I was also curious about the Salk Audio speakers and did a little research. Aside from the potential feedback from the folks on this site, I particularly found the input from the Salk Audio itself on the Audiocircle site very helpful. I've not heard your amp but it seems like the Song3 is a great "compromise" among the various Song models for the type of music I listen to; jazz, blues, folk. For rock, most recommend the Encore for its better bass response.
So this is really, really weird. Have you ever had one of those coincidences in life that just make your jaw drop? I literally was just having this conversation over email with Jim Salk the last couple days. Here are his replies of the SS9.5's vs. Song3 Encores I was initially interested in the HT3's..........Here's Jim.....
"Speakers I would recommend looking include the Song3’s, Song3-A’s and Song3 BeAT’s. These do not play quite as deep as the HT3’s, but still get down to 33Hz. The Song3 Encores play just as deep as the HT3’s but are much easier to drive".
Then he states......
Of course, the ultimate speaker in this sensitivity range would be the new SS 9.5’s, although they may break your budget.
I let him know that while the SS 9.5's would be doable, I would rather not have to spend quite so much on speakers. I thought the Encores would be more within my price point.
He then stated......
"Yes. Think of the Encores as an SS 9.5 with a few bells and whistles
eliminated. They use the same woofer and tweeter. It may even be
possible to produce a version of the Encores with the same midrange as
I then asked if this would require a custom crossover and he told me....
"They would probably not need a custom crossover. We would simply build the same speaker with a front port and no open back midrange."
So there you have it. A summary of my recent exchange with Jim. Send him an email and mention this comparison. I'm sure he will be surprised as well. I am seriously considering the Encore's but of course I am going to listen to them first.
I bought a pair of Salk Silk Monitors a few months ago, and recently posted this review on another site:
Now that I’ve listened to these several hours a day for a couple of months, I’m going to take a shot at writing a review. My wife Lori has listened along with me much of that time, and has contributed her thoughts as well. First, the obvious – these are small, stand-mounted monitors with RAAL ribbon tweeters and ScanSpeak Illuminator woofers. You can read more about them here: http://salksound.com/model.php?model=Silk+Monitors I have them set up on sand-filled, spiked Atlantis 24” stands, about 8 feet apart, with the front panels about 46” from the wall behind. They’re well away from the sidewalls. The electronics include a Bluesound Node 2, mostly playing flac files from an NAS, but also some streaming from Deezer and Qobuz, a Benchmark DAC3L, Benchmark LA4 preamp, dSpeaker Anti-Node 2.0 room correction system, and Benchmark AHB2 amp.
What’s most striking at first is the soundstage and imaging – on recordings that allow it, the soundstage is huge, with excellent depth. They’re also exceptionally good at producing a centered mono image, on mono recordings or the dialogue channel of movies (we don’t use a center-channel speaker). Second, the bass is very impressive for speakers this size. It’s quite deep, tight, and powerful. Percussion and both electric and acoustic bass come across very well, as does the lower range of piano. Adding the Hsu ULS-15 sub helps on many recordings, but the sound is full and satisfying even without the sub. The sub low-pass filter is set at about 45 Hz, and the Silk Monitors are run full range.
As we’ve listened more, we’ve come to appreciate how smooth and detailed these speakers can sound, given a good recording. This is especially clear on delicate percussion, and on complex music and mixes – it’s easy to hear voices and instruments far back in the mix. Clarity is excellent, but never seems overdone. Maybe most impressive over time is the way the speakers convey the textures of voices, reed instruments, and so on. Solo guitar, solo piano, and large groups and orchestras all sound very convincing. We’ve listened at levels from near-whisper to very loud (for us, probably not very loud to some of you). The speakers sound very alive at all levels.
Weaknesses? Well, room correction from the Anti-Node 2.0 does improve clarity in the bass – primary correction is removing some small peaks between 60 and 150 Hz. It would be nice not to need this, but in a nearly square (19 x 20 ft.) room, some peaks in the bass are probably inevitable. And the harshness on some, mostly older, recordings is more obvious than with the Newform R645v3 speakers these replaced. But that’s about it. I haven’t heard a lot of recent high-end stand-mount speakers for comparison, but we did consider the Joseph Audio Pulsars, and have no regrets about choosing these instead.
Not a professional review, of course, but my effort to convey what the Silk Monitors are like. We’re very happy with them.
I've heard most of the Salk line-up several times.
As a note - Jim is great to work with.
I've owned the SS 8's. I would like the SS12's, I almost bought the Encores... and the one I have not heard is the 9.5's which I hope to hear soon.
As for an earlier question about the magnesium midrange used on one of the Song's. I've heard it. It's really similar to the Accuton midrange used on the SS8's, 10's and 12's. Quite similar, very detailed and open.
As for the Encores, - it's really a bargain. Good deep tight bass, it may has a little more thump than the SS8's, very similar top end and midrange, accurate and open. Not quite as open sounding as the SS8's with the back's opened up (which is an effect I really like).
the AT midrange is slightly less detailed than the Accuton and Eton, still very accurate, a bit less bright as high volumes (though none are harsh).
I'm not sure where I stand on the Be tweeter vs the Raal - that raal in the soundscapes is awfully good, slightly smaller soundstage than the Be. I typically don't like Be tweeters or drivers, I need to hear it again on the 9.5's before I really decide.
Jim builds great speakers that really are a bargain for what you are getting. They almost always measure ruler flat, or darn close. Personally I like a little extra thump and the Encore's gave that over the SS8's I felt.
The SS12 is one of the best speakers I've ever heard under 50k driven by a stout amplifier.