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ranjeetrain

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As I was looking to audition some speakers when I was in Delhi, Malvai and I had decided to dedicate one full-day to audition some speakers at Bass n Treble and listen to Malvai's system. As it turned out my day was entirely washed out due to unplanned activities and it was evening by the time I was able to go ahead with the plan. Obviously speaker audition at Bass n Treble was ruled out, so we decided to spend remainder of the evening listening to Malvai's system.

Where do I begin? There is a lot to tell. Shall I start with the headline? Or with some photos? Okay, I'll do both!!

Today's headline is - Malvai's got one heck of a speaker. Resurrection! As it has fondly been named after the second symphony of Mahler, is a beautiful piece of gear. Something one will totally enjoy listening to, day-after-day, weeks after weeks, hours end on every single time.

And here is the photo of the whole setup.


The speakers are finished in matte black (which complimented Malvai's slightly deco-ish decor very well) and are an imposing beast at first glance. I didn't try to lift it but I can tell they were heavy. Transmission line loaded, means a lof of wood inside, plus, the external cabinet seemed to be solidly done too (could be at least an inch thick). The front baffle is slanted and that adds to look and makes the speaker look stable sitting in its place.

[IMG2]http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8242/8456868003_98e7503b9d.jpg[/IMG2] Highlight of the speaker is its entirely detached ribbon tweeter. This tweeter housed entirely in a separate enclosure was a real piece of beauty. Not as much in form as much in function. Separate enclosure meant the tweeter could be moved back and forth, left and right to allow positioning with the axis of the woofer as well off it, should the circumstances warrant it. It also meant that the sound-stage could be marginally or substantially be changed merely by repositioning the tweeters, as opposed to the whole speaker. The tweeter unit was relatively heavy and stability was not a problem. Besides, Malvai had a piece of cloth tucked underneath them which in addition to providing the necessary grip also prevented the top of the speaker from scratches. I feel something like blue tack could add a bit to the sound-stage, though the way the speaker cabinet was inert and the frequency range that the tweeter module was handling, this was a non-issue. But when we talk about maximizing performance, every little thing counts. Stabilizing the tweeter after it has been integrated into the system will surely add some fidelity.

The mid-woofer (or the woofer as some might call them) seemed to be made of some extra light metal alloy for minimum distortion. They wore a brushed aluminum look and looked plainly gorgeous. They need to be kept clean though, as the Resurrection don't have a grill (at least it wasn't there when I saw them). They also reminded me of some speakers from a relatively less know European manufacturer who uses a similar looking driver and integrates them in the same fashion with a tweeter module.

Integration with the system: Speakers have their own characteristics, but their entire characteristic is an outcome of the entire chain they are voicing. Undoubtedly, the sound I heard them produce were produced by the Resurrection, but the amp and the source played a very important role. The Resurrection was being driven by an Accuphase E-460 and was fed by a Wyred4Sound DAC 2 DAC and a phono-stage whose name I can't recall now which in turn was hooked to a ClearAudio turntable.

Impression on sound: The overall sound was (1) Grainless (2) Dynamic (3) Effortless (4) Detailed. The system sounded SUPERB. Something that makes you go, WOW. It was an absolutely grain-free portrayal regardless of the source (we heard both LPs and digital files), except where the source was bad. Malvai had a bad pressing of an album to illustrate the point. But with good copies the sound was absolutely smooth yet lacking no details, not unduly rounded like smooth sometimes refers to. We heard a lot of music; Jazz, Acid Jazz and some popular stuff.

One of the basic expectations I personally have from a speaker is dynamics. I can't live with speakers that sound compressed. The sheer joy of a live orchestra or even a classical symphony cannot be enjoyed on limited bandwidth speakers. I need speakers that impose no limitation on bandwidth and dynamics. I recently sold a pair of vintage speakers that had only one flaw, they couldn't play musical passages with the dynamics of a live orchestra and couldn't bring a musical crescendo to the living room. Not so with Resurrection. Resurrection were at complete ease (part thanks goes to the superb Accuphase, lets not forget) while voicing the very soft coughing of the singer away from the microphone as well as the in your face plucking on strings by the lead guitarist. They succeeded in bringing the joy of musical crescendos to the living room. All this without any sign of stress or fatigue, either on the part of Speakers or the Amplifier.

One of the most striking characteristic of this system, and the one that took me over instantly, was how detailed the system sounded. That was the first thing I told Malvai. Music seemed to have textured layers through which the sound was delivered. There was so much detail in it that it sounded detailed even from outside the main listening room into the kitchen. That is, it was one fun speaker to live with, something that doesn't tie you to the sweet spot. Even if you are out of there, you still get a very accurately conveyed musical message.

Malvai narrated me the story how he got the speakers. There is a dedicated thread on that so will not repeat it here, but feel free to read that thread, a good read. In short, he auditioned the speakers without his amp and decided to go for a home audition. And it worked. Fantastic! Good call on Malvai's part I'd say. I'd have done the same. When it comes to sound mine and Malvai's preference are quite similar I reckon. I have found one set of ears I can trust.



More pictures here: Malvai's System

More thoughts on his analogue stuff later. In fact that will be one long story by itself. Or better still, the man himself can talk a bit on that. His journey into analogue world and of course his awesome collection of LPs.

To wrap it up, it was an awesome evening spent with Accuphase, ClearAudio, Gerrad, Resurrection, Wyred4Sound, an awesome collection of vinyls, Malval and FM Prash2k who joined us for a while. Awesome setup Malvai, way to go. I liked what I heard, not only from the sweet spot but also from away from it. I really hope this system stays with you for long, as it is a very well tuned system, something one can live with for long.

Oh, and thank you for the awesome Kadhai Paneer. I miss Indian food so much. Sorry for being greedy and eating your parantha, too :lol:
 

Thad E Ginathom

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I have heard Mahler's Ressurection Symphony in London's Royal Festival Hall, and at the Royal Albert Hall. I have a bad LP and a good CD. I have a couple of other FLAC versiona acquired along the way ...but I have not heard it on Malvai's speakers, so I'm really missing out :D

Ahhh... One day...

BTW. There are various sorts of non-slip mat. One is a sort of net material, It looks flimsy, but I have pieces of it under my washing machine feet (!) and the machine no longer walks. Aesthetically and practically it could be good under those tweeters. Another idea is that there are silicon mats which might be had from a kitchen shop. The sell them in kitchen shops because they are very bad heat conductors, so insulate the hand nicely --- but they are also quite grippy. Probably they are available in blue :)
 

prash2k01

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I must thank to Ranjeet to invite me there for audition, Malvi is so lucky to have them. it is just awesome setup. The whole setup has really that Wow factor to love them.
 

ranjeetrain

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I concur Ranjeet...absolutely fantastic setup....even better is the amazing record collection that Manav has....

Absolutely, I just wonder how much time and money Manav has spent building that library. And how does he manage it. I would be searching for the record to play for several minutes, unless those records were arranged in alphabetical order.

I must thank to Ranjeet to invite me there for audition, Malvi is so lucky to have them. it is just awesome setup. The whole setup has really that Wow factor to love them.

Ek say bhaley do :D
 

ranjeetrain

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I have heard Mahler's Ressurection Symphony in London's Royal Festival Hall, and at the Royal Albert Hall. I have a bad LP and a good CD. I have a couple of other FLAC versiona acquired along the way ...but I have not heard it on Malvai's speakers, so I'm really missing out :D

Ahhh... One day...

BTW. There are various sorts of non-slip mat. One is a sort of net material, It looks flimsy, but I have pieces of it under my washing machine feet (!) and the machine no longer walks. Aesthetically and practically it could be good under those tweeters. Another idea is that there are silicon mats which might be had from a kitchen shop. The sell them in kitchen shops because they are very bad heat conductors, so insulate the hand nicely --- but they are also quite grippy. Probably they are available in blue :)

You should definitely listen to it whenever you get a chance. This is system has a very likable sound.

About the non-slip mat. Well, I have a number of ideas for that. Personally For all my needs I depend on Homestar. A company that makes general house hold accessories. They are cheap and work better than many mega buck stuff targeted at audiophile. But not sure if Homestar is available in India. If it is, everyone should try them. They are cheap enough to at least try once.

Among the once that should be very easily available off the shelf in any hardware store in India should be 3M. 3M has a lot of stuff that are reasonably good. Here are some of the 3M stuff I can recommend:




 

malvai

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Thank you for the kind words Ranjeet!

It was a pleasure having you over. After a long time, I have found another person with very keen ears.

Also, I find that many a times the gear sounds good to people more because of the badge that is put on it. The R's too have suffered from the lack of a 'Badge Value'. Fortunately, most HFV friends, are not afflicted by the badge value disease and hence have been able to truly appreciate the R's for what they do.

And like Ranjeet has already reviewed, they do all things right.

I will write up more about the analogue chain in some time....


for now, a big THANK YOU to Ranjeet for the words and the beautiful pictures of a very dimly lit room!
 

soulforged

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Sooper :clapping:

I was supposed to join you guys that day but had an unfortunate clash of schedules...looks like I missed one heck of a session :(
 

asliarun

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Malvai, congratulations on such a carefully crafted setup!
Ranjeet, that was a great writeup as well.

Would either of you mind sharing your thoughts and experience with the w4s dac2?
They seem to be great performers and the 6moons review was very positive as well.
 

ranjeetrain

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I'm typing this on phone so excuse typos.

@soulforged, you said you would be at Delhi on 26/27th. Didn't know you were still there when I visited Manav. Yeah, we could go together. It would have been nice to meet you.

@Arun, Wyred4Sound has a very ideal sound. Ideal as in honest. Not analytical, not rounded, not bass heavy not treble heavy no midrange bloom. It has a very *disciplined presentaction.Together with a neutral and detailed sounding amp, it will form a nice team. Whether or not one likes such sound is a matter of choice.We did listen to both digital and analog. Switching between digital and analog, I didn't miss anything. Not warmth, not details, not sound stage, not frequency extension. And that's saying a lot.
 

soulforged

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I'm typing this on phone so excuse typos.

@soulforged, you said you would be at Delhi on 26/27th. Didn't know you were still there when I visited Manav. Yeah, we could go together. It would have been nice to meet you.

No worries...I had actually called up Manav and he had told me about the plans...sadly the evening schedule did not suit me as I had prior commitments...my loss :mad:

I was keen on checking out some stuff at Denny's as well. This trip was a washout as far as music and AV was concerned but the saving grace was that I managed to catch up with Mr. Viren and listen to his DHT/GM70 with the Horn Grande...:eek:hyeah:
 

malvai

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I will give a serious look into the 3M products!

@Arun: The W4S DAC2 is very neutral. Extended on both the frequency extremes. It is not shrill like the NAD DAC (probably my only grouse with the NAD DAC)...

It is closer in sound signature to the more expensive Playback Design DACs.

Being an extreme vinyl head, i have been a tough customer to please when it comes to digital sources.... The last time I liked a digital sources was the Ayon CD2S.

But even that now is very, very expensive.

In the sub Rs 150,000/- category, this is the ONLY DAC that has impressed me. I do not claim to have heard all the DACs in this category, but among the ones that I heard, this clearly is killer product.

The best thing that I like about the W4S DAC 2 is that it is not really typically 'digital sounding'.

Rahul Pandit too has heard it and I am sure he can chime in with his impressions as well.

Having said the above, I would add that it isn't really fair to judge an individual component, as one does not listen to the individual components. One is listening to the entire chain. And in this chain, the DAC is working like a very good and strong team player.
 

asliarun

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In the sub Rs 150,000/- category, this is the ONLY DAC that has impressed me. I do not claim to have heard all the DACs in this category, but among the ones that I heard, this clearly is killer product.

The best thing that I like about the W4S DAC 2 is that it is not really typically 'digital sounding'.
...
Having said the above, I would add that it isn't really fair to judge an individual component, as one does not listen to the individual components. One is listening to the entire chain. And in this chain, the DAC is working like a very good and strong team player.

Thanks for sharing and for letting us benefit from your experience, Malvai. That is high praise indeed for this DAC. It is also interesting to note that they sell the DAC-1 for a lesser price with some lesser features (but I assume the same audio quality).

I also have to say that your system looks like one that is matched and setup after a lot of experience with various components. I only focused on the DAC because I was interested to know more about good quality DACs myself (more so than other components), at least at this stage of my initial foray in this world.

Ranjeet, thanks so much for sharing your experience as well.
 

malvai

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Thanks for sharing and for letting us benefit from your experience, Malvai. That is high praise indeed for this DAC. It is also interesting to note that they sell the DAC-1 for a lesser price with some lesser features (but I assume the same audio quality).

I also have to say that your system looks like one that is matched and setup after a lot of experience with various components. I only focused on the DAC because I was interested to know more about good quality DACs myself (more so than other components), at least at this stage of my initial foray in this world.

Ranjeet, thanks so much for sharing your experience as well.

Specifically if I were to tell you about how the W4S DAC2 works on its own, I'd say that the sound is neutral... After having tried it with a modern Luxman Integrated amp and a NAD 350 (from my second set up).

The W4S DAC 2 shines! It does not impart its own colourations.

My main set up (above) is very very transparent. When I change the cartridge, I hear a clear difference. When I change the CDP, the sonics change and the colouration is evident. Every little change is heard right from the amount of detail, PRAT, attack .... every nuance is heard.

With the W4S DAC 2, i really have no cause for complaint. If they bring out a DSD DAC, I will not think twice to upgrade... till then, this is the DAC for me!
 

Amp_Nut

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How did you acquire the W4S DAC-2 ?

Is it available in India or did you hand carry it from S'pore ?
 

malvai

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^^^ Another FM bought it from the US of A and then I bought it off him...
 

HMV

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Hi Malvai,

Nice to see your set up and a great one too. I am sure it must be giving you a lot of pleasure and the best part is that you did not have to spend mega bucks, but I am sure you must have spent mega amount of time to voice and dial it in.

Could you tell us more about your speakers, as to what brand of component drivers are you using (if you wish to share)? What x-over point would you have from the woofer/mid to the Ribbons? The efficiency of the drivers and the work done to integrate them.

Did you build the x-over yourself and have you ever thought of bi-amping (tubes driving the ribbons) with an active x-over?

Just some thoughts, though lots of questions..........

Many thanks

HMV
 

tirthankar

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^^^ Another FM bought it from the US of A and then I bought it off him...

Very nice setup.

What will you say are the major differences between the sound of the garrard and the clearaudio?

Also, correct me if I am wrong, I think W4S sacs sold in the US are 110-120v. If yes, are you using a stepdown?
 

bhagwan

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Could you tell us more about your speakers, as to what brand of component drivers are you using
(if you wish to share)?

What x-over point would you have from the woofer/mid to the Ribbons?

The efficiency of the drivers and the work done to integrate them.

Did you build the x-over yourself

and have you ever thought of bi-amping

(tubes driving the ribbons) with an active x-over?

If the Moderator allows - I would like to try and answer these questions;
Please....
:)

a]
The Drivers - Woofer is ATD - Vapour Deposited Titanium - Italian
Tweeter - Ribbon - Alain Bernanrd [Ex-Raven Designer] BEE Engineering - France

b]
X-Over Point - Not Known - Designer never shared that with me...Sorry;

c]
Efficiency - Not very high - around 88dB

d]
The X-Over was built in Italy bu Mr. Szall

e]
Speaker cannot be bi-amped - will explain why a bit later - slightly complicated.

This is a super speaker & has served me will.
It is a TL.
It was commissioned to be a Magico Mini [out-performer] - same woofer is used in the older Magico as this speaker - ATD from Italy.
'Resurrection' is one of my Favorite orchestral works & hence it was named after that.

O.T.
Have you issolated the Base of the Speaker - The Bottom plate should not touch the gtound - very important.
Keep the Bass Section straight - no toe-in & just play with the Ribbon Section to get the correct focus & image height - please...

All the Best !

Enjoy the 'R's
:clapping:

:eek:hyeah:
 
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