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Art speakers . . . . again . . . . . **YAWN**

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Effem

Guest
Art Skibo speakers delivered yesterday but was one heck of a busy day so only got 2 very short listening sessions
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Any road up, today I set about hearing them properly and in any event it's best I find to wait a day before passing judgement on any new kit as it helps to let the euphoria die down after the thrill ofundoing the sealed boxes.

The Art family of speakers obviously have a growing band of admirers who are quite enthusiastic about what sound they are capable of achieving. Of course it's quite natural for folks to wax lyrical about the kit they have boughtand if every word of it were indeed true then we'd be swapping on a weelky basis with each new pearl that was discovered. I've had kit through my hands that hadreceived rave press reviews, countless endorsements from happy users, yet they lasted sometimes less than a minute before the "For Sale" sign went up through incurring my own displeasure. With a mixture of trepidation and expectation thereforeI wrote the cheque out to buy the Art Skibo's off our good friend Cloth Ears.

To say the Skibo's look unconventional is indeed an understatement; a sort of triple split arrangement whereby the treble unit is mounted in it's own little black pod sat above the 'midrange' cabinet which is rather a misnomer because it is abass/midrange speaker in it's own right. Beneath that is the optional bass cabinet with a side firing woofer and a front bass reflex port which isn't the prettiest thing to stare down while you are listeningI must admit.

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It certainly wouldn't win a beauty contest that's for sure and it's purpose isn't to look good anyway, it's there to make sound, or more accurately music, so look upon it as a tool and the looks are easily adopted.

I had them "assembled" with the bass drivers firing inwards towards each other across the room, then briefly with the bass drivers facing outwards and I much preferred the inward facing configuration because it gave a much firmer bass. First impression of the sound howeverwere not cartwheel inducing and a concrete endorsement that it was the smartest hi-fi purchase I've ever made. Granted, it sounded a whole heap better than the outgoing incumbent in the shape of the Castle Conway 3's. The paradox was that I could tell instantly they were something rather special, even though the sound they produced were 'odd' to say the least.

"Where is the bass?" was my firstimmediate thought on the first CD I played. It was there for sure, but what was warm,fat, tubby and syrupywith the Castlespeakerswas almostas bone dry as the Sahara, almost as lifeless as a desert too. Paradox time again; swap the CD for another and what bass notes withthe Castlespreviously was muted and low down in the mixthe Skibo's picked up and ran with, producing a full bodied controlled bass line that resonated with rich timbres and harmonics. CD number 3 produced different yet again and this was really starting to disturb me as it was so unexpected from what I am used to hearing. Stranger and stranger by the minute! What in fact was happening is these speakers "tell it like it is" in EVERY sense of the word and it easily discriminates between good and bad recordings with no mercy and no apologies either, but when it gets it spot on it's a pure revelation to hear. I like that.

Moving on to the midrange now, there wasn't any nasality or chestiness to get concerned over, but to my mind there is a hint of being restrained somewhere yet I could not isolate what it was. This effect may have been room induced ar a result of incorrect positioning or setup, so I did a bit of RTFM (Read the firkin manual) for some guides on correct positioning, etc. The trump card the Skibo's have is the ability to tune the sound according to your listening tastes; a set of5 binding posts on the back of the 'midrange' cabinet have link bars so you can attenuate the treble unit by -2db simply by connecting only the bottom two of the three treble unit links. This is how I received the speakers so I decided to restore the link bar to connect all three posts for the 'normal' setting. Now the treble was really sparkling and the midrange benefitted from a slight lift too. The bass unit too also has a pair of jumpers that add some lift by bypassing the internal attenuation so more bass output is delivered if the bass is lacking warmth and body. Between the two cabinets is a length of wire with banana plugs if you run your speakers in single wired configuration which is removed for biwire or bi-amp connection. I much prefer the single wire approach so out came the link bars and replaced by pure silver wire jumpers, similarly the copper wire cable betwixt top and bottom cabinets now sports a solid silver cable too. Rather than a transforming revelation through connecting the silver wires as it does for other speakers (notably the Castles), it has added refinement to the sound so the bass is just that bit more coherent, the midrange nowhas left the confines of the cabinets and thetreblehas a touch more sheen.

What stuns me though is the Skibo's have no fear of the volume control whatsoever. Feed some loud in and they go loud without complaint, withoutbreaking up and without'shouting' at you. This afternoon I cranked the volume up in the listening room and went into the kitchen two rooms and 30 feet away, yet the sound was as pure in the kitchen as it was back in the listening room and that to me is the hallmark of quality sound.

Of course the £1,000,000 question is "Are they keepers?" and for once I will say an unhesitating "Yes". It's the first pair of speakers I have owned that don't offend me or are lacking in any one area of their sound and that in itself is a milestone. I disliked the Castles instantly and never really shook the feeling off all the time I had them, yet despite their quirky looks, despite thequirkiness in the unconventionality of the sound I first heard, I knew then the Skibo'swere a cut above the herd and had the potential to develop into a long term satisfying suppliers of real effortlesstoe tapping music, not an appendage to my hi-fisystem. If you fully understand that last statement of mine then you too need to seriously look into owning a pair of Art speakers
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JamPal

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Wammer
Jul 19, 2005
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Oh no another ART lover..
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I'm glad you like them Frank, all that fantastic kit you have built up deserves to be shown in it's full glory and revealing speakers are where you should be now.

Good review BTW. Better than anything the Pirate of HiFi News has ever written.

 
G

Guest

Guest
Nice review Frank, glad you like them, perhaps noww whay you can see why those who like them, rave about them, you either get it or ya don't, wait till ye hear emotions
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E

earl of sodbury

Guest
Nice result Frank. They didn't work in my pokey room, and there's always something about side-firing bassdrivers that's "wrong" for me, even if only in my mind - but I reckon they might have been world beaters if they'd made them just that bit uglier with conventional forward firing bass units, because the modular approach is very right in my book, and I'm surprised they seem to be abandoning it with newer (no doubt good) speakers.

Anyway, glad you're back in the transducer groove, though another bloody ARTfanatic we don't need! :raoflmfao::shocked:
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churz, eofs

 
U

Umberto

Guest
Yes they are stonking speakers Frank. I only had them for a relatively short while but they were certainly the best speakers i'd had.I also had the bass units firing inwards. Shouldn't give you any problems though as the bass units are quite subtle.

They are not really room dependant so will sound good in most postions.

Glad you like em.

 

Sony6million

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 20, 2005
2,212
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United Kingdom
Effem wrote:

This afternoon I cranked the volume up in the listening room and went into the kitchen two rooms and 30 feet away, yet the sound was as pure in the kitchen as it was back in the listening room and that to me is the hallmark of quality sound.
I use this little acid-test myself. Go and get a cup of tea, stop and think (realise), that sounds pretty good even in the kitchen.

 
G

Guest

Guest
we had a man in one day, he popped his head in the living room, he had been upstairs and had though, "that sounds better up there, than what I hear at home, in my living room" convinced him he didn't need a sub at all.
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But it's an acid test for me, it should sound like a band playing, in another room :dude:

 

Picard

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Aug 1, 2005
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analoguekid wrote:

we had a man in one day, he popped his head in the living room, he had been upstairs and had though, "that sounds better up there, than what I hear at home, in my living room" convinced him he didn't need a sub at all.
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But it's an acid test for me, it should sound like a band playing, in another room :dude:
yes, quite a bit of acid going around me thinks...

 
G

Guest

Guest
it wasn't ARt speakers at the time, was more a comment re other room sound, so getitupye
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G

Guest

Guest
listen, some of us have more than one room, and the bit upstairs is not occupied by another dweller, get over it
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Picard

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Aug 1, 2005
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analoguekid wrote:

listen, some of us have more than one room, and the bit upstairs is not occupied by another dweller, get over it
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this is a completely useless post.

 
G

Guest

Guest
Picard wrote:

analoguekid wrote:
listen, some of us have more than one room, and the bit upstairs is not occupied by another dweller, get over it
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this is a completely useless post.
so is the one below it :Not Sure:
 

chezi61

Wammer
Wammer
Jul 20, 2005
2,031
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Fife , Scotland.
Picard wrote:

yes, quite a bit of acid going around me thinks...
Dude ye got any? it's not easy to get up here and the "mushies" make ye feel like shit oan a comedoon , vallies wid be gid anaw.:lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao:
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chezi. sillysybin. woo hoo (spellin shit I know but do I care?????check that moon dude:rofl:)

 

JamPal

Content Provider
Wammer
Jul 19, 2005
32,264
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Sussex, West Side
AKA
James
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Picard wrote:
yes, quite a bit of acid going around me thinks...
Dude ye got any? it's not easy to get up here and the "mushies" make ye feel like shit oan a comedoon , vallies wid be gid anaw.:lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao::lmao:
tease.gif.a6e550ff9c07be38d7cbd4260be35dc9.gif


chezi. sillysybin. woo hoo (spellin shit I know but do I care?????check that moon dude:rofl:)
:dude:

 

JamPal

Content Provider
Wammer
Jul 19, 2005
32,264
552
173
Sussex, West Side
AKA
James
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
Lucifer wrote:

Does it matter? ART, Bow and Jeff seem torule around this part of the world.
Err.. there's more withour than with.. Just that those of us without have large willies and therefore don't need to shout about the Hifi.

Grabs coat... and pegs it.
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