Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Help with speaker choice, Sonique, VAF, Focal...


  • Please log in to reply
47 replies to this topic

#1 astormsau

astormsau

    Member

  • Members
  • 84 posts
  • Location: VIC

Posted 13 May 2010 - 03:28 PM

Hi folks,
I am after a few opinions and some assistance if possible.

I am on a quest for a new front stage for my living room, I use this room to listen to cd's, mp3's, vinyl, watch tv and so forth. I am using a Marantz 7002 for both Home Theatre and Stereo listening.

I used to use a set of Yamaha floorstanders for my fronts, i sold these a few months back with the view to upgrading to a better sounding speaker, specifically I found that midrange and high end detail was missing in the Yamaha speakers which I have tried on various amp's over the years, the best results have been with the Marantz.

I have auditioned several speakers over the last few weeks and have come down to the following;

Sonique Diamond 650 Floorstanders.

Focal Chorus 826v floorstanders.

I really like the sound out of both speakers.

I find the Sonique speakers have a very clean sound with more detailed midrange and high's.... I find they are lacking a bit in the bass department... I find their sound very engaging and real.

I find the Focals have a great presence in the room, lots of bass - perhaps a bit boomy in parts, and perhaps lacking a little in the mid range and high end areas when compared to the Sonique.

At this point I will be running these speakers off the Marantz, I am looking to sort out speakers before considering a power amp in the future.

I wont be purchasing a center channel just at the moment but will in the future.

I have a Yamaha sub YST-sw1800 connected to the system which I sometimes use when listening to music and always when listening to HT..

I have two questions and would appreciate some advice;

1. I dont know alot about Sonique speakers, they seem very well made and I really like their sound, on the surface they seem very expensive for what you get compared to the Focals - in terms of bass response and sheer bulk (this sounds a bit silly I know)... but I am working under the assumption that the Sonique's are a reaosonably botique speaker with potentially better sound than the focals... Some help/advice here would be great, it seems like there is a trade-off between the focals and the sonqiues in terms of Sonique's perhaps being a bit more delicate and articulate but perhaps a bit light on bass compared to the Focals which are perhaps a little less delicate with their sound (refined perhaps) with more bass. Are the soniques suitable for my application of HT, stereo listening,etc from something like the Marantz 7002?

2. I have long been a fan of VAF speakers after hearing a friends DC-X's about 4 years ago. I understand they have changed to 4th Gen since he purchased his pair... are the DC-X's in the same league sonically as something like the Sonique's ? or closer to the Focals? Being from Melbourne I am unable to audition the VAF DC-X 4th gen's as there is no showroom in Melbourne... can anyone comment here? has anyone compared the Vaf'S against the soniques?

Investing a sizeable amount (near 4k) into a set of speakers is quite an investment for me, I know that sound is subjective and to me the Sonique seem to have the edge on the Focals given that I am looking at midrange and high performance, the focals were a bit boomy but as I said, had a great presence in the room... a bit of a wow factor... I wonder if the VAF DC-X could be a good half-way point between the Sonique and the Focals... and given the VAF is cheaper... would be a worthwhile consideration.... in addition, buying Australian made is also my preference...

Thanks
Drew

Modern system: Marantz SR7002, Marantz CD6003, VAF I-91

Retro system: B&O Beomaster 2200, Beovox S75, Beogram 6000 Quad

 


#2 lebowski

lebowski

    The Dude abides

  • Members
  • 2,318 posts
  • Location: VIC
  • Country: Australia

Posted 13 May 2010 - 03:36 PM

Drew, you can audition VAF DCX Gen4 at Clef Hi Fi here in Melbourne. I have not heard the Soniques or Focal so can't comment.
I bought my DCX as they are a good all-rounder, not particularly fantastic in any one area but still a very good speaker for $3k
If you like bass, you will love the DCX :)
the Dude abides

#3 Peter the Greek

Peter the Greek

    Member

  • Members
  • 2,008 posts
  • Location: NSW
  • Country: Australia

Posted 13 May 2010 - 03:40 PM

What is the size/shape of your room? furnishings? floor? windows? its hard to recommend a suitable speaker without knowing its application.

As an aside, my personal preference for VAF is soundwall or I91 plus their smaller sub, not DC-X, but thats just me.....you can easily add a third as a centre when you've got the cash

I'd be replacing the sub you've got, if it were me.

#4 astormsau

astormsau

    Member

  • Members
  • 84 posts
  • Location: VIC

Posted 13 May 2010 - 04:46 PM

The room is about 5m wide and 6m long with wooden floorboards. Windows along the back of the room with wooden venetians. It's a rental and the next house could be carpeted so looking for a good all-rounder. there are three couches in the room, speakers are about 2m apart but can be up to 3m apart if required. At this point in time i don't want to upgrade the sub as I am quite attached to it.

Thanks for the tip about clef. Will try and get in there Soon. Do many people on here have experience with the Sonique's?

Thanks
drew

Modern system: Marantz SR7002, Marantz CD6003, VAF I-91

Retro system: B&O Beomaster 2200, Beovox S75, Beogram 6000 Quad

 


#5 Peter the Greek

Peter the Greek

    Member

  • Members
  • 2,008 posts
  • Location: NSW
  • Country: Australia

Posted 13 May 2010 - 05:47 PM

If thats the case then get the i-91s. Keep the sub, just get a new one - the more the better, so long as you can EQ them.

Something you should be aware of though is that 1" dome tweeters physically dont do a good job after say 3.5m in most cases, so if you're expecting perfection these and many other speakers wont cut it. You need a compression driver or horn to do it.

Also, a common misconception of 2 channel is that it'll deliver good bass to all seating locations.....unlikely to be the case as the best place in a room for bass isn't the best place for a sound stage - hence smaller mains and seperate subs are better. This isn't hearsay its undisputed laws of physics. Hence the reason I suggest the 91's as they're better than the DC-x's at +80hz (that last it is IMO, I think they sound better at such levels)

#6 astormsau

astormsau

    Member

  • Members
  • 84 posts
  • Location: VIC

Posted 13 May 2010 - 10:40 PM

has anyone had experience with the Sonique?

Elill I am off to audition the DCX and I-91's tomorrow

Drew

Modern system: Marantz SR7002, Marantz CD6003, VAF I-91

Retro system: B&O Beomaster 2200, Beovox S75, Beogram 6000 Quad

 


#7 RockandorRoll

RockandorRoll

    this hobby is stupid

  • Members
  • 3,839 posts
  • Location: SA
  • Country: Australia

Posted 13 May 2010 - 10:48 PM

i havent heard the Soniques but with regards to the Focal vs Vaf thing, i found the Focal highs slightly withdrawn but they had an excellent midrange (707 bookshelf) whereas the VAF do excellent imaging but have a lighter midrange.

we all have different ears though

VPI Scout II : Rega Saturn : NAD M51 : Luxman L550AII : VAF I-33

NAD D 7050  : B&W 705

 


#8 astormsau

astormsau

    Member

  • Members
  • 84 posts
  • Location: VIC

Posted 14 May 2010 - 02:58 PM

Elill, I went and auditioned the DC-X today, something was missing for me, I found the mid-range a bit boomy and not as transparent as the Sonique's. Then I tried the I-91's and the rest is history :nana

Drew

Modern system: Marantz SR7002, Marantz CD6003, VAF I-91

Retro system: B&O Beomaster 2200, Beovox S75, Beogram 6000 Quad

 


#9 Grumpy

Grumpy

    G.O.F.

  • Members
  • 10,720 posts
  • Location: SA
  • Country: The Port

Posted 14 May 2010 - 03:26 PM

Elill, I went and auditioned the DC-X today, something was missing for me, I found the mid-range a bit boomy and not as transparent as the Sonique's. Then I tried the I-91's and the rest is history :nana

Drew

So! are you getting the 1.91's?
Bloody great stand-mounts aren't they?

"I remember when I was young the Beatles turned me on I really blew my mind"

 

2 channel set-up -Garrard 401 TT - CA640c CD - NAD116 Pre - Rotel RB1070 amp- VAF DCX1v2 speakers.
A/V -Denon3802-PanasoniicXW300PVR-VAF DC6 - 2xJaycar 350w 12"subs-


#10 astormsau

astormsau

    Member

  • Members
  • 84 posts
  • Location: VIC

Posted 14 May 2010 - 04:14 PM

they are bloody great stand mounts... I purchased them and took advantage of the 20% discount which ends today... should be here in a week... i cant believe the low end they produce for a stand mount - i kept looking for the subwoofer in the demo room...

I found the I91's had a more detailed mid and top end than the dc-x... My yamaha sub can help out with the low end when im looking for a bit more bass impact in HT...

They are one of the few speakers I have auditioned which got me excited, I kept wanting to try all these different cd's just to see how they sounded and was not disappointed at all. :nana

Drew

Modern system: Marantz SR7002, Marantz CD6003, VAF I-91

Retro system: B&O Beomaster 2200, Beovox S75, Beogram 6000 Quad

 


#11 Peter the Greek

Peter the Greek

    Member

  • Members
  • 2,008 posts
  • Location: NSW
  • Country: Australia

Posted 14 May 2010 - 04:19 PM

Glad to hear it!

They're a great product, especially when coupled with a sub. You'll get many years of enjoyment from them.

#12 Rural Rat

Rural Rat

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,521 posts
  • Location: SA
  • Country: Australia

Posted 14 May 2010 - 05:12 PM

Elill, I went and auditioned the DC-X today, something was missing for me, I found the mid-range a bit boomy and not as transparent as the Sonique's. Then I tried the I-91's and the rest is history :nana

Drew


Hmmm.....where have I heard this story before?
Enjoy them!

Pro-ject Perspective + Speedbox+Q-up, F117 Nighthawk, Garrott Optim. Pioneer BDP160. Apple TVs (mk1 & 2).
Anthem MRX700. VAF i91s and i33s. Kiwi RCM
..."I'm livin' in a nightmare. Shes looking like a wet dream".....Bon Scott, Down Payment Blues.


#13 Grumpy

Grumpy

    G.O.F.

  • Members
  • 10,720 posts
  • Location: SA
  • Country: The Port

Posted 14 May 2010 - 06:41 PM

I love a happy ending - or is that the 'start' of a happy ending - or, the start to happy?:nana

"I remember when I was young the Beatles turned me on I really blew my mind"

 

2 channel set-up -Garrard 401 TT - CA640c CD - NAD116 Pre - Rotel RB1070 amp- VAF DCX1v2 speakers.
A/V -Denon3802-PanasoniicXW300PVR-VAF DC6 - 2xJaycar 350w 12"subs-


#14 Keith_W

Keith_W

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • 9,729 posts
  • Location: VIC

Posted 14 May 2010 - 06:53 PM

Elill, I went and auditioned the DC-X today, something was missing for me, I found the mid-range a bit boomy and not as transparent as the Sonique's. Then I tried the I-91's and the rest is history :nana


Congratulations on your purchase! You have reached exactly the same conclusion as I did when I last heard the DC-X and I-91 side by side. Ellil's comments above are worth considering also - the I-91 does not produce enough bass, but that is easily rectified with a quality subwoofer.

#15 Philip Vafiadis

Philip Vafiadis

    Member

  • Members
  • 188 posts
  • Location: SA

Posted 15 May 2010 - 10:54 AM

they are bloody great stand mounts... I purchased them and took advantage of the 20% discount which ends today... should be here in a week... i cant believe the low end they produce for a stand mount - i kept looking for the subwoofer in the demo room...

I found the I91's had a more detailed mid and top end than the dc-x... My yamaha sub can help out with the low end when im looking for a bit more bass impact in HT...

They are one of the few speakers I have auditioned which got me excited, I kept wanting to try all these different cd's just to see how they sounded and was not disappointed at all. :(

Drew


Thanks for an interesting thread Drew. I never like posting in threads discussing purchase of our loudspeakers (or anyone else's) as it seems so self serving. Now that you've ordered though I'm pleased as despite your already strong positive perceptions so far these little Signature I-91 loudspeakers will grow on you more and more. The soundstage and imaging are really quite intimate and compelling and their ability to express dynamics is far beyond what their size might suggest - quite a few serious musicians own them as do a number of recording and production studios, so you are in good company.

Enjoy
Philip Vafiadis
Founder VAF Research www.vaf.com.au

#16 Grumpy

Grumpy

    G.O.F.

  • Members
  • 10,720 posts
  • Location: SA
  • Country: The Port

Posted 15 May 2010 - 11:57 AM

I found the I91's had a more detailed mid and top end than the dc-x... My yamaha sub can help out with the low end when im looking for a bit more bass impact in HT...

Drew

Having heard Ruralrats 1-91's I'd say the bass was plenty good enough for most.
What are the measurements of the 1-91's, re their bass output Phillip?

"I remember when I was young the Beatles turned me on I really blew my mind"

 

2 channel set-up -Garrard 401 TT - CA640c CD - NAD116 Pre - Rotel RB1070 amp- VAF DCX1v2 speakers.
A/V -Denon3802-PanasoniicXW300PVR-VAF DC6 - 2xJaycar 350w 12"subs-


#17 astormsau

astormsau

    Member

  • Members
  • 84 posts
  • Location: VIC

Posted 15 May 2010 - 12:22 PM

Thanks Phil, once I receive them I will post back with some more comments. I am a big fan of buying Australian products when possible, and to be honest, purchasing speakers can be such a daunting task, you want to make sure you get something which meets certain criteria but in reality unless you can take them home to demo in your own room, you never really know what you are purchasing as such... its great to have a forum such as this which enables people to share ideas and comments - as we all know, sound and perception of good sound is such an individual thing :(

Drew

Modern system: Marantz SR7002, Marantz CD6003, VAF I-91

Retro system: B&O Beomaster 2200, Beovox S75, Beogram 6000 Quad

 


#18 Audiobugged

Audiobugged

    Listen to Music. Not Gear.

  • Members
  • 1,732 posts
  • Location: NSW

Posted 15 May 2010 - 02:35 PM

Congratulations on your purchase! You have reached exactly the same conclusion as I did when I last heard the DC-X and I-91 side by side. Ellil's comments above are worth considering also - the I-91 does not produce enough bass, but that is easily rectified with a quality subwoofer.



Plus one here. The i91's were the speakers that most impressed me in the recent vaf roadshow in Sydney. Phil should be justifiably proud! Very refined, articulate and transparent for the money.

AB
Primo: SB Transporter (+Qnap) -> KRK Ergo -> Supratek Sauvignon -> Pass Labs X150 -> Lenehan ML1++ / SF Cremona Auditor, REL Strata 5
Secondo/Headfi:
SB3 (modded), Lavry Da-10 -> CA 840 V2 / MF X-10,X-Can,X-PSU V3 -> HD650 / Yamaha Soavo 2
Portable: Asus S101+foobar, iPhone 3G -> ibasso d10 -> IE8

#19 Philip Vafiadis

Philip Vafiadis

    Member

  • Members
  • 188 posts
  • Location: SA

Posted 15 May 2010 - 03:04 PM

Having heard Ruralrats 1-91's I'd say the bass was plenty good enough for most.
What are the measurements of the 1-91's, re their bass output Phillip?


Bass is clean and audible down to mid 30's. -3db is at around 45Hz so they can play the open E string on a four string bass pretty well, they are a little soft the B on a more rare five string bass, and the floor shaking stuff from movies really benefits from decent subwoofers. We have a LOT of Signature I-91 audiophile owners who use them in stereo only just as they are. Most of the other folks who use them in surround systems will add a spaced pair of our MPB SW4 powered subwoofers or our MPB SW19 powered subwoofer. Hope this helps Grumpy.
Philip Vafiadis
Founder VAF Research www.vaf.com.au

#20 Vladimir Freddie

Vladimir Freddie

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • 515 posts
  • Location: .
  • Country: .

Posted 15 May 2010 - 05:39 PM

Well done! I can't see how you'll ever be disappointed!

I agree totally with your choice, but then again I am biased. I'm currently waiting for my pair of I-91s to be built. So I could hardly fault your choice!

I've owned Soniques in the past & they good speakers but I've never been moved emotionally by Focals. I didn't even listen to them this time around because I've bought mine initially to use as rear channels and need something either sealed of front ported.

But I suspect that when the house is empty, & I experiment with them at the front of the room driven by my Krell, I'll be even more blown away! :( If so it may be that my Duntechs days are numbered :)

Cheers
Dave

#21 Rural Rat

Rural Rat

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,521 posts
  • Location: SA
  • Country: Australia

Posted 15 May 2010 - 05:57 PM

Having heard Ruralrats 1-91's I'd say the bass was plenty good enough for most.
What are the measurements of the 1-91's, re their bass output Phillip?


No sub here. Works for me.:(

Pro-ject Perspective + Speedbox+Q-up, F117 Nighthawk, Garrott Optim. Pioneer BDP160. Apple TVs (mk1 & 2).
Anthem MRX700. VAF i91s and i33s. Kiwi RCM
..."I'm livin' in a nightmare. Shes looking like a wet dream".....Bon Scott, Down Payment Blues.


#22 astormsau

astormsau

    Member

  • Members
  • 84 posts
  • Location: VIC

Posted 27 May 2010 - 10:15 AM

Hi everyone, I thought I would get back to you with an update.

My I91's arrived on Tuesday this week, I was quite excited...

My setup is pretty modest, im using a Marantz SR7002 AVR, a Marantz CD6003 (newly purchased) connected using Belkin pure av component video cables, an Apple Airport express, PS3 and Foxtel for sources. Chord Carnival Classic speaker cable with bananna plugs, and the I91's sit atop some Lovan Ballet 29inch stands filled 3/4 with silica sand, on spikes, on Lovan spike cups, on the floorboards (sounds like a Dr Seuss story)...

Anyhow initial listening with some cd's from the Marantz 6003 showed the speakers be quite boomy in the midrange department and lacking bass, not quite like what I remembered in the store. Note in the store i was using the same cdp and cables but with a Marantz PM6003 amp which is probably an equivalent to the 7002 in stereo performance.

I played the I91's at moderate volume for a few hours and with the passing of each hour they opened up a bit more. After about 8 hours of playing time now they sound much better, the boomyness in the midrange has gone and I am getting much better low end response from them. People who have heard them so far are totally stunned by their ability to 'fill the room with sound' as its not a small room, and also by their low end response from a standmount!

So far I am very happy, watching a totally crappy video source such as a downloaded 200mb divx on the playstation, I am still hearing things in the soundtrack which I havent heard before, for video viewing, the dialog sounds so much clearer out of the I91's and there is a feeling of presence with these speakers which makes them so enjoyable to listen to.

I know over the next few weeks of listening they will open up even more with use so looking forward to what that brings. I have ordered some new CHT stereo RCA cables for the cdp=amp connection as my Belkin cables are a bit short and required a bit of re-arranging to make everything fit, so I will be interested to see how this impacts the sound once they arrive.

Thanks to everyone for their help, and here are some pics...

Drew

Attached Files


Modern system: Marantz SR7002, Marantz CD6003, VAF I-91

Retro system: B&O Beomaster 2200, Beovox S75, Beogram 6000 Quad

 


#23 Grumpy

Grumpy

    G.O.F.

  • Members
  • 10,720 posts
  • Location: SA
  • Country: The Port

Posted 27 May 2010 - 12:58 PM

G'day drew and thanks for your update. Can i suggest to you that the 'boominess' could be because you have the speakers too close to the rear wall. Only going by the pics, I would move them out to at least be level( in line) with your TV cabinet.
Just a suggestion.

"I remember when I was young the Beatles turned me on I really blew my mind"

 

2 channel set-up -Garrard 401 TT - CA640c CD - NAD116 Pre - Rotel RB1070 amp- VAF DCX1v2 speakers.
A/V -Denon3802-PanasoniicXW300PVR-VAF DC6 - 2xJaycar 350w 12"subs-


#24 Aslan

Aslan

    Member

  • Members
  • 5,757 posts
  • Location: TAS

Posted 27 May 2010 - 01:39 PM

Well done Drew and a good choice. Can I echo Grumpy's senitments and suggest you play around A LOT with speaker positioning. Cheapest upgrade you will ever get once you nail the right position.

EDIT.............as a rough guide.......distance off back wall affects bass, distance off side wall affects soundstage and smearing and toe in will affect imaging the most.
Cheers, Andrew

#25 Batty

Batty

    Confusion.... Will be my Epitaph

  • Members
  • 6,011 posts
  • Location: SA
  • Country: God's
  • First Name:Steve

Posted 27 May 2010 - 01:43 PM

And so the fun begins...... Enjoy playing with and just playing through your new toys

#26 astormsau

astormsau

    Member

  • Members
  • 84 posts
  • Location: VIC

Posted 27 May 2010 - 02:15 PM

Thanks guys for some good suggestions, at the moment they are about a foot in front of the wall, i will move them forward a bit to be in line with the TV stand, that will bring them about 2ft from the wall.

Question, should the speakers be turned in (toe'd) to face the centre listening position as per the pictures or facing straight towards the back of the room? I sit about 2m directly in the centre of the two speakers on a couch - they are currently at perfect ear level...

Distance from the side walls is about 1.5m on one side and about 2.5 on the other and unfortunately thats not negotiable as thats how the rest of the room lines up - couches and so forth :)

Btw the boomyness in the midrange has almost gone away now (not sure if i mentioned that in the first post) that they have been played for several hours, it was just an initial thing when I first fired them up :)

Thanks for all the advice, interested in all the advice i can get :)

Drew

Modern system: Marantz SR7002, Marantz CD6003, VAF I-91

Retro system: B&O Beomaster 2200, Beovox S75, Beogram 6000 Quad

 


#27 mikizee

mikizee

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,137 posts
  • Location: SA
  • Country: Australia

Posted 27 May 2010 - 03:03 PM

Just try some experimentation as far as toe in is concerned to find what you like best. I know Philip Vafiadis prefers his speakers to be toed in to completely face you, whereas I prefer my VAFs to be toed in a little bit, but not completely facing me.

You should find more improvements with the speakers after 30-40 hours.

#28 Rural Rat

Rural Rat

    Member

  • Members
  • 1,521 posts
  • Location: SA
  • Country: Australia

Posted 27 May 2010 - 03:14 PM

Drew,
My i91s respond dramatically to different placements. To the extent that my preference is totally unpalatable to the rest of the household. That is one of them sits in the middle of a doorway. I have found them even more critical as my sources have improved. Experiment mate, they dont weigh much. I just make sure everything is back in order before the hordes arrive home:).
Cheers
RR

Pro-ject Perspective + Speedbox+Q-up, F117 Nighthawk, Garrott Optim. Pioneer BDP160. Apple TVs (mk1 & 2).
Anthem MRX700. VAF i91s and i33s. Kiwi RCM
..."I'm livin' in a nightmare. Shes looking like a wet dream".....Bon Scott, Down Payment Blues.


#29 Vladimir Freddie

Vladimir Freddie

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • 515 posts
  • Location: .
  • Country: .

Posted 27 May 2010 - 08:48 PM

Well done Drew and a good choice. Can I echo Grumpy's senitments and suggest you play around A LOT with speaker positioning. Cheapest upgrade you will ever get once you nail the right position.

EDIT.............as a rough guide.......distance off back wall affects bass, distance off side wall affects soundstage and smearing and toe in will affect imaging the most.


+1 totally agree with you there.

Sadly I still have to wait til the end of next week for VAF to ley me have my pair of I-91s!

Cheers

#30 Grumpy

Grumpy

    G.O.F.

  • Members
  • 10,720 posts
  • Location: SA
  • Country: The Port

Posted 27 May 2010 - 09:02 PM

+1 totally agree with you there.

Sadly I still have to wait til the end of next week for VAF to ley me have my pair of I-91s!

Cheers

Don't forget the pics when you get them

"I remember when I was young the Beatles turned me on I really blew my mind"

 

2 channel set-up -Garrard 401 TT - CA640c CD - NAD116 Pre - Rotel RB1070 amp- VAF DCX1v2 speakers.
A/V -Denon3802-PanasoniicXW300PVR-VAF DC6 - 2xJaycar 350w 12"subs-