Poll

Please indicate what kind of loudspeakers do you use in your main listening environment (RRP ZAR)

Small Bookshelf-below R20K
16 (10.3%)
Standmount Between R20-R50K
11 (7.1%)
Standmount between R50k-R100k
2 (1.3%)
Floorstander below R20k
35 (22.6%)
Floorstander between R20k-R50k
45 (29%)
Floorstander between R50K and R100K
13 (8.4%)
Floorstander over R100k
18 (11.6%)
Planars or electrostatics (can incl  conventional bass drivers)
10 (6.5%)
Horns (primarily based on typology)
5 (3.2%)

Total Members Voted: 155

Author Topic: Air Loudpeakers  (Read 57171 times)

Offline Air

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Re: Air Loudpeakers
« Reply #375 on: June 28, 2019, 01:33:39 PM »
Yes, indeed same idea as the Infinity's.
And in doing a bit more digging around I found this more modern take on the idea from B&O. (Of course, there are many architectural examples)


 

Offline Air

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Re: Air Loudpeakers-Leben
« Reply #376 on: June 28, 2019, 01:58:21 PM »
The 1st star in the galaxy of amazing small amps we have listened to was this wonderful Leben CF300 integrated. 15W from el84's in push-pull configuration. The Vivace's in Alan Hobkirk's words make this amp sound amazing, the best he has heard it sounding and far better than it sounded with high sensitivity Alnico magnet speakers. I have said enough already about the sound, but in listening sessions over a period of time and with different music, it didn't set a foot wrong. Maybe not the best in any singular respect, it has, however, a balanced approach across various dimensions that make it a keeper. Look at how pretty it looks as well and don't mistake pretty with not being able to boogie.. I am very impressed with this amp. A music lover's dream come true, no fuss, no clutter and pure joy.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 02:08:14 PM by Air »

Offline Air

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Re: Air Loudpeakers-Brinkmann
« Reply #377 on: June 28, 2019, 06:19:53 PM »
The second star in the galaxy and this is not a ranking, only slipping this one in as it has been one of the surprises, is the Brinkmann integrated amp. Why am I surprised? Obviously, I know about the brand and the legacy of its analogue products and I know there is also a DAC around with quite a reputation, but when I was told to give the integrated a listen and given instructions to let it run for a day or 2 before listening critically I was too be honest, not expecting much.

How wrong can one be, and I must have expected it as I have always maintained if it has to be SS then it must be medium powered amps. This amps delivers 70W in 8Ohm and 100W in 4Ohm so it is no powerhouse, but the Vivace's is kind on amps On 1st listen the amp directly after installing it, it sounded good but nothing special. It was OK, no nasties and a nice tone but harmonics were a bit washed out, a greyish tint is what comes to mind. The bass was good and I could hear that it has a well extended top end, but I almost gave up as the amp I listened to just previously was awesome. I did however left it on and a day and later my mind has changed 180 degrees.

The sound is so well balanced, the tone is still good and the harmonics are now far more to my liking. And wow, the bass is just so good. It is rich, full and snappy. As I type this I listen to French electronic music and it sounds great. The soundstage is maybe not as deep and wide as with the SETs in the house but for a SS amp, it is great. I think one of it as the SS version of the Leben. it is balanced, the mids are nice and rich and the top end is sweet and delicate. Another amp that I would be more than happy to take with me to an Island. I really like the amp, it looks great and the build quality is exceptional.

With such amps around I wonder why Audiophiles struggle to settle down and is always on a hunt for more power. Maybe it is just me, but this is a good example of why quality always tops power, with the caveat that it must be in the right company.

We are spoiled if only we look past the obvious choices in the market. Yes, it is probably expensive for a 70W SS, but I really am very impressed with the sound of the Brinkmann, love it actually.

« Last Edit: June 28, 2019, 06:46:54 PM by Air »

Offline GECO

Re: Air Loudpeakers
« Reply #378 on: June 28, 2019, 07:25:41 PM »
I need to hear that

Offline Air

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Re: Air Loudpeakers- Pathos Classic One
« Reply #379 on: July 01, 2019, 03:47:56 PM »
Rudi, with pleasure. As soon as I am back in SA.

The next amp is a bit of a sleeping giant and in the hidden spaces of the internet, it is recorded that the potential of the amp far exceeds its moderate pricing and specs. It is the Pathos Classic One. Even on this forum, there is an urban legend often referenced of what this amp is capable of given the right circumstances. What I find fascinating is that I highlighted this amp under the treasure cove thread and got only one tentative reaction based on it. Even at the giveaway price, the interest from people that I mentioned it to was limited. The good news is that the particular amp know has found a loving home.

The sound of the Classic One is the closest you can get to a Pathos TT or INPOL2 on a budget. Its openness, spaciousness and accuracy in the midrange are very close to the qualities of a SET and to my mind reaffirms the notion that less is more. rhythmically it is also good and played within its comfortable envelope it sounds lively, dynamic and energetic. Not much to criticise or not enjoy. The bass doesn't have the slam of a Krell but it is nonetheless not too shabby. The amp starts to sound less pure when pushed too hard and both the top end and bass start to sound nasty. Is that a sin, at such a price don't think so. Yes, you can get more powerful amps at this price but not with more musicality. It confirms my view that less is more. Yes, the Logos has more power, for example, control more speakers with difficult loads better and therefore is more of an all-rounder, but if the right speaker is chosen for the Classic One, the sound to my ears is far more a slice of the high end than what most people believe.

The fact that is is a really stunning looking amp as well and a true classic as the styling needs no update in probably more than 20 years doesn't hurt. With the Vivace's I was once again impressed with Pathos ability to design good sounding amps.




Offline Air

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Re: Air Loudpeakers
« Reply #380 on: July 01, 2019, 04:21:58 PM »
In line with sharing my experience and thoughts with stars that really shine with the Vivace and from the galaxy of lowish powered amps, I think the Inpol2 from Pathos also has a rightful place. I guess all that reads this thread or know me will, of course, take it for granted that the TT will also be one of the brightest stars but the Inpol2 is perhaps the lesser known amp.

The Inpol2 is an interesting amp, and its sound is cut from the same cloth as the TT, for sure. The immediacy, textural richness, clean highs and very linear bass are qualities that both the Inpol2 and TT share. The Inpol2, however, brings a better ability to drive more difficult speaker loads and can sound more extroverted than what the TT might sound like. I Think of the TT as a Milan styled amp, whereas the Inpol2 is more southern Italy by illustration. It does sacrifice a bit or purity compared to the TT but the sacrifice in some instances would be worthwhile. I know of not many single-ended SS amps on the market. Amps with no global feedback and operating in Class A. The ones that are on the market are those from Nelson Pass DIY range and the highest output is of these amps are around 25W if I remember correctly. With the Inpol2, you get 45W class A in single-ended and that is quite something. Of course, these stats translate into superior sound quality.

Some people also like the styling more than that of the TT. How can one choose between your children... ;)  Yeah, I can't hide it, I have a favourite, but being reunited with this amp for a week or so and being able to listen to it on the Vivace's reminded me why my counterpart here in Holland(where I am currently working) prefers the INPOL over the TT and the Audio Analogue Maestro and even over all the Unison Research amps that he also import.

I also, through this exercise of listening to these different amps, was reminded that there is no such thing as the best in hifi. The galaxy is full of stars, each with its own footprint of how they approach their purpose, but they are all stars.  I might prefer one, but there are others that are equally apt at the job of making music. Fundamentally I think the assumption that there must be a "best" or better amp (or speakers for that matter) out there is causing most of the frustrations of enthusiasts. The press, and of course us as commercial players add to this dysfunctional narrative of the "best".




(Sorry about the poor picture quality, was during late night listening)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2019, 04:25:23 PM by Air »

Offline Air

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Re: Air Loudpeakers
« Reply #381 on: July 02, 2019, 12:01:51 PM »
Heads-up, a spoiler but the next amp up in the galaxy might just have stolen my heart. Its sound both confirms and debunk some of the urban legends and myths around amps of a similar nature.   Can't wait to get back home to give it a second and more extended listen. Call me smitten, I am.

Offline adie

Re: Air Loudpeakers
« Reply #382 on: July 02, 2019, 12:14:21 PM »
Heads-up, a spoiler but the next amp up in the galaxy might just have stolen my heart. Its sound both confirms and debunk some of the urban legends and myths around amps of a similar nature.   Can't wait to get back home to give it a second and more extended listen. Call me smitten, I am.

Class D?

Offline Air

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Re: Air Loudpeakers
« Reply #383 on: July 02, 2019, 12:48:14 PM »
Interesting, no nobut great thought for future


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Offline Air

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Re: Air Loudpeakers-Allnic T-1500 Mk2
« Reply #384 on: July 02, 2019, 07:40:36 PM »
Sublime, exquisite, refined, involving, insightful ... I could go on to try and describe my impressions of this The Allnic t-1500 Mk2 amp- a 10W SET design with its 300B valves that mesmerised me with its sound.

Everything I have read about the pure beauty of the 300B valve was affirmed and all the myths about the same valve were busted in my mind at least. In this design, they nailed it. I don't think I have heard a more beautiful and incisive midrange on any system yet and that what I heard with this amp. Voices, all instruments were laid bare with a level of transparency and immediacy that was startling from the 1st note we played. Voices were floating in 3dimensional space in the soundstage and it was as if one could literally walk around the voices, both male and female. Violons was rendered with textures that I feel is the most lifelike and real I have ever heard on any hifi system. Brass instruments were maybe the biggest surprise. The sound from these instruments all had a rich texture that will forever and a day be imprinted in my mind. Instruments that are in the lower registers like the contrabass gained this textural richness that is absolutely stunning. Even electronic instruments, like synthesisers, became more interesting and we marvelled at the way percussion instruments also got a new life. All of sudden we could discern the skins and the kettle part of a drum and on some recordings the interplay between the different percussion instruments were adding layers and interest that with other amps, even good amps, will just be an attack and decay. The music was alive and emotional, dynamic when called for and lyrical when it is part of the music. In rock music, where guitars are used in a counterpoint way to create a grunch and gritting foundation to the melody was experienced I believe as the artists intended.

The amp certainly doesn't sound romantic, nor does it have a fat and weak bass and it certainly can deal with demanding music. It is not rolled off at the top end and is not a pipe and slippers amp of any sorts. It is not a Krell in the bass department and it does have a limitation in terms of absolute volume that it can produce on the Vivace's (89dBs) but we really listened loud at times without any strain.

Is it the best amp out there? No, I would not go that far. However, it is one of the brightest stars in this collection of low to medium powered amps(10W to 70W). I would say if I have to rank the amps this 300B would be a very strong contender of the bunch. I say this with an open mind(not part of Airmusic's products) and within the context of all the other stars and the Ongaku replica and my beloved TT. The 211 amp, is very good. On it's upside it has a bigger soundstage and is probably more at ease at bigger works where the out of the blue swells of symphonies are really well dealt with, but it is less incisive, more rolled off maybe and more typical romantic sounding. The 300B is a modern amp with a lighter but not less enveloping approach. It shares the organic and natural approach of the replica but brings a totally new level of appreciation of the richness captured on recordings.

A caveat, all amps were listened to with the valves I found in them. So tweaking, tube rolling etc could create different impressions. That was not my goal. All I wanted to do was to listen to a number of good amps and see how the interact with the Vivaces. It was/is a very special journey.

Thanks to the kindness of the owners of these stars that made this possible.  :mates:




Offline Francois

Re: Air Loudpeakers
« Reply #385 on: July 05, 2019, 11:39:04 AM »
Man I LOVE your reviews!! I totally agree  :2thumbs: . Had the pleasure to have all of them in my home, and listened to them on the Zingali's. Even the MAX1's and Tannoys where possible.

The Leben 300 is amazing, it really really is good. It sold the Zingali's in 10min flat. The exquisite detail and musicality...dammit its nice. I even had one on the Kingdom 18's about 3 years ago...wow
The Allnik is another sleeper. You need a sensitive speaker.....then it EXPLODES in musical sound. Dont bother with 92dB or lower. I drooled and agonized over the one I traded in before I sold it to a very good friend.
The Pathos too, not quite the above two but oh so beautiful
I can add some more amplifiers AND if you want to hear them Ill give them to you for listening. It is VERY obvious you have an AMAZING speaker there!! I cant wait for you to bring it into production.  :notworthy: :notworthy: The feedback I got was brilliant. Your speakers seems to be shining on every amp, rare and also damn good news.

I have a Renaissance EL34 amp that is very good, but Leben is tad betterI had amazing results with a certain Class A amplifier  :faint: ... Im not mentioning its name until I have bought it  :goofy: I wonder how the MingDa 902 (15W) will sound ? I loved the SE KT90 sound, very interesting designI am soooo curious about Unison Research amps on your speakers!! Just dont have any in stock right now.
PLEASE feel free to borrow any of my amps for listening.

I was born analog, not digit by digit....

Offline achim

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Re: Air Loudpeakers
« Reply #386 on: July 05, 2019, 10:18:49 PM »
Stefan..... I just realized that you had the "Vollverstärker" from Helmut Brinkmann in your set up. I am very impressed about your unbiased and fair review.
Yes its one of the finest SS Integrated Amps... Quality everybody can see, feel and hear...

I m glad that this amp gave you such positive surprise...and now think how good an actual Vollverstärker might be - because the one you had in your system is from 1995!
Yes ..this reviewed amp is close to 25 years old....... ;)

A Balance Turntable from the 90ies was great...an actual model brings all far further....

So in fact I hope I will have the chance to review your beautyful speakers one day because I m very curious and see with huge respect all the efforts you put into this project.




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Offline Nirvana

Re: Air Loudpeakers
« Reply #387 on: July 06, 2019, 10:51:32 AM »
As a 'common man' music lover and fan of locally produced audio,I can only ad to Francois and Achim's enthusiastic response to your captivating experience with different amps on the Vivace Stefan!  :coffee:

It's very clear to all of us that you and your team have designed a very special speaker,in the way it responds differently to each of the beautiful amps driving them - already rendering the Vivace 'Reference' status!  :notworthy:

We can't wait to see the journey come full circle,and provide the fortunate owners with what is likely to be the end game in their search for that aural Happy Ground...  :cleansound:
    :dop:
Never b flat,never b sharp,always b natural

Offline Air

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Re: Air Loudpeakers
« Reply #388 on: July 08, 2019, 03:33:26 PM »
Thanks, @Francois @achim and @Nirvana for your enthusiastic support. Good to hear from you guys as well.

The process to listen to various amps was very interesting and informative. It certainly convinced me and those that had the opportunity to listen to some of these amps of an alternative logic in putting a satisfying system together. The traditional logic is one of " you can never have enough power". I am sure this could work, not arguing the logic. If you buy a traditional loudspeaker that is designed without thinking about the whole system, ie a speaker that is not a friendly company, either by having a difficult load or speaker are very inefficient more power is indeed needed. Worst is if the speaker has both of these, low inefficient and difficult load. High power amps require complexity more output devices and more intricate  driver stages that introduces complexities in the design that in my view easily reduce the SQ(Of course these could be circumvented  but it cost loads of money)

On the other hand, if the speaker is more friendly, the amps that could be used to make these kinds of speakers sound great is more flexible and interesting field opens up. I think of this approach as an alternative logic, not the myth that is propagated that you can never have enough power. All of a sudden, quality is the keyword. The design of the amps that I listened to are all based on a limited number of output devices(valve, mosfet or transistors), driver stages are typically very simple as well. Now the music starts to flow and become lifelike despite the amp not being a powerhouse. Textures are not washed out by and the sound is very direct. All of this can also be achieved at lower costs than to produce and buy a high powered amp with similar qualities.

So the Vivace was conceived from day1 as being kind to amplifiers but also not to be a highly idiosyncratic speaker. I looked at various speakers and it is clear that there some alternatives around that are marketed as being sensitive and those that are in reality sensitive (as per measurements I could find), frequency response measurements' are often very idiosyncratic. Often these speakers that fits the bill are large etc. So I wondered is it possible to build a almost full range speaker that would have be more predictable in the way it reacts with different amps, music and hopefully rooms.

I chose drivers that have predictable and well-behaved responses and the suppliers of the bass and mid units also helped with motor systems that respond at low levels well and need not to be driven hard with power before they become alive. Hybrid systems allow us to have these benefits but at higher levels, the drivers respond more like typically drivers. So the Vivace is alive at low volumes, but can also deal with high power without any problems. The drivers’ responses also allow for low order crossovers to be used and that also proved to be beneficial. It is not minimalistic, but optimised in the time, frequency and even impedance domains.  I could have built the speaker almost 3 years ago if I wanted to do it with normal wood cabinets but I wanted to do it with more modern techniques that allow for less energy storage, flexibility in the design to allow radiuses etc which allow me to design the very unique midrange enclosure, keep the cabinet relatively small. The wide baffle also help with the exceptional midrange naturalness as well as efficiency(With narrow baffles the inherent slope in the midrange need to be dealt with with what is commonly known as baffle step correction that in essence pad the midrange driver down in an increasing amount and lead to less efficiency as what is often believed or stated in marketing- that is why many speakers that are quoted as having high sensitivity in actual fact only look at the driver’s spec and not the measurement after the crossover. If this is not done, the system sounds light and bright.) I also didn’t want to resort to a large driver to handle the midrange as these creates beaming problems etc.

In short, without writing a white paper many factors were taken into account in the design and I am pleased, relieved and humbled that it seems to have hit the mark.

The good news is that I heard last week, there is a good chance that the wood factory will tackle our mould this week, so I am holding thumbs..

I have more amps lining up and more interested parties and friends that will come over to listen. I really enjoy sharing the experience. So hopefully more friends will be made along the way.  :dop:
« Last Edit: July 08, 2019, 03:41:22 PM by Air »

Offline scrarfussi

Re: Air Loudpeakers
« Reply #389 on: July 17, 2019, 07:51:43 AM »
Thank You Stefan These Beauties are amazing  , What can i say All the music we threw at them wow
I seriously wouldnt mind a pair . First i gotta get the house then the room then the Speakers
I soo Love the crossover
Eagerly awaiting the final product



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