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Haztone

My Apogee Journey

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Way back in 1991, I heard my first pair of Apogees at a Hi Fi store in Melbourne.  In 1992, my brother was stationed in the US and he purchased a pair of Apogee Centaur Majors for me.  He bought them back with him, following his posting in 1994.  At the time they were $12,000 in Australia but $3,000 US so this was the only way I could afford them at the time.  I still have the Centaurs as the rear channel in the surround sound theater system.

In 2011, I decided I would upgrade the Centaurs.  I flew to NSW and spent time at Bill McLean's listening to Magnepan 3.6's and then to Audio Connection where I listened to Martin Logan CLX's.  I settled on the CLX's and was extremely happy with the sound, but one day I noticed that the speakers were starting to fall apart, with the crossover box beginning to separate from the rest of the speaker.  Martin Logan replaced these speakers under warranty and have addressed this issue in the new ones.

While this was happening, a pair of Apogee Diva's came up for sale in Australia, so I purchased them sight unseen.  Unfortunately they were not in a good state and I was forced to look at my options.  I sent them to Graz for an assessment and the report back was far from encouraging. I has some aged Jarrah hardwood that I wanted to be used for the fronts but Graz convinced me that it was a bad idea as it would compromise the sound.  He said that he could come up with a Diva design, that incorporated the Jarrah wood and would surpass that speaker in all areas of performance.  This was the start of a three year journey, visits to his home where the build was taking shape, many emails, swearing's of secrecy, friendships made, illnesses and accidents to us both at different times, listening sessions, input into crossover values etc. etc. and the wait.

I have to say that during this whole process, Graz has been the consummate professional, at no stage has he skimped on any parts costs and his build quality would put many car manufacturers to shame.  His attention to detail and attitude to tolerances would have to be second to none and I have nothing but praise for the work and effort that he has put into these speakers.  I have attached images so that you can see the finished product which is currently the only pair in the world.

 

Unfortunately with the current pandemic, I am locked at home with these amazing speakers.

 

DSC_1895.thumb.JPG.9b4e3f1175e828bc40136219d15cadc3.JPGDSC_1891.thumb.JPG.01ffa8b4ed35b0c44a688315cedf0b19.JPGDSC_1886.thumb.JPG.0cc61ece3a51826c463be9d8092f53d4.JPG

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41 minutes ago, Haztone said:

Way back in 1991, I heard my first pair of Apogees at a Hi Fi store in Melbourne.  In 1992, my brother was stationed in the US and he purchased a pair of Apogee Centaur Majors for me.  He bought them back with him, following his posting in 1994.  At the time they were $12,000 in Australia but $3,000 US so this was the only way I could afford them at the time.  I still have the Centaurs as the rear channel in the surround sound theater system.

In 2011, I decided I would upgrade the Centaurs.  I flew to NSW and spent time at Bill McLean's listening to Magnepan 3.6's and then to Audio Connection where I listened to Martin Logan CLX's.  I settled on the CLX's and was extremely happy with the sound, but one day I noticed that the speakers were starting to fall apart, with the crossover box beginning to separate from the rest of the speaker.  Martin Logan replaced these speakers under warranty and have addressed this issue in the new ones.

While this was happening, a pair of Apogee Diva's came up for sale in Australia, so I purchased them sight unseen.  Unfortunately they were not in a good state and I was forced to look at my options.  I sent them to Graz for an assessment and the report back was far from encouraging. I has some aged Jarrah hardwood that I wanted to be used for the fronts but Graz convinced me that it was a bad idea as it would compromise the sound.  He said that he could come up with a Diva design, that incorporated the Jarrah wood and would surpass that speaker in all areas of performance.  This was the start of a three year journey, visits to his home where the build was taking shape, many emails, swearing's of secrecy, friendships made, illnesses and accidents to us both at different times, listening sessions, input into crossover values etc. etc. and the wait.

I have to say that during this whole process, Graz has been the consummate professional, at no stage has he skimped on any parts costs and his build quality would put many car manufacturers to shame.  His attention to detail and attitude to tolerances would have to be second to none and I have nothing but praise for the work and effort that he has put into these speakers.  I have attached images so that you can see the finished product which is currently the only pair in the world.

 

Unfortunately with the current pandemic, I am locked at home with these amazing speakers.

 

DSC_1886.thumb.JPG.0cc61ece3a51826c463be9d8092f53d4.JPG

I feel your pain, amazing looking speakers 

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Magnificent. What a buzz to be running a pair of unique custom built speakers. No doubt wonderful to have them singing at home after such a long gestation period. 
 

It appears you have a pair of OTL amplifiers , are they running the Apogee’s punishing load? Is that 12 KT150’s per channel , what are they?

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Hello Oooogh,

Graz assures me that these speakers are a nominal 4 ohms. I think he said minimum 2.7 ohms. The amps are not OTL, they are Ayon Audio Orthos XS. 250 watts per side in pure class A. Ten KT 150's per channel. No problem driving the Apogees but I don't try and lift the roof.  The speakers come in five parts, bass panel, mrtw panel, two piece feet and crossover box. Weight approximately 250 kgs each.

Edited by Haztone

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Super speakers - you lucky bugger!  :thumb:

 

Enjoy them especially, during this period of 'social isolation'.  :)

 

Andy

 

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Wow!! Super speakers, well done and enjoy.

 

Graz is the real deal. One of the real genuine audio legends and a great guy to boot 👍

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Did they make a larger one ?

i had to put together one 

it was grey and all metal construction, I think it had 3 seperate panels could be wrong it’s been a while,

the tweeter panel could swing on a hinge

 

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Yeah, nice speakers.  Shame about the rest of your system.  (That's the most sarcam I've been able to muster in years.)   Outstanding - and what a nice brother you have, too.

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Had some mini grands previously but this is just awe inspiring.  Congrats on your commitment to get these Apogees singing! Would love to hear these one day..

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Awesome.

Welcome back into the Apogee fold.

Graz had been suggesting that I come up and listen to his new creation - and with good reason looking at that.

 

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Purely spectacular... very similar to my childhood loungeroom.

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15 hours ago, Haztone said:

Hello Oooogh,

Graz assures me that these speakers are a nominal 4 ohms. I think he said minimum 2.7 ohms. The amps are not OTL, they are Ayon Audio Orthos XS. 250 watts per side in pure class A. Ten KT 150's per channel. No problem driving the Apogees but I don't try and lift the roof.  The speakers come in five parts, bass panel, mrtw panel, two piece feet and crossover box. Weight approximately 250 kgs each.

Thanks for the information Tony.  Having recently been hugely impressed with the seamless quality , tone and weight exhibited by Ayon’s DAC and analog pre amps I have no doubt their amplifiers would be magnificent. Off to read up about that heavy hitter! Figuring you might not require a heater in Winter.

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Mate - you were underrepresenting the amp's capability. Ten KT88s will get you 250W - if you have the KT150s then you get 400W, according to 6moons!

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Can only imagine how they must sound Tony! I also own a pair of Centaur Majors, and run them with tube monoblocks also.

Graz has been an absolute saviour for us Apogee folk...I bought a pair of his replacement ribbons as a back up for my Majors but havent bothered getting them installed as the original ribbons are still sounding ok.

Enjoy the pleasure that these unique Divas are sure to bring you!

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I thought...3 years. I would not have the patience. Then l saw the pictures.  OMG. Simply stunning.

Well worth the wait. Bet you would never sell these. You couldn't even put a price on these beauties (kings ransome l suspect).

Congrats. You have a lovely setup to.

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Thanks for all the comments.  I will try and answer them all as best I can at this early stage.

 

Andyr, I am going to be spending some time with them over the coming months, especially with the lockdown (somebody has to take a hit for the team).  They are very revealing so I am going to spend some time on cartridge alignment as well.

 

ColinM1, 'Did they make a larger one ?

I had to put together one, it was grey and all metal construction, I think it had 3 separate panels could be wrong it’s been a while, the tweeter panel could swing on a hinge.'  I am not aware of any Apogee like that. Perhaps an early model Magnepan the Tympani for example.

 

Antipodean Brad, yes mate, once I had paid for the speakers, I only had some loose change left so have to slum it a bit.

 

Fred Nork and Ralph, you should have gone to the Sunny Coast for a listen, but if any of you are ever in Mackay, you are more than welcome to drop around, even bring your own LP's or CD's.

 

Ooogh, yes they do run hot, we don't get a winter here but it sure taxes the air conditioning in summer.

 

Luckiestmanalive, you're correct, 400 watts, class A.

 

SETfan, my Centaur Majors are in need of some TLC but I don't have the funds currently, maybe the turn of the next century I may have saved enough.  I won't be running the Diva's with SET's.  You are correct about Graz, the saviour of these magnificent speakers and a true gentleman.  When you live in a country like Australia, it's easy to think that the best stuff comes from overseas.  Then you discover wonderful Aussies like Graz, Mark Dohmann and Mike Lenehan and you realise that the best is actually made right here in Oz.

 

Needlerunner, yes, please don't waste any time waiting for these to come up for sale second hand, these are my final pair of speakers.  When I die my two daughters may wish to cash them out, but I am hoping that is at least 20 years away.

 

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They look great @Haztone !! :thumb:

I like the Jarrah that you've had incorporated into the design, beautiful timber.

I've got a soft spot for Jarrah as it's used in my speakers too.

 

I had a friend who's speakers were a pair of Scintillas.

An absolute nightmare to drive as they get down to about half an ohm but once driven properly were absolutely stunning.

I definitely had quite a few very enjoyable sessions listening to music with my friend with the Scintillas cranked up !!

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Thanks Martykt, yes I love Jarrah too, everything in the room furniture wise is made of it.  The speakers certainly sound fantastic.

 

 

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Oh wow.

That is all...

 

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14 hours ago, Haztone said:

 

Thanks for all the comments.  I will try and answer them all as best I can at this early stage.

 

Andyr, I am going to be spending some time with them over the coming months, especially with the lockdown (somebody has to take a hit for the team).  They are very revealing so I am going to spend some time on cartridge alignment as well.

 

And cart loading, H (if it's a LOMC)!!  :)

 

14 hours ago, Haztone said:

 

ColinM1, 'Did they make a larger one ?

I had to put together one, it was grey and all metal construction, I think it had 3 separate panels could be wrong it’s been a while, the tweeter panel could swing on a hinge.'  I am not aware of any Apogee like that. Perhaps an early model Magnepan the Tympani for example.

 

 

I agree with H, @colinm1 - the "the tweeter panel could swing on a hinge " comment suggests a Tymp I.

 

Andy

 

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Hi Tony

 

How do they sound compared to your other speakers you have owned?

 

Simon

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Congratulations Tony they look magnificent, as does your setup.

 

I know Graz quite well as I used to be an Apogee owner, please give him my regards when you are speaking to him.

 

@colinm1 is quite correct the original Apogee speaker which became known as 'The Apogee' was configured to have the bass ribbons in the main frame with the mid and treble ribbons on a separate 'wing' which was hinged.

 

Ken

 

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15 minutes ago, Ken said:

Congratulations Tony they look magnificent, as does your setup.

 

I know Graz quite well as I used to be an Apogee owner, please give him my regards when you are speaking to him.

 

@colinm1 is quite correct the original Apogee speaker which became known as 'The Apogee' was configured to have the bass ribbons in the main frame with the mid and treble ribbons on a separate 'wing' which was hinged.

 

Ken

 

it was quite a while ago ken,

I now remember the crossover boxes were not like the one in the pic also  the stands were I think only came out the back so it could be somewhat tilted back ,it was a beast of a speaker, 2 ohms, the big maggies were a breeze compared to these,even the genesis 1 wasn't as much of a handful ! and that's saying something ,

this pair did come from overseas private import , I think they were using an ARC SP11 that's how far back it was !

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@colinm1 is quite correct the original Apogee speaker which became known as 'The Apogee' was configured to have the bass ribbons in the main frame with the mid and treble ribbons on a separate 'wing' which was hinged.

 

I was not aware that 'The Apogee' was set up like that.  Is that the one they built first called the full range?

 

Tony.

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41 minutes ago, Haztone said:

@colinm1 is quite correct the original Apogee speaker which became known as 'The Apogee' was configured to have the bass ribbons in the main frame with the mid and treble ribbons on a separate 'wing' which was hinged.

 

I was not aware that 'The Apogee' was set up like that.  Is that the one they built first called the full range?

 

Tony.

Hi Tony,

 

Yes it was also known as the "Full Range", released in1982.

 

I found this on line;

 

https://skyfiaudio.com/products/apogee-acoustics-full-range-aka-the-apogee-speakers-completely-refurbished-and-spectacular

 

Ken

 

PS I did not mean for this to hijack your thread.

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