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CES Report: Of Loudspeakers & Loose Ends

CES Report: Of Loudspeakers & Loose Ends

For no other reason than word count, there were a couple of loudspeakers that didn’t make my upcoming CES report in TAS but grabbed my attention nonetheless.  Lafleur Audio of Canada demonstrated the robust X2,  a beautifully constructed 2.5 way compact with some sophisticated curvilinear cabinet work that includes an ultra heavy, laminated Russian cherry wood enclosure. It’s enclosure is built in three isolated, vertical sections and features a rubber suspended front baffle that’s secured to the back panel by three rods. The all Scanspeak driver complement includes Revelator mids (2)  and an oversize 1.5-inch ring radiator tweeter. Powered by a chain of Simaudio Moon Series components (Wow these Canadians are a loyal bunch!) tightly controlled images emerged effortlessly within a concisely rendered soundstage. The big dynamic sound and output of the X2 makes it one of many compacts that now compete in a premium category that was virtually non-existent only a few years ago, but now comprises speakers like the Wilson Duette, Magico Mini, TAD Compact Ref 1 and MBL 121. Price: $17,000/pr )


In the out of the ordinary category the Davone Rithm from Denmark makes a clean break from the customary box enclosure and adopts a more naturalistic form. The inverted “V” shape is built from many thin layers of wood (genuine oak or walnut), each layer bonded with glue, a well-known feature that dissipates energy and helps damp vibrations. Its unique non-linear shape  also assists in reducing internal reflections. A single coaxial transducers with an 8-inch midbass and 1-inch tweeter combined to provide an inviting warm sound.  Not very tall, it offered terrific sound in what may be a new category; Lifestyle-high-end. Price: $5500. (Pictured below left with Davone’s Paul Schenkel)

 

By Neil Gader

My love of music largely predates my enthusiasm for audio. I grew up Los Angeles in a house where music was constantly playing on the stereo (Altecs, if you’re interested). It ranged from my mom listening to hit Broadway musicals to my sister’s early Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Beatles, and Stones LPs, and dad’s constant companions, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. With the British Invasion, I immediately picked up a guitar and took piano lessons and have been playing ever since. Following graduation from UCLA I became a writing member of the Lehman Engel’s BMI Musical Theater Workshops in New York–working in advertising to pay the bills. I’ve co-written bunches of songs, some published, some recorded. In 1995 I co-produced an award-winning short fiction movie that did well on the international film-festival circuit. I was introduced to Harry Pearson in the early 70s by a mutual friend. At that time Harry was still working full-time for Long Island’s Newsday even as he was writing Issue 1 of TAS during his off hours. We struck up a decades-long friendship that ultimately turned into a writing gig that has proved both stimulating and rewarding. In terms of music reproduction, I find myself listening more than ever for the “little” things. Low-level resolving power, dynamic gradients, shadings, timbral color and contrasts. Listening to a lot of vocals and solo piano has always helped me recalibrate and nail down what I’m hearing. Tonal neutrality and presence are important to me but small deviations are not disqualifying. But I am quite sensitive to treble over-reach, and find dry, hyper-detailed systems intriguing but inauthentic compared with the concert-going experience. For me, true musicality conveys the cozy warmth of a room with a fireplace not the icy cold of an igloo. Currently I split my time between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Studio City, California with my wife Judi Dickerson, an acting, voice, and dialect coach, along with border collies Ivy and Alfie.

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