A very enjoyable day. Earned some browning points by taking "she who must be obeyed" breakfast in bed and walking the dog in the rain before a coffee then in the car.
A warm welcome up the stairs to Definitive Audio....a VERY cool place. More like a house full of audio gear than a hifi shop.
Seeing big valve amps in real life was a surprise...the size and scale of the doesn't come through in pictures. Coffee and pain au chocolat then set up my gear. Kevin chose some music to get the amp warm. His ears must be fu@#ed as he had it on bloody loud!
The big mistake I made was to ask to listen to the Avatar R4 aswell as the R25a ( I originally only wanted to try the R25). It made a relaxing afternoon into one of questions and swapping and changing.
They are both very similar, and I would only have chosen the Avatars "Just to make sure" and the irrationality of the human psyche to link higher price with a better product. The only difference I could really tell was with vocals. Hannah Reid ( London Grammar's singer and Norah Jones) sounded a little richer, as if they were 5 years or so older. There was just something for me that I preferred with the R25a.
The biggest difference to my experience at Criterion Audio last week (when I demo'd Proac K1, D30RS, D2R and ATC SCM40) was that today I just sat and enjoyed music. I didnt over analyse or listen too hard. Coming up to time I had to pack up, I told Kevin I could easily pour a whisky or role up a reefa and stay all night!
The K1 did sound fantastic and I could easily buy them ( if I had a second system...and the money for such a second system!) and I would love to hear them again...(but I don't want to drive to Cambridge for the pleasure). I perhaps really should do though, as I started getting an ear infection the day I drove there, and it will have affected my hearing a little.
As it has been said in many reviews, you dont really hear the speakers, just music. It's such a subtle thing. The speakers dont sound that much better that others, but is is that little extra something special.
Thinking of any downsides, the bass felt a little light, but I'm used to Proacs that always have great (erring on the side of too much) bass.
Having come home and put the same music on, (Norah Jone's new live album...track 6 "After the Fall" in particular) I thought that my D20Rs sound fantastic, Norah's voice felt tangible, there was more bass with the bass guitars...it felt more like the deep bass you get in pub bands, but as I listened more, the music sounded a little "wooly" that it did before. Is the sound now a little flat? Read the last sentence again, there is a giveaway that I didnt intend to use..."is the sound a little..." not "is the music..."
I think that sums the LV speakers up. The Proacs sound fantastic.
This afternoon, the music was fantastic.
I purposely didnt take any means of payment. I just wanted to be sure. I am sure, and I will call on Monday to order my R25As in walnut.
Anyone looking at a new pair of speakers around this budget should definately make the effort to demo some.