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PTE - Precision Transducer Engineering - Room 408





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Wayne's Impressions

The Phoenix SG speakers were Disappearing Speaker Act #2 at the show for me. They were in a small room that was getting a lot of attention. It took a few minutes to get into the sweet spot chair, but the Phoenix SG's had performed their disappearing act as soon as I entered the room - in my notes I wrote that it took 3 seconds to determine that they were among the best speakers at RMAF. There simply were no audible cues that the music was coming from those speakers.

The soundstage filled the entire width of the room, suggesting that it might have been even larger given more room for expansion. It was wide and deep, completely natural and cohesive, and imaging was flawlessly sharp and bedrock stable. Tonality was smooth and even from bottom to top of the frequency range.

A poster suggested the Phoenix SG's were excellent mastering speakers. As if on cue, a gentleman who had mentioned he was a mastering engineer pulled a vinyl disk from its jacket, switching the demo music from a CD source. My first reaction was slight disappointment, as I had just come from a room where the exhibitor's 60's and 70's vinyl collection seemed to be the showpiece rather than the speakers he was selling, and the recording quality of his selections was not doing the speakers any favors. When the music started, though, it turned out to be the best vinyl-sourced music I heard all weekend, Ahmad Jamal's Crystal album. The vibrant clarity was stunning, had listeners shifting in our seats and looking at each other with big silly grins, and the Phoenix SG's sounded even more impressive than before.

The Phoenix SG's, designed by Jim Rush, were powered by three on-board class AB power sections rated at 130W each. The 1700 Hz 5th-order crossover and selectable EQ were all analog and frequency response extended from 32 Hz to 20 Khz +/- 2 dB. The dual-rear-ported cabinets weighed in at 80 lb each.
 

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Cool that sounds like a sweet speaker. It sort of makes me wish I had just gone to random rooms when I had time to wander, instead of creating a list of products I wanted to see because I already knew something about them.

At the end there you listed the upper frequency response as 2 kHz. I assume that was a typo and you meant "2x kHz."
 

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is there a way to ask wayne about the vinyl. was the vibrant clarity really stunning? i wonder if he was influenced because he saw it. being a little techno savvy i just don't get the appreciation for vinyl. i have a hard time believing music gets better on vinyl compared to what we can hear coming from 1's and 0's through dac's. maybe there is a good double blind test i can read to better educate myself??

dave
 

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Good question, and interesting timing, as I am visiting a family member who has recently (in the last year) gotten into the vinyl experience, so I have heard a lot from vinyl over the last week.

My own experience with vinyl, referring strictly to its sonic qualities, and assuming no significant difference in mix or mastering, has been that it can be at its best as good as or nearly as good as digital 99 percent of the time and that 1 percent of the time it can possibly sound better, according to the individual listener's preferences, due to one of the following factors:
  • A small amount of the right kind of distortion might actually slightly enhance the sound in a way the the listener happens to enjoy or appreciate.
  • Something about the imperfection of vinyl enhances the listening experience for a certain performance or kind of music. An example of this I discovered recently is with the band The New P. (I believe this particular word might not print in this forum, no big deal). Their performance style in the studio is somewhat chaotic, a throwback to recordings from the 60's and 70's that had a chaotic, revolutionary feel about them. Listening to them on slightly imperfect vinyl, to me anyway, enhances that experience.
The Crystal album referred to falls into the category of sounding as good as Digital, and my delight was as much relief as anything that it did sound that good, and delight that it could sound that good. The quality was a result of it being well recorded, well mastered, a good pressing, and a well-preserved copy. I can see that my comments might have made it sound like it was a better-than-digital experience, and that was not what I intended to imply. Thank you for bringing it up, and for the opportunity to clarify.
 
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