I own the Bolero's and have listened to the Minuets, including stacked Minuets which I really liked, and the Sonata III. I thought the Sonata III was a bit over the top - they sounded much like a lot of other 'high end' speakers. They are all voiced differently. There really is no 'house' sound. They are all excellent speakers. I understand, but have not heard, that the Preludes are quite a bit like the Minuets. On a budget I would explore them. Also, on the used market I would want to consider the Sonata II or the Sonatina's. You rarely see them on the market but I would jump on a pair of the 17's with the SOTA Dynaudio tweeter if I saw them
Thanks for the info. I wondered if the Prelude and Prelude Plus would be more of the same. Not any dealers close, unfortunately. May have to plan a mini vacation/ audition.
Of course I'll keep an eye out on here. I'm much more willing to take a chance on a bargain. Also, I can ask for a 30 day audition from a dealer if I see a preowned pair. I'll pay shipping but that's still cheaper than a trip with the redhead!
Uncledemp - While I can't speak to the Minuets and a Silverline house sound, I did want to jump in and say I recently took delivery of a pair of new Silverline Prelude Pluses. They have less than 50 hours on them now so some time still remains on burning them in. I can tell you I am enjoying them a lot. For the price, they are a steal...at 2x $ they'd still be a steal, in my O-pinion. Definitely worth making a trip to hear them if you have the time. Good luck.
Thanks, Ghosthouse, glad you are enjoying them. If they are like the tiny Minuets, I bet they are awesome!
I keep an eye out for the Prelude and Plus, and Newbee recommended adding some other models to the list.
Maybe due to time on the market, I see more preowned Preludes vs Plus for sale. Did you have the opportunity to audition/compare the standard Prelude with the Plus by chance? If so, I'd appreciate your thoughts.
Hello again Gary -
Nope...broke one of the cardinal rules of audio - I bought speakers without auditioning and didn't even have a 30 day return policy as safety net. To explain, I got a bug to try a different speaker. Mainly something more efficient than the Totem Forests I've been running for going on 9 years now. Add a silk dome tweeter and an affordable price, (i.e., under $3500) to the list. Initially, I was thinking monitors but came back to floor standers since I had the space. The Silverline Pluses ticked off a lot of boxes for me. I really didn't even consider the v2 Prelude (though I read about them as much as possible) because the Pluses had more features that I wanted. When I saw Underwood HiFi advertising them on A'gon, I gave Walter a call. His delivered price was very attractive. Before making a decision, I read as much as I could on-line though there's not a lot on the Pluses. Much more available info on the original Preludes v1 & 2 but these are a significantly different design. Frank Alles of StereoTimes was very gracious and helpful. Tried to contact some A'gon owners and did get some encouraging feedback from a few. So I took the plunge. Now have around 60 hours on them. They are more detailed (in a good way) than the Forests. Soundstage is huge and ambient effects are impressive - there's a LOT of air when called for by the recording. They don't do bass as well as the Forests (at least not yet; but the Forests have many hours on them and are thoroughly broken in and optimally placed). Total surface area of the 4 mid/woofers on a Plus is greater than that of the single mid/bass driver of a Forest, however. Still experimenting with placement and planning to live with them a while before deciding whether a sub(s?) is/are necessary. Right now though the Prelude Pluses do put out plenty of slam and good bass reproduction from things like ZZ Top's Tres Hombres, Bela Fleck's Cosmic Hippo, everywhere on Blacklight Syndrome (Bozzio, Levin, Stevens), and Donal Fagen's Morph the Cat. On such recordings, I don't feel like a sub is needed. But, the frequency balance is different than the Forests...bass not always as evident. A different "sound" was something I was after in new speakers and they definitely give that. As a bonus, the Preludes are also better than the Forests in some areas...more refined and sweeter. You can "see" more of the music. OK, hope that ramble is of some little help. Good luck in your search and getting to a place to hear them.
Great info, thanks. I feel pretty safe buying blind sometimes - no hifi dealers near me in Arkansas, unfortunately.
Some of your descriptions match how I feel about the Minuets. I tried to explain to an audio buddy today how they sound, but ended up just telling him I listen to them more than I usually do- it's as simple as that.
There are probably many speakers I could feel that way about, but I feel fortunate to have found one for me. The fact that the price is within my comfort zone is great, too.
Thanks again for the great info- I'm glad you're enjoying yours. Hope to join you at some point.
Do read Frank Alles' StereoTimes review(s).
You might try contacting Alan Yun (Silverline Audio) directly and see if you can negotiate some sort of in-home audition. He will sell direct. Not sure if he has demo units, however.
A few additional comments...
I didn't mention imaging in my lengthy note above, but it is crazy good. Center fill (which the Forests also did very well) is really solid. "Palpable" is an adjective that comes to mind. Stage depth is more evident than I've heard before, though I'm not saying the Pluses produce it for every track of every recording. Sometimes it just seems like those audio cues are missing from the recording. This brings up another point - these speakers seem to make differences in recording quality album to album and even track to track more noticeable.
I realize a review of the Prelude Pluses was not the intent of your initial post so I hope these comments will give you a some more data points to use in your purchase decision.
I appreciate your insight on the Plus, it sounds like it may be a good fit.
If I could trouble you a little more, how far into the room did your Plus's settle to give you the stage depth you mentioned? I know rooms are different, etc, but it seems like some speakers suffer more than others near the front wall. Depth of soundstage is important to me.
Hey there Gary, no problem. I have the Pluses set up about 36" from the wall behind them; that's 3 feet from the wall behind them to their back panel. They are both at least 4 feet from sidewalls. If you look at my system page, they are positioned just to the outside of where the Forests are in the photos.
Gary, you didn't ask, but FWIW, IMHO, depth of field is more of a product of the distance from the rear wall (and side walls) than the design of the speaker, i.e. even the best design will lose depth of image in direct proportion to the distance to the wall. The really big difference in rear wall placement is usually the affect on the bass frequencies. My big speakers are out 6ft into the room to optimize both tone and imaging issues. At 3ft the bass is overwhelming in a not so good way and depth collapses. A small pair of stand mounted speakers (not Silverline) placed three ft from the rear wall has good bass, good tonality, but looses the same depth of image that my main speakers did. As I said, FWIW.
In my post I should have written rear wall and instead wrote front wall. But thanks for answering the question I should have asked!
I generally position speakers in my main listening room about 1/3 of the length of the room- 6ft. Wasn't sure if it was my room, equipment or my ears....
In the bedroom, the Silverlines are 24" into the room because of the flow of the room.
I thought I read about some near wall placement speakers that still created the illusion of soundstage depth- that is what prompted the question.
Thanks for the help!
The current "non plus" Prelude is an amazing speaker when paired with a good sub. I've had a pair for years and it's somewhat unique in the Silverline line (!) in that it has magnesium/aluminum woofers and tweeters, not shared with other Silverlines for reasons I find mysterious. The "Plus" has doped paper woofers with a silk dome tweeter which are fine (and I'm sure they sound great as do pretty much all the things Alan Yun designs), but the Prelude has the little screens on the metal tweeters that keep 'em "poke proofed," a feature I like. I use a tube amp and 2 REL subs (although they worked fine with one sub, I found another used REL and added it in the mix, thus making my "one sub" arguments less valid) with the Preludes, and lift them up about 4 inches on maple blocks (Vibrapods under the Preludes de-couple them from floor vibes and make them sound even better to my earballs) . My only quibble about the Preludes is the fact that they aren't cladded in a real wood veneer, but I suppose that keeps them at a certain price point. Maybe I'll get a cabinet maker to put a striped ebony veneer on 'em. Yun told me in a phone conversation (I thought I needed a woofer, but didn't) to single wire the Preludes for "more coherency"…his words…and he was right (I did try bi-wiring anyway, at which point I discovered for myself that single wiring was much righter).
Gary,Wolf - I had definitely read Wolf's posts about his experience with the Prelude speaker. I haven't tried Vibrapods under mine but do have them elevated about 4" (on a wood plinth + the height of Alan's spikes). Found elevation to be good with the Forests too. My Pluses are also single-wired and, based on input from Silverline, the speaker cable is connected to the lower posts. I'll probably experiment with a diagonal connection as per Audioquest in the future.
Gary - 6 feet into the room should give plenty of space behind them for projecting stage depth. BUT if you do go with Preludes I wonder if a little nearer that "front" wall will help with bass given they are rear ported. Obviously, rooms differ and experimentation is needed.
Wolf - what REL subs are you running? Thanks.
Speaking of subs, I decided to try a dual 8" driver sub with the Minuets today. Sounds pretty good but I'm still adjusting things.
Before inserting the sub a buddy came by and after listening told me he had to have a pair of Minuets- he was impressed.
Thanks again for for all of your feedback, opinions, etc. Gives me several speakers to look out for and several things to try. I always learn a lot on A'gon.
I always enjoyed the Silverline demos at shows. One year, I heard, and fell in love with, the original Bolero. Delicate, detailed highs to die for when paired with Yun's own tube amp. They were my dream speaker for many years (and would still be incontention if I had the coin).
I also heard the Minuets and Preludes at a show and was highly impressed. They both sounded much bigger than they are, with impressive bass weight and extension, and an amazing, holographic soundstage, and that was when they were paired with a cheap Philips stereo receiver (from the 80s?).
About five years ago, when I was looking to upgrade, I looked into Silverline. I am on the East Coast, so a visit to Silverline for a demo would use up most of my budget. The only local dealer seemed to be a guy operating out of his home. He eventually responded to my emails and phone calls, only to tell me that he did not have the model I was interested in hearing (the now discontinued Allegro[?], I think). No way I was going to buy speakers unheard, with no return option, so I moved on.
That said, if someone asked me for a short list of high-value inexpensive monitors or towers, I would include both the Minuet and the Prelude on that list.
I bought a beautiful used (Ebay) REL Q150e a few years ago (around the time I bought the Preludes) and it's all the sub most people might need…modded with a "chicken head" knob on the High Level pot so it's easier to know where it (the pot) is. The second sub is a Q108e MKII that isn't quite as powerful as the 150, but is still amazingly good...I put a chicken head knob on that one too. Both were bought for around 200 bucks each on Ebay, which I mention as I don't want my fabulous taste and Ebay scouring abilities to go unnoticed.
I don't think I've ever heard a high end sub in a 2 channel outfit. I own an SVS sound cylinder and use it in a small theater room. The sub I'm using with the Minuets is a dual 8" Mirage. It's probably okay but nothing like you guys are talking about. I'd be interested to hear one someday.
Shame about the chickens though- I guess it's for the greater good.
I'm assuming the Audiopoints were used under floorstanders. Any experience using them on standmount speakers?
My Minuets are sitting on the top plate of spiked steel stands. In fact, they are resting on thin, circular foam type dots that seem to be there to avoid scratches.
i have some generic blu tak around somewhere. Do you feel it is worth the trouble to use it/cones under the Minuets?
Have passed through the hundred hour mark on the Prelude Pluses and well on the way to 200 hrs. Finally hooked them up to the tube gear I had bought them to use with (78 wpc EL34 mono blocks; 6H30 & EZ80 rectifier pre-amp). I am no longer thinking I need to get a sub. Lower mid-range and bass are fuller with these tubes than I expected and actually seem better than with the much higher powered solid state gear I used during the breaking in period. Go figure. I think these Preludes are an amazing bargain.
A well designed sub doesn’t merely add bass range, it "charges" the room with the ambience that exists in most places naturally, thus fooling the listener into thinking they’re having more fun which is very much like actually having more fun. This is why non bass heavy recordings can sound better with a sub that you wouldn't think is doing anything, but a good sub is ever vigilant, looking out for your fun needs.
I'm still enjoying the Minuets with a dual 8" Mirage sub I had around here. Good to hear of your good experiences.
Keeping an an eye out for used Silverlines, I notice some of the larger models for sale.
Do you guys think the larger models maintain the 'magic'? Or do you feel the narrow baffle to be a major factor in the sound? Unfortunately, unless I take a road trip I cannot audition the models to compare. As it stands I think I would buy the Prelude or Plus without hearing them- but curious about the Sonatina.
Your opinions would be appreciated.
Uncledemp - I've never heard the higher end Silverline speakers. Given what Alan Yun can do for $2G and less, however, I bet they sound fantastic. I do think the narrow baffle of the Preludes is a contributor to their specific sound but don't think that means there's not magic in his other designs.
Wolf - thanks for your, ummm, persuasive pro-subwoofer argument. I definitely find there are days when I'd at least like to think I'm having more fun than might actually be the case (but at what point does that become delusional psychosis?) Mental health issues aside, a sub could definitely be a next step in the upgrade path. At this point, though, it isn't critical (IMO); fun factor with the Pluses is pretty high.
The larger models are still pretty narrow. My experience is with the La Folias, like these: http://audioasylumtrader.com/ca/listing/Speakers-Floor-Standing/Silverline/La-Folia/SF-Bay-Dynaudio-...
They can disappear and provide pinpoint imaging if fed by good electronics. That leads me to believe that the cabinet isn't much of a hindrance, although I do prefer open baffles in general. They go pretty low, but can't pressurize a room like good subs do. Although not a problem for my ears, some feel that the Dynaudio Esotar tweeters are bright for their taste. If it matters the woodwork/finish is top notch and got many positive comments from those who saw them.
Just my personal experience, YMMV. Cheers,
Thanks everybody. I'm retired but doing some training for a company this year in 6 or 7 different parts of the country. I really need to plan an audition in one of the more populated areas.
Over the years I've owned several speakers but the Silverlines are in the top few for sure. Hopefully I'll be able to hear several models this year.
I just wrote a note in the speaker section about Silverlines. I have a set of Sonatina MKIVs which I love. Bought them used and have been more than happy. What I wrote about was my new to me (bought used as well) Minuet Supreme Plus speakers. They sound amazing ... I am very happy with them!