A. Colin Flood
Florida business and technical writer by trade, (I create content) with
champagne tastes on a beer budget, yet am very proud to say I am a fixture at Enjoy
the Music.com for over almost two decades! Have written over eight dozen
stereo reviews and love the freedom of expression that my publisher affords me.
I find a lot of value in vintage equipment, applied with new modern information.
Am not associated or affiliated, in any form or fashion, with any firm of any
kind, in the home theater or audio industries, except Enjoy the
The third room I use for evaluation is a
dedicated, carpeted, unfortunately square, bedroom-size room. Walls are wood
paneled. Floor and 9' high ceiling are wood also. The room opens in the back
with windows in the middle of each wall. The acoustics are not hard and bright,
but not soft or muted either. There are no RealTraps in this room yet. I listen
mostly about low 80dB, on a slow, C-weighted, unadjusted Radio Shack SPL meter.
Ole Horn Loudspeakers
Khorns are fantastically efficient at 104dB/W/m!
This makes them incredibly easy-to-drive and very dynamic (see Stereos,
As They Relate to Indoor Sport). Despite their gargantuan size,
snuggling Khorns into room corners keeps their partner/spousal/wife acceptance
factor (WAF) high. Khorns have smooth response, extremely low distortion,
sensitivity, out-the-way footprint and enormous dynamics. The Big Ole Horns and
tasty tube amplifier combination remains one of the best sounding and most
practical combinations available today, especially when backed by solid-state
muscle. These beloved babies become the musical instrument. After trading
Klipsch Cornwalls, net cost is $500.
The second loudspeakers are vintage Altec Lansing
Model Ones ($10 at Goodwill). They weigh 31 pounds, with new 8 Ohm Acoustic
8" mid-bass woofer ($50) and original 4" silver dome tweeter, for 50
Hz to 20 kHz frequency response.
Even with two 15" woofers, I still use a solid-state powered subwoofer. The ACI Titan is of the 12" downward-firing variety with a cherry-trimmed enclosure that includes a 250 Watt Class AB amplifier to fill in the lowest lows (like submarine depth charges). The Titan has unique dual crossover controls, continuously variable from 35 to 250 Hz, with a steep 24dB per octave slope. The steep slope allows the 70-pound sub to fill in below 63 Hz, down to 20 Hz, without muddling up the mid-bass from the two 15" woofers.
Primary amplifiers are a pair of upgraded Bottlehead Paramour monoblocks with Sovtek 2A3 single end triode tubes. These amps are rated at a mere 3.5 watts, but they easily fill the mid and high-range horns of the Khorns. Clipping is 1% Total Harmonic Distortion (THD) plus noise. Maximum power delivery at clipping is only six class A watts, yet measures 103dB (painfully LOUD) with my Big Ole Horns.
I power my folded horn bass bins with a vintage,
Class A Pioneer M-22 ($250). This 48-pound monster has two black 33,000 uF
capacitors the size of Foster beer cans. Frequency response is an amazing 2 Hz
to 150 kHz (+0dB/-1dB at 1 watt), and the signal-to-noise ratio is 106dB. At
clipping, maximum power delivery is 60-watts into 8 Ohms (26.8dBW). THD is
0.005% at 1 watt, below 0.001% at 15 Watts, curving back up to 0.01% at 30
Watts. Below 10 Watts, the M-22 has better THD than $17,000 Krell FBP 350mc! It
has better THD, wider frequency response and greater signal-to-noise ratio than
a $6,000 Mark Levinson 431. I heard Pass
X250 up against it and could not tell obvious differences when they were
not being pushed.
The 6 Watts peak of the Paramours on the mid and
top end seems to be the ideal power ratio for the 60 Watts peak of the M-22 on
the bottom. The ten-to-one wattage ratio seems to be a perfect power match for
my bass amplifier.
While I dance to blues and classic rock when out
on the town, I am a pop and smooth jazz lover at home. I audition equipment with
Pandora.com stream and artists I reviewed, so you know my tastes: Diana Krall,
K.D. Lang, Cassandra Wilson, Norah Jones, Michael Franks, Jack Johnson and
orchestral music from Test CDs.