diceman

Apogee Caliper Signature - A brief acquintence?

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This is not going to plan at all....

I intended to purchase the above to use in my second system in my loft room (large access hatch with foldy ladder is the only access). I measured them and worked out they would fit nicely and the access hatch was more than big enough. Weight 70lbs hmm in english thats 32KG which is pretty weighty but should be possible - I can shift my 60lbs Krell KSA50 up there on my own so with 4 guys it should be possible.

Yesterday I checke d them over and paid for them - then tried moving them..... These are a bugger to move even by 2 people (oh crap I have 4 flights of stairs to go to get them to the car!!) There is absolutely no way I ma going to get these upstairs, not sure if it is the bulk or if they are considerably heavier than indicated (I will weigh them later), a gym type guy helped me get them out of the car and suggested they are more like 45-55KG each as he regularly lifts 35KG. Ms Diceman will not allow them to stay in the lounge I strongly suspect, there will be fireworks tonight at chez Diceman :-) As such I suspect these will appear for sale soon :-( definitely not the plan...

Now to a review?

I have only had 10 minutes listening to these and strapped to the end of a Krell KSA50 they are making some very nice sounds, probably more detail than the Martin Logan Aerius (my regular speakers that are only just lounge & Ms Diceman friendly). I have not had a chance to move them around and find where they work best, any advice appreciated. Imaging is as such not great, very expansive soundstage but more of a nearfield monitor than portraying the ambience of the venue. Bass is nice & tunefull without bloom so far - oh I love panel bass compared to boxes. I defintely need to start tweaking position as they are currently not very even on the frequency response at the low end and lower-mid, dominated by the treble as the setting is currently at high on the back panel to avoid any nasty resistors (needs tweaking down a notch or two.)

Condition wise they appear to be a bloody horrible colour (I am colour blind though but they look baby shit brown to me), bass panels do not resonate/rattle and are free fo damage, treble/mid ribbons still have good condition foam but at the top the ribbon has started to curl a little.

I am starting to see the appeal of these it is going to be a thoroughly enyobale week-end but I fear that is as long as I will be keeping them.

A full review to follow but a quick piccy (lounge is 12ft x 16ft with speakers firing across the short width.) Tv is a 42" for scale purposes.

apogeesmall.jpg

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Ms D is home and not impressed with the speakers :off: - This is our main lounge so I do actually agree they are far too big if we expect to use the room for anything other than listening to music.

I must have moved the speakers in the room 15 times this evening (with a total of 45 minutes of listening and moving between explanations, apologies, dinner so far) which given the weight of these things is quite an achievement on my own. They really are incredibly fussy about about location. This makes it all the more difficult getting acceptance in the lounge. I have settled (for the time being) with the speakers firing across the room with 2.5ft behind them and angled in about 5 degrees, roughly 8ft to listening position and with at least 4 ft from side walls to outside of speaker. Horizontal dispersion is very good and you don't get the 1" wide listening position as you do with quad ESL57s. Vertical dispersion is like all line sources and does not extend much above the top of the treble/mid ribbon plane. The bass and lower mid however vary massively, more so than any other panel I have owned by quite some margin (quad esl57s & stacked versions and Martin logan Aerius - hybrids). Distance to rear wall and toe in/out/straight ahead makes a massive difference. I probably have these dialled in 75% so far and you really can tune the quantity and eveness. once right they are obviously right - they sound very extended without bloom or boom. I have heard Apogees before and always they have had a peak at one bass frequency that has ruined the experience totally for me (almost like a reflex port loaded box speaker) I don't seem to be getting this effect with current speaker location. The effect of getting the bass end right, for me, integrates the whole performance. I started by knocking the mid/treble down on the control switch at the rear of the speaker as far as it would go, they were sounding very top endy previosuly and without bass, after moving them they no longer sound top endy and I have had to remove some of the attenuation to regain the balance.

For classical and acoustic music these are probably the best speaker I have had in my lounge over the years, a real sense of scale to the performance and an eveness with very high resolution levels.

So far rock/dance & cheese have not been given a good test - a brief listen early this evening when the positioning was wrong had no boogie factor and at times sounded very thin and weedy to the extent that I gave up for the rest of the evening.

Treble & detail is better than the martin logans IMHO.

Bass, now partially tuned, is bloody lovely and miles better than the moving coil of the martin logans (something that was always evidently iffy and I had plans to try and rectify).

Mid-range - I will leave this open - I have yet to have enough listening to concentrate past the bass end!

Hopefully over the weekend I will get to plug a Kt88 valve amp in and start playing with the fore/aft tilt angle.

I have found out that the "baby shit brown" covers are easy to remove according to Apogee help pages. This may help to remove some weight (maybe there is hope they are keepers?) Also means that getting them painted a more tolerable colour will not require a full rebuild as I originally believed.

Does anyone know how to make them lighter for moving them?

Any suggestions on room positioning? I will be aching tomorrow so don't want to shift them too much again!

I have been given a 2-3 week period to sample the speakers in the lounge before they must either be moved upstairs or put up for sale. As always I enjoy listening to new speakers/components but I am so far enjoying these more than most :-)

Thanks to Conrad from Avid for a debate over a beer or two at the hifi show about Apogee vs Quad ESL57s vs the world - I had dissmissed Apogees from listening to a couple of pairs. I am not sure on what my final verdict will be but I am enjoying them and the journey so who cares anyway :nuts:

A couple of slightly better pictures.

apogeecalipersignaturesmall.jpg

apogeesmall-1.jpg

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Apogees are great speakers, Iv'e just been listening to a pair of Apogee Duetta Signature today, fantastic. Apogees do need an amp that delivers a lot of current, I'm not sure that KT88's are the way forward. Big Krell or even better a Plinius will do the Calipers the world of good. :):^

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I had a pair of Caliper Sigs for quite a while. Very impressive. But so cunningly shaped that moving them does seem like 70Kg not 70lb ... maybe like that Mars spaceshot where NASA got metric and imperial measurements confused?

Lovely speakers that do classical well, but driven by a current-happy amp will deliver serious boogie with rock as well.

My only real reservations were in the midrange ... but I'll let you sort that out for yourself and come to your own conclusions! :)

Apogee vs Quad? :dunno: ... spaghetti vs roast potatoes. Just different, very different.

Positioning the Aps ... toe-in is perhaps more critical than actual position, iirc. Although they do like at least a metre (preferably more) behind them. I think I settled for about 1.5m in the end. Yeah, actually position is pretty important, too!

Have fun, fine speakers. Maybe swmbo will grow to love their space-age looks? :D

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I did wonder about amplifier choice. I can't find any impedance plots of the Caliper sigs but most Apogees are a pretty smooth consistent load albeit very low (so yes they do require current). I believe the later Caliper Sigs & Duetta Sigs are nominally 3-4 ohm over the entire frequency range, I don't know if they are a resistive or reactive load.

The speakers were run up by the previous owner by a little Bantam usb t-amp. Normally he uses a directly heated 300b DIY amp. I would have thought that both are really not suited.

I don't listen to music loud so I am not too worried about watts but a good chunk of current and stiff power supply are probably the most important atrributes an amplifier would need as you say. I have the KT88 amp anyway so I will try it. It only has a 6ohm o/p tap though.

Any thoughts on the high power digital amps (B&O ICE power type modules) and there suitability?

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Any thoughts on the high power digital amps (B&O ICE power type modules) and there suitability?

An excellent choice I would have thought.

My old Bel Canto eVo4 switching power amp was happy driving some very tricky loads .. although that one was pre-ICE module.

I don't think I ever drove my Caliper Sigs with valves, but they do need a bit of muscle to get them moving properly. On paper many Aps look an easy load, but when it comes to reality things can be very different.

Justin / User211's Ap Duetta Sigs are a real pig to drive. I took my old Graaf 5050 valve amp along - it drove my 4 ohm - 83dB/W MBLs superbly - but was totally lost into the 89dB/8 ohm load of the Aps. :dunno: Something strange is going on here - perhaps the huge area of the bass driver panel is difficult to control? ... I dunno, a real mystery to me.

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I have tried my 600w Class D amps with Apogee Duettas and not a happy pairing I might add. I don't think Class D have the high amps output that the Apogees require. I have heard a pair of Xindak MN8800MNE monoblocks driving the Apogees and they sound superb and nowhere near the price of a big Krell or Plinius

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I had a pair of Caliper Sigs for quite a while. Very impressive. But so cunningly shaped that moving them does seem like 70Kg not 70lb ... maybe like that Mars spaceshot where NASA got metric and imperial measurements confused?

Lovely speakers that do classical well, but driven by a current-happy amp will deliver serious boogie with rock as well.

My only real reservations were in the midrange ... but I'll let you sort that out for yourself and come to your own conclusions! :)

Apogee vs Quad? :dunno: ... spaghetti vs roast potatoes. Just different, very different.

Positioning the Aps ... toe-in is perhaps more critical than actual position, iirc. Although they do like at least a metre (preferably more) behind them. I think I settled for about 1.5m in the end. Yeah, actually position is pretty important, too!

Have fun, fine speakers. Maybe swmbo will grow to love their space-age looks? :D

Thank you for your input jerry - there are a couple of people that I know have experience in how to get the best from these so I am very grateful of your comments.

Re:- Quad esl57s vs Apogee maybe I should clarify. I am a panel speaker fan (when they are done well). Out of the various manufacturer's I have listened to the Quad ESL57 is still the only one I have heard that really were special. Magnepans create the wide expansive sound stage but just are low quality and resolution for me. Audiostatics were very nice mid but a little clinical and lacking any bass (definitely not a boogie speakers). Podiums were flat at the top and I found a little quacky sounding - very good & different but not for me. Eminent technology LFT 8B - only heard these at the recent hi-fi show they were seriously lacking in any treble output, sounded really flat (maybe the cart was dying or the dem room was set up by a gentleman in mature years that had lost his HF hearing?). Kingsound - not enough listening to fully comment but didn't strike as special enough to warrant an extended listen. Quad esl63 and all those afterward up to year 2005 (the most recent versions I have not heard) - I just found these stripped all the music and were lifeless.

If I could have the mid-range or the Quad ESL57s with fully extended bass & treble that were equally as good then I would have my perfect speaker. I had intended to buy some ESL57s for my loft room but after a chat with Conrad and some of the posts on here I thought I had better try some apogees to see if they were "quad esl57s with big knobs on".

Spaghetti vs roast potato is a pretty clever analogy :^ ... Both are starchy type food stuffs, both I am happy eating with almost any meal so they are very similar in some ways for me. One of them gives you a big bottom end and gnarly bits :nuts:

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Guest User211
Justin / User211's Ap Duetta Sigs are a real pig to drive. I took my old Graaf 5050 valve amp along - it drove my 4 ohm - 83dB/W MBLs superbly - but was totally lost into the 89dB/8 ohm load of the Aps. :dunno: Something strange is going on here - perhaps the huge area of the bass driver panel is difficult to control? ... I dunno, a real mystery to me.

My Aps are 86DB 4 Ohm. Your speakers are mainly an 8 Ohm load, Jerry. We went through this on the Duetta review thread.

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Guest User211

Those Caliper Sigs look to be in good condition. Try moving Duettas - 120LB each. However, you can "walk" a Duetta around the room quite easily.

Get them down the re-sprayers quickly. They'll look fantastic in Porsche Atlas Grey or Mercedes Benetoite Blue - but the world is your oyster as you can obviously have whatever you like.

If you want absolutely mind blowing resolution, you could order some KLM5s from Graz and fit them yourself. It really doesn't cost much. I've also found that it considerably improves front/back imaging and layering. However, my crossover needs rework as a result of this change, as the overall balance has gone from pretty much perfect to my ears to overly bright. So Jon Oakey from Reality Audio will be sorting it out soon.

Bear in mind we made two mods - KLM5s AND the crossover.

You're welcome to come and hear my Duetta Sigs at some stage - after I've reworked the x-overs with Jon. Bit of a drive, though. PM if interested.

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Super Wammer

What kind of money do these Calipers fetch as I'm sure I have seen a pair unused for years in the same "shit brown" colour scheme?

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My Aps are 86DB 4 Ohm. Your speakers are mainly an 8 Ohm load, Jerry. We went through this on the Duetta review thread.

Yeah, yeah. :yeah:

The point is they should be quite an easy load for an amp based on their specs, but they are actually a real pig to drive.

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I have tried my 600w Class D amps with Apogee Duettas and not a happy pairing I might add. I don't think Class D have the high amps output that the Apogees require. I have heard a pair of Xindak MN8800MNE monoblocks driving the Apogees and they sound superb and nowhere near the price of a big Krell or Plinius

Bit baffled by that as JVC's Rowland 301s gripped my Duetta Sigs like a vice. Total authority, really. A Lyngdorf class D was also very good. Both less than 600 Watts.

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Yeah, yeah. :yeah:

The point is they should be quite an easy load for an amp based on their specs, but they are actually a real pig to drive.

You're just pissy cos yer Graaf totally ran out of steam...:) Did like it with your MBLs, though.

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What kind of money do these Calipers fetch as I'm sure I have seen a pair unused for years in the same "shit brown" colour scheme?

The technical term for "shit brown" is taupe. God knows why they ever used that colour.

Anyway, Cals go for almost nothing to about £3K ish for a refurbed pair, I would guess. All with original ribbons in will need a full ribbon change by now. If this hasn't been done, I'd bet your not really hearing what they are capable of.

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