3rd date. Impalement by pointy tail averted. Though not as close to the front wall as our German Physik HRS-120 sit one area over, the new placement was a'flutter with happy angel wings. In two easy speaker slides accompanied by two equal palm slides, I'd hit my kill switch for the church effect. Even the bass balance had reset to hit harder without the fat, port plugs still in. No longer registering as separate, the early reflective energies had joined direct sound into a single event. I can't overstate the before/after difference which this new position made. The upshot would seem to be that omni speakers shouldn't locate too deep in open space; certainly not where I'd started with them. What I had now was exceptional speed, clarity and linearity across the bandwidth. I also had splendid tone without a single tube in sight. The one desirable thing I'd lost was the enormous walk-in depth which the original speaker location creates. Being far closer to the front wall, the speakers couldn't throw the same depth. But that was an easy price to pay for fixing everything else. It was time to call the setup and amp selection done. The dating period was over. Time to move in together and pay attention to all the clearly special qualities of this presentation. Had I started in this position, we could have spared ourselves the entire last page and headed straight for the sugar. Then we'd just not appreciate how critical a closer more 'standard' front-wall distance is for this speaker. It's a very useful thing to know; and how the sound gets too blurry and fat when not obeyed. Message received. Time for the sugar.
In a proper concert hall, sounds will be leanest but most separated on stage, densest and most blended in the far rows. With Courante 2.0, I had on-stage's unfettered directness plus the more developed ambiance-enhanced tone of a mid-hall seat. Rhythmic perspicacity whereby impulses across the bandwidth register as precisely as wooden chopsticks tapping on a rice bowl's edge coexisted with the tacit sensation that all sounds occurred in energized space, not a virtual vacuum. We might say that space had become a more pronounced presence without compromising the accuracy of how the sounds timed within it. So think of space as an activated entity not passive absence of sound; of very specific leading edges marking the beginnings of sounds in time and placement without any confusion; and finally of tone textures enlivened by or enveloped within that activated space. It's a somewhat unusual constellation of attributes.
The timing accuracy registered also as absence of common box talk because its subliminal blur and stuffiness were gone. This was true top to bottom. The bass behaved exactly the same as the radial tweeter. Hello virtual point source. It affirmed Zoltán's claim that Frank Nielsen had worked hard and successfully at optimizing SB Acoustics' Satori mid/woofer to keep up. One might believe that a medium-sized dynamic driver groomed for speed must sacrifice raw bass power and extension. Yet the opposite proved out. In our space, Courante 2.0 negated all desire for a subwoofer or even thinking of its bigger Counterpoint sibling. In fact it had outed a tall 12" downfiring sealed sub for being too slow and bedeviled by a discontinuous box-sound signature. Bayz's curved thin-wall carbon-fiber tubes and the damping material lining or filling them really do create unusual conditions for their compact drivers to work in. Hence the speed, power and reach of the bass might just be Courante 2.0's most counter-intuitive aspect. Looks and associated expectations are bound to underestimate it. In a space that's not exactly small, I certainly had my own case of gotcha to digest. Rarely did craw taste as good or my Mercan Dede electronica hit this hard and low.
For Courante 2.0, the old truism that exotic tweeters are more aspirated than their coned dynamic mates doesn't apply. That's strong medicine considering just how exotic Zoltán's tweeter is. The resultant textural linearity/coherence is a great achievement. Unlike previous omnis which, as mentioned earlier, exhibited a rolled-off top, the Bayz was linear also on that score. I don't have in-home experience with Apogee/Magnepan/Soundlab planars to know how they might compare. What of their type I heard at shows and in stores simply didn't have the same overall dynamics or bass power. And who really wants to look at big room dividers? To go this low this loud, planars must get big. Did I mention good-bye to sweet-spot worries? It's a benefit that won't factor for lone-seat installs but becomes a unique selling point for wider couches and multiple listeners. With full omnis in our 2.0 video system, I can vouch for just how useful that broad dispersion can be. Even well off-axis it keeps dialogue centered on the screen.
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