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stefanher

Ultra high end hifi

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I don't want to start a thread accusing hifi manufacturers of being thieves & cheats but as someone who thought that paying the price of a top end Horning (which doesn't even begin to compare with the 57) as extravagant I was amazed to discover that a Dutch firm called Kharma produces a speaker that cost £250K. I had previously thought the top end models by Wilson & YG were as expensive as it got. Which begs the question I have to ask- what do these models give that a well designed speaker of 5-10k or even cheaper doesn't? The 57 is not perfect but to quote HFW- has strengths some can't live without. However it's not dynamic & complains like hell if you try to play it louder than it wants to go. I think properly sited the bass response is excellent. Even bought new it won't cost more that £5-6k. So what do these hideously eexpensive models provide??

And on the subject- can anyone recommend a speaker that may not have the 57's midband lucidity or pinpoint definition (to name but two of its qualities) but that IS dynamic & works with low power amps? Something that can go loud, has speed so that crescendi hit when they occur & doesn't complain about it? The brand certainly isn't spelt Horning.(whatever their own strengths).

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I think that these very highly priced products have nothing to do with audio fidelity and everything to do with pride of ownership, aspiration and giving Kudos to the manufacturer's lower priced products. Much in the way that a very expensive mechanical wristwatch won't be as accurate as a £ 5 quartz watch from a market stall, accuracy, or fidelity in the case of these audio products, is not the point of them; that can be achieved at much lower cost.

S.

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See my thread about possibly adding a treble horn Stefan.

To my ears, the 57s, suitably upgraded and sorted, do mid-band better than any speaker ever made.

The law of diminishing returns I suppose. £250K? Who knows. But they'd have to be amazing to beat what the old Quads do for mids.

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's funny. I've only heard one pair of 57's for any length of time. That was at Adam's. I thought the midrange was okaaaaay. Nothing stellar.

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Vox Olympians are less than £250k and they'd cream the '57s for mids, no problemo. Bloody well should do at that price!

TBH i've never found the Quads particularly amazing - would love to hear Richard's fettled ones though. Must get over to Kempston soon.

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Vox Olympians- so expensive not even 6 moons will print their price... Ironically Living Voice is one of the speaker brands I was thinking of investigating... What are they like? I really don't want to visit Definitive Audio unnecessarily & end up in overdraft because of our friends at Kondo....

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Vox Olympians are less than £250k and they'd cream the '57s for mids, no problemo. Bloody well should do at that price!

TBH i've never found the Quads particularly amazing - would love to hear Richard's fettled ones though. Must get over to Kempston soon.

Haven't heard the Olympians, but I would expect them to be stunning. As always, you are welcome here to listen to what properly fettled 57s can manage with mids. Perfect? Not by a fair way, but I have yet to hear anything that can reproduce mids in the same way.

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Vox Olympians- so expensive not even 6 moons will print their price... Ironically Living Voice is one of the speaker brands I was thinking of investigating... What are they like? I really don't want to visit Definitive Audio unnecessarily & end up in overdraft because of our friends at Kondo....

They're excellent, but you aren't going to buy a pair or otherwise, based on what a few blokes on here tell you. Visit Definitive, and you can kill two birds with one stone and get the answer to your first question - is ultra high end worth it? :cool:

£180k, depending on finish and sub options, btw.

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Vox Olympians- so expensive not even 6 moons will print their price... Ironically Living Voice is one of the speaker brands I was thinking of investigating... What are they like? I really don't want to visit Definitive Audio unnecessarily & end up in overdraft because of our friends at Kondo....

Our tastes may be similar. I couldn't live with any 'conventional' speaker... except LV. They somehow seem to manage to get out of the cabinet and open up magnificently. I have said before, and I'll say again, that they are the one cone speaker that I could live with after ESLs. Stunningly musical. They do have some cabinet response, but somehow the voicing makes it inconsequential. They just come alive and do the 'hair on the back of the neck' that I haven't heard from any other box. Lovely things, genuinely.

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Living Voice aren't Kondo!

Just pick up the phone and go, they really are friendly people not muggers!

But seriously how can any one answer 'What are they like'?

There were quite a few pairs at Scalford, which is about the only place you will hear them except for bakeoffs as Living Voice (Definitive) don't do tradeshows any more.

But enough wammers have them so I wouldn't think it would be too hard to get a listen if you don't want to go to Definitive.

As for Vox Olympians the price depends on what you want I would think, as each pair will be purpose made.

I expect having the sides finished in white Unicorn leather might be a bit more expensive than rolled gold, which might cost more than walnut veneer (but not much more!)

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And on the subject- can anyone recommend a speaker that may not have the 57's midband lucidity or pinpoint definition (to name but two of its qualities) but that IS dynamic & works with low power amps? Something that can go loud, has speed so that crescendi hit when they occur & doesn't complain about it? The brand certainly isn't spelt Horning.(whatever their own strengths).

MBLs do all of that - but whether they will go loud enough with low powered amps depends on your choice of music, and what you mean by low power amps.

While I sadly sold my old Cary direct heated triode 15W monoblocks before I got my MBLs, I wouldn't be at all suprised if they were a stonkingly good combination.

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Tel's speakers are indeed excellent, but to get the particular quality that only an electrostatic does but with dynamics and scale I had to move to a medium sized Martin Logan (Ascent). As with all speakers they are a compromise and to my mind aren't as good at what 57s do best but make a better overall compromise. The snag for you though (isn't there always a snag) is that they need a reasonably powered amp. A 75 watt valve amp just about does the trick if you don't need ear damaging volumes, but climaxes sound a bit buttoned in with a 40 watt amp.

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I don't want to start a thread accusing hifi manufacturers of being thieves & cheats but as someone who thought that paying the price of a top end Horning (which doesn't even begin to compare with the 57) as extravagant I was amazed to discover that a Dutch firm called Kharma produces a speaker that cost £250K. I had previously thought the top end models by Wilson & YG were as expensive as it got. Which begs the question I have to ask- what do these models give that a well designed speaker of 5-10k or even cheaper doesn't? The 57 is not perfect but to quote HFW- has strengths some can't live without. However it's not dynamic & complains like hell if you try to play it louder than it wants to go. I think properly sited the bass response is excellent. Even bought new it won't cost more that £5-6k. So what do these hideously eexpensive models provide??

And on the subject- can anyone recommend a speaker that may not have the 57's midband lucidity or pinpoint definition (to name but two of its qualities) but that IS dynamic & works with low power amps? Something that can go loud, has speed so that crescendi hit when they occur & doesn't complain about it? The brand certainly isn't spelt Horning.(whatever their own strengths).

Have you heard them?

The only direct experience I have of a model from that line and he didn't think it was the big ones was from a dealer. An importer of a rival brand. When I told him I had Kharma's he said, 'ah Kharma, Let me tell you a little story'. He'd been to the Munich Show one year and stumbled upon a Kharma demo. A good size room, one of thier top speakers and full of people. He was stood at the back off axis and commented that the sound was very very good. What amazed him though was that when the music ended everyone seated stood up and applauded. Not a canned respectful applause but rather as you'd see at the end of a great performance. He said he'd never seen anything like it before or since.

I'd have loved to have been there.

My Kharma's are at the bottom of the range but they're pretty extraordinary IME all the same. Funnily enough I had someone here today who'd heard Wilson WP8s a couple of days ago and felt mine in a far less expensive system were preferable, better intergrated, price needn't be a guide the WP8s are twice the price of mine. Having heard some ultra hifi I'm well aware that there is product out there that can reproduce sound in an extraordinary way. Thats not to say there isn't phenomenal kit at more modest budgets.

Are we all that small minded that we can't accept that there may be good product out there that costs the earth and in some cases may even cost the earth for a reason? Can't afford it myself (so don't need to justify the moral dilemma of spending that much) but I'm glad there are some out there pushing the envelop.

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