I am very happy with my Parsifal Encores and have listened to many others and go back to the Parsifal's. I did have a chance to upgrade to the Parsifal Ovations and in my room with my system the Ovations did not sound really much different. If blinded I could not tell which was playing, so I stuck with the Encores and bought some records. I have listened to the Classe CA2200 ( owned it for a few years) and the CA2300. Both will drive the parsifal's easily. Another thing I like about the Verity's is great customer service. Next year they will be sent up for a 10 year check up, testing, overhaul and polish and come back to me for a further 10 years of enjoyment.
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Garebear...I have heard the Parsifal Ovations a few times and the Cremona M once. If Davt is correct int hat there is not much difference between the Encores and the Ovations, than my reco would be to go for the Encores. Great speakers. Highly resolving yet musical. Tonal balance is neutral and a lot of extension on both ends of the frequency spectrum. I found the Cremona Ms to be midrange oriented and the overall balance on the warm side of neutral, which dulled the sound a bit. Also, it may have been the speaker placement/room in which I heard them, but the bottom end exhibited one note, undifferentiated bass and some boominess. Also, not that price is reflective of sound quality necessarily, but these speakers are in completely different price brackets (new) and as such you are buying a better speaker design overall with the Parisfals as compared to the Cremona Ms. Again, YMMV and like anything else you should hear them and compare them yourself, but my reco would be the Parsifals all other things being equal.
I am curious what will you be using to drive them?
G...bear don't you own the SF Cremona Ms?
Good comparision. Wonder what the advantages are for SF Cremona M single enclosure compared to VA Parsifal two seperate enclosures?
Plan on a bit more extended highs with the VA Parsifal at 50kHz compared to 30kHz for SF Cremona M. Both manufactuers use Scan-Speak tweeters and also encorporate ported enclosure.
Think I still go with the Cremona M.
Do you prefer Cardboard or Flight Cases?
I own Cremonas (pre-M) and Parsifal/Encores. My take:
These are two very different animals.
The Verity has a notable hump in the mid/upper bass and a falling response from there right up thru the entire band. The result is warm and musical, if not the last word in strict neutrality. Add in wonderful imaging/staging and a very revealing mid-band and you've got a great mix - it shows off a lot of what you want to hear in a great recording while sounding much better than it has any right to with less great (particularly those tipped up sizzlers that I seem to own a ton of, i.e. a lot of pop and rock) recordings.
The Cremona is not typical old school SF, the description of which which might not sound too different from my description of the Verity, above. (I also own SF Minuettos, which do have the bass hump, falling response thing going on.) The Cremona has notably more energy in the presence region and scores very highly on the macro-dynamic front. It's also a bit tighter in the bass. IME, it's not lean or hard sounding, but it is less forgiving than the Verity. OTOH, it's a bit more dramatic sounding on large scale music.
BTW, I can't comment on the M version, since I've never had one in my system for comparison.
I like both speakers a lot. On jazz and acoustic (particularly vocal) music, the Verity is an amazingly satisfying speaker. On larger scale music, the best recordings may not sound their very best, but they will usually sound very, very good. Overall, I prefer it to the Cremona - but this comparison will see all kinds of conclusions, depending on the individual listener's personal priority.
PS The S/F is IMHO a significantly better looking beast. In my contemporary living room, it's coupled with a Pathos Classic One/Digit combo to make a wonderful contemporary Italian decor statement. Sounds pretty good, too.....
Martyki - Off topic. I have a Pathos Classic One driving original SF Concertos, which I like very much. I have tried it with my original Cremona with less success. To me, it is very nice but just does not have enough to bring out the best in the Cremona. I have not tried dual Classic Ones. I have a Cary SLP-05 and a Levinson 432 driving mine (obviously more money) and I think it does a much better job - more dynamic with better base. So, you may be able to get more out of your Cremona if you are willing to pay the price. I do like a tube pre with the Cremona. I agree on the look - a Pathos/Cremona combo is stunning.
The Cremona M was designed to be more linear and more detailed than the original Cremona. This makes it less "colored", but to me it also makes it somewhat cold and lifeless.
I've used my Cremonas with nearly a dozen different amps (Krell, Odyssey, ARC, Prima Luna, Cary, and several others). I'd agree that the Pathos limits the max effective SPL of the Cremona relative to the higher power SS units. However, I really like it for the moderate listening levels it sees in its current installation. It strikes me as better sounding than most, right up until the SPL reaches the point where it's worse sounding than some. In my circumstance (partially dictated by WAF issues), the Pathos is the best choice.
I do agree that, if it were my main speaker in my listening room, I'd probably go for something with a little more grunt (per your observation).
I have used mono-blocked Pathos Classic 1's for two years now with my Cremora M's and have been very pleased with the results. I had used the Classics with the concertos previously, but the Cremora M's are a big improvement. The mon-blocked Pathi provide plenty of power and certainly don't sound "lifeless" in my system. I've been very happy with the combination.
First off I admit that I've never heard any Verity Audio products. I have, however, heard several SF speakers and most recently heard a pair of Cremona Ms. They knocked my socks off. They weren't even in a particularly sophisticated setup. They were sourced and powered by the Marantz PM8004 / SA8004 bundle. Not junk certainly, but not exactly extravagant either.
Usually for a speaker as fine as the Cremona M I want to play vinyl or at least SACD. I was supplied the Diana Krall CD (not bad for a CD) that has "Peel Me a Grape" and "All or Nothing at All."
The demo blew me away. I could hear a level of ambience I didn't know was on "Peel Me a Grape." Her voice was extremely natural and transparent with no hint of cabinet coloration and I couldn't have wished for a better tonal balance. The higher level of ambience seemed to be from simply better low level resolution because I detected no tip-up in high treble or the types of tricks often used to increase the perception of detail.
The other really telling test was Christian McBride's athletic bass intro to "All Or Nothing at All." This is some fast upright bass played by one of the few remaining living masters. It was astounding. The Cremona M woofers tracked that bass line perfectly and I never would have guessed that the cab is double ported because there were no hot spots or dips in the bass frequency response. The bass stays linear with no dropoff right down to his slide at the end to near the bottom of the bass's range.
So impressive was this performance that this demo haunted me for weeks. Under current circumstances there's no way I could afford a pair, but I'll say that if I ever got within sniffing distance of $10-12K for a pair of speakers, the Cremona Ms would be it. In fact, if I wanted a pair of true full range speakers good down to 20 Hz, I would get the Cremona Ms plus a pair of JL F112s and be done with it.
Of course YMMV but for me, the Cremona Ms have something special where emotional communication and involvement are concerned. I can't listen to them without the music invoking a very strong emotional reaction, usually a great big smile. I have no doubt they'd keep their composure in large scale classical and big band. After all, I was auditioning them with a 70 wpc integrated SS amp. How much potential do these guys have?
Marty, what Prima Luna amp did you try with the Cremona M's? I am contemplating buying a pair myself, and currently own a DiaLogue One amp (with KT88's) and use Sonus faber Toy Towers in a small room. I'd be curious to hear more about your experience with the PL/SF Cremona M combo. Thanks in advance!
I would agree with the general tone of this thread - the local dealer where I bought my second-hand Parsifal Encore's also carries SF, and I listened to the Cremona M's. While they are a very nice pair of speakers, they aren't quite in the class of the Parsifal's IMHO. They're missing the bottom-end accuracy and output to really be full-range speakers. Of course, they're also half the price of Parsifals.
As always, it comes down to your own priorities. While I can't, with my set of preferences, understand somebody preferring Cremona's to Parsifal's, both are excellent speakers that I never thought I'd be able to consider. It just seems that Verity speakers don't have as good resale value as SF, perhaps in part to the stunning good looks of the SF speakers - but that makes the Verity speakers a great deal used (and it's not like they look bad!).
I own PL 6 mono amps.
I'm struggling to recall which output tube I settled on for the Cremonas since they ended up with the Pathos pretty quickly. The PL amps subtly, but clearly, change character as you swap output tubes - I suspect that the choice of output tube type is about as significant as the choice of amp model in the PL line. These days, I use KT66s when the PLs are on duty, but that tends to be with Merlin VSMs.
I'd suggest that you call Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio in Upland, Ca. He's a dealer for both SF and PL. He's a good guy and a straight shooter with long experience pairing up these brands.