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Human Speakers 81 dk Review

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 204 88.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 18 7.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 1 0.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 8 3.5%

  • Total voters
    231

Head_Unit

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The speaker clearly failed the premise of the Burhoe module from which it is derived. The woofer is supposed to naturally roll off ...in order to gentle cross with the tweeter that uses a single capacitor as the whole filter crossover.
Once upon a time, I made something like that. And recall some drivers like that. Nowadays, I've been looking at a lot of different types and sizes of woofers and NADA. Nothing seems to roll off smoothly any more.
?!?
 

Mosquito

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Mar 14, 2021
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Once upon a time, I made something like that. And recall some drivers like that. Nowadays, I've been looking at a lot of different types and sizes of woofers and NADA. Nothing seems to roll off smoothly any more.
?!?
Indeed, I suspect it is technically impossible, at least until measurement of a REAL Epi woofer proves me wrong.
 
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SteveSBD

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Feb 1, 2024
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My love for high-end audio was born from these guys back in the 70's. As a child and teen, my bar for what audio should sound like came from our home system with Epicure 20's. I didn't know anyone with a home stereo that could even remotely compare. The Epicures were like the Ohm Walsh of the day, designed to be placed flat against the wall and offering a surreal image for its time. When the drivers deteriorated in the early 2000's, my Dad removed them and sent them to Human Speakers to be restored. They billed the credit card immediately, then went silent for over 6 months. We were thinking we had been scammed. Finally, they shipped out the restored drivers. When we got them, we couldn't believe that our once pristine driver baskets were now covered in rust! But at least they did sound as good as when they were new, so we were back in business at least. My Dad is still using them to this day.

I think it's important to note that this design was created before the Linkwitz-Riley crossover had been invented. That's why they still tout the advantages of the simplicity of their crossover. In those days, a simpler crossover was better! But I don't believe it holds up in modern times. If you want a better version of the Epi sound, just listen to some of the higher end ADS speakers, for instance. Using L-R crossovers, they are definitely an upgrade, with a similar sound signature to the Epi's, but better.

As someone who comes from a background of listening to the Epi sound signature, when I bought my own home, I got my hands on some ADS L-810's and thought they were the perfect next step from the speakers I had grown up with. But after going to Rocky Mountain Audio Fest for a few years, I knew I wanted something that sounded more like modern audiophile. So I recently upgraded my system using some of the most maligned speakers on this forum: Elac Unifi 2 bookshelves! That Ohm-Walsh-like imaging that I had grown up with, was now taken to a completely new level, courtesy of the Elac speakers, a home-made sub, and some DSP/EQ. My opinion then, is that the Epi sound signature is no longer relevant today, except as a museum piece.
 

adm

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Mar 10, 2020
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My love for high-end audio was born from these guys back in the 70's. As a child and teen, my bar for what audio should sound like came from our home system with Epicure 20's. I didn't know anyone with a home stereo that could even remotely compare. The Epicures were like the Ohm Walsh of the day, designed to be placed flat against the wall and offering a surreal image for its time. When the drivers deteriorated in the early 2000's, my Dad removed them and sent them to Human Speakers to be restored. They billed the credit card immediately, then went silent for over 6 months. We were thinking we had been scammed. Finally, they shipped out the restored drivers. When we got them, we couldn't believe that our once pristine driver baskets were now covered in rust! But at least they did sound as good as when they were new, so we were back in business at least. My Dad is still using them to this day.

I think it's important to note that this design was created before the Linkwitz-Riley crossover had been invented. That's why they still tout the advantages of the simplicity of their crossover. In those days, a simpler crossover was better! But I don't believe it holds up in modern times. If you want a better version of the Epi sound, just listen to some of the higher end ADS speakers, for instance. Using L-R crossovers, they are definitely an upgrade, with a similar sound signature to the Epi's, but better.

As someone who comes from a background of listening to the Epi sound signature, when I bought my own home, I got my hands on some ADS L-810's and thought they were the perfect next step from the speakers I had grown up with. But after going to Rocky Mountain Audio Fest for a few years, I knew I wanted something that sounded more like modern audiophile. So I recently upgraded my system using some of the most maligned speakers on this forum: Elac Unifi 2 bookshelves! That Ohm-Walsh-like imaging that I had grown up with, was now taken to a completely new level, courtesy of the Elac speakers, a home-made sub, and some DSP/EQ. My opinion then, is that the Epi sound signature is no longer relevant today, except as a museum piece.
The Epicure sound signature, or that of any vintage speaker, is still relevant today for those enjoying the sound. Like yourself, my love for high-end audio goes back to the EPI-Epicure-Genesis lineage. My first serious stereo speakers were Genesis IIs back in 1977. You were lucky to have grown up in a home that had a great stereo system. My parents just didn't see the value in it. My interest started in college in the 1970s, when it was not uncommon for college kids to have great stereo systems in their dorm rooms. My choice came down between the Genesis IIs and the ADS L510s. The Genesis IIs were a little bit cheaper and went much lower in the bass. If I had the money at the time, I would have gone with the ADS L710s but they were way out of my price range as a poor student. The tweeters on the ADS and Epicure/Genesis speakers were the best available for speakers that were relatively affordable in those days.

I am not an expert on crossovers but the original module developed by Winslow Burhoe was designed to work with a very simple crossover. EPI and Epicure speakers in general, and the EPI 100 in particular, were noted for their flat frequency response. Burhoe has endorsed Huw Powell's products, saying that Powell's drivers are the updated version of his own design. As I noted above, I bought the standard Model 81 (and not the DK reviewed here) from Huw Powell just a few months before this review. I use them in my vintage system (and not my main system) with an Arcam A65+ integrated amp, a 20-year old Rotel RCD 02 CD player, and a 30-year old SOTA Moobeam I turntable with an Ortofon 2m Bronze cartridge.The Model 81s sound great in this system. This is why the measurements above are still a mystery wrapped in an enigma to me. They do sound a lot like my old Genesis speakers. So maybe the sound you are used to is what sounds right to you. Maybe the problems with the Model 81 DK are not present with my standard, original model that Huw has been making for about 30 years. Or maybe the model reviewed here is a bad sample. But all I hear on my original Human Model 81s is the linear, uncolored EPI/Epicure sound. The other reviews of the Model 81 confirm the same.
 
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Cogito

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Dec 29, 2019
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I'm constantly surprised by what I see on ASR. How is it so many "reputable" audio manufactures can put out so much sub-par gear? Do they not test their products prior to release? Does it cost that much more to tweak the designs in order to fix the OBVIOUS flaws in their design? YIKES! I expect a whole lot more at this price point. Absolute junk.
 

DSJR

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Happened to have it in front of me :
View attachment 339315
Now put a deep suckout of 20dB between 4 and 7kHz on the 55 - 65 year old curve but keep the sensitivity above that the same as any 65+ year old and you'll understand what I now live with without hearing aids :( No wonder the telly and Harbeths sound muffled without them...
 

adm

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Mar 10, 2020
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I'm constantly surprised by what I see on ASR. How is it so many "reputable" audio manufactures can put out so much sub-par gear? Do they not test their products prior to release? Does it cost that much more to tweak the designs in order to fix the OBVIOUS flaws in their design? YIKES! I expect a whole lot more at this price point. Absolute junk.
You could do a lot worse than this speaker for a lot more money. Call up the measurements for the $10,000 Wilson Tune Tot.
 
D

Deleted member 21219

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You could do a lot worse than this speaker for a lot more money. Call up the measurements for the $10,000 Wilson Tune Tot.

Neither one seems acceptable to me ... but that's just me.

Jim
 
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