Trenner & Friedl Art Speaker: A Year Later

Category: Speakers

After a year with a speaker, you get to know what you want – or don’t want - from it. Better midrange? More bass? Find a new speaker altogether? That’s why, in an audiophile’s world, there’s a never-ending quest to find the holy grail.

For me, at least for now, have a zero desire to go through the replace-the-speaker ritual. Instead of cramming to read up on them in magazines and on websites - to find the next one - I’m actually enjoying the Arts.

Heck, I’m enjoying them because they sound better today than they did a year ago!

And that’s a relief, actually, because doing the ‘flavor of the month’ speaker thing is time-consuming and cost-prohibitive when you add up the speakers that you have coming in and going out of the house.

Just how good are the Arts – again? How about their openness and overall tonality? The bass seems fuller - if that’s possible from a mini-monitor! Yes, it is deeper and with real impact in the lower spectrum. Accurate and tuneful – could it get better still? Sometimes there’s a tautness that reminds me of some great floorstanding Thiels from the past. Another area that shines through is in the percussion: better definition with more sizzle and bite from horn and cymbals. The top seems to go on forever.

As an aside but within context, one of the components I’ve changed in my system is replacing the 47 Laboratory Progression DAC with the Progression/Gemini – a dual circuitry design that uses two Dumpty power supply to handle the left and right channel separately. Whether this has influenced the sound or not, it certainly has made the whole presentation amazingly musical. What I have removed is the power conditioner.

And the music hasn’t been more enjoyable!

The Arts are very natural sounding - a great match with my 47 Laboratory gear. The combination lets me into the music in an emotional, involving way. I may have put together a system to die for – albeit in a small, mini-monitor setting.

Whenever I listen to the CD If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears by the Mamas and the Papas (CD, Sundazed SC 6302), I always get elated with the music and the sound from this mono recording – it sounds like stereo! Compared to the mass-marketed MCA stereo CD, this mono CD rules simply because it’s superior in every facet in making this disc. Another well recorded and remastered gem, The Ventures Play Telstar by the Ventures (CD, Sundazed SC 6288), sends you back to the ‘60s to hear how glorious guitars sounded before grunge and rap. It also gives you hope about CDs and how far they have come sonically. Comparing the Ventures CD with the original Dolton LP (LP, Dolton Records BST-8019), where the LP has its merits of borderless space (and demerits of wow and flutter), the CD is preferable because it is better mastered within the confines of a managed soundstage. A flat transfer (I think) which gives a hint of how a master recording sounds like. (You can check with Bob Irwin – he did use the masters in preparing these CDs.)

Suddenly, old stuff becomes new – that’s how I feel about the Arts. Elvis 30 #1 Hits (CD, RCA 7863-68079-2), one of many BMG incarnations from Elvis Presley, is also a great CD that upon listening for the umpteenth time, shows how versatile the Art is in making these old recordings come to life.

Whether it’s vocals, acoustic or jazz – and classical music without the very low organ notes – the Arts reproduce music effortlessly. It’s like hearing all these familiar LPs and CDs for the first time!

Until something truly spectacular comes along, the Art could be your ticket to musical nirvana.

Associated Equipment:

Analog Sources: Garrard 301 turntable; RS Lab RS-A1 tonearm; Miyabi 47 cartridge (one of the last few cartridges Mr. Takeda Haruo made before retiring)
Digital Sources: 47 Laboratory Progression-Gemini D/A Converter (Dumpty power supply 2X); 47 Laboratory Flatfish CD transport (Dumpty power supply)
Preamplification: 47 Laboratory Input Chooser (passive-pre); 47 Laboratory Phonocube phono stage
Power Amplifier: 47 Gaincard on dual mono-mode (Humpty power supply 2X)
Loudspeakers: Trenner & Friedl Art
Cables: 47 Laboratory OTA ICs and custom-made power cords, 4719 speaker cable
Accessories: Solid Steel rack
Ngeorge ... guess the Essence is LONG gone from your system (at least I THINK you had the Essence at one time) ... the Arts are a speaker I have always wanted to hear ... absolutely LOVE the zebra wood light corian model I have seen in pics (and I bet you have those) Trenner Friedl speakers are not well known but sure look the high end part! If you ever decide to sell them let me know!! :)

Jeff Rinker
Hi Jeff,
Hope you are well. I gave the Essence to my sister and she's still loving them. I have the walnut mocca finish - simple yet elegant. What is your speaker at present?

NICE!! Glad you still have the Essence ... they are special too. Trenner's just LOOK fantastic in an understated way. Wish they were more popular. I am still on the merry-go-round and have to thin the herd. Way too much gear at home and at work right now. Speakers include:

Aerial 5's (original not B's)
Sony Qualia SSQ007ED
PBN Montana SP2 Signatures
ASA Pro Monitors
Krell Resolution 4
AV123 X-Omni

and a couple vintage models

GNP 600's
Epicure 20+

absolutely ridiculous!! :) this "hobby" can become an obsession. Obviously I have no time to LISTEN to all these speakers and/or accompanying gear. I would LOVE to get things down to a max of two complete systems; maybe one solid state and one tube.

Did you buy the Arts new or used??? I think I have only EVER seen 1 pair of Trenner's available here and that was some time ago.


Jeff ... you can email direct at glacier underscore 1998 at yahoo dot com as well
Nice article! I'm delighted to read about your enthusiasm over one of our favorite speakers!

The change you made upstream with your DAC is very telling, as the Arts are able to readily reward your efforts by showing changes made upstream.

We've described them as a "deserted island" choice in speakers. While you can do well on decent, modest equipment as the basic idea still comes across, but we've set them up with pretty wild upscale gear and they just rise to the occasion. I've experienced this with a few speakers over my time in audio sales and the Trenner & Friedl line has made me feel very lucky to be one of their dealers.

Have fun with them George! They are keepers!!

Hahaha - and I thought I was bad! Really, Jeff, maybe 8 pairs (repeat, 8 pairs) are a little too many? You probably have a big house. :)

Bought the Art new.

Great review! I had the opportunity to hear the Arts a few years ago, and was extremely impressed. They remain some of my favorite speakers. (And not "favorite small speakers" - just favorite, period.) I can only imagine how nice it must be to live with a pair.
do you think eight pairs is too many??? you are probably right ... one thing you are wrong about is my house size- smaller than many NYC apartments at @ 1100 square feet!!

REALLY sad part is NOTHING is hooked up right now except my system at work. Wife and I are getting divorced and everything is packed for safety reasons :(

I DO have enough gear to set-up an awesome bathroom system if I wanted to!!
Hi George,

The Art could be my next speaker. Actually, I know they will be. My last two speakers were the Penaudio Cenya and Harbeth M30.1. Similarities or differences if you've heard either? The question is a bit ambiguous but I am unable to audition the Art locally.

Thank you in advance,

Not being able to audition the Arts and having owned the Penaudio Cenyas and Harbeth M30.1; if heard- how do they measure up similarities or differences?

Thank you,

Hi John,

I heard the Penaudio Cenya before I bought the Art. They (Cenya) are quite good. I heard them at a dealer's showroom. I wanted a home audition but couldn't work it out with the dealer. So when I got the chance to hear the Art at home - and liked it - I bought it. Who knows, I might have liked the Cenya had I heard it at a home setting? But that's the past ...

If you want a home audition, contact Dan at Blackbird Audio - he's a Trenner & Friedl dealer. I'm sure he will work with you. (Note: always try to listen to a new speaker at home. It's the only way you could tell if they are for you or not.) What is it about the Cenya that have you thinking about another speaker?

Hi George.

It's difficult to audition every monitor that becomes of interest and even rarer the opportunity to find someone who's heard similar designs. I just have a large interest in monitor designs. I have owned several and was intrigued after hearing numerous positive commentary of the Art. I am hoping this is the one for the long haul. Nothing is forever but a year with something that brings so much joy in this hobby is a rare find.

The Cenyas are a great speaker. They sounded better at their place of audition with my equipment no less; identifying that my room is an ever evolving work in progress. I do a lot of late night and near field listening and look forward to the ownership of the Art in the near future.

Thank you again, George.. Dan is an invaluable asset and we've been in touch in the past in regards to music; the Art; and Heed products.

I've had my ART speakers since the beginning of 2013.
I love the look, listen and feel of them.
If I ever sold them(not likely), I would buy Trenner & Friedl again, just higher up the line.
Congrats. An anomalous experience in high end audio!
Has anyone listened to the new, ATC SCM11 ?