Thanks for a thoutough review, I liked it. I am considering getting floorstanders to replace my monitors and I love the way the Sonata III's look!! Nice pics.
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You're welcome, the pleasure is all mine. It's always a pleasure to address a product that meets or exceeds one's expectations. The fact I bought them the same as anyone else would usually have to and got no 'reviewer discount' or accomodation says something too... I think.
Better pics will soon be on my virtual/real system page. I'm fortunate I actually can get them into the frame, let alone do them justice.
I definitely reccomend the piano/lacquer finishes... minimal care - maximum looks. Strong consideration should be given to the sonata IIIs as they work well with a wide variety of gear and don't dominate a room with their physical presence. Just their sound.
I had said the spikes on the sonata IIIs were quarter twenty threads.... they are NOT. THEY ARE 8MM, or 1.25 std.
SORRY. I had recounted just what Alan had told me. replacing the carpeting forced me to investigate it further and I found out by taking one of the spikes to a home improvement center to verify things completely. Some other threads and pitches appear to work, but the 8mm is definitely the deal here.
Naturally, this could change, so if in doubt, take one to the closest HD or LOWES AND MAKE SURE.
Alan offers 3 different types of spikes on the Sonata IIIs. this was a bit surprising to me. I have the middle set, which retail recently for $15 ea. The only step up from those are the top tier spikes which are taller by about half an inch, and come in 3 pieces.... stud, cone, and thumb set nut. They retailed about two weeks ago for $25 each. $100 PER SET OF FOUR.
Get your spike desires in order up front, there are no exchanges allowed later on.
......Upon further review…
With the Sonata IIIs having attained well over 400 hours now, I thought to input those differences I’ve since detected on a fully broken in pair, and add some thoughts on the use of accessories which enhance their performance.
Overall, the greatest note here would be increases in extension and resolution on both ends of the spectrum. The IIIs tweeter fully run in gives the listener a more detailed view of the original venue in a subtle oh by the way, slant. The sparkle has increased and air is more apparent in the stage itself.
Bass, usually the late arriving feature, got far more developed. Fuller by a bit, and more deft. Nimble. Articulate. In this area I must admit I’m not the keenest ear unless direct comparative notes are being played. Usually. It is easy to determine distinct differences however, so the musical event becomes just that much more involving.
Some additions to my system have also been made in the past year of boarding the Sonata IIIs. The Dodd amps saw the addition of Sound Anchor amp Stands, and a power cord change from VooDoo Gold Dragon IIIs to Shunyata Taipan helix’s. A Velodyne DD-15 sub, and an Odyssey Stratos SE amp have both been added.
The addition of the SA amp stands provided the greatest impact overall. To wit, imaging, and space. Greater definition of the musicians and musical elements gained more presence as the result. In this area the Taipan Helix’s helped too.
Although the Odyssey amp was mainly added for HT use and has seen only sporadic use for 2 ch so far.
The most curious item I picked up is the Velodyne. I say it that way as I’ve not done the prescribed setup completely as yet… only the 1-2-3 initial general one and some shuffling about to improve both the sound and esthetic of the room. Still, you can’t get past the addition it brings to the show, as it were. I wasn’t prepared for what a good sub does to the bandwidth above it’s intended base region. The music took on more substance, weight, and yes, even greater solidity of position. Imaging and weight of the images appeals to me. In accordance with those two items, the result is simple… the sound becomes more natural. More reality is always welcome around here except around the first of the month when it’s bill paying time.
As integral as was the entrance of the DD 15, so was the infusion of the Nirvana SX Ltd. ICs. I parted ways with the SR Acoustic Refs and kept the SR Resolution Refs (a long time fav), and that combination is a winner. The SX, as I’ve said many times in the past is a real go getter of ambient information. A real bird dog that brings home the original venue with ease. Tonally instruments bcome readily distinct as to their true selves. Discerning instrument desparities is far easier leaving little if any doubt as to their actual identities., thus adding to a greater enjoyment of your recordings. These attributes of the SX Ltd aren’t solely in regard to tube power, they presented the same benefits with SS power as well. Further, as source ICs, or mains. In combination with the greater bass presence and sound stage volume of the Resolution Refs, the SX Ltds provided for more an organic and impactful presentation than did the Res Ref + Acoustic Ref, or SX Ltd + Acoustic Ref combo. The immediacy of the SR Resolution Ref x2 active IC bottom end response and mid range depiction is tough to beat.
Currently, perhaps the neatest cost to performance ratio for the Sonata IIIs was the use of platforms directly beneath them and atop the pad and carpeting. Installing new pad and carpeting recently posed an undesired issue. The mid level spikes which came with my Sonata speakers weren’t sufficient to connect to the flooring any longer. As the result I had to find some solution. I chose a cheap way as a “let’s see” approach, and I did see a benefit. Which leads me now to believe some further investigation of either platforms or dedicated stands, now seems in order.
Each aforementioned item gained along the way supplied more. More information, more substance, and more reality. How much further can the music be revealed is the current trek.
Having loudspeakers which convey changes, be they subtle or demonstrative, is a sign of fine reproducers. I’m quite certain some greater levels are yet to be had from these modest pyramid shaped towers. How much more I suspect is the fun of the audio hobby. It is also a path for the patient enthusiast. I often wonder just how much performance of various components is simply missed by those who don’t take the time to eek it out of their present systems, and would rather merely plug in and out, their new this or that’s?
I think it’s startling, finding out some of the advances one can make to present components merely by altering some features of the present rigs, via cabling or isolation. Personally, I’ll choose fussing about with a fine device over wholesale replacements.
Sometimes the synergy is already there and just needs to be urged out of it all by dedicating some added attention and devotion to finding it within, and not from without.
Aforementioned notes as to the geographic layout of the sound stage, I feel now, is more the property of the power train than it is the Sonata IIIs. The Dodd mono blocks have more a forward stance than a rearward one. Geographically speaking of course. Cabling too was also a proponent of this effect. My preferences vary some in regard to the boundaries of the sound stage itself. I usually prefer it to surround the speakers more than to lay behind them entirely. Most often my current preffs are for the staging to lay predominately behind the loudspeakers with some portion forward of them. Say in thirds, two behind, and one in front. With rear ported speakers it should be expected in most instances the stage will lay more rearward of the front baffle than one which encroaches upon the listening position. Certainly the recording plays a big part in a resultant sound stage characteristics.
I’m well pleased with the way these speakers perform. Period. Regardless the genre of music I play the Sonata IIIs deliver. Top to bottom they reveal that which is on the recording and as well, how good or bad the recording was made originally. I’ve yet to find those recordings that I can not listen to on these speakers. I’ve found some I don’t prefer to listen to often on these speakers, but it’s not a fault of the Sonata IIIs, rather my own subjective orientations. Much of these are older rock or R&b classics. Most of which weren’t intended for playback on higher res, or more refined stereos.
In anutshell, it comes down to acceptable or better with regard to the recordings themselves. That was the goal of my ideals on system building. I wanted to wind up with one which plays the greatest portion of recordings with resolution involvement, and distinction. Not one which does remarkably well on a mere handful or two. I will always take that tact to formulate a stereo assembly.
So I’m still looking forward to those instances when I can devote enough time to sit down and enjoy music for the sake of music, over those occasions where I would sit down to pick nits, and await errant strains in the reproduction. Therefore I still feel this speakers system affords the owner with an immense level of fun with music. They too do contain much for the ones who will endeavor to coax still more out from them via attention of upstream tweaks. Versatile, dynamic, esthetically pleasant, and honest to the intent of the music. That’s a tuff act to beat. ;-))
Stumbling into Nirvana
Stumbling into Nirvana
All of my statements regarding these Silverline speakers while in use with my 120 wpc tube mono blocks, were made with the Sonata IIIs being driven via the 4 ohm output taps. Naturally, the solid state Odyssey Stratos sE amplifier has no such choice.
That has now been changed. The higher (normally used) 8 ohm taps are now at work. The differences?
The only other noteworthy system change is the now all HDD based source material fed to the Bel Canto DAC 3. I no longer primarily use silver discs for playback. It’s almost all PC based for me currently.
Just days ago I decided to make a comparison between the high and low impedance taps of the 120 wpc Dodd mono block EL34 ultralinear amps one more time.
The reasoning for the swap aside , the results baffled amused and irritated me all to varying degrees. My desires for musical conveyance being previously listed here informed me a bit prematurely that some alteration of the sound was in order. I was too quick on the draw in making that assessment, and did not wait out the whole of the Sonata IIIs run in period before affecting a change over to the lower impedance taps of the mono blocks.
In my haste, and primarily based upon a recommendation from another member whose preferences are similar to my own, I switched onto the 4 ohm taps and became so enthralled by the obvious differences in timber and warmth of the new presentation, I thought I had now found the exact right combination of speaker and amp connectivity. Naturally I was so pleased no other thought was then given to ever going back to the more likely to be used, higher output taps.
Switching back onto the higher 8 ohm taps, some enourmous amount of time later, like a year and change more down the road, I made the swap, fired up the system, let it warm up, and started pushing a signal thru it into the sonatas. After about 3 or four hours I went in to check out the sound.
With the Sonata IIIs now on the 8 ohm taps, it seemed while I was otherwise occupied, someone had replaced my system with a different one. Gone was the soft warmish leading edges. Vanquished were the less revealed areas of the sound stage. Resolution across the harmonic spectrum was enhanced. Bass notes had more definition and clarity.
The fat was trimmed. Maybe it was Jenny Craig’s system! Though not lean and mean, notes gained more leading edge impact, while sustaining the decay that hall mark the tube sound. Listening became easier. More readily apparent… quicker… and more real.
My fears had been that I’d be returning to the thinner, tipped up sound I had experienced prior to the speakers being fully broken in. such was not the case however. By contrast, the overall sound was somewhat less richly displayed yet it remained natural and involving. Quicker. More lively though not altered timberally speaking. The sound still was quite svelte, robust, and palpable.
Continuing to listen to the tap swap, with familiar tracks the additional resolution, detail, and ambient retrieval was markedly improved. This welcome addition overshadowed my previous experience with warm and richly revealed cues as the sound presented became more exciting. The presentation inundated me with more musical truth thereby creating a more realistic setting in front of me.
Sure enough, some loss of big and thick occurred. So too was there some loss of dark and unrealized. The replacements did however outshine that former experience simply by conveying far greater musical and venue oriented statements which offered up a more exciting scenario.
I sat there mesmerized as all this took place about me. I kept waiting for the edgy strident and brittle behavior to return, and finally just got tired of waiting for it. It was then I succumbed to this new system sound.
Naturally this obvious transformation for me, took some adjusting to, and in the end it was more than welcome. Had it come at the expense of tonal encumbrances, artifacts, sterility, or an analytical reproduction, it would not have been well received, trust me on that part.
No tilting up of harmonic quality took place. Strings revealed both picks and bow activities upon the string itself, with just as much ease and without subtracting from the notes being played. Vocalists head movements about the mike, and their breaths became synonymous with the conveyance of their emotive content. Dog house bass tones were yet more practical and resolved possessing greater immediacy and range. Triangles did not receive more ‘angle’. Symbols gained more shimmer. Banjos got pluckier. Mandolins sweetened up.
Hartman and Prysocks’ baritones remained baritone. Raw boned wailings from the likes of Johnny Lang, Dr John, Wilson Pickett, and the inimitable Joe Cocker, made me transcendentally revisit some of their past concerts. Norah Jones’ breathy style got more seductive.
More so too was the space between musical objects. This added ‘air’ enhanced the whole of each exhibit. Sometimes only marginally, most often though, by considerably more.
The expanse of the stage did not bloat or swell. It became starkly ‘intuitive’. Each time with regards to the track info of course, the notion of how much of the “they are here” or “you are there” being represented, was added too.
I was mystified, a little upset, and pleased, all at the same time, or quite close to each other so it seemed simultaneous, so unsettling were these pronounced yet enjoyable changes.
Overall, with respect to properly matching tube amps to speakers, I’m quite glad of two things, I don’t listen at paint peeling levels any longer, thus perhaps saving both my speakers and amps, and I’m still open enough to take my own advice and that of others to try something else.
BTW…. I’m currently enamored with this ‘change’ so I’ll be sticking to the higher imp output taps on my mono blocks for a while… and make sure speakers are fully run in and then some in the future, before I go fiddling about with impedance matching scenarios... and/or switching in and out amps or other gear.
Time itself, I’m sure, played a major role in this realization. The Sonata IIIs although not a poor speaker system to listen to straightaway do improve as time passes. Solid state amps likely will fare best with them initially. Once loosened from their stiffness by such applications, and/or time itself, they will respond quite well to moderately powered tube amps with outstanding results.
'Sometimes the synergy is already there and just needs to be urged out of it all by dedicating some added attention and devotion to finding it within, and not from without.'
...timing too is key.
I recently tried the 4 ohm tap on my Cary SLI80 with my allegedly "8 ohm" Silverline Sonatina II's. Sure enough, it sounded substantially better to my ear set at 4 ohms than 8. A little deeper, richer, sweeter. Needs an extra bit of volume though (1 o'clock instead of noon). Interesting that you had a similar experience.
Yes, it is interesting.
My Sonata IIIs were not completely run in though. Switching back to the higher taps on my tube amps later on pretty much proved that.
true enough however, an entirely different sound is to be had from the two different outputs on tube amps with Silverlines.
Provided there is sufficient power on tap at the onset, and some prudence with volume controls is used it won't harm anything and you'll have two windows into your audio collection to pick from without doing anything else.... sweeter? ....spiceyer? U pick.
I'll stick with the spicey window now.
Adding a butler amp lately, with still more power, the resulting presentation is most welcomed. Albeit, there are trade offs from it to the Dodds. Each amps topology has it's own merits and depending upon setups, each amplifier (s) satisfys.
"The addition of the SA amp stands provided the greatest impact overall. To wit, imaging, and space. Greater definition of the musicians and musical elements gained more presence as the result. In this area the Taipan Helix’s helped too."
So if I put my amps on SA stands suddenly there appears greater imaging, space, definition & presence? Oh, wait, it might have been the power cord. I get the greatest amusement from this website :-)
Traceb said: "So if I put my amps on SA stands suddenly there appears greater imaging, space, definition & presence? Oh, wait, it might have been the power cord."
We do aim to help here, but much of what we say is aimed at those people who actually do understand the context of our accounts and don't misconstrue our statements.
Few of us possess the literary skills you appear to have.
Allow me to clear things up... Everything matters in a good stereo system.
IMplementing the amp stands followed the application of the Taipan power cords. Naturally they are a conttributing factor. the decided change I noted above was primarily the new addition of the Sound Anchor amp stands making improvements on what was already apparently noticed. the afterthought or in passing mention of the taipans served only to further illuminate their presence in the mix.... as I said... "... they helped". Meaning, in addition too; complimented' as being together; in accordance with.
I get the biggest kick out of this website from those folks like yourself who enjoy twisting things to suit yourself.
thanks for dropping by. Intelligent feedback is always a most welcomed event.