Talon Khorus question

Why is it that there are so many Talon Khoruses being put on sales at such very low price, around 5,000-6000 USD. All of them seemed to be very new(less than 2 years) or even brand new. Is there something that seriously bother the owners of these supposely fine speakers?
I assume you are asking this question out of genuine curiosity (as opposed to, say, trying to discredit Talon products by posting an improper implication out of some unstated and self-serving interest). So I will give you some of my thoughts on your question. Up front I will say I am not affiliated in any way with Talon or any Talon dealer. I too have been a little puzzled by the recent Khorus sale prices since this speaker lists for $12600-14000 new (depending on when they were bought, finish, etc.). There is, however, a very high mark-up on most high-end gear (Talon or otherwise), and I see a lot of different speakers, amps, etc. selling for 50% or so of MSR (even new stuff like Genesis speakers and SF preamps being offered here on Audiogon). Thus, the handful of recent Khorus prices don't strike me as that unusual, especially for used/demo gear. I haven't seen any Khorus selling for $5000 as you claim, but I have seen some pairs selling for between $5800(firm) and $7500 over the past few months. Two or three of these were dealer demos, presumably being sold cheap to clear out last year's stock. I think there was also a dealer's dutch auction for two pairs of Khorus a few weeks ago, but as you know auction prices are not good indicators of fair-market value (especially for esoteric hi-fi gear). A few other Khoruses appeared to be offered for sale by private owners. I bought one of those pairs after a 4 hour audition. The seller told me his wife had found out how much spent on the speakers and when she got PO'ed, he had to sell them quickly. I'll add that I originally went to audition this person's Talon Roc subs and wasn't interested in buying the Khorus. But after spending a few hours with the Khorus I found they were much better in almost every respect than the speakers I had been using (Martin Logan reQuests). Therefore, I bought the Khorus along with the Rocs. I can't explain the other Khorus prices since I don't have enough info about the condition of the speakers, seller's motives, etc. My guess would be Talon is a new company, and people are hesitant to lay out a lot of cash for a product that hasn't yet been reviewed by one of the major rags. Accordingly, the audio-nervosas who bought last year's "hot product" and want to move on to something else this year are probably having to sell them cheap because the demand for the Khorus hasn't grown that strong yet. When demand goes up, as I'm sure it will, the prices will surely rise. There is also the possibility that the .com crash has forced some people to sell some of their newly aquired gear at a loss. Another factor could be the Khorus' glacially slow break-in -- a few of the Khorus owners may not have had the patience to wait 500 hours for these speakers to get into their true form. I've also noticed the Khorus are very sensitive to what feeds them; perhaps one or two people selling their Khorus may have found these speakers didn't work well in their systems, so they decided to sell the speakers rather than swap-out other components. In any case, I've had my Khorus for several months now, they're broken-in, and I think they are exceptional. I haven't noticed anything "wrong" with them, but I have notice a lot that's "right" with them -- particularly their ability to resolve low-level details (far better than the electrostatic reQuests, touted to be a "high resolution transducer" by ML), their bass performance, their sound-stage width, depth and layering (even with casual speaker placement), and their overall "naturalness" (for lack of a better word). They have speed and detail without being aggressive or dry. I will say their top end sounds a little different from other high-end speakers I've spent time with (ML, Dunlavy, Theil, B&W,...), and it took me a little while to get used to this. To my ears, the Khorus AT FIRST sounded ever so slightly "damped" (again for lack of a better word) in the top end. They never sounded rolled-off or slow up top. In fact, the Khorus are more detailed across the spectrum than any speaker I've owned or auditioned. Instead, it seemed as if the Khorus was muting the very last ring of decaying cymbals (even though the cymbals sounded just right otherwise). This could be partly or wholey gear-related; I haven't tried changing cables or other gear yet from my ML setup. Even so, after a few weeks of intensive listening, I didn't notice this any more. In fact, now the Khorus' top end sounds very natural to me, and I've come to savor the silence they cast between notes. This seems to be an experience shared by some of the others who have owned or audutioned the Khorus. For instance, there were two reviews of the Khorus by people at StereoTimes.com, and I believe both reviewers noted what they called a slight lack of top end "air" (not exactly what I'd call it, but it gets at the same quality). I understand both reviewers ended up buying the Khoruses they reviewed to serve as their reference speakers. If there were anything "seriously" wrong with the Khorus, I think these skilled reviewers would have uncovered it (they certainly wouldn't have bought these speakers). Soundstage.com also reviewed the Khorus very favorably and found no short-comings. In addition, Harmonic Technologies used the Khorus to demonstrate their top-line cables (Magic?) at CES this year. HT cables are revealing, and HT surely would not have chosen to use the Khorus to promote HT products if these speakers had any short-comings. I also understand Jeff Rowland -- who makes some exquisite amps -- uses the Khorus as his reference speaker (I haven't confirmed this). All of these folks have high-trained ears, they have all undoubtedly auditioned many different high-end speakers, and they all surely have had the opporunity to buy other speakers in the Khorus' price range (and beyond). I doubt these people have all overlooked "something seriously wrong" with the Khorus. In any case, I think the Talon Khorus are wonderful, and in my humble opinion if you can buy a pair for $6k that would be a steal (no, mine aren't for sale). They're not perfect, but they are as close as I have gotten in my home. These days, I actually can't wait to get home from work so I can power them up. No speaker has had this effect on me before. And isn't this what it's all about? Of course, this is only my limited experience. I know everyone has a different set of ears and a different set of sound qualities they seek in audio gear. I too would like to hear from the handful of "former" Khorus owners to hear why they decided to sell. And maybe some of the other "still" Khorus owners can tell us what the like and don't like about these "supposedly fine speakers." Don
Wow, Don your long essay really touched me. I mean it.
First of all, let me clarify myself. I was asking the question out of my curiosity. I am from Bangkok, Thailand, the land of SMILES. The first time I learned of the Talon was from STEREO TIMES raved review. I was very excited because the reviewer regarded the Talon as revolutionary and compared them with speakers several times their price. Later on, Soundstage also had another positive review, although not to the same degree as STEREO TIMES. However, I found there were some controversies regarding the technological breakthrough cited by Talon. Something about the super low distortion and super fast drivers I don't want to go into details. If you search the topic "Talon Khorus" from Audioasylum.com(speaker asylum) you may find a very long and tense discussions there.
I never heard the Talon because there is no such product in my country. However, upon looking from the ad in Audiogon during the past months I have been very curious. The asking prices were usually less than half the new(around 6000vs14000). If the reasons behind the sales were as per your saying, I would love to buy too and may be buy many for resales in my country.
So Don, I appreciate you considerable time in answering my question. I think I get a very good idea on how the Talon sounds. Maybe better than Stereo Times and Soundstage, even.
If in the future, I have a chance to purchase the Talon, I hope to share my experience with you again.
Happy listening.
Interesting question, but it is not limited to Talon Khorus. Occassionally, there will be a glut of a particular item on the used market purely by coincidence. This has the effect of driving the prices way down. After most of the items have been sold, the prices usually come back up. As an example, I bought a BAT VK5i about 6 months ago for $2200. At that time, that was a decent deal. When I put mine up for sale 1 month ago(to upgrade to VK50SE), there were 7 units on Audiogon. Some people are more desperate than others and drop their prices. Some were sold for as low as $1850. However, there are fewer on the market now and I can afford to wait to get my asking price which is fair. My recommendation, take advantage of the gluts.
Suchtan, I read the threads on Audio Asylum. They were quite contreverisial. Reviewers and users were saying the speaker sounded like heaven, but the measurements looked like hell. However, if you read the posts all the way through you will find out that the problem was that the speaker that was measured at the NRC was broken! One of the solder leads had come off of the internal woofer. That is why the measured response is sooooo terrible. Talon has put NRC measurements of a properly working Khorus on their web site.
Well,I'm not from Bankok,and I'll bet I'm one of MANY who are just as curious as Suchtan.And for most of the same reasons.Yes many of the 10k and above speaker mfg s make you think their speakers are the best thing since sliced bread.There are many tempting brands, in the 6/7k range at the used sites here. Karma,Von Schweikert,Vandy 5(7&1/2k)Halles Tr 8s Montana esp s. Talons better than all these?
I own a pair of broken-in Khorus', and my experience with them mirrors Don's above. When I first fired them up, within a minute I turned to my friend sitting next to me and said, "They sound dampened." Obviously Don has had the same experience. What I've come to realized, as he did, is that the speakers lack the "halo" around the music (as first mentioned in Stuart McCreary's Stereo Times review). It's like listening to music in front of a jet black backdrop (if your other equipment is up to the task). It does take a little getting used to, but it quickly grows on you. I've found the treble to be very detailed and not at all rolled off. The Khorus' are a very detailed speaker with the tightest, most detailed low end I've ever heard. Music just has more texture to it. My previous speakers were NHT 3.3's, and I've auditioned a number of higher end designs from Martin Logan, B&W, Linn and others. As mentioned, they are very sensitive to associated equipment and cables. I switched a pair of interconnects once, and it was almost like changing a preamp or other component. And this is from a guy who had been skeptical about the differences mere interconnects could make. I'm a believer now. In short, I've found the Khorus' have delivered on their promise and left me very satisfied.
I am one of the lucky ones who have picked up the khorus's at the "used " market price. I have been totally touchred by the performance of these speakers. I had compared against B&W, Theil (7.2) , Audio Physics and have found nothing that compares to the lifelike presentation these reveal. The break in is critical and I believe most are not patient enough to burn them in properly. The speakers are the best I have ever had and I anxiously await coming home to crank these up and enjoy what I find to be the best music I have ever listened to. The Orchard bay Spikes designed for these are definitely recommended and combined with good gear literrally out class anything I have ever heard. The used market prices are like the stock market, and if you can take advantage of acquiring as such is nothing short of a good value! I could go on and on about their merits, but will simply close by saying that These are as good as it gets with the current technology deployed in high end speaker systems!!
Metaphysics -- randomness is clumpy, and this could indeed explain it. Avguygeorge -- I never claimed the Talons are better than any particular speaker. In my post above (apologies for the pedantry), you'll see that I only said I've found the Khorus do some things "right" and some things better than my last speaker (ML reQuest). I can't answer your question about whether the Khorus is "better" than the other speakers you listed. I've heard some of them but not all. As you know, each speaker has its own personality: What's "best" for one person won't necessarily be "best" for someone else. I personally crave speed, detail, and a holographic soundstage; the Khorus satisfy this craving better than any other speaker I've owned (including Martin Logan and Dunlavy) or auditioned. Some people don't like revealing speakers, and prefer a more forgiving or warm personality. For them, the Vandersteen 5 might be a "best" choice. Others may crave a slam speaker, and there are several excellent speakers that have more slam than the Khorus, and so on. For this reason, I don't think there is an overall "best" speaker out there. Music is just too personal. In any case, the Khorus is best for my present tastes, and this is what I was trying to convey in my response to Suchtan's question. Suchtan -- Thank you for the nice complement. I've heard Thailand is beautiful, and I would like to visit there someday. I hope some of the wild places and remarkable bird species are still left when I get a chance to travel around to that side of the planet. It's a shame you don't have the opportunity to audition the Khorus. As Avguygeorge cautioned, you shouldn't let manufacturer hyperbole influence your decision (all manufacturers hype their gear to some extent and cast it in the most favorable light). Do the Khorus represent a quantum leap in technology? I don't know. I think Talon is doing something right because the Khorus manage to do so many things so well. Are they faster than electrostatics? Can't answer this either. The Khorus do sound very fast. The Khorus' bass is decidedly faster and more detailed than the reQuest and other speakers I've heard. In the upper mid-range and top end, I'd say the Khorus and electostatics are comparably fast, though the Khorus is definitely more detailed there and seems to stop quicker (don't know how). In the lower half of the mid-midrange, I'd say the Khorus sounds a tad slower than the panels, but the Khorus are still very fast and IMHO are more detailed than the electrostats in this part of the spectrum too. In any case, if you want to know whether the Khorus might suit your tastes, I would suggest seeing if you can find somewhere to audition some of the more popular fast and detailed speakers like ML (or other electrostatics), Dunlavy, Thiel, or Joseph Audio. (I would caution that the Khorus are a bit warmer, more polite, and less analytical than some of these designs.) If you like this kind of sound reproduction, I think the Khorus would be a great buy at $6000-8000. However, I'm just one data point. As noted, each person has different ears and tastes, so you should read as many different objective reviews of the Khorus -- from people who have actually owned or spent time with them -- to help give you an overall sense of how they perform and what you can expect. It sounds like you are already doing this, and inquiring on Audiogon should give you some additional perspectives and a larger sample of informed data points (e.g., from Macm and Slagletj) to help you make a decision. Good luck on your quest. Don
Thanks for the additional info, Djjd. Based on my long-term memory, I was thinking electrostats might have a slight edge in the quickness department, but you would know better than I, having living with ML. Perhaps the Khorus' smoothness belies their speed. I agree that they are a little laid back, but I wouldn't call their sound warm (in my system, that is). But I can see how some who like a more "visceral" sound might think the Khorus' are a bit too smooth and polite. For those who've not heard the Khorus', if you're familiar with the sound of Sennheiser HD600 headphones, you have some idea of the laid back quality the Khorus' possess. Plenty of detail, but absolutely no harshness at all. I hope some of the comments posted here by Khorus owners help assauge the concerns I've read on the web that Talon doesn't live up to its billing. I can't vouch for the "100 times faster than traditional drivers" claim, but there is definitely something special going on here. Certainly worth an audition if you get the chance. I should add that Talon has an "X" version of the Khorus coming out soon. The changes will be cosmetic (and a heavier cabinet), with a MSRP of $18k. That may help explain why dealers and others have been selling theirs.
Macm, I concur with your assessment (I also have HD600's and have noticed some similarity). It was quite a change for me to go from the in-your-face ML sound to the more laid-back Khorus sound. However, I do find the music to be more relaxing and enjoyable now, and I can listen to (and appreciate) recordings that sounded too aggressive on the MLs. I wasn't suggesting the Khorus is a "warm" speaker by any stretch, just that it sounds a little warmer to me than some of the detailed but dry-sounding speakers. It was a relative comparison. In particular, in my system the midbass through midrange of the Khorus is harmonically richer than the MLs, without sounding unnaturally lush or gooey. (Ditto for the HD-600s.) The music seems more complete to me now, though it's still not "warm" in an absolute sense. As for speed, my ability to resolve subtle differences in transients is based on a pretty course filter: very slow, slow, moderate, fast, very fast. Most sharp transients (rim shots, woodblocks, initial pick of a guitar string, etc.) sound "very fast" to me on both the Khorus and ML. The only speed differences I hear are mainly in the bass (Khorus "very fast" v. ML "moderate") and lower mids (ML a notch faster or at least more vivid). Overall the Khorus sounds fast across the spectrum, while the MLs slow down near the bottom. If you don't mind my asking, what cables have you tried and which are you currently using with your Khorus? Don
I've own the Khorus for over 5 months. They replaced the so called Sterephile Speaker of the Year, Eggleston Andras. As soon as I uncarted them and listened to my reference recordings, I knew I made the right choice. Don's discription of the speaker is right on. When I replaced my Bel Canto Evo with the Aloia Inductive amp/preamp, I really got to hear the bass speed, extension, and depth these speakers are really capable of. In addition, the midrange body/image bloom was enhanced significantly - they are sensitive to system components and set-up. Audio Tekne cables work well with these speakers also. To really make them sing I'm told that the Sistrum Platform works better than the Orchard Bay (on order, I have the polished Aluminum spikes). Why are people selling? One guy who has an axe to grind starts saying they lack this or that. People with lots of money to burn listen to this garbage and go off thinking they are going to upgrade their speakers when they really should spend the time optimizing their set-up or auditioning electronics that fit their tastes better. SACD audio and Talon are matched well. BTW - I don't work for Talon. I'm an engineer for Motorola.
Gentlemen, many thanks for all the illuminating comments. I didn't expect such an overwhelming responses from my question. There is a strong possibility that I will take the plunge on the Talon soon. Right now in our country we have outstanding speakers on sales such as the Watt/puppies 6, the Amarti Homage, the Jm Lab Utopia and of course the Martin Logan Prodigy. Not to mention the Eidolon from Avalon, Revel Ultima Salon, even the Soundlab M1s. None of these speakers(except may be the M1s which I haven't heard) can top my Genesis2 which I have been acquiring for about five years. But that wouldn't be fair because the Genesis is in another price range altogether. I just have a feeling that if the Talon can be competitive in these group of speakers I mentioned above at the price I can find on the Audiogon, I may have a good opportunity to introduce them among my big group of audiophile friends.
By the way, if any of you guys, especially Don, have a chance to visit Thailand, you are very welcome to contact me at least for a big dinner and probably visiting my dedicated listening room.
All the best to you all.
Suchart Tan
(my actual name is Suchart)
I was just hunting for our name on the 'net and came across the posting that listed Jeff Rowland Design Group as using Talons as our reference in the sound room. That's partially correct. We use them as A reference, though not THE reference. Because we haven't found the perfect loudspeaker in any form or fashion, we have a number of different loudspeakers at the factory that we have at our disposal for testing and evaluation purposes. We also have many that we can bring from or use at home as well. Some are a little more transparent, some faster and more dynamic, some more detailed, etc. As a manufacturer, we need to be able to evaluate our own designs rather than the sound produced by a single system - listening on a single system will only tell us about the compatibility or synergy our products have with a select or specific few. Our goal is to try to build products that will perform exceptionally well for you when you get home regardless of what you connect them to, so we try to use as many different associated components as possible (speakers, cables, digital, analog, etc.) to get as much variance as is realistically feasible.

Thanks -

Rich, that's a sensible approach and it seems to be working very well for JRDG. Thanks for clarifying. Suchart, I'm surprised there are so many exceptional speakers available over there. The shipping cost and mark-up must be staggering! If/when I get the chance to visit Thailand, I'm going to hold you to your generous offer. And if you ever get a chance to visit Wyoming, USA, I'll extend the same to you. Don
It would be my real pleasure to welcome you, Don. I can imagine we would have a lot of a good and long conversation together. And many thanks for your kind offer too.
Don--Thanks again. Yours is the only review I've found that compares the Khorus' with electrostats. Very interesting. To answer your question, the only two cables I've tried are Harmonic Technology Truth Link XLR's and Pro-Silway Mk II XLR's. The Truth Link's sound rich and warm, but the highs were rolled off, and overall, it made the speakers somehow sound like they needed further breaking-in. Switching to the Pro-Silway Mk II's opened things up and added increased detail and sparkle to the high frequencies. The warmth disappeared, but the music sounds very natural and open. I'm also using HT's Pro-9 Plus speaker cables. BTW, I visited Talon's factory last year when I happened to be in Salt Lake City on a trip, and they said that Harmonic Technology and Anaylsis Plus are two cables that they recommend. They also are developing their own line of cables with Shunyata (sp? ). Haven't heard any of their stuff, though.
Don & others, are you using silver cables? I've got Talon's Khite and ROC and I'm going to replace my cables now and have had some folks recommend all silver ICs, everything to get all the detail to the speakers. THoughts?

Excellent idea Kevin. I used an Audio Magic Clairvoyant, {silver ribbon} power cord on my souce component while driving the Khorus's and it worked wonders, rendering tighter image focus, rock solid bass and terrific extension up top. Definitely, I'd recommend others try some top quality silver cables, like SilverSmith, and Audio Magic with the Talons and report their findings.
Macm and Kevin - I'm currently using Cardas Golden Cross speaker cables. I also have a pair of Talon speaker cables (can't remember what they call this cable, the Helix or something -- they aren't labeleled; each cable consists of ten separately-insulated copper strand wires braided inside a black woven sheath). Not bad for a newcomer, though the GC seemed to me to be a bit richer and had better bass performance. Concerning Macm's experience with the HT Truth Link, I had a very similar experience with MIT 330+ II's -- they make the Khorus sound a little rolled-off and a little soft and less clear in the mids (like more break-in is needed). Not surprising since the Truth-Link and 330's have some similar sound qualities. The 330's did provide respectable detail, imaging and soundstage (though I suspect this would probably be the case with any decent cable used with the Khorus). The only other cables I've tried with these Khorus are Analysis Plus ICs -- a bit clearer and more extended up top, but not quite as rich or warm in the mids (relative to 330's). Still more enjoyable than the MITs. I have been wanting to try the HT Pro-Silway II ICs with the GC SCs to see if I can get more sparkle up top without sacraficing any richness in the mids. The Harmonic Technology Magic series must also work well with the Khorus since HT used this set-up at CES. (Did anyone get to hear this arrangement?) I've also heard Synergistic Research Designer Ref cables work very well with the Khorus, though they're a bit pricey. Mikeg - Thanks for the Aloia and Audio Tekne tip. I'll see if I can find somewhere to audition these products. I've been wanting to check out the Aloia stuff anyway. To all - please keep me posted on what cable configs and other gear you find to work best in your systems. Don
I would put Audio Tekne (spk and ic), Analysis Plus Silver Oval (spk cable), Harmonic Magic Woofer (spk and ic), Acoustic Zen (spk and ic) and Silversmith (spk and ic) on the audition list for the Khorus. The Audio Tekne I'm using replaced Siltech spk and Nirvana ic.
I think you guys have the right idea with the silver cables. The Khorus speaker is so glare and haze free on the top end that you can go for all the top-end extension and detail you can get. Cable and IC combinations that might make me cringe with other speakers, sound great on the Khorus. I'm using the Acoustic Zen IC's and Analysis Plus Silver speaker cables (shotgun)with very good results. The cable sensitivity of these speakers is extraordinary. The Analysis Plus Oval Nine (copper) cable that sounded great on a few other loudspeakers I had in for review, was absolutely horrible on the Khorus - nothing but fat mid-bass and overblown mids. I put in the AP Silver Oval and it's like a completely different speaker.

Stu McCreary
Stuart--Have you ever auditioned the Pro-Silways Mk II's with the Khorus'? Just curious how they compare with what you're using. I had heard the Analysis Silver Ovals were very detailed but a little light in the bass. I agree the Khorus' allow you to go for max detail without worrying about excessive harshness or edge, but I would be concerned about sacrificing some richness and bass authority. Thanks to everyone for their recommendations. I thought I was done cable shopping, but I may have spoken too soon.