I too find these speakers VERY special. Having the opportunity to listen to many speakers and systems over the years regardless of price the Decapos offer a really big slice of the full spectrum of music in a compact, affordable package. Superb balance and frequency extension with excellent imaging and great soundstaging and my favorite part of what they do SO well is communicate the music with out bringing attention to the speaker which IME many speakers just don't do over extended listening. This speaker comes close to a "speaker for everyman" along with the Vandy 2 series, great value and the real deal.
No doubt, the de Capos are hard to live without...A true conveyor of music with few faults. After owning three different pairs and moving "up" a bit in the Reference 3A line to the 3A Episodes, I still miss my De Capos and I love my Episodes!
I have the non-beryllium de Capo i's. And here's the crazy thing: I love them BUT I'm considering the Harbeth 7es3 or the HL5.
And yet there's absolutely nothing deficient with my de Capo's. They're beautifully neutral with just a tad on the warm side; they project depth and breadth with startling degree; they reveal faults in any components. They look gorgeous in that (sadly departed) cherry veneer, and they fill my little room with three dimensional music. They are, along with my Maggie 3.6R's, the best speakers I've ever owned in a long line including Focals, Triangles, Totems, and even Sonus Faber.
Now I'm not so sure I need to replace them at all...
Well the Harbeth's are very nice speakers Simao, musical in their own right. You may or may not agree with their presentation. I would certainly listen to them before committing on changing unless for change sake, we are after all audiophiles not "everyman" :)
So have you had them with and w/o the Surreal Acoustic Lens?
how different did they they sound?
Mine came with the Lens, so I've never heard them without. I can testify, however, that the BE tweet is a major upgrade.
Rebbi- did you install the tweeters yourself?
So, the other day I went to a wonderful local audio dealer to audition the Harbeth 7es3 and SHL5's. They were hooked up to a Line Magnetic 501 integrated, with an LM cd player and several turntables, including Well Tempered.
This dealer was perfect inasmuch as he never tried to sell me on any one thing, instead listening along with me through my selections and engaging in inspiring and evocative discussion between tracks.
The SHL5's were first. They were startlingly warm and transparent (as promised by just about every review) - the highs and mids shimmered and the nuances in cd's and lp's from Anne Hills, Jean-Luc Ponty, Nick Drake, the Yellowjackets, Josh Rouse, and The National came through. I did indeed hear parts of the music I hadn't really noticed before. Cymbal hits were beautifully clear; guitar strings vibrated and quavered; keys and piano swelled and enveloped me in a thin sonic embrace.
Next up were the smaller but punchier 7es3's. These were more rock-oriented speakers; their bass deeper and heavier without being swampy; heir mids more pronounced; heir presence less ethereal than the SHL5's. A delightful monitor.
And when I got home that evening, I mixed a drink and played some of the same recordings through my de Capo i's Driven by an LSA Statement integrated in which I tube rolled Amperex 7308's in the input stage, and fed by a Rotel 1072 cd and, admittedly the weak link, a Pro-Ject 5.1SE tt (but I'm new at vinyl and didn't want to invest too much at first in case I didn't take to it), the de Capo's proved simply they were the better monitor.
Maybe it's the superior performance of the LSA, one of the better integrated out there, but the de Capo's presented the music better. They weren't as transparent as the SHL5's, but they conveyed the music with more authority and personality. Drums were fantastically real in a way that neither Harbeth could do; and Stanley Clark's bass on the Rites of String cd was much more focused and visceral.
I had been toying with selling my de Capo's and getting a pair of Harbeths, but that's no longer a thought. The de Capo's are here to stay, with the only change being the beryllium tweeter when i'm financially ready to do so.
Glad you are enjoying yours, Simao. Harbeth has a large and loyal following so that's quite a testimonial.
I ordered my BE tweeters last week from Tash and they'll ship out tomorrow. I'll likely hit up one of you for guidance and advice on how to install them if that's okay?
My new (used) decapo's are in the mail to me
Anybody have feedback on the phase plug for the woofer? Including the sound changes and perhaps LOE for the install?
I had the Cherry Red Decapo-i and got the itch to upgrade to the BE tweeter however since I am outside US the cost of shipping the tweeter would be too costly so I sold off the Cherry Red Decapo and got the latest Decapo-i BE.
It is still burning 40 hours in fact but is already showing its strengths from the old version.
More reviews to come!
Question: what's the best way you've found to burn in the new tweeters?
I talked to the Ref 3A people about upgrading my woofers with the cones. i would have to send them back and it ran about 100/woofer. its not dyi like the tweeters they have to cut the phase plug off and attach
I bought the Decapo's 3a BE's a year ago and they are just great! A pain in the ass to break in, (they are a little bright in the begining and they are not as easy to set up as everybody would like us to believe (room placement really makes a profound difference-you can get good sound with little thought, but great sound with some work). Also I started with very good solid state (Pass30.5) and moved to tubes (Audio Space 300B Mono's) and there was a significant improvement with sound stage and instrument tonality. You know the Decapos are a great investment. They just keep getting better and better as you upgrade the signal you send them.
Finally got around to soldering in the beryllium tweeters last night and tightened in everything. Will be breaking them in over the week. Update towards the end of the week.
Looking forward to your impressions!
Simao it would be great to know exactly what the BE tweeter brings to this speaker.
I agree with you Charlie, placement makes a profound difference to this speaker. You have to experiment a lot.
So - a brief update:
When the BE tweeters came in, they were already wired - as in, wires already soldered to the positive and negative leads on the driver itself. Hmm. I called Tash and he said once I took out the original tweeter, II could take off the terminal plate on the speakers and remove the wires from the capacitors and terminal connections inside.
No thanks. After taking off one speaker's terminal plate and seeing the admittedly minimal innards of a de Capo (thanks to the lack of a crossover, no doubt), I still didn't want to risk screwing something up - which I know I would have. I even was neurotic about moving the internal baffling too much.
Instead, I unsoldered the new wires from the BE tweeters and then soldered the existing internal wiring onto the leads of the new tweeters.
They have about 20 or 25 hours or so on them, not really close to the 150 Tash recommends. But I haven't had time nor energy to do a lot of listening this month. I haven't noticed too much a difference yet; they're not overly bright or harsh, though there does appear some clipping on particularly taxing treble parts (vocal layers on Joni Mitchell's "Court and Spark" cd; same with vocals on Dusty SPringfield's "Memphis" cd), though I don't know if this is due to the new tweeters, my amp, or the recording.
I'll give a more detailed and finalized review once I have enough hours on them to make one.
I love my De Capo BE so much. Anyone who listened to my place cannot say anything negative about it. It simply allowed them to be drawn to the music not the setup.