Review: Salk Sound SoundScape 8 Speaker

Category: Speakers

I wrote this review and posted on AudioCircle some weeks back and realized the audience here does not get much exposure to Salk Speakers so I decided to drop this here. It does not have the picture inserts I have there, but of course the words are the same.

Salk makes over-achieving direct-sell speakers that also happen to be works of art by their skilled crafts-people in the shop.

I have owned many pairs of Salks since 2007 and usually have 2 pair on hand in either of my 2 rooms. The SoundScape series was started as an all out assault on the very top end and to bring to market the best speaker they could, at the time, concept and design. I was involved some years back in the development of the series when a run-off between midrange drivers was held and the Accuton won that competition against another fine, respected driver. The RAAL ribbon is the smoothest tweeter I have ever heard even though I loved the G2 and the LCY was just about equal, the RAAL is head and shoulders above.

The SoundScape 10 and 12's have tremendous bass and I deemed them too large for my 13.5x20 room so I went with the 8 version which has an F3 of 25hz. With dual 8 woofers and 12" passives the surface area still gives deep bass but I find it faster and even more realistic for me in my set-up. Regardless, SoundScape speakers are the best of the best and unfortunately a small company like Salk often goes unnoticed against the likes of the more well-known power-hitters.

Here is my AC review copied and pasted here. (Nuance and Bob are AC regulars. The stuffing referred to is the ability to change the backwave of the Accuton by adjusting the amount of fiberfil in the cavity. Salk also provides a solid grill to completely close off the rear opening as an option.)

Okay, here's my SS8 review. I wrote it in word over the last few days. Enjoy.

SoundScape 8 Review by the Big "Blue" Machine

So let me start out by saying something that will shock you. I hated these speakers. For the entire first day. Can you imagine the panic that beset me: waited so long, highly hyped, Salk devotee, buckaroos invested, promises made, expectations planted? No pressure.

Why did I “hate” them? Well the bass was instantly noticeable, the midrange had balls, but the top end was missing in action. Out to lunch. On vacation. Oh crap, I thought these damn Raal tweeters everyone was bragging about were really MIA. Oh yeah, so smoooooth they say. Did they mean rolled off? Were these guys all high? After all, never having owned them and only auditioning them in the shop or hotel rooms I thought that there is no way they can be this bad in my super-duper room!?

So what was wrong with my set-up then? It couldn’t possibly be the tweeters. There was no way I am dialing up Jim and sheepishly asking what might I be missing. Sure, new cables, but hey, I burned the ever-lovin’ hell out of them on the Audiodharma. Sure the entire system has not been fired up for 3.5 months. Spiderwebs aside, how could this be? Okay, just let it run 24/7 and see if anything changes for the better.

Could I glean anything good from this after a few days? I played some of my favorite tracks as we all do to see what is up. Let’s test the bass, shall we? I have a few tracks in my convenient playlists to see if the room shakes ala the HT2-TL-shake I knew very well. So try Star Breath by Yello and Teardrop by Newton Faulkner and let’s see what happens. Hey, what is this tightness? Where is the boom? What is that sound I have not heard before? Hey, this is pretty darned cool. Very accurate and tight. I’ve had tight bass in, like, never. So this is what everyone means by tight bass. Hey HT2, you suck! You “told” me bass was room filling and “boomy.” You never scared the bejeebers out of me at 4:36 of Regina Spector’s Field Below like the SS8’s just did. I thought the freaking room was going to cave in! You never even toyed with me at that mark. You just blew right through it and pretended it wasn’t even there. You suck. Never come back. I’m sailing the SS8 midnight buffet of bass audiophile ship of dreams. Sucka!

Is the bass too much for my little room? Hardly. It is absolutely perfect for this room. Even the 10’s would work. The 12’s would definitely be leaning toward gluttony. They need space, but the porridge is just right with the 8’s. No boom, no abnormalities. Thank goodness I have traps and diffusers where needed to tame the environment because if left untreated… would otherwise ruin the experience.

And some smartass is going to ask: how big of a room will these work in? Hell if I’m an expert. I’m not even a first mate on this ship. If held at knifepoint I’d venture a 16 x 24 x 10 room is too big if you are expecting tons of bass. Best to dig deeper into Davey’s chest of gold for the 12’s matey. Not that the 8’s don’t deliver, but that is a pretty decent room to fill. And the blasphemers will add a sub!

So Blue, are you happy yet? Well now I am. Four days in and everything is settling down. What has changed? One major electronics change was the replacement of the BPT 2.5 with a new Audience Adept aR12 TS. It’s purty and seems to really do what the heck it is supposed to do. How embarrassing that it lists for more than the speakers or equivalent to the Dude and Samsons combined. Ouch.

So how do my playlists sound now? Well the tracks are the same, but, holy cow, there’s actual music in there! How cliché: I’ve heard things in extremely familiar tracks I have NOT heard before. So sit back for a minute and think about what has changed: basically just the speakers. Sure I tweaked in and then back out a set of opamps in the dac, but in retrospect my electronics met their intended target; to be worthy of the almighty SoundScapes. There were clearly innumerable nuances (zing, there he is) embedded in my favorite tracks that took $20k of electronics to extract. For some reason I had not heard these creepy features of these great tracks until now. Where am I going with this? Accuracy.

Accuracy right down the middle. Piano like you are leaning-on-the-sounding-board real. Little trailers of music in the right speaker at the end of a track you never freaking knew was even there! Bass drums with body and soul. Snare rolls with crispness and that snare rattle you get when the damn bass player hits that G and holdddddddddddddds it. Fun, fun fun.

I have, and I think you have too, always wanted to own that set of speakers that just gave you everything in the music: depth, width, guttural feel, honesty, nuances (zing, there he goes again), enjoyment at 11, fully satisfying. And without adding anything that detracted from the musicalness! These SS8’s really have such a refined delivery it is scary. The bass is tight, not bouncy. The midrange is just so honest and soulful. No flabbiness. No glare. No mid-bass hype. What about that midrange stuffing Blue?

You have to get off your duff and experiment on this one. Bob already stated what you can expect – unless your room is not treated right. Stuffed and the imaging is still there, but everything is placed very precisely. Maybe clinically, it could be argued over beers. Unstuffed and the imaging is still fine but there is more ambiance. For me right this minute I really like the unstuffed mode. With my diffusers right behind the speakers I feel more like I am at a live event versus a studio. It is NOT messy and cluttered, mind you, just more space. Very cool on the coolness meter. It is nice to have the option to open her up, lightly stuff her, or completely shut her the hell up with those totally opaque grill covers.

How are those highs now? They have arrived! Smooth as the Raals are supposed to deliver. No harshness at all. I had a few tracks where the LCY would make me wince. Not so with these babies. Kinda like cringing when you know the gun is going to go off and then you realize the chamber is empty, so false alarm on the wincing action. Whew.

I have no idea what changed other than time on the system or maybe that Adept needs some break-in. Lots of caps and gizmos in there. Everything seems well integrated now. If you are expecting zinging, and zipping with these tweeters – ain’t gonna happen. Not rolled off but well-tied into the total package.

Life is a beach, right? Actually, I hate the beach, but I was looking for something to coincide with the overall sound of these speakers. I know they are the flattest response speaker ever to come out of the shop (I believe this includes the bigger brother SSes) and the damn design was driving them to drink. But finally Jim and Dennis nailed it. A roofing hammer on a finish nail – bam! There are no more adjectives I can come up with here (much to your delight). I am not saying perfection. I’m not sure I ever heard that or will. My notes have these words written in pencil: honest, inner depth, revealing, smooth, deep. There is such an excellent reproduction of all the nua-let’s not go there, how about subtleties, in the music that I am absolutely thrilled to have finally gotten on the good ship SS. After all these years I can finally say I have reference-level quality in my system. Balanced from top to bottom but oh-so-reach-in-your-gut-and-pull-it-out-and-present-it-front-and-center capable. How about bad recordings, how do they fair? Okey dokey – no exasperation of the badness. High rez? Watch out. Gonna be a long night unless you were short changed at the hi rez counter.

I have to come back to one of those adjectives again. I listened to some tracks for the 4th time in a week and keep hearing more accuracy in the sound. Bass guitar sounds like real bass guitar and a tom-tom whack sounds like a nice maple shelled 15 incher under a Vic Firth number 3A. When the bass player whacks the upright in Open Wide by Jen Chapin at 0:51 you can hear his ring slapping the bass as well as the bellowing of the cavity he is hitting. Scary.

Confians by Mino Cinelu is a great track and the beginning bass drive is deep and penetrating which sets the tone for the rest of the song. Laying down that back beat. Then you get the slapping of the electric bass strings at 1:34 and it bites hard at you. Jumps right out like you had your face in his space. And he keeps doing it and you start to wait for some more. This lays on top of the backbeat. At 2:48 the phrasing changes and the tom tom has perfect tone and resonance for those fleeting seconds it is soloing.

Any market comparisons? Not many unless you go waaaaay up in price. My drool factor kicked into overdrive on the Vandersteen 7’s. I personally dislike powered woofers, but those speakers fill my sails. I’d love to get them alongside my new beauties. I’d expect a good run. The Audi R8 is great off the line but usually loses the ¼ miler due to poor top end that the Lambo’s have. Still a thrilling ride with either but quite a difference in price as well. I’d expect a similar ride with the Vandy’s although their bass is going to be badder right out of the gate. Watching Top Gear. Blimey.

Now for some boring stuff. Size – they have girth. Freakin’ heavy – pushing 10 stones. Lots of drivers in thar. Approximately 44 inches high, 12 inches wide at the plinth, and 17 inches deep along the plinth. Four of the beefy SS spikes. Your choice of black or silver feet and nameplates. I had Propeller Binding posts installed. These will not accept banana jacks as you need spacing to “wind” them up. This took a custom plate. I’m such a pain in the ass.

So should you buy a pair? You better you Lily-livered Scallywag!! Sure, twice the booty over the HT2’s but a jump to lightspeed and reference levels. Put all your wants and hopes behind you and jump on the good ship lolly-eight!! You’ll be glad you did. Finally!!! Now what the hell do I need on Audiogon?



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Click to view my Virtual System

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8cb8fa36 5197 451c b6b1 1f2665b60c63bugredmachine
Very well written review! It makes me ashamed with my American education. LOL

I think Jim Salk will be showing the SoundScape 8 speakers at AKFest this weekend. I am sure they won’t sound as good as in your heavily treated room. They won’t be driven by your Dude, Sampson either.

Thank you for the erudite review. I've contemplated Salk's for years but never felt it was the time to pull the trigger-maybe now is the time. I was interested in the SS 8 since seeing it on Jim's site. Always seems no one reviews any of his speakers but since he's an independent, its not hard to understand why. I had seen one review of the HT2TL and was interested in it, but the SS 8 seems to be the answer I was looking for and yours is the only review so far. I usually visit the AC page from the Salk site to see if any speakers are offered at a good price. Thanks again for the excellent review!
Dagogo just posted their review of the SoundScape 10's.
Thanks for the info Bugredmachine!
Interesting review, but it took me a couple of readings for me to tell that he liked the speakers. I just had trouble translating his terms of “American Sound”, “Force Speaker” and “Impressionistic” into things I could relate too. Since I happen to have SoundScape 10s it probably made it easier for me to figure out. Good luck folks! LOL

Bugredmachine..I was in the process of buying the Aerial Acoustics 7T speakers costing $10K. Now I'm in a dilemma. The Salk SS8's cost $2K less. I have loved Aerial's for years and their custom driver designs. Are you familiar with the Aerial sound and do you consider the Salk SS8's to be a much better performer that the 7T's?
Hey Audiozen - I did own 10T's for some time and while I cannot say how the 7T's sound, having never heard them, Salk anything is a breath of fresh air compared to the 10T's. The 10T's are very smooth and well integrated, but do not have the engagement level of a Salk speaker. The midrange is more alive and integrated with the Salks and the bass is tighter - and I'm talking about the Songtowers, which replaced the 10T's in the HT. Now quadruple that performance and you get a sense for how good the SS8's perform.

You pay less for the SS8's due to the direct sales. You will get custom service, Jim answers the phone, he doesn't upsell you, select a veneer you need/want, and get a very easy to drive 8 ohm speaker that is a very well kept secret in the audio world.
Hi Bugredmachine. I was wondering how you feel about the Soundscape 8s at this point. I am about to purchase a pair of them. Your review was very well done, very descriptive. Especially concerning the bass being tighter than you thought it would. I am assuming it is because of using 8" woofers. If you are able to reply, does the bass still seem that way to you? Thanks.
While we are waiting for Bugredmachine to respond, I will chime in. I have SoundScape 10s. The bass cabinet has one and a half inch walls and is braced like a son of a bitch. It has opposing passive woofers which keep vibrations canceled between them. Using passives removes the normal port noise. It also has an Acoustic Elegance woofer based on TC Sounds designs. All these work together to give very tight, clean and low bass. The bass will play low frequencies at high SPLs.

The SoundScape 8 seems to have a very similar design philosophy.

Jim Salk has a write up on the SoundScape’s bass design in a blog at his website.

Salk blog on the SoundScape's bass design

Hi Bob. I really appreciate your info. My sights are set on the Soundscapes. I read, on Dagogo review of the 10s, that you are able to adjust the tightness of the passives. Have you tried playing with that function?

I am very curious about how you like, or love, the Raals. I have been looking for a speaker design that uses the 'best' ribbon tweeter today. Also, how is the the overall depth of what you are able to hear in the mids and highs.

Thanks in advance, Dale.
Rsimms, I just read your thread on that brought out the ~80 db sweet spot in mastering. Excellent and informative info. Thanks.
Thanks for the kind comments Dale.

I haven’t tried adjusting the weights of the passives. Jim Salk did that and I haven’t had any reason to want to change that.

I am in love with the Raals. The sound from them is so clear and smooth. I am 65 and probably can’t hear much over 13 kHz. Still, I sometimes feel like a bat. Sometimes I can hear the recording stage light up with from the sound of bells and symbols. It can be very spooky. My previous speakers had Arum Cantus ribbon tweeters, but they couldn’t hold a candle to the Raals in clarity and smoothness.

I can’t tell a limit to how far back the depth can be. It seems to be unlimited like it is in real life. Singers and instruments seem to be of natural size also.

The 8's are tighter than the single 10's by quite a bit. You don't the deep rumble of the 10's and 12's but since so little audio content exists below 25 hz it is quite the joy to have fast and tight bass with the dual 8" drivers.
Thank you Rsimms and BRM for the fantastic info. I am so excited to hear that the Raals are as advertised. I have read every piece of info on the net concerning them. That was the first thing that got my attention about the Soundscapes. I am assuming that being able to 'see' more info will make my perception of the soundstage all the more 3D. The fantastic bass will really pull me deeper into the experience. I am really looking forward to hearing the 8s.

I have never been to an Audio Show before. I am going to the RMAF this year where Jim Salk is showing the 8s. That should seal the deal for me. Thanks again:)
You might see me and Bob there as well!
Bugredmachine, I'm about to pull the trigger on a pair of SS8's. How do you feel about them now that you've had awhile to live with them? Probably going to go with the c apacitor upgrade to Mundorf Silver in oil. I just want to be sure that they dont come across as too clinical and on the cool side of neutral. Thanks for any advice you can provide. The rest of my system is a Belles 350 amp (solid state 250 w/ch), Joule Electra LA 150 Mk.2 preamp (tubes), Fosgate Signature phono preamp (tubes), TW Akustic Raven One turntable with Dynavector cartridge on Stillpoints feet, Wadia 830 CD player -wired up with Purist Audio interconnects and Acoustic Zen Satori bi-wire speaker cables.Thanks!
Mitch, I see that you have a vinyl system. If you do get the SS8’s then please post comments on how your vinyl sounds with your new speakers. I was surprised at how different my vinyl sounded when I got my SS’s. Even after 2 years I am still excited when I play most vinyl records.

Bob, Will do. Nice to know that you're still excited by your LP's after getting the Salks.
Your system will be fine. I am a long time Salk owner so I am quite familiar with their sound. I personally dislike dome tweeters and have had the G2 and LCY ribbon tweeters prior to the RAAL. I was quite satisfied with both but I must say the RAAL is so smooth that I can continue to listen for hours on end.

I'm not a huge fan of the Belles. It will drive them easily but may be a little dry. I had 150A's in mono once and they had wallop but were not as musical as I wanted.

I do not believe you will hear much difference with the cap upgrade. I've been in the factory so many times hearing stock and modded speakers that the stock just seem to hold their own. But if you can and really want to.....

The SS8 is just about the best speaker I have heard and the tight bass response is a real bonus for those of use with smaller rooms. I am confident that you will love these speakers.

October 18, 2012
My career has developed from a start in a metallurgical lab testing materials, to designing and manufacturing small electronic devices, to leading a prototype build shop of 7 highly skilled artisans for sophisticated aerospace electronics, designing electronics hardware for aerospace applications and automotive high volume safety applications, to electro-mechanical equipment build and installations, restructuring and re-allocating resources for a corporate 250 person R&D organization, to technology development and leadership of a 100 person R&D organization, to developing and implementing innovation techniques marrying market drivers with leading edge technology enablers in a global organization. I have explored markets ranging from hybrid vehicles to “digital” hydraulic valves to nanotechnology coatings.

I have gained extensive experience leading technical groups to higher levels of performance, be it efficiency and productivity or portfolio growth. I have worked with my head down as an engineer with many hours on the manufacturing floor. I have over 15 years of direct experience in product development; 2 years in assembly line equipment design, and an additional 10 years of experience in technology development for market-leading products consisting of mechanical, electrical, and machine code elements. I have experience designing and re-engineering new product development and technology development processes, as well as implementing them into organizations. I most recently led a cross-sector corporate team in 2011 to revise the corporate NPD process with a more proactive front end set of activities and related measures to ensure projects were initiated more soundly.

As the sole champion of innovation processes and organic growth for my most recent employer I built upon my design engineering experiences and management roles in product design, technology development, and innovative thinking. I displayed a high level of critical thinking in cross-functional process analyses and problem resolution for new product ideas. In this role I coordinated and built strong working relations with various internal organizations including Engineering, R&D, Sales, Marketing, Product Development, Service, and Operations. With a past history leading the 100-person corporate innovation organization, I am innately aware of the challenges and the needed methodologies to succeed when technology becomes the essential enabler to make an opportunity a reality. Of the 50 global teams I have coached, we have identified well over $700M in market potential with differentiated, high value proposition offerings. Also, my ideation sessions in 2011 generated over 100 IP Disclosures for the corporation.

I have extensive experience with industrial manufacturers of assembly equipment or fabricated products for incorporation into larger complex systems requiring job shop techniques or high volume manufacturing efficiencies. Stamped sheet metal, die casting, welding, wave soldering, vapor phase soldering, plastic injection molding, and spring coiling are just some of the processes I have experience incorporating into global customer solutions.
Voice of the Market, customer interviewing, business case development, project management, technology development, product development, process improvements, process creation, metrics, quality systems, reward and recognition, IP protection, accountability, can-do culture, portfolio management, road-mapping, innovation methodologies, facilitation, re-engineering, restructuring, and a high level of people skills are all part of my tool kit. I have experience in multimillion dollar enterprises and multibillion dollar enterprises, private and public, electronics and mechanical equipment and devices.
I am a problem solver and good communicator who rapidly builds rapport with my peers and customers and can facilitate open discussions to develop sound product and process solutions.

Pete Dzwonkas
Interesting resume Paul! You can also add that you have experience in cutting and pasting from word processors! LOL

I don't understand why you felt that you had to post your resume. Was that supposed to give your opinion of these speakers credibility in a forum that is largely based on subjective evaluation? Even if there was a reasonable purppose, you went three paragraphs too far. It's also a little hard not to be suspect of your motivation when you must be well aware that most of us reading it have little if any idea of what all the titles and processes you mention mean, other than that they sound extremely impressive.
Not sure how that happened. I was applying for jobs last night but not sure how that would have been stuck to a direct entry where I did no pasting?! Weird. And I cannot edit it now!
Strange that you did no pasting. Your resume must have been in your cut and paste buffer. Somehow the paste function must have been triggered anyway.

These things happen. Sorry for jumping on you.
First, nice resume. Second, what's that thing on the side of the speaker? Looks like something my cats would like a go at. Are these sealed or ported? And if I may ask, what made you pick blue? Really made the wood grain jump out which is nice.

BTW: I've known Jim since the late 60's when we went college together but have never heard any of his speakers. Can you tell me anything about the HT2-TLs?
The round grill? There are passive woofers on each side of the speaker.
So essentially they are sealed but use the passive to go deep.

My room was blue, my electronics were blue, and when we sampled different dyes we went bold and blue versus safe with brown or black dye over the Tamo Ash.

The HT2 is a marvelous speaker with deep bass and a great midrange with the Seas woofers. It can be purchased with the Raal tweeter these days which takes it up a notch. But by the time you add this cost you are over $5k and nearing the SS8 price. All of Jim's speakers are known for perfect midrange and imaging.
Thanks for your response Bugredmachine,
I think the blue is a very interesting choice, as I said I like the way it brings out the figure in the wood. No criticism intended, just don't see many blue speakers.
Re-sale might be hard, but I'm in no hurry for that!
I've seen a few guitars with a similar color. It took a while but I ended up thinking they looked great.
I just ordered a pair of SS-8's from Jim. The finish will be curly cherry in high gloss with black plinths and spikes. The only option I ordered were two Duelund VSF Copper capacitors, one for each crossover in the tweeter position. Very excited about this as I have researched both the speakers and capacitors for a long time now. Thanks to all of you for your input, this is what I love about the 'Gon!
Correction: Instead of the Duelund I changed to the Mundorf Silver in oil caps, and two are needed in each crossover in the tweeter position. Couldnt justify the $2000 for the Duelund caps, the Mundorfs being $765.
Bugredmachine, Maybe since your review was posted in April of last year, you could give us an update review now that you've had the SS-8's awhile?
Mitch, did you get the SS8s? How do you like vinyl on the SS8s?

Bob, still waiting on them, they're just in the final assembly stage.
Well, my SS'8s have been playing music for about three weeks now and I think theyre incredible. Wondering how much better these will get after a good break-in period. I've put around 100 hours of music through them now, and the treble has improved tremendously, they are very dynamic sounding, the bass has a ton of impact, and voices are more realistic. Bob, vinyl sounds terrific through them. I've always preferred vinyl to CD, as I think the timbre of instruments and voice, and the approximation of the venue are much better. I have 1872 LP's and about 500 CD's. My system is a bit, but only just, more towards the forgiving side, which is as I prefer, rather than adhering to some "perfect" neutrality. I've listened to a lot of systems at dealers and friends' homes, and the systems which I would classify as more modern in sound, i.e. "neutral", give me listener fatigue after about an hour. I don't profess to have a "better" system than anyone else, just a system that lets me enjoy music tremendously. As some may know, my music background includes private lessons on clarinet and saxophone from ages 7 to 14, school marching band and symphony, self-taught on guitar and bass guitar and playing in local and college rock bands from 15 to 22, so I do have some idea what acoustic and electric music sounds like.I've thanked Jim Salk and his crew for giving me a speaker that lets me enjoy and have fun with music in my house, and looks so good my wife actually likes their appearance. I would say in the $8,000 to %15,000 range they are as good as speakers I've listened to from Vandersteen, Rockport, Marten, Thiel, Dali, among others. I've never been a fan of British speakers ad I've found them to be too polite, warm, muddled: you choose the appropriate phrase. As I said, my system is just slightly to the forgiving side of neutrality, which does NOT mean flabby indistinct bass, muted dynamics, and loss of resolution. I'd recommend anyone out there looking for a speaker in the price range I mentioned to give the Salk's a listen.
Thanks for the report back on how your new speakers sound with Vinyl. With me, I was floored at how I could see through the vinyl format to the acoustic space of the musicians when I first got my SoundScapes. It just freaked me out. LOL

FWIW, I am just an old vinyl guy too.

Hey, I ain't old (not mentally anyways, ) LMAO!!!
"Hey, I ain't old (not mentally anyways, ) LMAO!!!"

OOPS! My bad. I didn't intend to refer to you. I just phrased it badly. The "too"(as in also) was just was referring to adding another comment and not referencing any other person. I just added that sentence to put my previous comments in context.

I am glad you are enjoying your new speakers. It took me a couple of months of active fiddling with my setup to feel that I was getting close to the potential of my SoundScapes. I hadn't had an open back speaker before so I was in new territory.

Understanding that they're in a different price category ... but has anyone here had direct experience comparing Salk SS8's (or similar Salk) to Wilson line - Sophia, WP's or Sashas?
Same here Bob, the open-back was new to me and it took awhile to decide I liked the unstuffed back. Had to move the speakers further into the room as then everything snapped into place, with both a wider and deeper soundstage> The instrument or voice imaging may not have been as sharp but that was a trade-off I was willing to make. I really like the ribbon tweeters and it's anything but harsh or shrill-maybe tubes in my phono-preamp (Fosgate Signature) and tubes in my preamp (Joule Electra LA150 Mk. 2) make that happen, as well as Acoustic Zen cables.
Mitch, Dennis Murphy designed the crossover and came up with the open midrange chamber concept. He plays Viola with the Washington Philharmonic. He says that in real live he doesn’t hear the crystal clear image that many people try to create in their systems. I love the RAAL tweeters too.

FWIW - Tubes rule!

I heard these speakers at an Audio show in San Francisco earlier this year and they sound fantastic. They are on my short list.
After reading your great review of these speakers, I'm surprized to see you're selling them.What happened ? What are you going to replace them with. If I had the financial means,I'd problably buy your pair.
I believe Pete is looking at the new Salk Exotica 3s

These read like a great speaker. One question - can they rock? I'm talking good old fashion classic and hard rock. Led Zep, AC/DC/Metallica/Stevie Ray Vaughn/Black Keys etc...

or will they be too laid back... or too edgy on bright recordings (because they are so revealing?)
... as in the complete small world that this is turns out Pete - lives close to me and was selling these bad boys.

So far, so good. GREAT guitars and vocals. Will see how I feel here in a few months.
Great write up, thank you.
Those look gorgeous, but only with the grill on (said my wife). She immediately told me following: why the tweeter is off center, why is the mid range base square and the speaker itself round, why is the bass black and other drivers gray... :-)

Few questions:
Are these Japanese tamo ash? How much extra did you have to pay?
Have you modified anything else, Sonic Platinum caps for example?
What material are side and front grills made of?

Still never heard why he sold them...
I am pretty sure he sold the SS8 to buy a tricked out pair of Salk Exotica 3s.