Billspecfoc: If this doesn't work, my only other option is to fly out to CA to see Alan Yun at his factory.
Not a bad idea, as you can fly whenever the ticket prices are low and evaluate the line to your heart's content! I am surprised there are no dealers nearer than California however.
I have owned both and sold both, their are better speakers for the money.MHO.
I agree with Mike. I owned the v2 Sonatas for a brief while. They are extremely dynamic and will play effortlessly, but are a little bottom heavy and have a boxy coloration in the midrange. I didn't pick up on it right away, but after I heard it once, it was hard to ignore on certain material. I sold them shortly thereafter.
Bill - I live in St. Louis, but just recently sold my Sonata II's to a fellow Goner in Texas. My experience was different than Ozzy's in that bass response was not heavy, but rather, somewhat tame for a speaker of it's size. Overall, I was pleased with the Sonata II, especially when paired with the right combo, which, in my case, I had the best results was when it was paired with a Pathos Twin Towers Ref. integrated amp. This is one of those synergistic combos that I may end up regretting moving away from (have since gone to monitors and a lesser integrated... working on getting a sub to flesh out the sound).
The speaker excels in transparency and casts a wide soundstage. Ideal with Jazz, female vocals (Diana Krall), acoustic, and orchestral. A little weak in the bass department, and is lacking chest pounding dynamics, therefore I can not recommended the Sonata II for rock or metal.
Works best with moderately powered SET amps or beefy tube amps (I heard it's good with Rogue 150 monoblocks).
I recommend getting Sound Anchor bases if you have kids, as I found them somewhat unstable with only the factory floor spikes. Overall a very good value on the used market @ approx. $2,500.
I don't agree with Oz or Mike. But of course it is all personal. I have the Sonata III's and love them. I have tubes and perhaps Oz & Mike have ss. I am not local to you but I am to Silverline. I met Alan at his shop and had a most pleasurable experience. I brought in the speakers I had at the time and set them up side by side. He had a driver that was in my Meadowlarks and showed me the difference between the Dynaudio he uses and whatever Meadowlark used, can't remember. Big difference, even to an uneducated observer like myself. Good luck.
Brm1:I have owned both and sold both, their are better speakers for the money.MHO.
Would you be kind enough to summarise your listening experience, ie, which speaker(s) did you find to be better values in this price range?
Thanks for the responses, guys.
Mike, what would be some of your recommendations for speakers bettering the the Sonata's in that price range? They would be used in a combo 2-channel/HT system, usage about 50/50. Looking for something non-fatiguing yet accurate for classical, jazz, occasional classic rock.
Oz, I don't know what you mean by a "boxy coloration" in the midrange. Could you elaborate on that? Thanks.
Interesting questions. I'm interested in the recommendations for speakers and description of boxy coloration" in the midrange also.
The sound I am talking about was first heard on jazz guitar, and I am guessing here, around 500-800 Hz. I can tell you the first thing I heard it on was Russell Malone's guitar on a Diana Krall disc. The sound was smeared and had a "cupped hands" tone. To verify what I was hearing I brought my Polk Monitor 7s into the system and the guitar was crystal clear and articluate. I tried moving the speakers all around the room, thinking I was exciting a room mode, but I could never get rid of it. I heard it on some tracks on the Knopfler disc "Sailing to Philadelphia" too. Just a closed in type of sound. Now some recordings sounded pretty damn good, especially large scale stuff. But once I heard this shortcoming, I couldn't get beyond it.
You are describing the sound of the Sonata IIIs, which should be vastly different than the IIs since they use all Dynaudio drivers. And I was definitely using tubes on my Sonata IIs. I am not saying they are bad speakers, but just had shortcomings I couldn't get past.
I heard the Silverline Sonata 2's 4 yrs ago with a super Cayin 300B push pull intergrated. On jazz they were good, with classical they were flat, which may be due to the 300B tubes limitations.
On jazz, the male vocal had a "bark" in certain fq's, and like Oz also found the midrange "boxy"/"colored". Slightly, but enough to where some fatigue set it after a listening session.
Good speaker for good SET amps, and if you can find the Sonata at a good used price.
I do use a tube amp...only! The Model II was lite in the loafers in regards to the bass. I felt both speakers were bright. The mid range is excellent and the imagining is top notch.
They just were not my cup o tea. They are easy to drive.
Speakers are such an individual taste thing, I have owned too many to list...and It makes me sick to say that, as it has been a big money loser! I think for an easy to drive speaker that is a good value to me, Coincident makes excellent speakers. Right now I have Acoustic Zen Adaigos and like them. It would be nice if they had more bass, but what they have is good. There's just too many speakers out there to listen to, for me to make good suggestions. I just feel pretty strong about my opinion on the Silverlines.
I'd have to agree with Pdreher about being a little light in the bass (I have Sonata II's) when running alone but I've had a Rel Stadium II sub with them that really fills in the bottom and fleshes out the already good imaging. I'm using fairly powerful VTL monos (tubes of course, at 125W per side) which have a pretty good grip on them. Great on female vocals, jazz, etc, as he mentioned... I came from Audio Physics (Tempo 3's) before these (which I also liked a lot) but improved on the overall full and rich sound without losing the detail. Agree that on the used market between $2500 - $3k or so, they're a very good value. Added benefit of SET use which I am still planning in addition to my main amps... this flexibility is very nice. Can't say I've ever recognized the "cupped hands" effect and I thought I was pretty familiar with them but ... . If you were closer to the NY area I'd welcome you for a listen, but you're better off from where you are simply heading west to Alan. BTW I've just posted my system (poor digital pic quality but I'll fix that soon) and am also always welcome to comments/ suggestions. Good luck and Happy Lissnin'.
I have owned the Sonata ll, both Mk.l and MK.ll. versions and I enjoyed both of them but I kept upgrading with Alan because I found the quality of the speakers to my liking. I finally stopped at the lll's. The difference between the ll's and lll is not insignificant. The lll's corrected all of the deficienies of the ll's and brought a new found love of tube equipment ( I am using AR lS16 and VTL 150). I have found this speaker to give outstanding value for the $ spent. If you audution the lll's against any speaker in its price class, you will purchase the Sonata lll's.
I agree with Cavy, one of the best values in that price range for sure. I use the Sonata III with all tube gear, a Tom Evans Linear A and they are fantastic.
Room size and adequate break-in are massively important issues. Same speaker will sound bassy or light depending on (a) size of room and (b) how much breakin have they had. Break-in seems at affect especially the bass response.