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Salk Sound

murl

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#1
Does anyone here have experience with any of the Salk Speakers? We are finally getting out of our rental condo and into a bigger unit that will accommodate a 2 ch system. I have the Matrix Audio Element X and will likely pair that with an amp and two good speakers. The only problem with Salk is I can't demo them before purchasing. Jim Salk tried to set me up with owners to do an in home demo but there are none close to me because I live in the middle of nowhere.
 

MZKM

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#2
On the pricey side, but they are custom-finished in your choosing, and they can even do some physical customizations, so it’s to be expected. They choose good drivers, their crossovers were mostly all designed by Dennis Murphy, and they at least show the on-axis frequency response (and state it’s phase coherent); I’m not surprised that most all the reviews are positive.

They also do fully custom work if none of their offerings fit your fancy.

Long wait time though; again, to be expected as it’s built to order in your chosen finish.
 

Ilkless

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#3
I'm not sure about pricey, especially when you look at their entry-level standmounts. Such as the Songsurround I (surround is imo a misnomer since it is tuned low enough to be a standalone minimonitor). To my mind $995 is a damn good price for a build-to-order speaker with very good artisanal veneer work that's heads and shoulders above others in the price range. Salk's "standard veneer" is already excellent. And having seen their crazy custom veneer work in real life, I can vouch for the quality and the looks. This isn't even considering the driver quality relative to price. The ER15 midwoofer they use is about $150/pr to the end consumer. The Hiquphon about $250/pr. That's $400 just in raw driver cost (for us end users, Salk of course gets wholesale price), excluding the cost of the crossover, the materials to build the cabinet and the labour/skill to build the cabinet, veneer it and assemble the speaker. Keep in mind this is the form factor of speakers like the wildly-loved ATC SCM7 or Harbeth P3ESR, both costing much much more. And Dennis Murphy's designs have consistently measured well when tested in more detail (eg. His designs for Philharmonic Audio), so I'm willing to extend some benefit of doubt in the absence of off-axis measurements given the overall package of very good drivers, build quality and pride of ownership at the <$1000 price.
 
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murl

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#4
I understand the law of diminishing returns but putting costs aside. If you were looking for two fantastic passive speakers what would you get?
 

digicidal

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#5
Jim Salk has a long and great history... I would love to have a pair of his higher-end models, may even try out his actives someday. Putting costs aside is really dangerous as it applies to passives... beyond say $5K/pair I'd say the differences start becoming almost entirely aesthetic. In reality, cost and available space are probably the biggest variables in speakers... the other compromises in design will be much smaller. If you told any great speaker designer size and cost don't matter - they'd (almost without exception IMO) deliver something that was the size of a refridgerator, weighing 300lbs+, and with a component cost of $10K at least.

That said, a straight answer - audition to see if you like them of course:
Commercial/Retail/Pro:
Revel - any of them in the 3 highest brackets
JBL 7 series monitors (just go active... but they have passives if you want - they require active xover however).
RBH SV-6500R
KEF R900
...Go to dealers and try several out...
Internet Direct:
Polk Audio LSiM line (707's are half price right now) - they are in stores, but also direct so put them here.
Ascend Acoustics Sierra Tower with the RAAL option
Salk Sound (I assume you've already researched)

What I have, and am mostly happy with despite them being dirt cheap (relatively):
Aperion Grand Verus Towers in one system, and Polk Audio LSiM bookshelves in my office.

Everything else I have are active monitors (or speakers which I would not recommend to anyone else). :facepalm:

But seriously, it is a bit like asking which car to buy... even if you specify "sports car" - there's way too many possibilities, and the differences are ~70% subjective determinations. All of the above measure well for the most part, but ever speaker has some compromises baked in... some might really bug you and others might not even matter. Only you can tell which is which. ;)
 

Ilkless

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#6
I understand the law of diminishing returns but putting costs aside. If you were looking for two fantastic passive speakers what would you get?
Within Salk: Definitely the BMR 3-way standmount. It has been well-reviewed and tested extensively - it shows excellent engineering. I would augment the bass with subs instead of going with their floorstanders. I think the cost of constructing a much larger floorstanding enclosure to Salk's build and finish quality means their value for money is blunted a bit - although still excellent.

I would go active with subs past around 5-6k, like @digicidal suggested, because the performance gap is simply that large.
 

garbulky

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#8
I understand the law of diminishing returns but putting costs aside. If you were looking for two fantastic passive speakers what would you get?
I haven't heard a lot of them so I don't know what the best sound like. It would be interesting to see if Wilson Audio and Vapor Audio was up to the task.
 

DonH56

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#9
I understand the law of diminishing returns but putting costs aside. If you were looking for two fantastic passive speakers what would you get?
Well, I have a pair (or three) of Revel Salon2's that I am rather fond of... But I lived quite happily with Magnepan MG-IIIa's for many years before that. Preference is a huge factor in choosing speakers, as well as the room in which they are going.

My short list when considering the Maggies' replacement (probably forgot some, order is alphabetical):

Magnepan
Revel
Salk
Sanders

I read about many, and listened to a fair number, to find the few that stood out from the crowd to me in performance and/or value.
 

murl

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#10
Thanks for all of the suggestions. My main problem is I live in the middle of nowhere and auditioning these speakers is impossible. My friend has Salon 2s and loves them. I have heard the Wilson Duette 2s and liked them. I also heard the Alexx but those are $100k, wouldn't spend that much even if I had more money than I could ever spend. I am interested in the Salks and Jim seems very responsive but haven't heard any. I wonder if there is a significant difference in the Song 3 Beats vs the SS9.5.

I really haven't done much research on actives. Maybe I should look into them if the performance gap is significant. We are moving to a condo and I want two really good speakers. I have the Matrix Audio Element X now and plan on using it as a source for the speakers and headphones. I have heard magnepans and love them but really want something that offers a bit more than a one man show.
 

murl

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#11
Within Salk: Definitely the BMR 3-way standmount. It has been well-reviewed and tested extensively - it shows excellent engineering. I would augment the bass with subs instead of going with their floorstanders. I think the cost of constructing a much larger floorstanding enclosure to Salk's build and finish quality means their value for money is blunted a bit - although still excellent.

I would go active with subs past around 5-6k, like @digicidal suggested, because the performance gap is simply that large.
What actives past $5-6k would you consider?
 

Ilkless

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#12
What actives past $5-6k would you consider?
A few users here have the DutchDutch 8c or the Kii Three. Genelec 8351B/8361 are in that range. As is the Neumann KH420A. Your Element X has XLR preamp outputs - perfect to run an active setup. All the listed speakers are various flavours within the state-of-the-art.
 

murl

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#13
What would be the best way to send a digital signal from the optical out on your tv to the D&Ds to use with video as well? The D&Ds are roon ready which is nice.
 

Ilkless

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#14
What would be the best way to send a digital signal from the optical out on your tv to the D&Ds to use with video as well? The D&Ds are roon ready which is nice.
You Element X has an optical input right? You could connect the TV to that and then use XLR analog from the Element X to the 8c's analog input. I assume you mean for stereo.
 

murl

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#15
Yes that is an option. Wonder if you could use an optical to AES adapter and bypass the element X.
 

digicidal

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#17
Although it varies greatly by TV model and source signal content obviously, most of the optical outputs on current TVs I own are horrible in the settings (LG/Samsung) - i.e. they didn't have a simple way to specify PCM stereo through the Toslink output and would pass everything as Dolby Digital (lossy) only. Because built-in surround sound was a sales bullet point assumedly. :confused:

Not that it's a problem in my case (11.2-channel pre/pro is used despite only using 2.1), nor that it will necessarily be one in yours (TV may natively output PCM 2 channel or allow selection of either)... however, as there is no decoder in the Element X it's possible that it could have issues. I'd definitely test it first before ordering adapters.
 

murl

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#18
Thanks for all of the advice. I'm not terribly sensitive about TV sound, it just needs to be better than "TV speakers." Mainly referring to hearing the vocals without hearing distortion turning the volume up. I am probably deaf from so much headphone listening which is why this is a problem. I was big into home theater but now I definitely listen to more music than watch TV.
 

digicidal

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#19
Thanks for all of the advice. I'm not terribly sensitive about TV sound, it just needs to be better than "TV speakers." Mainly referring to hearing the vocals without hearing distortion turning the volume up. I am probably deaf from so much headphone listening which is why this is a problem. I was big into home theater but now I definitely listen to more music than watch TV.
Probably also has something to do with there being much more music worth listening to than TV worth watching! ;)
 
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