969 word post follows - LOL. Horse is dead and I'm in the process of making McDonald's Big Macs.
Strangely, when a person posts on a thread about Audio Note and talks about Audio Note and likes the speaker he is a shill?
No one has yet bothered to ask what speakers I like or amps or anything else. I just purchased a Line Magnetic CD player – nope not one from Audio Note.
I am defending the Audio Note E – a speaker I have never owned or even had in my house!
I’d like to mention other speakers I very much like because this thread is about Audio Note, Audio Note is what I am discussing.
I’d be happy to talk about other speakers I enjoy like the Quad 2905, Silbatone Aporia Full Range, Teresonic Ingeniums, Usher Be 10, Gallo 3.5, Studio Electric T3, Acapella High Violoncello II, Tannoy Westminster, Kensington SE, DC 10??, King Sound King and Prince II, Perfect 8 technology “The Force”, Roksan TR-5, Magnepan 1.7, B&W Matrix series, 302, CDM 2SE, Harbeth, Sony SS-AR1, Cerwin Vega CLS 215, Reference 3a MM De Capo and Grand Veena, Gershman Acoustics X1/Sub 1 and Black Swan, Klispch K-horn, ATC SCM 150 and SCM 11 (the only two I’ve heard from them), Sonist speakers, Trenner and Freidl Ra Box.
I’m actually a bit of a speaker slut.
There are horns, panels, boxes of all shapes and sizes and prices and driver types and designs here. And then there is a list of other speakers I enjoy for certain things, but aren’t my cup of tea like Castle, Sonus Faber, Martin Logan, Nola, etc.
There is no real way to convince someone on A versus B with words. It’s not like showing me a graph is going to get me to like the AN E less than a B&W N801. I compare them incidentally because even in rooms that are made for the B&W I prefer the AN E (even if it is not recommended by Audio Note). The B&W does indeed play louder but the AN E will play to 110db which is loud enough to damage your hearing). Regardless, the graphs won’t persuade me. Likewise they didn’t persuade the 4 Stereophile writers/contributing or reviewers either and they got the graphs first hand.
So the only way to settle a matter of which is better A versus B is to do the following
Take out two identical rooms side by side. You put one stereo in one room and one stereo in the second room. So maybe I want to see what is better a B&W system or an Audio Note system. In room one I put in some B&W N801 loudspeakers (freestanding) with Classe amplifiers and CD players (since B&W owns Classe and most dealers carry the pair then it's pretty safe to assume this is an agreeable pairing). In room 2 Audio Note E in corners with one of their SET amps and CD players.
You make sure that a B&W and Audio Note representatives are agreeable to the room size, shape, and positioning that has been done and the equipment used and any and all room treatments used.
You have a black light that blocks out the stereo to the eye (no listener can see the stereo). Both rooms are level matched - both rooms have the identical CD playing - a selection of maybe 18 cuts ranging from Classical to jazz to rock to pop but all well recorded stuff. The CD's are played on repeat
You then bring in 30 classically or jazz trained musicians from the local university to be the listeners. Each listener is given a card. They listen to both rooms as many times as they want for as long as they wish.
They simply drop the card in the box sitting outside the room they liked best.
Add up the cards and see who wins. This is not terribly costly - it is blind, level matched and you'd probably only need to offer pizza and beer to the students at the after party.
The problem of course is it's time consuming and you can really only compare 2-3 systems in this manner. But at least you are hearing a system that is set-up to the designer intent. And IMO the results of such tests can then point back to what measurements matter.
If the B&W won at 27-3 clip then you know the pair matching speakers is not as important as a dead cabinet heavily damped design. If the AN E won by a landslide then you can figure that pair matching might be important and there might be something to corner loading or a livelier cabinet or that flat frequency response is second to timing or dynamics.
To me I want the ears leading the measurements not the measurements telling me what I think should sound good. I started out salivating over Bryston/PMC and B&W/Classe and Martin Logan/and I forget which amp. The measurements led my ears. I bought Arcam over Sugden based on review press at the time (and based on measurements). That was a big mistake.
With stuff that measures as appalling as Audio Note (SETS – c’mon, Filterless zero times oversampling tube CD players hahahaha – chortle snicker chortle) AN should very easily be ROUNDLY hailed as an agreed upon "wrong" approach on virtually every level of sonic reproduction.
So if the AN gear shudder/ horror manages to win at a substantial clip of say 25-5 with classically trained musicians then what?
Personally, I have not been impressed with any B&W in terms of bass depth or quality with the exception of the Model Nautilus (Snail). I personally liked the look too and felt it sounded pretty good despite some not liking it. I guess it needed to be set-up to a tee to get right but I found it a little under- represented in some respects.