with a sense of humor. Hopefully it did not come across as mean spirited, as that was not the intention at all. The fact that people like myself can't discern any potentially understandable mechanism of action doesn't negate the device's potential effectiveness. After all, nobody in the world even knows for sure how gravity works, but it still seems to function quite consistently, for me anyway......
Marvelous review. Does Intuitive Design have a website? Can't find one.
Thanks Drubin! Here's my attempt to use the "markup tags" to display the link:

Intuitive Design Website

{{{Dale Pitcher's been around for many, many years, but has been rather taciturn with respect to promoting his phenomenal products. Consider this: He has been in high end audio for over 25 years, and has never had to declare bankruptcy. When's the last time you EVER saw an ad from him??? He's nevertheless selling quite well, and apparently virtually all of the success is due to word of mouth, like me. Well, perhaps I have a bigger "mouth" than some of his prior customers, but I'm so exuberant about these that I felt like people on this site at least deserved to HEAR about these...Anyway....}}}
Very good review!I am looking for speakers to replace my Paradigm Studio 100 v2,which makes this review especially interesting,as you spent a year with the v.3s! Ive heard some fairly expensive speakers and i always walk away thinking,,well ,,they did sound pretty,but nothings really sounded good enough to make me want to buy!Except a pair of AudioAnalysis Omicrons,but at 8m, a bit more than id like to spend,so i now have 2 pairs of speakers on my short list ,Harmonic Presicion Caravelles and thanks to your review,Intuitive Design Summits.I will email Dale to see if there is anywhere around Fl. that i can hear the Summits!Thanks for taking the time to write such an informative review!Ray
Thanks for your kind comments. These deserve a listen. They are the real deal, and even at 5,000 (WITH THE STANDS), I truly consider these to be a "steal". AFTER I bought them and they kept sounding better and better and better and better as they broke in, I finally called Dale Pitcher (this is the truth, I swear), and asked him why he'd priced these so low, at least relative to their performance. He said that the issue had been discussed, and that it was decided to price these based on production costs, rather than "what the market will bear". WOW! How's that for integrity? One thing to remember is that these sound good with good electronics, great with great electronics, and fantastic with fantastic electronics (and Stillpoints, sand in the stands, etc.) Thanks again for taking the time to read the review.

Have never heard the Summits-but I do use a complete Dale Pitcher designed system. (amp, linestage, all cabling and his speakers) the Reference Super Gems. I've been a audio hobbyist for 30 years plus and Dale's designs have signified the "end of the road" in searching for a good home system! I first discovered his audio line in '98 and have slowly built an entire system designed by Dale. The Reference Super Gems represent the pinnacle in two-way design (to my ears). The Harmonic Precision Caravelle represents a good copy of what the Ref Gems can do-these fellow used to work for Dale at Essence. Mdhoover-if you get a chance-audition the summits being driven by Dale's electronics-you may have another revelation! Happy tunes-----C
Hello Powder,
It's ironic that you should mention the Super Gems, the Summits, and the Caravelles. One of the threads about the Caravelles on this site is called, "Outstanding Speakers, Outstanding" or something like that. After listening to the Summits, but BEFORE hearing anything about the history you mention above, I posted (11/08/05) that the experience I'd been having with the Summits was "eerily similar" to what one of the participants in that thread had reported in their prior review of the Caravelles.

Well, anyway, I'm extremely pleased with the Intuitive Design Summits, which represent Dale's most current two-way dynamic loudspeaker design iteration, and which therefore incorporate his newest, most recently developed, best technology, and thus convey all of the attendant sonic benefits, as described above in the review.

I'm so happy that I'm not very anxious to change anything right now, although the pictures of the Intuitive Design room from "The Show" do demonstrate some amplifiers that Dale has mounted in the Path Stands of the Summits......I love the Odyssey, though, so we'll have to see.
I haven't personally heard the Denalis, but the answer seems to be a huge, "yes" for them. According to Duane, Dale "invented something" to make the two six inch (I think that's the size) woofers in the Denalis go so deep. You may want to check out the reviews on the Denalis. I think there's a Six Moons review, but don't remember. One poster on Audiogon commented that they had great dynamic range, I think he heard them at the RMAF. I checked his system and he has huge electrostatics, as I remember. Anyway, everything I've seen would suggest that they're extremely dynamic, including the bass.

The Pingora is a new one on me! What's that?

Best thing to do is call Dale Pitcher when he returns from Connecticut in a few days. He always tells the truth about everything, as far as I can tell. Duane has heard the Denalis and he'll tell you the straight dirt too.

Thanks for reading the review. It seems funny that these are Dale's "baby" speakers! I can't even imagine how great the Denalis must be. Have fun.
Are these actually built in Wyoming?

I believe that they are. I DO know that the capacitors are manufactured on site. These speakers are just SO wonderful! I've actually pondered about what the production facility must look like, and have even wondered what it must be like to live in Wyoming. Kind of weird, isn't it?

Anyway, I wish more people knew about these (despite having NO vested financial or other interest). Oh well.
Very interesting speakers and nice review. Hopefully we can read more reviews by others that have demoed these speakers.

Only thing that concerns me about the reviewer is his speaker setup in those pictures. Obviously not a dedicated audiophile. Plus the only comparision is against mid-fi product Paradigm Studio 100 V3. Another thing, speaker cabinets made of granite...if it works it works. Its probably more a composite of other materials with the granite. With all these reservations in my mind I am curious to learn more of these interesting speakers. :)
Stylinlp,At what price point does a speaker become Hi-Fi in your mind?
The reason I asked, I love to go flyfishing out there. I've driven there 6-8 times from Mpls, MN. If I go again I may have to plan a stop in Torington to check these out. Just a thought.
Listen to some speakers then hit the stream. Can you say paradise? Well maybe not, but close!
BTW: If you've never been to Wyoming, although there's a lot of sagebrush in between, there are some fabulous spots that definitely grow on you.

You said:

"Only thing that concerns me about the reviewer is his speaker setup in those pictures."

My answer: It is time to share my tragic story: One day I came home and that huge "entertainment center" was in place. I pretty much had given up hope about stereo imaging, but Steve was actually able to get the Paradigms to image fairly well. The Summits image in a spectacular manner, as described in the review. It's as if that huge wooden structure between the speakers doesn't exist. The sound described above is achieved in THAT room, with no special treatments at all. Nevertheless, I would agree that that room is obviously not a dedicated listening room. So...., consider what these speakers could do if they WERE set up in such room! :) (The entertainment center was definitely not my idea, however, it seems to do less sonic damage than one would think.)

You also said: "Plus the only comparision is against mid-fi product Paradigm Studio 100 V3."

My answer: The Paradigms are the only other speakers I compared these to that I had personally owned; however, the above review does describe how several reasonably well respected loudspeakers fared (IN MY OPINION ONLY) when I listened to them in the stores.

You also said: "Another thing, speaker cabinets made of granite...if it works it works. Its probably more a composite of other materials with the granite."

My answer: The cabinets are solid granite. Each cabinet comprises six separate slabs of solid granite which are joined together. The description of the gross shipping weight per speaker (see Synopsis) should corroborate that.

Finally, you also said that I was: "Obviously not a dedicated audiophile."

Hard to say, as that would depend upon the definition of audiophile used. I will say this: You should listen to these with your OWN ears and see if YOU think they sound as great I think they sound. In the end, that's the ONLY thing that matters. For all you know, I'm an idiot with a tin ear. So it's your job to listen to these if you're in the market for speakers. One piece of advice though: It's a BAD idea to listen to these AFTER you've purchased speakers that you paid a lot for and thought sounded good. You may find yourself getting upset, as I did.

Good luck on your quest, and thanks for taking the time to read such a long-winded review.

You'll not be disappointed if you listen to these. They are truly special, even among special loudspeakers. Dale Pitcher is an absolute genius, and yet has somehow remained below the radar screen of most audiophiles for all these years. His ongoing relative obscurity remains to me one of the central paradoxes in all of high end audio. The only reason I found out about him was because of Duane. I am SO glad that I did.

If you listen to these and then go fly fishing, then yes, you'll most likely be in paradise. These speakers are the high end audio catch of my lifetime so far. And that's no fish story!
Regarding the bass output of the Denali's:

I have an early pair of Denalis and in my room the bass is fantastic. Much tighter and more defined than my previous speakers which was a pair of Dunlavy SC-IVa's. Low notes on a pipe organ sound very realistic on the Denali's. Of course I am also using one of Dale's latest amps, so that really adds to the equation.

Guys: I think we've been had. The section titled 'Specifically' is ver boten the same verbage used to describe the Ohm Walsh F speaker on audioreview dot com.
And I was berating myself for being so cynical now-a-days.
01-18-06: Richmon
Guys: I think we've been had. The section titled 'Specifically' is ver boten the same verbage used to describe the Ohm Walsh F speaker on audioreview dot com.
Richmon, you appear to be questioning the reviewer and butchering the English language in one post.

"Verboten" is German for forbidden. "Verbatim" is English and means "using exactly the same words".

"Verbage" is jargon and is a deliberate misspelling of "verbiage" that assimilates it to the word "garbage". Is "verbage" what you meant...suggesting the review is garbage...or did you mean "verbiage", which means an excess of words for the purpose?

Mdhoover seems to have had his review copied and pasted, or perhaps he posted it in the wrong Audioreview section. I doubt there was any intentional hoodwinking at play on the part of Mdhoover.
I have to agree with Tvad! Mdhoover is a stand up guy in my book!
My apologies for jumping to conclusions and butchering the Kings english. Checking the date of the post on audioreview, it appears that Mdhoover posted here at Audiogon first, so presumably someone cut and pasted his review from here and pasted it over there.
I was impressed with his detailed and lucid review, got very interested in the speaker, sought more information and uncovered the counterfeit posting. I then attempted to set an olympic record in conclusion jumping.
Mdhoover -I'm sorry .
With Mdhoover's ability to write in great detail and length and intertwining product review with legal disclaimers would make him very qualified to write for Stereophile if it wasn't for the fact that Mdhoover insists on telling the truth.
Yes, I cut and pasted it to Audioreview. Accidentally posted it under the Ohm Walsh F. Have written them REPEATED emails telling them of my mistake over probably at least a two week period. Got ONE response, saying they could "move" it, and they never did. I've even snooped around on the site and found a direct email option to at least one of the moderators (I think). I've still had no responses so far (unless something is magically waiting in my email, which I haven't checked for 2 or 3 days), and will be on vacation for a few days with limited computer access. I APOLOGIZE FOR THIS MISTAKE. I don't blame anybody for being skeptical. (Actually it was a great find!! I thought nobody would see it but still have tried to get it removed but to no avail.) I had put so much work into the review that I wanted others to see it. I even asked Audiogon if it was OK to cut and paste. Audiogon responded that it was as long as it was MY review. Audioreview has been less responsive to repeated emails. I'll sure as h--- be more careful in the future. Sorry about that, to all of my fellow A'gon-izers.

You said:
"My apologies for jumping to conclusions and butchering the Kings english....Mdhoover -I'm sorry"

WOW! THAT is real class!! Apology NOT necessary, but accepted! By the way, please accept my apology as well! I'M the "cut & paste" culprit, as I mentioned above, but it was an honest (albeit stupid) mistake. The correct speaker is the Intuitive Design Summit. I've never even heard the Ohm Walsh F. For future reference, I've ALSO cut & pasted the review to Audioasylum, but on THAT site I managed to get it under the right speaker name. (Audiogon did say that it was okay to cut and paste as long as it was MY review, not someone else's.)

Tvad, Raytheprinter, Duane, and Thanks for the votes of confidence! It's great to have cool friends. Richmon, with the internet, skepticism is NOT always a bad thing, as we all know. It's actually a tribute to your thoroughness that you even found the "misplaced" copy on Audioreview. If you get a chance, and if you are interested in purchasing phenomenal speakers that do almost everything right, then (in my opinion) it would be wise to at least listen to the Summits.

Thanks again to everybody. Sorry about the "oops". Oh well....

In case anyone's interested, I was ticked off to see that the misplaced review still sits untouched on Audioreview. I sent them yet another email request to remove it under the "report this review" link. I may have been too subtle, but hopefully the point will come across if they read between the lines. Here's a "cut and paste" of the text:

"I've written your site MULTIPLE emails begging you to remove this review. I wrote this review and placed it in the WRONG SPOT ON YOUR SITE!!! IT'S NOT ABOUT THE OHM WALSH F!!! It's about an entirely different speaker, called the Intuitive Design Summit. Please, please, PLEASE remove it! NOW! It makes me look like an idiot to have this thing sitting around in cyberspace. One person already spotted it and pointed it out. It made him suspicious of me and I DON'T BLAME HIM!!!!



I'm not holding my breath. One would think that they'd nix it, but nothing at all so far. (The above is probably around the TENTH (or so) email I've sent them.)

=====>>>>>DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY OTHER IDEAS?????<<<<<=====
The misplaced review has finally been deleted from the Audioreview website. Better late than never....
I have a new pair of Intuitive Design Summits with stands that I am selling only because I have ordered a pair of Pingoras, the bigger brother to the Summits, and they are finished. The Summits are in beautiful Blue-eye granite. I can potentially deliver them if you are in a line from Central Wisconsin to Denver Co. I am making this drive next week, Feb 5th.
By way of comment, I have the Dale Pitcher designed electronics, the tubed Pre-amp (Jasper) and Emerald power amps as well the Summit speakers. I echo the accolades given these products in the prior posts. One thing I will say about all the Intuitive Design products that stands out is how non-fatiguing they are to listen to over the long haul. The speakers require careful placement, but once set-up there is very little out there in audioland that will one-up them. A stunning product.

As much as I probably should not post this, I can't resist.

First of all, take everything I say and disregard it. I am tainted and biased. I am a new dealer for Intuitive Design, any comments I make must be taken with a grain of salt. That being said, I wanted to share a few things that I have noticed about these speakers.

I have had my Summits for a little over two months now. They are still breaking in. I added two sets of still points, below the stands and below the speakers. This is a must and makes a huge improvement in the bass.

First comments: These are by far the best speakers I have ever owned, but I have not owned very many "high end speakers" if any at all. I started with the Essence Super Gems and have owned many speakers from Triad, RBH and Monitor Audio and a few other brands.

Other Brands that I have heard and liked: ProAcs, Aerial Acoustics, MBL, Wilson Maxx, Vandersteen, Maggies, Vienna Acoustics,

Not real excited about: B&W, Klipsch, Def tech, martin logan,

I only put my past experiences up there, so you can get a feel for my tastes. Some people like chocolate ice cream, some like vanilla! Accurate imaging has always been the thing that makes me happy.

Today's experience is really what I wanted to share. Today I went by a local shop and had an opportunity to hear some un-believable equipment. I listened to the Wilson System 7s with the Ayre mono blocks and the top Ayre preamp, The Wilson Maxx with the same Ayre equipment and the Vandersteen 5As with Audio Research Mono blocks, preamp and a Wadia CD player. We used the same CD and tracks for all three speakers. I listened to the same three songs on all three speaker rigs.

First of all the comparisons I'm about to share vs the Summits are very flawed for several reasons listed:

Different listen room, different equipment-(although much better and many times more expensive than mine), different source music that I'm used to, not enough listening time- I only heard three songs on each speaker, this is probably not enough to make a judgement and finally my mind is rationalizing that my $3,500 speakers sound as good so I feel happy with what I have and not want more.

Of all the speakers mentioned- Wilson Maxx, Wilson 7's, V -5A and the Summits. I liked the Maxxs the best-I think. The low end detail and imaging was pretty astonishing, very cool speaker, but I was not blown away, by how much better it was and how much I was missing by not owning a pair.

Here's suprising thing #1-

Over all I think the Summits image better than all of the above speakers. There seemed to be more depth to the sound stadge and more space around the instruments with the Summits. The don't have the low end of any of the above speakers and the bass imaging of the Maxx was a good as the Summits, but had even more low level information- so the Maxxs seemed better than the Summits on the low end.

Suprising thing #2- High frequency detail seemed to be better with the Summits than all of the above. Now this could be from the room acoustics or maybe because of the source music being played (but the source cd did have acoustic guitar in it and I have listened to a ton of acoustic guitar cds the last month with the Summits)- believe it or not, I think the Summits had more high frequency detail than any of the other three speakers. I'm not sure why I feel this way. I have never felt that the Summits are a real "bright" speaker. But when you hear guitar strings, fingers snaping, cymbols etc, I'm used to hearing more detail from the the Summits, than I heard with the other top notch speakers. Hopefully someone else has experienced this so I don't feel so crazy?

I did really enjoy all of the rigs and would be more than happy to have any of them in my house if I could ever afford them. But, if the Summits I have sound that good with Musical Design equipment ($3,500 worth) running them, how good could they sound with the $50,000 in equipment running the Wilsons? That is what I wish I could find out.

I'm ready for anyone to tell me I'm nuts, I'm just giving you what my honest impressions were today.

Side note: I forgot, I also listend to a pair of $5,000 Maggies with the Ayre stereo amp and less expensive Ayre preamp. The maggies had similiar high frequency detail of the Summits, if not maybe even a touch better. This was on the same CD and same songs. I have not heard maggies much, but for those that have, I thought I would throw that comparison with the Summits in as well.
Now that over a year has passed since posting the original review, my initial enthusiasm for these speakers might be expected to have waned. It hasn’t. Although these speakers are not perfect, they are phenomenal. I’ve had extensive private email discussions with other hard core audiophiles who have come to the same conclusion I did.

The most phenomenal aspects of these are:

1. The spectacular imaging, which is all achieved in my system in spite of the presence of
the huge entertainment center (“Gladys”) and

2. The phenomenal combination of high end detail and smoothness. I’ve heard one person say that they sounded “bright” or “harsh” or something like that, whereas another person described them as “cloyingly sweet.” It’s difficult for me to see how they could be BOTH of those things! In my opinion, and in the opinion of several others, they’re neither overly bright nor overly sweet. I think that they’re just phenomenally accurate and detailed, lightning fast, yet wonderfully smooth and non-fatiguing.

There are a few things to keep in mind about the Summits:

1. Although they aren't hugely difficult to drive, they DO LIKE POWER AND CURRENT from the amplifier, and they do reflect the upstream equipment in terms of sound quality. Having said that, I STILL have never heard them sound "bad." However, they sound increasingly phenomenal with increasing better upstream components. For example, mine sound much better with the Dodson DAC in the signal chain. Without the Dodson in the signal chain, the system still sounds excellent, but with the Dodson, the sound is phenomenal as described above.

2. They sound very good, but not phenomenal, right out of the box. As they burn in their sound improves by the day, sometimes seemingly by the hour.

2. The Stillpoints with granite stands underneath and granite platforms under those are the way to go for maximum bass and imaging. They DO benefit a LOT from the addition of a great subwoofer that’s carefully set up, but they are not bass shy at all. The Rel I’m using has the crossover set at 27 hertz.

3. During any given listening session, they sound better after ~20 minutes, which I've been told is how long it takes the voice coils to warm up.

At this time there are no plans to replace these and I haven’t felt inclined to listen to any other high end speakers that I can think of since buying these over a year ago. It is very doubtful that they’ll leave the house any time soon (think years to decades here), unless it’s to buy the “Delta” Summits. I MAY upgrade some other parts of the system, and do plan to change out some cabling, but that’s not to correct any perceived significant performance problem. Instead, it’s just a giddy attempt to push the envelope still further.
In the November issue of the Pacific Northwest Audio Society's newsletter, the Intuitive Design Summits were designated "Best of Show," at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. The newsletter is a 19 page pdf file that can be downloaded. The RMAF show report begins on page 11, and the "Best of Show" section of the report is on pages 14 and 15. The author is Dick Mueller.

Looking at some of the speakers mentioned in the report, earning Mr. Mueller's designation of "Best of Show" would appear to be no small accomplishment!
I think it was raising the blood sugar by providing a much needed sandwich at the room entrance that influenced this selection :>)
If the U.S. high end is to compete with the Chinese onslaught of well-priced gear, it will be by providing the type of innovation on display with this speaker and its accompanying amp.
I wonder if there can ever be a market for time share listening to such superlative equipment at an audio dealer? Many might appreciate hearing this for the cost of concert attendance, even if actual purchase is not practical.
I get to hear live music, but still love to hear how well fine equipment can reproduce favorite recordings.

If you are ever in the Minneapolis/St.Paul area let me know and I would be happy to let you have a listen.


Thanks for your very kind offer.
By way of reciprocation, if you have an opportunity to visit the New York City/Connecticut region then let me know - you can have a guide for our local audio scene.
Plus, the live music choices are varied and wonderful.

Thank you Listener57. My wife and I have friends in New York City, if we get back there soon, I may take you up on that offer!

As far as I know, the Delta Summit is an upgraded version of the original Summit. Last time I checked, these sold for 5,000 dollars for the speakers as opposed to 3,500 dollars for the original version. Both use the Path Stand System, which is highly recommended but not absolutely necessary. The Path Stand System sells for ~1,400 dollars, if the price is still the same.*

It is the Delta Summit that was selected Best of Show at the 2006 RMAF by Dick Mueller of the Pacific Northwest Audio Society.

*FOOTNOTE: It is ALSO possible to buy the Path Stands with dedicated monoblock amplifiers mounted inside of them, vertically, and in such a manner as to be completely uncoupled from the stand itself, or "free floating" as I understand it. There are apparently three grades available for these amplified stands as well. The stands with the amps built in are called Coordinate Stands (I think).

The amplifiers are said to be extremely high end, and are made in partnership with Musical Design (John Hillig).

One other thing: Apparently the only difference between the original Summits and the Delta Summits is the crossover. In the Delta Summits, the crossover is even better, and uses technology based on that in the MUCH more expensive Denali (which retails for something like 64 or 65 thousand dollars, if I'm not mistaken). Apparently at least some of the same components are also used.

Having said all that, I have no complaints whatsoever about the original version Summits that I still own. I just can't say that I'm pining for any sort of upgrade. Maybe I'll consider it some day, and maybe I won't. Their sound is already FAR beyond my elusive threshold of "satisfaction." For me, that's saying a lot. It took about 15 years or so or intermittent searching and listening to find speakers that completely satisfied me (just ask Duane!!!), which means I'm in no hurry to fix what ain't broken.
"What are Delta Summits ? Any information available ?",

Here’s some additional information about the Delta Summits. With the author's permission, here's a verbatim cut and paste of an email I got from another Audiogon member after he got his pair of Delta Summits:

"HI Bill,

I got them yesterday!! I have them set up on the Path
stands but I don't have any Stillpoints yet and drive
them with ASL Hurricane tube amps.

They are stunning. I stayed up til 2:30 am listening
to them. Their resolution and lack of self-noise is
unbelievable. They replace Magnepan 3.6/r's. The
only thing the Maggies do better is soundstage height.
Everything else is better on the Summit. The way
they resolve soundstage cues and dynamic contrasts is
magical. They have detail and resolution a la Martin
Logan but they are much more musical. I am a happy
camper. The speakers are beyond wonderful. Thank you
for your insights and review.

Please stay in touch.

Eung Kim"

My take on his email is that he likes them... :))
I have been another very satisfied Intuitive Design Summit owner for the past year. When I get around to it I'll post an informal mini-review about the Summits vs the Essence Gems they replaced after 15 yrs and the Osborn & Harbeth speakers I auditioned prior to purchasing the Summits. Bill, thanks for your thoughtful & enthusiastic review which helped inform my decision! dwh
Mdhoover's review of the Intuitive Design Summits warrants a resounding "amen." It may come across as hyperbole to the hardened and cynical audiophile mind, but it is essentially the truth. I recently purchased a pair of Delta Summits after many happy years with Merlin VSMs (including a recent MX/magic mod), and can already attest to the sonic attributes described above. The term "holographic" is the closest (but not completely adequate) adjective I can find to describe the Summit's imaging capabilities. Performers are not only palpable and "right there," but they are also accurately arrayed spatially. Furthermore, there is no real sweetspot in my room which seems ridiculous. I have always been fond of electrostatic speakers since they appeared to create a window to the sound, with outstanding transparency, detail and transients, but I was turned off by the relatively small sweetspot. The Summits somehow possess electrostatic characteristics with box speaker benefits. Wow. Dale Pitcher wizardry at work.

Anyway, all that being said, I am still awaiting my Intuitive Design Coordinate monoblock amps and associated cables and will thus hold off on a formal review. I also purchased a Granite Audio 657 tube CD player which I am running directly to my loaner amp, and that appears to be a marriage made in heaven. I will also review that fine peice of equipment in the future as well.
A friend of mine plays double bass in the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra. I wanted to have a real professional musician listen to my system to assess its timbral accuracy. He came over with a CD of a double bass piece which he had practiced and played. He was thoroughly familiar with every little intricacy. He commented that it sounded like the bass was in the room. He asked to listen to several musical genres and commented that the Summits sounded good on all types of program material. I figured that was the end of it, but was happy to get some validation of my own perceptions from a non-audiophile musician with a great musical ear.

The next day I get a call at work from my wife who says that he's planning to purchase and build a stereo system around the Summits! He said that he didn't know that speakers could sound like that and that he was now "hooked." This is highly significant because he was a non-audiophile and therefore NOT used to high end audio prices. However, he IS an audiophile now and has ordered a pair of Summits with amplified stands. I had no idea he would pick up the audiophile hobby (disease?) from just one listen, but he was totally blown away. Pretty cool.
MdHoover, Congrats on your good works in bringing another music lover into the hi-end fold...of course, it helps when you have Intuitive Design or Essence gear to seduce them! Still loving my Summits. dwh
Thanks for the great review.

I have a pair of Essence Gems that Dale Pitcher designed in the late 80's. Back then Dale said they were a "gift" because of the price: $995/pair. I wouldn't rate them as reference quality but they are great speakers that give a very satisfying listening experience. FYI the Gems are almost the same size as the Summits. I wonder if the Summits are loosely based on the Gems.

I'm glad to know that Dale still designs speakers & I'm anxious to find a dealer so I can hear the Summits.
Hi, In June 06 I replaced the Essence Gems I owned and loved for 15 years with the Intuitive Design Summits and Path stands (mandatory). I would say that the Summits are entirely another creature than the Gems other than also being very musical sounding and ever so slightly tending towards a warm vs analytic sound. IMHO the Summits are much more refined in the treble and have much deeper, tighter bass than the Summits. Some may prefer the slightly warmer midrange and greater bloom of the Gems but everywhere else the Summits are markedly superior (and more accurate). Good luck in your hunt for a pair of Summits. dwh
Well, I've finally heard a pair of loudspeakers that I believe are clearly superior to the Intuitive Design Summits. These are almost certainly the best speakers I've ever heard. I went to a friend's house and listened to his system for several hours. There are several points upon which these other speakers (in his system, at least) surpass the excellence of the Summits:

1) Detail: The Summits are astonishingly detailed and yet incredibly smooth. So much so that I've already sold a Stax system that consisted of the SRM T1 tube energizer (amplifier) and two sets of earspeakers (headphones), the Lambda Pro Signature originals and Lambda Pro Signatures modified into 404s. Why? The Stax system didn't sound good enough to me.

And yet these other speakers offer noticeably MORE detail still, and are every bit as smooth, if not more so.

2) Top to bottom tonality and timbre: These are very highly excellent in the Summits, even more so when one considers that they are "just" a two way design. In the above anecdote, I describe having invited a real musician to listen to the Summits' tonality and timbre as a reality check for me. It never crossed my mind that he'd be interested in ever purchasing a pair, especially since he's not (or wasn't anyway) an audiophile. But he was totally blown away, and is about to take delivery on a pair. Yes, they're THAT good.

These other speakers are even BETTER, and as I listened the thought went through mind that these are perfect, just PERFECT. I know that that isn't realistic to say, but geez! OK, they can't be perfect, but they're the closest I've heard. It's almost ineffable. It's difficult to imagine wanting much more in a speaker.

3. Soundstaging: I wouldn't say that these are superior to the Summits in terms of soundstaging, although they may be. They seemed to be at least as good, and that's an accomplishment in and of itself. All the more so because they're significantly larger than the Summits, yet they disappear just as magically. At FIRST, it seemed like some of the sound at the lateral edges of the soundstage was localizing to the speakers. THEN I realized that the speakers were actually throwing those side images BEHIND themselves. In other words, I could stare at the baffle and the music would seem to emanate from BEHIND the speaker by one or two feet, and that was with looking at them straight on, KNOWING that it was an illusion. But WOWZA, what an illusion!

4. Bass: The bass on these is clearly deeper than that of the Summits when the Summits are used alone. Even with the Rel Storm 3 added (as it is in my system), the bass from these other speakers is probably more "accurate." Also, something I don't remember EVER hearing before--in ANY speaker--is imaging of DEEP bass. These speakers seem to do that, however, and to do it rather well. The Rel pretty much throws all the deep bass to the center. Also, there MAY be more boominess to the Rel (I'm not sure about this boominess thing and will have to listen more). Having said that, I STILL love the bass that the Rel adds to my system. But it can't image. How could it?

The system I'm talking about consists of the following:

FRONT END: Wadia 861SE CD player (no preamp necessary) modified by Great Northern Sound Company (GNSC Statement Upgrade).
AMPLIFIER: Essence solid state stereo amp, one of the last made by Dale Pitcher under the Essence brand.

===>>SPEAKERS: Denalis, by Intuitive Design.<<===

I'm still keeping the fabulous Summits (yes, I'm willing to suffer--LOL), but man, the Denalis are amazing. Just AMAZING.
Mdhoover, I should be receiving my Delta Summits and Coordinate amps in a week or so. I hope to submit a formal review in May....