Talon Khorus with no soundstage?

Recently I've been auditioning a system that consists of all Electrocompaniet components and Talon Khorus speakers.
The amplifiers are a pair of AW180MBs.

It seemed that the sound was residing inside speaker cabinets and did not go outside. It's like you place one part of orchestra or band inside one speaker cabinet and another part into another cabinet and let them play.

The rest of auditioned components are: EMC-1, EC4.7
I did not pay attention to interconnects and tweaks but if my eye doesn't lie I saw Nordost Valhalla as a speaker cable.

I'm not a pro in accoustics but the only thing I know that original soud wave travels to our ear before the reflected one. That's why I think that soundstage in %$16k speaker must be present even in the wrong room.

Can it be other components?
Please, share your thoughts.
I own peregrine X speakers and they are some of the most open sounding (if not the most open) i have ever heard. Maybe they were not fully broken in yet? I dont know... also the source components you heard are a bit better than mine as well. I dont know why they sounded bad, its worth another audition, but trust me the hype is true. Unbelievable products from talon....
Dont underestimate the room. It is as important as the speakers themselves. Maybe even the placement of the speakers? I have never heard the speakers you have mentioned but I have never not been able to get a pair of speakers to image well.
While not having heard these speakers, I can relate to you that I heard a pair of the $22,000 Sonus Faber Amati Heritages sound worse than a boombox, thin and as though one speaker was not connected, being driven by top of the line Krell electronics at a local dealer. The sole culprit was a sonically terrible, small room which had reflections everywhere and could not hold any bass due to its flimsy construction. Possible that it was the culprit in your case? Sure sems like it to me from your description.
quote: I'm not a pro in accoustics but the only thing I know that original soud wave travels to our ear before the reflected one. That's why I think that soundstage in %$16k speaker must be present even in the wrong room.

i totally agree but speaker placement will make a huge difference regardless of the quality of the speakers. room acoustics are just a sad fact of life. otherwise, we'd all shove our high-end speakers into the back wall or some out of the way corner.

i would bet that the talons will image the hell out you if you get them broken in and set-up correctly.
The February 2001 stereotimes.com has a detailed (and entertaining!) article about break-in of the Talon Khorus... what you describe may be normal for the Khorus when it hasn't been broken-in.
I owned the Talon Khorus. The imaging of that speaker is one of the best things they do. But they have a very long break-in period...up tp 500 hours of music playback. Until then, the sound is very closed in and boxy. Leave for a week or more and leave your stereo playing. That's what I had to do to accomplish the break in. I also owned the EMC-1, and I know it soundstages very well also. If there is a component in the chain that is suspect in performance, it would be your pre-amp. I have never heard the 4.7, but a dealer friend who sells Electrocompaniet has told me in the past that their pre-amps are not very good compared to others in the same price range.
I have had the exact same system that you auditioned including the Vahalla cables in the showroom. If you were listening to the original Khorus the actual total break in period is 3000 hours I have had plenty of them in here playing 24 hours a day. Yet after just a few hundred hours they should have started sounding holographic. Although the preamp is the weakness of the system you still should have been impressed if not amazed. I wonder if the speakers had enough toe in? They should be pointed right at you, also if they are too close to a back wall you lose a great deal of the soundstaging. The new Khorus X burn in totally within 500 hours. The speaker is magic! Also coming from Talon the new Raven which looks very much like the old Khorus at an unreal price of $5000 - $6000. They do everything in house now and the speaker is awesome!
...and now I've got the idea!
Thanks to Garys. I've read the article about "entertaining break-in Khorus advanture" and understood that the dealer that showed me that set-up couldn't do the same since He lives in the building and couldn't put them on 110dB coutinuous level.
BTW I have some hard core industrial tech CD that has tracks with freequencies bellow 50Hz.
Will such bass-turbation make a break-in time faster?
Put everything aside and trust your ears. I believe what you heard is what you get. I have heard this speaker and was amazed at the lack of upper mids and imaging from a 14K speaker. This year in May, I heard the new X version, sound was the same but the price increased a couple thousand dollars. Their claim to fame seems to be that they are the fastest speaker on the planet. While I don't know about their speed or how to even measure it, I can tell you that they have very muddy mids that never seem to open up.
With so many great speakers out there I don't know why anyone would waste their time wasting the Talon. The only thing I noticed about how "fast" they are is the speed with which the price on the net dropped from $15000 to under $5000.
This is a speaker that is fundamentally flawed, the midrange is reticent making and the highs unrevealing it is not a coherent speaker. I have heard the X version and heard no improvement except for some rather gaudy cosmetic ecroutements.
It seems a little dishonest to blame such gross flaws in soundstaging on what is a very capable preamp from EC, perhaps to increase the reputation of a product you do sell at the expense of one that you don't.
I also question a company that say its speakers need 300 hours of breaking in, do you realize that is 125 days of continous high volume play. For a $16000 or a $160 speaker this is a completely unreasonable form of torture to make a customer suffer through especially when the result fall well short of Nirvana and after the cops have been over every night for four months. I suppose they realized this finally and chopped the last zero off, an easier sell?
DML1 the above poster said it well "Trust your ears!" if it sounds like $@#* it probably is $%@# or if it needs 300(0) hours of breakin, a perfect room, a paricular pre, 16 grand and ears of lead then count me out.
I have equipment far worse than what you heard and my talon peregrine Xs disappear. I have compared them to wilson 6s, utopias,temptations and confidence 5s and believe me these speakers are right up there with them, if not better. Well better in some regards but worse than in others. But then again they only cost 9500.00 so who can blame them. Anyways, their imaging is incredible. You can stare right at the speaker but the voice is not coming from it, its coming from the middle. I dont know how that happens but it just does. Talon is for real.........
Just one remark on Chelilingworth's math: 300 hours divided by 24 equals 12.5 days not 125.
I owned a pair of Talon Khorus for eight months. I would describe the soundstage of the Khorus as similar to Spendors. Very coherent, but not location-specific.

The speakers have their strengths, but also some serious weaknesses. The primary problem is the above-mentioned problem with the midrange. A Tact RCS showed a huge suckout in the midrange that seemed related to cabinet vibrations. I put the speakers up on Sistrum platforms to reduce cabinet resonances and it helped, but could not fix the problem. The Sistrum stands add at least two inches to the overall speaker height and throw off the listening position. They also gouge the bottoms of the speakers. In the end, I could only run the speakers if I used a Tact for correction, an extremely expensive band-aid for supposedly $14k speakers. When Talon decided to manufacture their own in-house cabinetry I believe they actually solved the cabinet resonance problems and that is the 'big improvement' with the new Talon X. Aside from the cabinet, Talon told me there are no other changes to the speaker.

The low resale price pretty much reflects what all buyers eventually discover - these are not $14k speakers, but are $5k speakers being sold for $14k. Constant back-dooring at the factory certainly didn't help the used price either.

My overall experience with the Talons left a bad taste. They are a product of reviewer hype and I would recommend against buying them.
You should trust your ears, but also the opinion of people who have experience in owning this speaker, and have witnessed the changes that break-in time makes. I didn't hear them at a show or in a showroom somewhere. I owned them for about a year, and can tell you first hand what happens with break-in time. You have also now read an article about it by a professional reviewer. Want further proof? E-mail Stu McCreary of P{ositive Feedback magazine. He walked me through my intial concerns about the muddy midrange and vague soundstage by informing me of the long break-in time. There may still be threads discussing this on Audiogon. I don't think the Khorus is a perfect speaker, and I sold mine some time ago. But soundstaging is not the problem with it.

I believe it is a credible product, but I agree that $14000. may be high. The issue I had with the speaker was that it was somnewhat dark sounding and lacking high level detail. This sound may work in some systems. I also wasn't pleased with the cabinet finish, which I guess has improved (although I don't care for the cosmetics of the Khorus X. We call it the Speak-inator).

It's easy to get a pair of Khorus for $5000. used. Incidentally, I received mine in trade for some other speakers. The previous owner also failed to wait for the Talons to break-in. I was not at all impressed with them initially, and had to read all the threads about the speaker before trading. Regarding your last inquiry about using a break-in CD...I didn't and they broke in at medium sound levels. It just takes longer.

Regarding your pre-amp, I did not say that your pre-amp is your problem, but I don't think it's up to the quality of the rest of your equipment. The sound you are getting from the Khorus is exactly what I heard from the speakers before break-in. If you don't want to put the time into breaking the speakers in, that's your business.

I don't know why the Talon Khorus is such a controversial speaker, but every thread about it draws a lot of negativity. Anybody want to address that?
The last issue of Ultimate Audio thought they were the greatest speaker made and look where Ultimate Audio is now . Good thread Octopus enough said.

Glreno, No disrespect intended but exactly what is it that you don't understand? Based on my own observations, (I owned the speaker for 9 months)and those of several others above, the speaker has some serious faults. The loss I took selling mine also left a very bad taste in my mouth. As Octopus mentioned above, at best, its a $5K speaker selling for $14K. I can't think of any other product that drops in value as much as these speakers. How do do account for the drop in value?
The negative feedback is a positive sign. If Talon speakers were not viewed as a threat to customers, dealers, and manufacturers defending their own speakers, they would not write a single word in response.

As for the low price of the Khorus', Talon has been selling the Khorus' for 2 years. They were initially $12,600/pr and were raised a year later to $14,000/pr. (We have since recognized that we should have changed model names with the price increase.) So a pair of $12.6K Khorus' were sold for $5-6K, which in turn lowered the selling price of the $14K Khorus'. This reflect a 35-45% resell price ratio. While we do not like this, it is the norm for speakers that have been discontinued and are selling on Audiogon. You can purchase a pair of Wilson Watt Puppy V.1 for under $7K which reflects a 35% ratio as well. The internet has really helped the budding audiophiles buy for less.

While we did make some direct sales our first year(we did not have dealers, what do you do?), and we sold some demo speakers through our dealers at lower prices, we have since been loyal to our dealer network. Dealers are an integral part in the purchase of our speakers. Their are quite a few tricks to setting up a system to fully extrapolate our speaker's attributes.

We admit that we have gone through growing pains at Talon and were not prepared for the amount of positive press that would drive sales the first year. This placed us in the spotlight more than we had planned on with our original products. We have since introduced our X series and 2002 series with cabinets that are built in-house with much higher quality construction, as well as great improvements to their sonics. We have also siginificantly reduced the amount of break-in time(now 100 hours) by burning in the drivers at the factory and utilizing other techniques as well. We are very confident that our new speakers are worth every penny of their retail price.

As for the problems that were initially addressed, I would suspect that the system was improperly set-up. Break-in can cause a "murky" midrange, flattened bass and a forward upper treble, but if the sound is staying in the speakers, it is most likely phase. Either a speaker cable is not properly connected or a interconnect was improperly terminated(highly unlikely with Nordost). Other phase issues can occur with improper set-up. Please let me know where you listenedd to this system and have the owner get in touch with me, and we can easily resolve the situation.

Presentation is everything, and sometimes even the best of us are surprised what the real problem was. Just this week I was conversing with a hardcore audiophile manufacturer(he is serious about audio is what this "label" means) who was previously blaming the amplifier and the speakers for lack of oomph. When lo and behold he dropped a new preamp in and BAM!!, the system was great! Things are not always as they seem, that is why we rely on an experienced dealer network to help our customers maximize their performance.

Happy Listening,

Michael Farnsworth
Talon Audio
I am honestly very confused. Can you someone please tell me how negative feedback is positive? Thanks
Good math and bad typing on my part "3000 hrs of break in equals 125 days.

Mr. Farnsworth, I would question your assumption that all of this negative feedback is a good sign. It certainly hasn't raised their stock on the used market. There was someone recently begging for anyone to bid his $4200 reserve to unload his talons, 70% off retail. There were very legitimate problems sonically with the speaker and the back door selling dropped the price to a point where many customers had to take a big loss to get out of a speaker that they couldn't live with. As I said earlier the expectation to have the customer break these things in for 3000hrs is unreasonable and dare I say questionable.
As to the X, I heard it at the Stereophile show. Yes I know that is a compromising situation for speakers but many did a good job. The X's were miserable. Perhaps at a price commensurate with their perfomance they may get some positive buzz.
Mr Farnsworth!
If I were an audio dealer,I would certainly try to bring them to the presentation level(I would want to sell them for suggested retail!) But what will it take from me to have my success to sell them?
I would have to spend 1/3 of the calendar year of continuous break-in on 110dB volume and then spend another 1/2 year to sell them for 1/3 of it's price ?...
Hell wrong! I'll have to spend another $20-25k for sound isolated room while I will break them in + I must be probably using a huge-ball amp do it and pay for it's 24hrs/day current drow...
There are tooo plenty responces so far and I do not think that all of the members who gave a negative feedback had a "wrong setup"
I'm not familiar with technical side of any speaker manufacturing. I do not even exactly know what components of speaker we need to break-in except drivers and crossovers. But can't that be done while the $14k speaker is manufactured if you're so certain that it will sing after 1/3 year of continuous break-in?
I'm not going to say where I've auditioned these speakers, but He was very happy to sell them for $6000 and asked god for it.
Heh! another 02: I wouldn't use them to demo other components -- waste of business!
Talons may well be the most debated speakers on this site, regardless of what else they are said to be the "most" of. However, we need to step out of the extreme statements such as "waste of business!". As well, we need to be more careful about doing a little bit of research before making statements such as: "It seems a little dishonest to blame such gross flaws in soundstaging on what is a very capable preamp from EC, perhaps to increase the reputation of a product you do sell at the expense of one that you don't." (explained below).

But first, let's step back and consider this thread in terms of: what the participants are trying to accomplish, the tone of the "negative feedback", and how it is self defeating.

What is the goal of this thread?
Clearly, some people like the sound of these speakers and some don't, both with a passion. Interestingly, this can be said of a certain amplifier company as well, but that's another mess of threads. Some of the members posting "negative feedback" have additional concerns about practical and monetary considerations. Thus, some members are trying to provide feedback from "the field" as to what can be improved in the manufacturing/distribution/retailing of these speakers. The manufacturer/designer has posted a response here and elsewhere in the past, demonstrating that they are paying attention to the feedback, and stating changes they are making. (stated in whatever "politically correct" manner they felt was appropriate for a business)

Tone and methodology of discussion
Consider that most of the posters here essentially "live" at the Audiogon, or at least visit a LOT. That can be said for most of the posters in this thread, except the two business entities that have posted: a dealer and the manufacturer. Now, consider the fact that these business entities may spend limited time at Audiogon, and sometimes feel dragged in to "defend" themselves. No problem so far, until they are forced to defend themselves against silly statements, or even false ones. For example, one of the statements above is "It seems a little dishonest to blame such gross flaws in soundstaging on what is a very capable preamp from EC, perhaps to increase the reputation of a product you do sell at the expense of one that you don't." (apparently in reference to the post by Sos, a dealer). If the reference is indeed to Sos, then a couple of clicks show that Sos is indeed a dealer for the very preamp mentioned.

So what's the point?
The internet is a bizarre dimension for the high end audio community. Some people are addicted to it, some use it a lot, some would prefer to stay away from it, and for some it has been a negative experience overall. Audiogon and its experienced members should be striving to encourage MORE participation by industry members, not LESS. For example, when manufacturer/designer posts a response, only to be followed by several immediate attacks ("waste of business", etc), it makes one think twice about participating in the future, because they don't have the time to counter each and every point on every message board. While this is also true for any user being "attacked", business entities with limited internet time are the most vulnerable to this type of discouragement. They will simply go away, having learned that participating only tightens the constriction they are feeling.

Please understand that this post has nothing to do with Talon speakers (personally, I prefer a different concept). Perhaps it has something to do with commercialism, about which we make no qualms. But it MOST DEFINITELY has to do with Audiogon's goal to use the internet for the BENEFIT of the high end audio community. The discussion forums are one tool that would be far more useful with the participation of more industry "insiders". I propose that it is the DUTY of the experienced posters here, to be more careful with their statements, and keep in mind who they are aimed at. (a few snide comments to cfb might be acceptable :) but careless statements about business entities are not). A little time and patience before posting would go a long way in this thread's goal: to encourage a builder to discuss the good/bad points with the users of that product.
I have a question for the people who bought the Khorus only to sell them a short time later because they now hated the way the speakers perform.
What did you like about the speakers while auditioning them to make you want to spend up to $14,000.00?
What changed in the speakers performance to make now dislike the sound of the Talons?


I am a Talon dealer, so take what I say with a grain of salt ;-)

For whatever it is worth, I know for a fact that the great majority of people selling their Khorus' was/is to upgrade to the new Khorus X. It has nothing to do with the fact that they dislike the speaker, in fact quite the opposite, they like the Khorus to the point of wanting the X version. FYI...The improvement in the X is just not cosmetic as some have stated, the changes are apparent upon first listen, plus the break-in is ~100 hours, much less than the original...As good as the original Khorus is, the X is better, substantially IMHO).

Best Regards...Mike - Father & Son Audio
While this thread is quite old, I think it deserves a current day perspective. The Talon Khorus came out 10 years ago with high praise from many reviewers who claimed it to have superlative performance and extolled its capabilities as one of the best speakers ever made.

In particular, I reference Stuart A. McCreary, Positive Feedback Magazine from Feb. of 2001.

It turns out that the speaker he reviewed was flawed in design, as was ultimately addressed by the manufacturer of the speaker and the subsequent upgrade to the X-version which was designed to overcome major problems with the speaker.

As time progressed and Talon was bought out by Rives, it was further addressed and publicly stated within the pages of Stereophile magazine that there were basic design flaws. Hence the statement in Stereophile by Rives: The company (Talon, my add) sometimes released speakers before perfecting their designs (eg, the Khorus and Khorus X).

In my opinion, what should be taken from all of this are several things.

The first and most important being that "professional" reviewers are, for whatever reason (you fill in the blank) are either incapable of writing an honest review or incapable of recognizing a good product from a flawed product. I am never sure of the truth.

I do know in the Positive Feedback review, the amplifiers used with the Talon Khorus was the Bel Canto digital amps (also claimed by Positive Feedback to be exemplary). Of course, this all goes back to 2001 and an amp design and amp company that certainly seems to report that the digital/switching amps of that genre were not really ready for prime time (my words). And that audiophiles on this site who do proclaim that the digital amps of current (2011) generation are much, much better than those of 10 years ago. Even these fans of the digital amps clearly agree that the digital amps of 10 years ago were lacking in many, many regards. Yet somehow, Positive Feedback found it compelling to state that they were fantastic.

I don't mean to pick on Positive Feedback exclusively, but come on. In one article they have proclaimed two products to be absolutely outstanding products, capable of world class performance (my summary of their statements).

Yet, just a few years later, the manufacturers of both products had come out and stated that both products were flawed in many regards.

I have come to the conclussion that there are "non-professional" audiophiles on this site that are far and away superior at recognizing sound and performance issues that puts the "professional" reviewers to shame.

Are there those on this site that also use the forums to bash product they don't own or the falsely promote product that they do own? Sure, but these are usually identifiable in the forums, and some members have much better reputations than others do.

Unfortunately, the "professional" reviewers should not be extended this same luxury of making false claims, or worse, being tin-eared. I think few of us still have any respect for the "professional" reviewers and take what they say as much for amusement as anything else. buying something based on a review in Positive Feedback or any other publication is no way to assure the best performance for your dollar spent.
Let me start by Washing you à happy New year 2013..!..cause in Paris (France) we CAN till the 31 first of january.Dear audiophiles if you want to take the full bénéfit of your talon khorus loudspeakers than neverbefore ..CHANGE the TWEETER..Yes you" have" To do it.
Ckoffend, are not all initial product releases somewhat flawed in design? If not,then we would never have a new and improved version of that product every so often.Subsequent manufacturer upgrades on existing products.....is what this hobby is all about.
Let your ears be the judge...