Amarra and Salk Treat Bay Area Audiophiles

About 50 BAAS members were treated to great music and great sound yesterday, courtesy of the Amarra music player system and Salk Soundscape 10 loudspeakers.

Not only did we have the fine Amarra software on hand, but the Amarra team arrived in force to teach, answer questions, and evangelize computer playback. In addition, we sampled the Sonic Studio 305 ADC/DAC and brand-new (and uber expensive) linear power supply for same. Both were excellent IMO – powerful features and great sound.

And members were literally raving about the Salk speakers (see forums). At their $10K introductory price (internet-direct), many members considered them a huge value as well.

Great stuff – and many thanks to the Amarra team and Jim Salk!

Bob

Sunday, September 19th, 2010 Audiophile, Bob, Events, Music Server

1 Comment to Amarra and Salk Treat Bay Area Audiophiles

  1. I saw the Salk Soundscape speakers at Cal Show in Emeryville last month. Jim’s demo system was very low key and so was the sound: impressive clean bass coupled to a noticeably rolled-off lifeless treble.
    With such equisite workmanship, superb driver selection and pretty much “cost no object” approach I expected much better. I went on a hunch and asked Jim Salk if he’d agree to leave the speakers for a BAAS demo. Jim was very gracious and after some coordination with Bob, the speakers showed up for the BAAS demo. Frankly, you will not find a nicer person to deal with than Jim Salk!
    The initial assembly before the demo revealed some minor issues. The bass was still impressive and very very clean but there were some anomalies.
    We swapped amps and played with the configuration. Jim writes about the midrange cabinet on his web site and actually mentions that you may stuff it to change the sound to your liking. In Bob’s installation that was not an option. All the listening after that, including the demo itself, commenced with that midrange cabinet stuffed. It made a huge difference in the crossover region between the woofer and the Accuton ceramic mid.
    Bob continued the setup with a single amp, which was not ideal IMHO. Jim recommends a 300 watt amp and I believe the issue is impedance and not power. Whatever we tried (and we did improve the sound markedly) the single Goldmund amp could not deliver the best sound. There was some barely-audible distortion in the crossover region and certain “shouting” that was most apparent on some vocals.
    It’s interesting to note that we tried briefly a bi-amp configuration (very easy to do in Bob’s “lab”…) which fixed all the above issues and sounded outstanding!!!
    The speakers are bi-wirable so this might be the perfect solution for those who’d rather not have 500lbs monoblock “behemoths” in their system. It worked very well with two tiny Goldmunds per channel.
    In all these experiments, the RAAL ribbon tweeter was always well-behaved. Bob is a tweeter freak and he considers it one of the very few he’d recommend. That’s coming from a guy that sent his previous ribbons for modifications before he could live with them…
    As I see it, these speakers are the “real deal” and a great bargain. You get top-shelf drivers, superb design and great craftmanship. The Sounscape speakers do require attention in amp matching but what you get in the end is great sound and a big smile on your face. Hell, money can buy you “love”!

  2. ori on September 23rd, 2010
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