I have found, however, that both bass and timbre are very much products of how a speaker interacts with a given room. This means that the fact that I would prefer a touch more energy in the bottom octaves is most likely the result of my listening room. At the same time, YG does produce two flagships with more bass—the Sonja 1.2 and Sonja 1.3. I have not had the opportunity to listen to them in a meaningful way, but if you are auditioning the Haileys and find the low end to be an issue, you might want to audition these others for comparison.
Compatibility and Setup
The Hailey 1.2 is a relatively sensitive loudspeaker at 87dB, with a 4-ohm nominal impedance and a 3-ohm minimum. This makes it a fairly easy load, and I did not experience any speaker/cable issues that were not part of the cable’s sound character. I have a mild personal preference for Kimber Kable, but I’d advise you to do a lot of comparative listening. Any given cable has coloration, so you’ll want to choose the a sound you like.
I tried bi-wiring, but found the change in the presentation was minor compared to the differences in the sound of given brands and models of cables.
The Hailey 1.2 will work well with most amplifiers, but it would be absurd not to use a really exceptional amp with a speaker this good. I would not use a low-powered design below 100 watts. You can get superb dynamics, but you need an amplifier that can deliver them.
In very broad terms, most tube amplifiers will probably deliver somewhat warmer sound and less defined bass, and solid-state designs will have more apparent upper-midrange energy and tighter and better-defined bass. The Hailey is less sensitive to such issues than most speakers; however, some of the nuances you hear will still depend on the particular amplifier you’re using.
As for room interaction, the Hailey is a sealed design and therefore less sensitive to room interaction in the low end than most ported speakers. Nevertheless, deep bass performance will be a bit of a crapshoot, as it is with every speaker. There is no way to predict the mountains and valley that will appear below 200Hz. The Hailey 1.2 also has unusually wide dispersion, and you need to be careful about sidewall reflections. Keep it away from the sidewalls if you can; a bit of damping may be needed if you can’t.
Another critical point about setup: A speaker this good and precise requires very careful setup to get the best trade-off in frequency response, soundstaging, and detail. Getting the best out of the Hailey means experimenting with placement and the finer details of toe-in and tilt. A really good dealer is going to spend at least an hour or two getting the floor position, speaker tilt and height, and fine-tuning of the listening position right. I suspect, however, that most serious audiophiles are going to spend several more weeks refining final adjustments to their taste.
It is amazing how much more revealing this speaker can become in subtle ways with such tweaking. I could actually hear tiny adjustments in height and tilt during the manufacturer setup, and changes in toe-in were very audible. So were adjustments in distance between the speakers, and the rear and sidewalls. It took me a long time to precisely relocate the speakers, using tape to mark various positions, taking careful notes, and bringing some really demanding friends into the process to find the limits of the Hailey 1.2s. (With all deference, the instructions in the speaker manual are essentially useless in this area.)
This does not mean you should get frightened about, or obsess over, setup. The Hailey 1.2 will sound very good in any halfway sensible position, but you will only know how truly great it is if you work hard to find exactly the best placement—both for the speaker and your listening seat. And here, a piece of advice that most dealers have learned not to give: It is always a good idea to experiment with different setup positions, even at the cost of “décor shock.”
A truly great speaker system! And yes, truly worth its cost.
SPECS & PRICING
Driver complement: 10.25" BilletCore woofer, 7" BilletCore midrange, 1" ForgeCore tweeter
Loading: Sealed box
Frequency response: 20Hz–40kHz
Nominal impedance: 4 ohms
Dimensions: 13" x 48" x 21"
Weight: 170 lbs. per channel, unpacked
Price: $42,800 per pair
YG Acoustics LLC
4941 Allison St. #10
Arvada, CO 80002