the newer Genesis speakers designed by the former infinity designer Arnold Nudell would probably be better overall especially the crossover region Look at Genesis 300 and above systems. I'm sure Genesis 200 system is better than the IRS V
17 responses Add your response
The IRS V is the real deal. I have heard a stock pair of Genesis 200s and compared to my friend's modified IRS Vs they just didn't convey the same authority and majesty. That could be due to many factors, including differences in the respective equipment and listening rooms, but I still have the distinct gut feeling that the IRS V (especially modded) was the better performer and can still hold its own with anything made today if you have the room for these monsters. The top of the line Genesis (1 or 1.1?) would make for a good comparison, but those are quite costly as well.
That said, some speculate that the ribbon driver in the VMPS RM-40 is a superior driver to the Carver and Infinity ribbons and for their asking price, they may be a good alternative. I was considering getting them until I found out how much they weighed. :)
I would agree with Plato. A few months back I heard a pair of IRS 5's heavily modified in a really well set up room and it wasn't very large either. The mids and highs were driven by Fournier OTL amps and most of the electronics were relatively moderate by the standards of the IRS itself which made the experience all the more remarkable.
All I can tell you is the room wasn't there. I have NEVER heard a speaker disappear like that one. The music was coming from the venue in a way I've never experienced outside a live performance. The best system I've ever heard, bar none.
This particular system was owned by the guy who repairs these behemoths for Lyric. He told me he had over 600 hours of time in rebuilding and modifying the Emit drivers and he repairs speakers for a living! To answer your question, need I say more?
Tubegroover, are you referring to Bill LeGall's pair?
He actually has two pairs in his home. He has put over 1.5 years into each, and I must say that Bill is the most gracious, knowledgeable, thorough, detail oriented person I have come across in audio. He has gone through the speakers from top to bottom. Redoing the drivers(magnets and all), wiring, building his own unique external crossover, and finish. He has taken what was already maybe the finest loudspeaker ever built to such greater heights that it is impossible for me to even think about. One of his pairs was the one referred to at Lyric at the show. I have listened to both pairs, one in the living room, the other in the family room and each is absolutely stunning in every way.
Let me just say something apart from the sound; the finish(14 coats of tung oil! - high gloss indeed) on the pair in the living room(featured at Lyric) is the finest I have encountered on any furniture, absolutely perfect. Furthermore, I am forever endebted to Bill's graciousness and generosity for taking the time to explain to me how to achieve a world class finish. Over the past few weeks, I have used his advice to finish a project I was working on fpr my father. Even a blithering idiot like me achieved a stunning high gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish. Later, I used the same technique to take a piece of a set I previously did myself from so - so to spectacular. Satin is even easier with two less steps.
The funniest thing is that when I called to tell him the results and offer my thanks, he was tried to instead thank me as if I did something of value for him. This is the kind of detail, knowledge, and kindness this man possesses.
I have to admit that in listening to Might Sam McLain, my friend commented to me that it was better than live. I had to agree. Take that comment with the assertion that I have never really heard a set up get really close to live otherwise no matter the cost. I have been around statement loudspeakers from Wilson, Martin Logan, Dynaudio, and many others, but the Infinity are without peer.
Currently, Bill is selling the pair in his family room. If ANYONE at Audiogon has the room and money to go after these, you are missing a real opportunity if you pass these up. He is selling them for a price that which no one would ever believe, less than A LOT of new loudspeaker go for, statement loudspeakers aside.
Sorry I missed your follow-up. Yes indeed it was Bill LeGall's system I heard which was prior to him starting on the pair he had in the Living Room. What I found remarkable about Bill, a genius of sorts, is his intuitive knowledge of what to do to get a particular result. He explaned to me that he doesn't understand himself how this process works other than it is kind of a built in, he just knows. He says he has been like that his whole life so it is more than just experience.
The pair he had in the set-up I heard actually belonged to Arnie Nudell. I too have heard many remarkable systems through the years but it is Bills gift and the absolute quality of the IRS 5's that made this system so special. He claims to be not an audiophile but a speakerphile! The rest of his home looks like a vintage audio boutique with no less than 5 wonderfully matched systems in various spaces throughout his home. He and his wife Loretta are among the most charming and gracious people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
I have a set of Infinity IRS series III that have been VERY heavily modified and rebuilt from the ground up - new, much more intense cabinets, extra servo amps, Series V EMIT tweeters (modified) and Series V EMIM diaphragms (modified), Magnaplaner Tymapni III-B mid-bass panels (modified) added into the diffraction wings, and on and on...
The EMIMs in the IRS Series I, II & III operated from a little over 100 Hz to 5,000 Hz. The Series V (there was no Series IV) operated up to 6,000 Hz due to a lighter diaphragm. IMHO the EMIMs are not terribly comfortable operating down to 100 Hz which is why I added the Maggies and now have the EMIMs starting at 225 Hz. EVERYTHING about the EMIM's performance has been significantly improved because of this. I have applied compliant ceramic to selected portions of the EMIM diaphragm which also aids in reducing resonances and improving transparency. In addition, I have introduced another damping material into the hollowed areas behind the front and rear ABS faceplates which also significantly reduces sonic problems.
For a number of years I offered modifications to EMIMs and EMITs for owners of the IRS, RS-1 series and RS-2 series speakers.
Tubegroover, your statements are 1000% right about Bill and Loretta! I think they are truly the finest two people in high end audio period.
I was over on Saturday afternoon because Bill wanted me to hear the ASL 1009s driving the mid/tweeter columns. Wow! Do those double 845 tube amps sound absolutely huge in his system. My goodness! The difference in thump between them and his old Fourier OTLs is night and day. The detail of the ASL were as good as things get.
Then Bill called me Tuesday night to tell me that I NEEDED to come over again to listen as he had improved the sound to a degree that I would not believe. He changed out all the wiring(not the stock wiring - it actually came from some application in the World Trade Center), which he claimed to be absolute junk and had two 10 ohm resistors in parallel to the midranges. Cutting one resistor out brought the resistance up to 10 ohms and satisfied him in taking the edge and the relentlessness off the sound.
I have a set of IRS V with no modification other than replacement of the 12 foam surrounds on the woofer tower and bypassing of the passive x-over(due to multi amping) The speakers are powered by Passlab x-600 for EMIMs and Classe for EMITs. I use Ashley x-over between pre and power. My cables are top-of-the-line MIT and Siltec. I have had the fortune to listen to the last set of WAMMs ever manufactured (over 5 visits) as well as different versions of Statements, which are the only comparable U.S. systems to IRS. Unfortunately I have not yet heard a full Epilogue system nor some of the German legends. However, of all I actually got to hear over the years, my taste in sound always fall for my IRS. Hope that answers your curiosity. By the way, while I love to listen to authentic Baroque instruments on my IRS, in the other end of the spectrum IRS literally makes you believe that helicopers are hovering over your home if you used them for HT for "BLACK HAWK DOWN." Too bad you are not one of my (lucky)friends with whom my entire family shares countless nights of HT experiences. JC,Los Angeles
Has anyone ever had a chance to compare these to the IRS Beta?I've heard them both, but not in comparable systems or rooms. Some listeners think the Beta's bass is better than that of the IRS. But I think each is best in differently sized rooms. As big as the IRS Beta system is, the IRS system is bigger still.
I have heard one IRS V system and all other electronics with it were Mark Levinson and it was a sound to kill for and I had never heard anything with a sound that big! The room was large with some furniture and lots of room to development its sound stage. I was magical for sure but you need almost unlimited funds for the system my friend had!
Bill Legall of Millersound in Lansdale, PA whom Will (tubegroover) and I mentioned, had 2 pairs of IRS V in his home, in different rooms. And he's had 2 or 3 pairs of Betas and several lower iterations in another room in the years since. He did sell one of the IRS V, the ones I mentioned having the flawless, mirrorlike finish. Personally, I would have kept those, as they were one of a kind. And if this doesn't sound completely ridiculous, the other pair looked pedestrian in comparison.
How do the IRS V and Betas compare? Well, as you can imagine from their huge difference in size, they likewise sound as different as that. I've not listened to Arnie Nudell's Genesis take on the IRS V, but I can say there is NOTHING else I've ever heard that sounds at all like them. Obviously, huge in every way, but with a relaxed liquidity you may not have expected. That said, over the years I've evolved to a place where I find larger than large loudspeakers fall down in the areas of imaging, especially, in relation to height. The IRS V do exhibit very good timbre / tone, and the sort of naturalness that we aim for. Apart from imaging and the ability to site them in most people's room, the IRS V better the Betas. That's a bit interesting, because I have found, somewhat counter intuitively, so often in this business, the sonics of a brand increase for the better as you move down their product line.
Of course, take all of this with the grain of salt that Bill leaves almost nothing stock, and works his magic on more or less everything that exists in his life. So, how far does the typical Infinity come? Unfortunately, I can't really say...