30 April 2012
This journal entry is just me thinking aloud...
3 a.m. and I'm still awake. That's from concluding this Friday and weekend of auditioning super standmounts in the £1.8-£2k range. Musically I'm very satisfied with what my main rig is giving me but my birthday's looming up and I want a shiny new toy. But I also want to make it 'count' i.e. improve on the ELAC BS244 it's superceding (big task).
In a nutshell, the contenders ProAc Response D2, Spendor SP 3/1R2, Neat Momentum 3i and B&W PM1 went down tamely to the winner. I didn't feel any one from this quartet outperformed my ELACs decisively. The main drivers of two in particular were simply pussy weak compared to the powerful AS-XR cones on my ELAC.
The winning standmount matched the ELAC for power and drive, and while it didn't offer the extreme transparency of the JET III tweeters, it countered with a very beguiling presentation of high frequencies. In fact, it was intoxicating to listen to here. Seductive tweeters. It overtakes Quadral's Aurum Altan VIII as the next alpha standmount poised to enter solidschateau.
Yet, for all its prowess... this winner (codenamed 'Nadal' )... it's performance still won't kill the ELAC outright, I fear... If I put the BS244's ability as 90%, 'Nadal' is 93%. Fiscally, it does seem a bit ridiculous to fork out close to 2 grand just for that 3% lift.
Maybe greater sonic improvements could be had if I spent that money on a DAC, thus bringing the averaged value of the three components in the main rig to £1.6k-ish each? With that in mind, I'm putting 'Nadal' on hold and having a look at more exorbitant DACs.
A trusted wammate recommended the Young DAC. But, it's struckoff my itinerary. I simply hate its fugly ergonomics! It looks like a deadline rush by a rubbish IKEA designer for IKEA's winyl-wrapped kiddie furniture range. My Philips table clock radio looks much better than the Young. Seriously. It may sound the biz, but I can never live with that on my rack. So, no need to bother.
Leema's Elements DAC, Naim's DAC and Arcam's FMJ D33 SuperDAC are on my shortlist. I'll try to see if I can hear them before the end of May. Maybe one of them will provide a greater sonic lift than adding 'Nadal'. Hmmm.... ???