Thanks. Nice review. Now, you've got me looking for a pair...
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"As a corollary, imaging is not as sharp as more conventional dynamic designs. Because they're so immersive, they're great speakers for HT. Judging from the fair-to-middlin' gear I'm using with 'em, they're unfussy about electronics. "
I would think that a more point source like uniQ driver is optimal for imaging (not to mention coherency) and would result in razor sharp imaging if done well.
Could it be that perhaps since the soundstage is apparently also larger than the norm that the perceived less sharpness in imaging is just a result of teh larger scale of presentation? Kinda like looking at an HD video source on a 60 or 80 inch screen rather than 32?
farkashshai, i'm not especially familiar with the 103.2s, altho i did own the 104.2s of the same vintage and thought the reference ones are a better speaker--livelier and much more transparent. i do note that the 103.2s are a bookshelf speaker, so you'll get more low end with the r1s + you'd be trading an smaller $800 speaker for a bigger $2100, which may appeal to your frugal side.
mapman, you raise an interesting point--perhaps it is the size of the soundstage which creates the perception of less precise imaging (i'm using "imaging" in the sense of the speaker's "ability to float specific phantom images, reproducing the original sizes and locations of the instruments across the soundstage"). ultimately, however the perception does become the reality--with widely dispersing designs like these kefs or certain mirage or as ohms i personally don't hear the placement of instruments as precisely as on, say, proac or focal.
anyway, i've been enjoying these r1s for three years now, which is an eternity for me (adhd), and as always, appreciate the responses and insights.
"i'm using "imaging" in the sense of the speaker's "ability to float specific phantom images, reproducing the original sizes and locations of the instruments across the soundstage"
Practically, reproducing original "sizes" of instruments is particularly problematic in most cases. "Location" not so much.
The reason is what I would refer to the "sonic perspective" of most recordings.
To distinguish size of one instrument from another, very close stereo miking would have to be applied. For larger ensembles then, multiple close stereo microphone pairs would have to be used. Then it has to be mixed together to sound coherent. What you get then regarding soundstage is very much an engineered mosaic of that parts that went into the recording. It has a soundstage, but not a "natural" one, except perhaps on very well recorded, closely miked solo or small ensemble recordings.
At the other extreme is use of minimal miking at a distance to capture the natural "sonic perspective" of the performance. Here you get big soundstage with accurate location of original players but not much in regards to "size" of instruments due to distance from players to microphones.
Then of course room acoustics during recording come into play in all cases as well.
You need a variety of good recordings as well as some supplemental information with details about how the recording was made as well to meaningfully access how well spatial relationships in the recording are reproduced.