• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

The Devialet thread

Page 21 - Seeking answers? Join the What HiFi community: the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products.

DocG

Well-known member
May 1, 2012
54
1
18,545
matt49 said:
CnoEvil said:
matt49 said:
Yes and yes.

I'd be interested to hear a full AN system. It's one of those things one ought to do in life. But as for ownership -- the cost scares even me.

:jawdrop:

Matt
The speakers I heard were AN E-LX @ £3960, which were on the end of CD 3.1 (£3960) + M5 Pre (£6300) + Ankoru/11 Monos (£25,200)........and it's sound was the antithesis of what you described.

Martin (of AN) did warn me that taking elements out of the system to try and capture some of the magic ,was unlikely to work, but he was happy to organize a DAC to be sent to me to try over the Christmas 2010 holiday.
Well, I guess that sort of confirms what we've experienced, anecdotally at least. But I still wonder why.

Matt
Academically, the next step would be a demo of AN-speakers with a non-AN SET-amp. :?

Or speaking for myself, I would start with an all-AN set-up, and see how I get along. The AN dealer for the Benelux, when asked his opinion on a Devialet-AudioNote combo, said they had tried that, and liked the result a lot! :eek:

EDIT: the latter is not so evident for me, cos this AN-dealer is in the Netherlands, some 170 km one-way... So indeed, an academical consideration.
 

DocG

Well-known member
May 1, 2012
54
1
18,545
Macspur said:
After hearing what you've had to say about the Audio Notes Matt, not just sonically, but the seemingly poor construction, it would certainly make me think twice about demoing the brand.

Mac

www.macsmusic.blogbubble.net
In all honesty, the AN-Ks I demoed a couple of months ago were very neatly finished: excellent fit, lovely veneer (eucalyptus IIRC), skillfully put together. Maybe Matt's AN-Es were produced on a Monday morning? :twisted: (Oh, I hate Monday mornings...)
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
0
0
DocG said:
Macspur said:
After hearing what you've had to say about the Audio Notes Matt, not just sonically, but the seemingly poor construction, it would certainly make me think twice about demoing the brand.

Mac

www.macsmusic.blogbubble.net
In all honesty, the AN-Ks I demoed a couple of months ago were very neatly finished: excellent fit, lovely veneer (eucalyptus IIRC), skillfully put together. Maybe Matt's AN-Es were produced on a Monday morning? :twisted: (Oh, I hate Monday mornings...)
To be fair, these boxes are in a very pale maple finish, which is unforgiving of any imperfections in the joinery. It's alo possible they're factory seconds, I suppose. Even so, the cabinet-making and design do seem (to me) rather primitive for a £12K speaker, even if much of that cost has gone into solid silver point-to-point wiring. :O

Matt
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
0
0
The AN-Es left this morning and were seamlessly replaced by a pair of Martin Logan Montis.

First impressions: in terms of transparency and "immersiveness", I've never had anything remotely like this in my room.

:cheers:

Matt
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
0
0
Macspur said:
We wait with bated breath for a full report!



Mac

www.macsmusic.blogbubble.net
Cheers, Mac. Expect a few instalments!

I have to be a bit careful here. Financially, the Montis are a big investment but a tempting prospect. The ones I have are a demo pair on sale for 25% off the retail price. It’s not a huge reduction in percentage terms, but in absolute terms it’s a big wodge of cash, and it means they come in just under the RRP of the Ethos and are at roughly at the same level as the SF Olympica IIs. It would be all too easy to leap in. I have them on loan until next week, during which time I plan to be as critical as possible and to feed the Montis lots of demanding material: in particular some edgy and poorly produced rock/pop which will bring out any harshness in the treble.

But for now it’s the bass I’m interested in.

The bass is quite an improvement on the Ethos I heard at K J’s last week. I’ve set the Montis some stern tests already: lots of concert piano, some reggae, electronic stuff, and Saint-Saens’s organ symphony. So far I haven’t found any glaring weaknesses. The sub seems to integrate well with the panel. There’s a nice evenness of response all the way down the piano keyboard. The deep bass is pretty firm and quick. With the Ethos, which have an 8” active driver and an 8” radiator, I felt that the sub was noticeably slower than the panel. The Montis, with their 10” active woofer, don’t show any signs of the bass lagging behind. Maybe the bass isn’t quite as tuneful as some of the best dynamic speakers I’ve heard: I was really impressed by the Paradigms S6s and Dali Epicon 6s in this respect. But the main thing is that the Montis’ bass is lively, energetic and fast.

There’s no evidence of bass boom due to the room acoustics either. The sub has a volume control dial, which extends from +10 to -10 (apparently that's +/-10db under 100Hz). I currently have it set on -2, which seems to work well. In a bigger room one might want to turn the wick up a bit. There’s plenty of scope for tweaking and of course for some track-specific EQ at the bottom end.

I have to admit, the Montis do look rather imposing in my room. They’re 1505mm tall (plus a few mm for the marble chopping boards they’re currently standing on, which make them easier to slide about on the carpet). The width is 322mm. Imagine two and a half Harbeth SHL5s stacked vertically! Of course, the panel is semi-transparent, so the visual effect isn’t quite as imposing as the bare dimensions suggest. But they are pulled out quite a way into the room: the centre of the panel is 650mm from the wall behind, which is a little over the minimum distance recommended in the user manual.

I have GIK acoustic panels on the walls behind each speaker, and I think these do tighten up the overall presentation. As much sound is emitted from the back of the electrostats as from the front. The acoustic panels absorb a lot of this and prevent mucky reflections.

Anyway, all good so far. More to come in the next few days.

:cheers:

Matt
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
The slight bass lag of the Ethos may have been down to the passive bass radiator,....I take it that these don't use one.

Is there any sign of beaming ie. a small sweet spot?
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
0
0
CnoEvil said:
The slight bass lag of the Ethos may have been down to the passive bass radiator,....I take it that these don't use one.

Is there any sign of beaming ie. a small sweet spot?
You may be right about the radiator. The Montis do sound very different at the bottom end: no radiator, just the one 10" active woofer.

The sweet spot is certainly narrower than with dynamic speakers. I reckon the optimum spot is about 3-4ft wide. I think I still have to find the best angle of toe-in though. The manual suggests toe-in of about 15 degrees, but I think pointing the speakers directly at the listening position, i.e. 30 degrees, actually sounds better.

Anyway, they seem to have a much wider sweet spot than Quads are reputed to have.

:cheers:

Matt
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
0
0
Here are some more piecemeal thoughts about the Martin Logans.

Back in the summer and autumn I did a few headphone demos. I was interested in planar magnetic ‘phones, and I had the Audeze LCD2 and Hifiman HE500 on demo for a week. Both superb headphones and way ahead of any dynamic headphones I’ve heard. The sound is immensely detailed and smooth, and the frequency response very flat.

Having decided on the HE500s (because they were more comfortable), a couple of months later I happened to try some Stax ‘phones. Stax are electrostatic, rather than planar magnetic. The sound was quite a bit more detailed, airy and transparent: a big step up. I wish I’d tried the Stax before buying the Hifiman.

The point of all this is that electrostatic transducers seem to be even more detailed and transparent than planar magnetic ones. I had a quick listen to some Maggies: they’re great, but they don’t match electrostatics for sheer transparency.

One potential drawback of hyper-transparent speakers is that they make poor recordings hard to live with. This applies especially to rock/pop, which can become unpleasantly raucous and abrasive.

My experience of the MLs so far hasn’t really conformed to this picture. It’s true that these speakers make the character of a recording more obvious. It’s easier to spot when music is compressed. Poorly miked material or recordings that have an unnaturally bright balance seem to show their hand more clearly. Another way of putting it would be to say that a lot of recordings reveal their essentially artificial character.

Having said that, I still find myself enjoying these poor recordings more through the MLs than through my Cremonas. The recordings might sound more obviously artificial, but at the same time they also sound more real – I mean real in the sense that the instruments have the texture and presence of real instruments, and they occupy a more determinate space in the soundstage. But good recordings -- well, they shoot ahead of the bad ones. Well recorded music sounds extraordinary.

Anyway, my feeling is that both poor and good recordings sound better through the MLs than through the SFs, but that the gap between good and bad recordings has grown.

I mentioned in my report on the ML Ethos that they create an extraordinary soundstage. The Montis are better – possibly because they have a wider panel.

The feeling of 2D space is both expansive and precise. One of my favourite live recordings is Springsteen’s first UK concert in Hammersmith ’75. At the beginning of ‘Rosalita’ it’s clear that Springsteen’s vocal and lead guitar are dead centre in the stage. But the really uncanny thing is that the voice is about 2 ft higher than the guitar. How on earth do they manage that?

3D effects are also very tangible. I’ve been listening to a bit of Wagner: at the beginning of Solti’s Die Walküre Siegmund and Sieglinde both enter upstage and sing their way downstage. The Montis make it possible to hear the singers’ movement with a precision I’ve not experienced before.

I have more to say – in particular about the treble and about general ‘musicality’ – but I’ve probably taxed your patience enough for now.

:cheers:

Matt
 

James7

New member
Jun 1, 2011
7
0
0
Fascinating write-up. I am not totally surprised you like the Martin Logans - I would long ago have suggested you check them out were it not for the rumours that Martin Logan and Devialet are far from being a match made in Heaven. But then I remember a couple of years back in Hifi Choice's dealer systems slot, some dealer or other suggested a pair of Ethos speakers driven by a D-Premier as their top of the line system, and you would have thought dealers would know their own products well enough to get the synergy right. I've always imagined that after that lottery win my cost-no-object system would be built around some suitably top-notch electrostatics, and your findings suggest I may not be far wrong here.

It sounds like you may have found what you were looking for. If so, well done!
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
0
0
James7 said:
Fascinating write-up. I am not totally surprised you like the Martin Logans - I would long ago have suggested you check them out were it not for the rumours that Martin Logan and Devialet are far from being a match made in Heaven. But then I remember a couple of years back in Hifi Choice's dealer systems slot, some dealer or other suggested a pair of Ethos speakers driven by a D-Premier as their top of the line system, and you would have thought dealers would know their own products well enough to get the synergy right. I've always imagined that after that lottery win my cost-no-object system would be built around some suitably top-notch electrostatics, and your findings suggest I may not be far wrong here.

It sounds like you may have found what you were looking for. If so, well done!
Thanks, James.

The 'problem' concerning Devialet and ML went back to a John Atkinson review in Stereophile some years ago. I'm told that the new models have a considerably stiffer power supply, which means that the load presented by MLs at high frequencies isn't a problem any more.

Matt
 

DocG

Well-known member
May 1, 2012
54
1
18,545
Hi Matt,

After your very positive comments on the Devialet - SF synergy, I arranged a demo (Olympica I and Cremona Auditor M) for later this month. Reading your thoughts on the MLs (in contrast to your SFs), I'm afraid SF won't be for me... Then again, just one way to know that for sure, right? ;)
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
0
0
DocG said:
Hi Matt,

After your very positive comments on the Devialet - SF synergy, I arranged a demo (Olympica I and Cremona Auditor M) for later this month. Reading your thoughts on the MLs (in contrast to your SFs), I'm afraid SF won't be for me... Then again, just one way to know that for sure, right? ;)
I think it needs to be done. They're lovely speakers, with a great sense of coherence and sweetness, but one thing they're not is accurate. If accuracy is what you're after, the Audiovectors may be better.

I also wonder whether the SFs would be right in your space. Aren't you sitting these speakers on a cabinet, relatively close to a wall? The Cremonas have a rear port, which may be a no-no. The Olympicas should be more forgiving of placement, as their port fires sideways. And of course both models really need to be on their stands for full SF gorgeousness.

:cheers:

Matt

PS The evil thought did occur to me that I could keep the Cremonas (downstairs with the decco 2) and sell the Veneres instead. But it is a very evil thought.
 

James7

New member
Jun 1, 2011
7
0
0
matt49 said:
PS The evil thought did occur to me that I could keep the Cremonas (downstairs with the decco 2) and sell the Veneres instead. But it is a very evil thought.
Hmmm ... I was wondering when you might suggest this :bounce:
 

DocG

Well-known member
May 1, 2012
54
1
18,545
matt49 said:
DocG said:
Hi Matt,

After your very positive comments on the Devialet - SF synergy, I arranged a demo (Olympica I and Cremona Auditor M) for later this month. Reading your thoughts on the MLs (in contrast to your SFs), I'm afraid SF won't be for me... Then again, just one way to know that for sure, right? ;)
I think it needs to be done. They're lovely speakers, with a great sense of coherence and sweetness, but one thing they're not is accurate. If accuracy is what you're after, the Audiovectors may be better.

I also wonder whether the SFs would be right in your space. Aren't you sitting these speakers on a cabinet, relatively close to a wall? The Cremonas have a rear port, which may be a no-no. The Olympicas should be more forgiving of placement, as their port fires sideways. And of course both models really need to be on their stands for full SF gorgeousness.
I think I'll just suck it and see. But a rational choice they are not, in my case. Not by far.

matt49 said:
PS The evil thought did occur to me that I could keep the Cremonas (downstairs with the decco 2) and sell the Veneres instead. But it is a very evil thought.
'Evil' as in: "I don't dare to think what Mrs.49 will say/do when she finds out"? :p
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
matt49 said:
PS The evil thought did occur to me that I could keep the Cremonas (downstairs with the decco 2) and sell the Veneres instead. But it is a very evil thought.
A safety net.....I like it. :shifty:
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
0
0
The Montis are still here. Decision time looms. On Thursday (I think) they either go back or they stay.

In the past I’ve described the top end of the Devialet as ‘glassy’. I had in mind an analogy with the feel of glass to the touch: cool and polished to complete smoothness. Violin bows glide across strings. The high notes on a piano have an unmistakably clean ‘plink’. You can get rough edges, of course: brass instruments do blare and rasp, but then they're supposed to. Loud brass has built-in distortion. But this is the exception rather than the rule.

So what it comes down to is whether the combination of the Devialet’s glassiness and the transparency of the MLs is too much.

The acid test is the top end, and it certainly seems whistle clean. There isn’t the slightest hint of roughness, even when pushed quite loud. (I did have a brief worry on Friday when listening to some very loud opera: there was something nasty in there, half way between a crackle and the sound of a skipping CD. But thankfully it turned out that I could hear exactly the same through my headphones. A bad rip perhaps?)

So the top end is immaculate. It goes high, but never seems to grate or distort.

The problem is that some recordings are simply too bright. I haven't found any classical recordings on which brightness is a problem. But quite a lot of 'good' rock/pop recordings do sound rather 'fizzy'. My feeling is that this is an artefact of the mixing desk. For instance, I'm now listening to Angus & Julia Stone's 'Down the Way' (one of Mac's picks: thanks Mac!). The recording is excellent, but the mix is quite bright. Vocals suffer from too much breathiness; percussion is a bit fizzy.

At this point, Monsieur Devialet comes to the rescue. We have tone controls! (Mac will appreciate this: I imagine he uses his Accuphase's tone controls now and again.) And wow, do they make a difference! The remarkable immediacy of the MLs is still there (musicians in the room etc etc), but the brightness is toned down (obvious pun intended) and the reult is excellent: treble pin sharp but smooth. Did I say glassy?

The frequency cut off and the slope of the tone controls is configurable in the Devialet. I haven't experimented with this yet. It might be interesting, but the default settings seem pretty effective. Any over-exuberance at the mixing desk can easily be tamed, with no loss of 'presence'.

This is working out quite nicely ...

:cheers:

Matt
 

CnoEvil

New member
Aug 21, 2009
556
8
0
matt49 said:
The problem is that some recordings are simply too bright. I haven't found any classical recordings on which brightness is a problem. But quite a lot of 'good' rock/pop recordings do sound rather 'fizzy'. My feeling is that this is an artefact of the mixing desk. For instance, I'm now listening to Angus & Julia Stone's 'Down the Way' (one of Mac's picks: thanks Mac!). The recording is excellent, but the mix is quite bright. Vocals suffer from too much breathiness; percussion is a bit fizzy.

At this point, Monsieur Devialet comes to the rescue. We have tone controls! (Mac will appreciate this: I imagine he uses his Accuphase's tone controls now and again.) And wow, do they make a difference! The remarkable immediacy of the MLs is still there (musicians in the room etc etc), but the brightness is toned down (obvious pun intended) and the reult is excellent: treble pin sharp but smooth. Did I say glassy?

The frequency cut off and the slope of the tone controls is configurable in the Devialet. I haven't experimented with this yet. It might be interesting, but the default settings seem pretty effective. Any over-exuberance at the mixing desk can easily be tamed, with no loss of 'presence'.

This is working out quite nicely ...

:cheers:

Matt
This would be enough to put me off, especially long term.........but that is irrelevant.

Personally I would want to hear the SFs in situ for a few days, before making the decision.....have you heard the Guarneri Memento?
 

matt49

New member
Apr 7, 2013
51
0
0
CnoEvil said:
This would be enough to put me off, especially long term.........but that is irrelevant.
I understand what you're saying.

With the classical stuff, which makes up at least 80% of my listening, there seems to be no need for tone controls: the mix never seems too bright.

I really don't want to say your view is irrelevant to me. You've followed my speaker hunt attentively, and your advice has always been knowledgeable and helpful. But with these electrostatics I get the impression I'm somewhat on my own, maybe even out on a limb. I wish you (and Mac and the good Doc and others) could hear this system.

Matt
 

Macspur

Well-known member
May 3, 2010
77
0
18,540
Hi Matt,

It probably feels to you that you're out on a limb, but it's only because, certainly speaking for myself, I've never heard the ML's nor the Dev come to that, but the point is, you seem to really like the combo and that's all that counts.

Do you have to make your mind up by Thursday, or is there a danger they might be sold from under your nose?

The fact that you can satisfactorily tame the brightness when necessary is a definite advantage the likes of the Dev and Accuphase do have over other amps. So if that works for only 20% of your listening and the other 80% is perfect for you, you may well have found the speaker for you.

Mac

www.macsmusic.blogbubble.net
 

Neuphonix

New member
Apr 20, 2012
9
0
0
Hi Matt,

any thoughts about doing a home dem of the Dalis before you commit? I seem to recall that you did like them alot and the only reservation was their physical size. Given the size of the ML surely the Dalis can't be that much bigger?

I haven't heard them myself, but have heard & read great thinhgs about them.

Is there anywhere over there in the UK that you could pick up a SH set of SF Stradivari? Or is this just pushing the budget too far?
 

DocG

Well-known member
May 1, 2012
54
1
18,545
Matt, my advice is rather straightforward: get them!

Thinking back to my demo of the Ethos, there were several drawbacks for me. The harshness at high volume with 'mainstream pop and rock' was one of them, but if that is just a small slice of your musical diet, and it is so easily tamed, it should not put you off . [My other drawbacks (the speakers are too high and I'm angry with the dealer) are less easily overcome, so the MLs won't be for me.]

But their accuracy, speed and dynamics are so grand, it made the PMC Fact 8 (which I heard on the same occasion, driven by the same Accuphase amp) sound dull, boxy and congested...

To me there are two kinds of people (excluding those who don't give a toss about music): those who have/want 'stats and those who never heard them. In my current search for standmounters, that's what I ask myself: how close to 'stats do they come?

Maggies nor Quads will fit physically, so pull the trigger and enjoy!

PS: You do realize it makes us all sad that your seemingly endless line of speaker reviews would so abruptly come to an end... I challenge you to write this kind of captivating reports on the various diffusion panels you're going to demo next! ;)
 

WishTree

Well-known member
May 18, 2010
107
1
18,595
matt49 said:
CnoEvil said:
This would be enough to put me off, especially long term.........but that is irrelevant.
I understand what you're saying.

With the classical stuff, which makes up at least 80% of my listening, there seems to be no need for tone controls: the mix never seems too bright.
It is like Black Dot on White Paper and you can imagine how much a 20% big Black Dot looks like on the rest of the white paper. I one time had speakers that were bright for me but went ahead and had them as there are many things that I liked about them. In the end, I sold them off, as the Black Dot was all I was looking at. This finally boils down to individual personality about how we want things around. Given the seriousness with which we are attached to the hobby, if it is not 100% then it is not 100%. I do not listen to any heavy metal (occasional here and there when some specific friends visit us) and if my speakers don't do that genre, I don't even care. However Rock/Pop, this is a different equation all together.

I don't remember if this is already discussed, but if Classical is priority, then I heard B&W 802D sound amazing with classical and they rock too. However they are big. bulky, hungry

May be we should have a thread, in which we can contribute, from our view, which speakers do which genre well. Again, IMO, if a speaker can play all genres well, then it is perfect but I guess that is Vivid Giya territory. Also, when I say genres, it is not essentially the kind of music but also the recordist's pereception of how a genre should sound which brings us finally at the mercy of the man behind the recording desk!
 

James7

New member
Jun 1, 2011
7
0
0
Hey Matt

only you can decide this of course, but I think I am with the Doc on this one. I see what Wish Tree is saying about the black dot on white paper, but my feeling is that if you go with any other speaker you will be continually comparing them unfavourably with your memories of the Montis' transparency. Yes, of course it would be worth trying to home dem a couple of the leading contenders before pulling the trigger, but the truth is you have demoed a lot of speakers, and your response to the MLs was immediate. It is obvious you love those Cremona Auditors of yours, for example, but equally obvious that when set against the MLs they just no longer do it. If the combination of Devialet detail retrieval and ML transparency shines too bright a spotlight on some of your listening material, this is potentially a problem, but not if, as you say, you can tone this down without any other detrimental effect to sound quality. Out of interest, which do you prefer - rock / pop played through the Montis with tone controls in play or through those trusty Cremona Auditors without tone controls?

Anyway, best of luck with the decision making. I must admit I too wish I could hear the Dev / ML combination. Whether it would suit my particular taste I don't know but I can well imagine that the sound would be unlike anything I have heard before.

James
 

DocG

Well-known member
May 1, 2012
54
1
18,545
So to sum it up so far, you have 2 "do it"s, 1 "don't", 1 "maybe yes" and 2 "perhaps better not"s.

Not all that helpful, is it? :shifty:
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts