Author Topic: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame  (Read 2692 times)

Offline Francois

  • Commercial Member
  • Trade Count: (+33)
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,953
    • Audio Exchange
New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« on: September 27, 2016, 12:51:37 PM »
Apologies for posting on your space Schalk!

BUT

I have to "Tell All"  :giggle:

I had the opportunity to hear the new Version 2 of the BlackWidow. Stunning. I compared it to the ARC Reference 5 (My reference). Somehow you managed to raise it to a new level. Yes, really to use that cliche! How many levels are there ? Damn I dont know.
The bass was tight, strong but with detail. The bass guitar on Katie Melua "Shiver and Shake" separated from the bass drum and growling. Perfect track for that.
Mids are great as always but the top end got lighter ? Almost sweeter. Like the Genesis!

Exclame v1.2
Its a BEAST - minimum 150W into 8Ohm, 200W peaks. Transformer updated 300VA->400VA! Schalk will divulge more ? Already sold one  :)
I was born analog, not digit by digit....

Offline Nirvana

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 559
  • Very Addicted
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2016, 02:25:56 PM »
Thx for the update Francois,we get jealous of u,getting first taste so often on these ear candies!  :envy:

And Spyder just keeps on delivering  :cleansound: ...  :notworthy:
Never b flat,never b sharp,always b natural

Online JonnyP

  • Trade Count: (+18)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,495
  • To the centre of the city in the night
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2016, 06:05:57 PM »
I'll await the v1.3 with a phono stage.  It's like waiting for Santa when you were a kid.  So Oom Schalk, we've all been good boys and girls this year (well, most of us, possibly not a few Cape Town folk, well legally and in the grand continuum of space and time this statement could not be easily challenged), we would love pictures and await the announcement of your new Exclame and new new Exclame with baited breath.
Are you waiting for loneliness to paralyse? Are you waiting for sister midnight to anaesthetise?

Offline Schalk

  • Commercial Member
  • Trade Count: (+12)
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,520
  • valveaudio@absamail.co.za
    • Valve Audio
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2016, 11:44:27 AM »
Thanks Francois,

I have to say at 25% of the cost of a Ref 5 this is quite disturbing. Maybe I should register under a better liked Brand Name and sell it for more?  :thinking:
I knew it was good when I first listened and that is why I have now taken delivery of the first batch of the NEW Genesis Pre v1.4 boards. I could not leave the Gen there with a newborn shouldering in for top honours. It was THAT close.

Now with you and Johan sitiing there with eyes wide open and tight "strepies lippies"  :faint:,  within 15 minutes deciding that this is OK in light of what you pitted it against.
PRICELESS! I really enjoyed that. Remember, this is available at ONLY R48k guys. And it really is a serious piece of kit...
Thanks Guys for your honest appraisal of what I pour my heart into.

Jazzy was here yesterday afternoon as well, and we spun some vinyl through this. I just love the way you described what you heard / experienced Vusi! And thank you for your always welcome company, was really GREAT having you here again  :thumbs:

Some more about the NEW and later NEWER with phono Exclamé

Offline Jazzy

  • Trade Count: (+3)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 715
  • S.E.T. for life!
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2016, 03:45:01 PM »
Oom Schalk, that system blew my mind!
The best I have heard! That violin on Norah Jones 'wish I could' will stay with me as a reference for a long time to come for sure!
As we agreed, you hear and fell the movement of the player, while dancing with the violin!
And then the backup singers, their separation and embodiment. Have never experienced this, truly amazing and I'm glad that I come over for a listen.
Otherwise I never would have believed it, even with Francois/Johan convincing words.
Thank you for giving me a new and improved reference of how much better hi-fi can sound.
The Vinyl Frontier!

Offline Nirvana

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 559
  • Very Addicted
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2016, 05:28:28 PM »
^^ High praise indeed,from a vinyl connoisseur and true music lover!!  :2thumbs:
Never b flat,never b sharp,always b natural

Offline AudioEars

  • Trade Count: (+2)
  • AVForums Member
  • **
  • Posts: 83
    • Vorna TV & Satellite
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2016, 06:21:45 PM »
Hi
I had the pleasure of listening to the "Syder Man's" new creation
It is a steal at that price
Beautifully crafted and great power with finesse :notworthy:
Keep the brilliant products  coming

Offline ArtiB

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • AVForums Member
  • **
  • Posts: 93
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2016, 05:50:27 PM »
That new Exclame is mine all mine!!!

Just got it delivered today (thanks Johan) and in the few minutes I've had to listen all I can say is wow.

Pictures and more impressions tomorrow afternoon. Won't be able to listen much this evening or tomorrow morning.

Was planning new speakers as well but what I heard now might make me rethink. May live with it for a while and get to enjoy two separate upgrades rather than one biggie!  The improvement is that good.

Schalk - met you years ago at a few of those evening mini-expos at the Indaba hotel and that's the only time I ever got to hear your magic (the whisper was little more than a plankie if memory serves). Promised my self that one day.......  Well that day just arrived. Thank you.

Arthur

Offline Jes

  • Trade Count: (+11)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 752
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2016, 11:19:28 PM »
Oom it appears you and I need to have a conversation about some upgrades.   :angel:
Who wants to be normal, when its much more fun to be a crazy person everybody remembers……..

Offline Nirvana

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 559
  • Very Addicted
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2016, 10:31:17 AM »
^^  :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :point:

Can't stay off that slippery slope Jes?  :giggle:
Love it boet,as Very Addicted as I am,tho I fortunately reached my financial plateau long ago...  :clap:  :thinking:  :sd:

And welcome Arty,enjoy,and get those ski boots on...  :dop:
Never b flat,never b sharp,always b natural

Offline ArtiB

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • AVForums Member
  • **
  • Posts: 93
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2016, 09:07:31 PM »
Okay, so I never got to give the promised "impressions" and the "pictures" will also have to wait a bit.

The weekend got busy so managed a fair bit of listening but no time yet to scribble a few notes here until now.

First a bit about my set-up (humble as it is).

Apple TV to Cambridge Audio DacMagic 100 to Exclame to B&W 602 S2's.  Decent but not extra special cables throughout.

The Exclame replaced a 16 year old Marantz PM6010 OSE.

No surprises that the Exclame blows the old Marantz clear out the water in every aspect (goes without saying) - but what I notice and appreciate the most are the following:

Imaging - I have always found the 602's to image well and be quite forgiving of placement and the room in this regard.  Central imaging is always precise and steady.  Now the Exclame has shown me that up until now the imaging has been very one dimensional - individual sounds are well placed left to right but that was about it.  The Exclame has given height and to some extent depth to the imaging.  What really catches me out and surprises me is almost a 4th dimension of "body" (best word I can think of) - in other words the voice or instrument is not only well located in the sound stage but there is a sense of scale at the same time, the vocalist has a head and body and is not just a point source of sound.

Bass - really pushes much lower than the old amp.  Quite surprised here as I had assumed the speakers were the limiting factor here in my set-up.  Good well controlled lower registers which really help with overall presentation.  I think my room might even be booming a bit - something I never noticed before (will need to measure at some point....) - not so much that this is a negative mind you.

Volume - not surprising that the ~150W Exclame would be able to push louder, but it remains so much more listenable as volume increases.  The B&W's still harden up when pushed (nothing the amp can do there) but much less fatiguing up to volumes that are a bit "too loud".  Previously I could go to these volumes and enjoyed it, but quite quickly reached for the remote.....  The real bonus for me though is at the other end of the spectrum.  I don't get to, and don't particularly prefer to, listen very loud very often.  At lower volume the Exclame is truly superb - the whole lot stays together, imaging, presentation and the overall enjoyment.  Previously, at lower volume it all lost its realism somehow.  Really like this aspect.

Overall instruments, particularly brass instruments, have much more timbre and presence.  My set-up has always been quite good on female vocal and it still is, but I am enjoying male vocal more than before (Bryan Ferry for instance).

So - one very happy puppy.  As indicated, I was planning to double wammy and get the Exclame and treat myself to a new set of speakers.  I will still go through the auditioning process (looking at Paradigm Monitor range, maybe MA Silver 6, Focal 714/716 and Castle Avon 4/5 which are unfortunately not available for audition here in CT to my knowledge).  But I may just enjoy what I have for a while....

I am still in that phase of not being able to get through an album - listen to a few songs and then think "oh wow, that was nice - I bet xyz would sound great as well" so jump to xyz for a few tracks and so on.  So far tonight (only been sitting here since 8 or so) I have done some Beverley Craven, Bryan Ferry, Dianna Krall and am currently listening to the Doors.  The weekend saw some Pink Floyd, Dire Straits, Eagles, Eva Cassidy......

Arthur

Offline Nirvana

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 559
  • Very Addicted
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2016, 05:53:44 PM »
^^ Nice review,Arty,and it's clear that you've also been caught in a web...  :rubhands:

By all means consider other speakers,sure to discover even more from the amp. Tannoy (13 Hoff) is also reputed to have good synergy with the Exclame.

Enjoy!  :dop:
Never b flat,never b sharp,always b natural

Offline adie

  • Trade Count: (+9)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,282
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2016, 06:14:23 PM »
Nice ArtiB.
Reminds me of when I took my Exclame (Schalk's 1st) to a Matrantz/ B&W dealer who was more open minded than most (this is about 15 years ago now).
He was astounded at how the 100w Exclame trounced a Marantz retailing at more than twice the price.
He also came to my place to listen to the amp with my Sonor Audios.

Next thing he had a Predator and Sonor Audio Procyons at home (never let his customers know).

Offline ArtiB

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • AVForums Member
  • **
  • Posts: 93
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2016, 07:33:25 PM »
Hi Nirvana

Tannoys are on the list but forgot to mention last night. Have already had contact with Achim.

Arthur

Online JonnyP

  • Trade Count: (+18)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,495
  • To the centre of the city in the night
Re: New BlackWidow & Updated Exclame
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2016, 08:03:49 PM »
I have XT6Fs on my Exclame and they just work, I expect the increased power would probably sound even better with the XT8F or Precisions
Are you waiting for loneliness to paralyse? Are you waiting for sister midnight to anaesthetise?