See also Wright / St. George Labs @ Review
The Audiophile Society
THE AUDIOPHILE SOCIETY MINUTES
VOL. V, NO. I
PREVIEWS OF COMING REVIEWS
Printed With The Authority of Dr. Hy Kachalsky
The Audiophile Society, Box;312, Mamaroneck, New York 10543
SOTA STAR SAPPHIRE TURNTABLE
The SOTA Star Sapphire, The one with the
Vaccum Platter, "The SOTA
That Sucks!' has improved The Sound Of My System even beyond My
Expectations This is A Super Looking and Sounding Turntable --------
SOTA Industries, Box 7075, Berkeley, CA 94707 415-527-1649
SUMIKO PREMIER MMT TONE ARM
Talking about Value For Your Money, SUMIKO'S PREMIER MMT Arm at only $225.00 List is Absolutely a Best Buy. Don't overlook it because of Its Low Price. This is ONE HELLUVA ARM.
SUMIKO, P.O. Box 5046, Berkeley, CA 94705 415-843-4500
DAYTON WRIGHT LCM-1 LOUDSPEAKER
Mike Wright of (Dayton Wright) has just introduced a New Small Speaker the LCM-1 (Low Cost Monitor at about $500.00 a pair that One Reviewer is still RAVING ABOUT and won't let out of his house. This is a Small Speaker that doesn't have to apologize For It's Size. It has Startling Clarity and is really a True Full Frequency Speaker. Mate it with a Sub-Woofer and Your In Clover.
THE DAYTON WRIGHT GROUP LTD., 97 Newkirk
Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada L4C 3G4
y from walls they sound great. The highs are very open and airy, and the mids are smooth and mellow. The bass is quick and solid dow
THE AUDIOPHILE SOCIETY MINUTES P. 0. Box
Mamaroneck, N.Y. 10543
What Hath Wright Wrought?
Sorry about that headline. I just couldn't resist it. But when you hear these small speakers you, too, will be astounded. No speaker this size has a right to be so good. And at $500 the pair it's an amazing accomplishment.
Mike Wright is still cooking with gas. The Low Cost Monitor I is a gas filled 2-way system employing his new theories of periodicity (more on this from Mike Wright in a future issue of TASM). Whatever This theory is, it works!
These speakers, for optimum results, should
be on stands at ear level, and preferably close to the back and side walls.
Even plunked down awan to at least 40 Hz, but sound like they go lower.
and the sound is big. It has great depth and width with remarkable
ambience. They obviously don't have the clarity and subtleties of
electrostats and ribbons, nor the deepest bass of the bigger, and much
more expensive full range speakers, but you'll be enjoying the music too
much to notice. Music is the name of the game and that's exactly
what this thing puts out - music. And hold on to your hats, subwoofers
are coming and that should make this one helluva full-range system.
You know I could spend about a page detailing the technical stuff behind these here low Cost Monitors. You guessed it. I won't. Instead, I'll ask you to listen very carefully to the speakers themselves. I'll bet most of you that what you'll hear is the stuff driving the speakers. These little black LCM's play music, folks. They are bookshelf, 2-speaker, sloped front devils. Sitting on top of, and comparing them to the newest Pentagrams, they recapitulate what General Grant did to Richmond. When we moved the Pentagrams out of the room, the LCM's really came into their own. The top end just sparkled, became well defined and established the correct balance.
In truth, the LCM-1 is the only speaker
at this price ($495) that could hold up when $15,000 of equipment was driving
them. I'm not talking of loud sound, I'm talking about music.
The LCM plays real musical sound so well, becomes so transparent, is so good, that you'll wish your spouse had the same attributes. Simply put, I think it makes fewer mistakes than 95% of its competition, regardless of price! It isn't perfect.
The LCM plays real musical sound so well, becomes so Transparent, is so good, that you'll wish your spouse had the same attributes. Simply put, I think it makes fewer mistakes than 95% of its competition, regardless of price! It isn't perfect, though. Lifelike, very low frequency fundamentals are lacking. On the other hand, it comes close, making crossover to a subwoofer really easy. And there isn't the ultimate transparency you'd expect from Apogees or Quads. Then again, you don't hide walls or credenzas behind them. Nor is the tweeter a state of the art, faster than light, high tech, flatchested ribbon gadget. But, they're easv to live with. I wonder if (when?) Mike will issue a good, fast @--tt.,,ioofer for tire. If yuu listen to LCM'S through a good system, and you really dor't like 'em, or hate lem, then I think you're ready to talk to Hy . . . professionally, I mean.
THE AUDIOPHILE SOCIETY MINUTES
P. 0. Box 312
Mamaroneck, N.Y. 10543
Volume 5, Number 2
VOLUME 7, NUMBER 2
THE DAYTON WRIGHT I.CM-1
and THE SPICA TC-50 LOUDSPEAKER
High quality, low-cost loudspeaker systems are not an everyday blessing. 'I'he Rogers LS-3/5a has survived for more than a decade precisely because so few U.S. manufacturers sought musical accuracy, as distinguished from high output and powerful bass. The economics of loudspeaker manufacture also don't lend themselves to economy. The cost of woodwork is driving the price of speakers up almost as fast as the cost of sheet metal work is escalating the price of electronics.
Both Spica and Dayton Wright however, have come out with small-affordable speakers that should earn the term "blessing” from even the most demanding golden ear. Better vet, they offer a range of desirable trade-offs. Rather than directly competing with each other, they provide. different sets of strengthen and weaknesses that allow the buyer to choose between them on the basis of his or her own taste in music and listening pattern.
No, you don't get a $9,000 loudspeaker for $500 a pair, and no. they don't make the Mirages, Spendors. LS-3' 5.a’s and other good low-cost loudspeakers obsolete. But the Spica TC 50’s and the Dayton Wright LCM-1’s do offer the kind of imaging, phase coherence, and musical integrity that have previously been able only at prices approach $1000.
They also are small enough so that few, wives (or other partners of various sexes and species) are likely to object. Like Fords they come only. in 1 black, and they require mounting on stands and careful placement, but they are generally quite easy on the eyes unless you go in for the clean Greek lines of heavily carved Ionic mahogany and pre-Raphaelite Islamic inlay.
Enough deference to
culture! Let’s get down to the hardware.
A two-way acoustic suspension speaker, (crossover at 2.5 kHz. Dimensions: I I "W I))- 20" 11 by 14' D. Weight: 18 lbs. each. Price: $499 per pair. Source: Manufacturer loan. Serial Numbers: 201 and 202. MANUIFACTIJRER: The Dayton Wright Group, 97 Newkirk Road, Richmond Hill, Ontario. Canada, L4G-3G4, (416) 884-8586.
The basic item here is a sloped front speaker
made of partical board fitted into self-jigging grooves and glued together
with an elastomeric adhesive. A pulp-board is bonded inside each panel
to further reduce vibration. All surfaces exposed to public view (excludng
the back) are covered in black grill cloth which is nailed in place—no
naked speakers from this company!
Depending on which version of the new Dayton Wrights you see at your-our dealer, you may get the impression that Mike Wright is building speaker out of cardboard and using staples and electrical tape. The first models had no smooth wood surfaces to disguise the process of manufacture. The new units have masonite panels on the back and bottom to cover up the fact that the speaker cloth is terminated with tape and glue.
Mfg’s comments: The masonite panels were glued in place. At no time did we ever use electrical tape to assemble the LCM-1’s
It is important
to understand, however, that this lack of fancy finish involves far more
than a cost saving.
The LCM-1 is designed to remove enclosure colorations that are more or less inevitable when wood or wood veneer is used in a small box and to eliminate a speaker grill that interferes with the radiating pattern of the drivers. The back and bottom of the speaker may seem ‘tacky’ (or at least unfamiliar), but they represent a cost-effective way of minimizing the resonance and interference common in most small enclosures.
The front is heavily damped to minimize the interaction between the woofer and the 1” dome tweeter. The front panel tilts just under 20 degrees to match the time alignment of the drivers to a “constant differential group delay” crossover network. In the crossover network all connections are soldered not clipped, and it uses air core inductors, polyester capacitors, ceramic resistors and heavy binding posts.
The crossover frequency is nominally at 4 kHz. Frequency response is claimed to be essentialy flat from 45 Hz to 18 kHz . The speaker is phase coherent , of moderate sensitivity (89 dB 1 meter on axis), and is capable of handling 150 watts true and is capable of producing (in a typical small room or apartment) an output suitable for all but the zaniest rock freak.
is critical which may be either a blessing or a problem. The manufacturer
states that the speakers should be stand-mounted a minimum of 20” off the
floor. The listener’s line of sight shold intersect the speaker about 3”
down from the top and at right angles to the backs of the speakers. The
backs should be parallel to the wall (Mfg’s comment: This is impossible.
The speakers should be slightly toe’d in,) and relative to our experience,
relatively close to the wall.
Actual listening tests confirm these. I would add that the speakers should be kept away from nearby shelves and furniture. Any furniture or equipment should allow a clear line of sight to the listening position. The same recommendations apply to the Spica TC-50’s and to vitally any decent speaker system.
As for the
sound, the Dayton Wright’s offer an excellent frequency response at very
different levels of dynamic energy from about 55Hz to my limit of hearing.
The deep bass is missing but not the midbass, and there is little
evidence of a bass peak or of a bass hangover. The result is that the LCM-1’s
produce far more realistic bass than most of its competition—the Rogers
LS 3/5a and the Spica TC-50’s in particular.
I should hasten to note, however, that this means careful experimentation in terms of placement, the use of an excellent speaker cable, and the use of a transistor amplifier. The Dayton Wright’s need a lot of damping—something that vacuum tube amps can’t provide—and cables that solidly couple the speakers to the ampifier. I would recommend Straightwire, Kimber PR-8, and Livewire cables. Avoid Monster Cables, and rolled-off cables like the Levinson or the Fulton.
Treble energy tends to fall-off gradually within a 90 degree arc from the front panel. There is no spotlighting, and considerable upper octave information is communicated at even at comparatively long listening distances and reasonably far off-axis. The Dayton Wright’s are noticeably superior to the LS3/5a’s and Spica TC-50’s in this regard, and to most of the KEF speakers. They rival the Thiel CS3’s although they do not approach the Fuselier 3D’s.
The midrange is coherent and detailed and has considerable punch. Far too many comparitively inexpensive speakers compress the sound, and combine relatively slow driver response with the inability to handle the natural dynamic peaks in music. The Dayton Wright’s rival much more expensive speakers in this regard and they do so without changing timbre, having one or more drivers suddenly go out of piston or making the crossover area audible.
If this description of the DW’s doesn’t sound unusual, you may have to hear the difference for yourself. It is the key reason that I don’t go around praising a lot of small acoustic suspension speakers that measure flat using sine waves at some given loudness—but sound like hell when playing music. The LCM-1’s are far more live in every sense of the word than most of their competition. They literally blow the LS-3/5a’s in this regard and they again outperform the Spica TC-50’s.
At this point we come to where the LCM-1’s begin to show limitations. Their pulse response is acceptable but they are not so fast or so detailed as the Spica TC-50’s, Fuseliers, of Thiels. Ribbons or electrostatics they are not. Their imaging is good to very good, compared to some of the competition. They place instruments and voices solidly but their preservation of the faint harmonics that makes imaging totally natural does not come up to the speaker’s performance in other areas. They render low frequency information better than the Spica TC-50’s but they lack the midrange and upper frequency data the Spica TC-50’s, Fuseliers, of Thiels can provide.
The LCM-1’s do not match the speakers in the $1,000+ category when it comes to balancing all parts of the midrange nor do they achieve the elusive balance between the warmth and detail that can be found in the Quad ESL03’s and Fuseliers. They are good—better than the Spica TC-50’s and possibly better than the Thiel 04a’s–but there is a tendency towards warmth. This area requires careful listening on the part of the prospective purchaser, not because their performance isn’t good (to very good) but because even small compromises in this realm can affect the way that different individuals will react to the speaker.
The LCM-1’s are not big sounding speakers. As I noted earlier, they do not provide deep bass. Further, the image is clearly that of a quasi-point source. You do not get the impression of a big sound stage as from the larger Infinities ™ (the smaller Infinities are useful only as coffins for irritating pets!), bipolar electrostatics, the Magnapans™, or the larger Dayton Wrights.
comment: When this review was published, the company had modified
the LCM-1’s to the LCM-1a’s. The revisions included: adding a dome tweeter
to the top of the cabinet, using a groove and spline to secure the grill
cloth as well as changing the cabinet finish on the front edge to hide
the rough edge.
As reviewed in Vol. 8 Number 3
DAYTON WRIGHT XAM-4
Four-way dynamic cone
loudspeakers with 10' woofer,
two 6.5" midrange driven, 1” tweeter and
¾” toru-dome supertweeter.
Shipping weight : 150
47 ¾ “ H by 11’ by 17” D. Frequency response:
21 to 20,000 Hz. +/- 3 Db Nominal impedance:
5 ohms. Price: $1,200 pair East Coast
$1,299 pair in the Western States
MANUFACTURER: Dayton Wright Group Ltd.
97 Newkirk Road, Richmond Hill, Ontario
Canada, L4C-3G4 (416) 884-8586
Although Dayton Wright is best known for large, expensive electrostatic loudspeaker systems, they have recently been earning respect for their small dynamic cone LCM- 1 (see AHCs review in Vol. 7, No 2). Along with the Spica TC-50s, the LCM’s have been changing the popular conception of how a small speaker can and should sound. The XAM-4s can best be described as a big brother to the LCM- 1’s, employing as they do many of the same design and construction techniques. They are similar in appearance to the LCM-1’s (though much taller), and like the LCM’s they are entirely covered with black cloth on the front, top and sides.
By all that is held sacred among audiophiles, the XAM’s shouldn't work. Four way systems are not in vogue, three crossovers being considered too many to allow proper integration of the sound. The grill cloth is non-removable, and the "rear-facing, wide-range, off-axis, room-ambience exciting driver," which may be separately powered and equalized, will bring cries of anguish and proclamations that it can't possibly work" from purists. But somehow-and somewhat to my surprise-it does.
Hooking up the XAMs is a major undertaking; It can best be described as an exercise in line transmission theory in the domestic environment. The first problem is that the XAMs offer the user several choice of how to connect the speakers to the amp. There are separate sets of binding posts for the bass unit and rear-firing 2mbienct drivers, as well as a pair of posts for the main part of the speaker (the midrange driver and two tweeters). The ambience driver may be paralled with the main unit, inverted and paralleled with the main unit of the other speaker, or hooked up in series in-a-difference-signal method. The Iatter alternative is accomplished by connecting the hot post (or non-input) of each ambience driver to the hot post of the main unit of the speaker and then connecting the ground (or inverted input) posts for the ambience drivers to each other. This approach seems to work best, providing a nice, natural sense of air and ambience.
The bass woofer may be connected in parallel with the main unit or connected to the output terminals of the Dayton Wright ICBM subwoofers (see review in Vol. 8, No 2).
Either the bass or the ambience drivers may be run from separate amplifiers, though it is not required; or they can be left unconnected. The ambience drivers also may be used in connection with time delay units or equalizers, such as those offered by Fosgate. I did not try the XAMs with a time delay, and the use of such devices is recommended by the manufacturer only when the speakers arc positioned close to the rear wall.
The ambience drivers are 6.5” cones identical to the midrange drivers, and are mounted on top of the speaker facing up and to the rear at approximately a 20 degree angle from the horizontal. The theory is that they will bounce the sound wave off the ceiling and back wall, delaying the arrival of the reflected ambient sound at the listener by a sufficient amount of time to avoid Haas-effect blurring. Except with a balanced output amplifier, the Manufacturer recommends that a 10-ohm, 25-watt resistor be placed in the signal path of the ambience units to lower their level by about 6 dB. A 3 to 6 dB reduction will occur naturally when using a balanced-output amp and a sum-of-the-difference connection (assuming a stereo input signal). Thus, a 5-watt resistor is recommended with balanced output amps. Appropriate resistors are included with the speakers.1
The 10” bass drivers are extremely long-throw, heavy-magnet (50 oz.), proprietary
cones, and are mounted at the top of an isolated 29-liter gas-damped compartment
approximately 2 ½ ft. high, which eliminates the need for a separate
Footnote 1 The difference-signal hookup
causes each ambience driver's output to be the difference between the two
main channels. The left ambience driver
is in phase relative to the left speaker and inverted with respect to the
right channel, and vice- versa for the right ambience speaker. I found
the manufacturer's recommended resistor settings to provide too much ambience
in my listening room, both with conventional and balanced output amps.
When too much ambience is present the 'individual instruments become
too large and overlap in space on orchestral works and other recordings
with closely spaced instruments. The problem is compounded because
there is no one setting that is best for all recordings. Recordings
which are rich or lush need proportionately less ambience. I solved
the problem by placing 2 high quality, 50.watt potentiometers (0-25 ohms)
the negative posts of the two ambience drivers. This also simplified
changing between conventional and balanced output amps during testing.
Spiked feet which screw on to the bottom of the speaker are enclosed. These see make a slight improvement in the sound, principally in the areas of image stability and bass tightness, and I recommend their use on carpeted floors. For use on hardwood or tile floors, plastic-bottomed glides are provided.
Having finished the obligatory description of the technical aspects of these somewhat unusual speakers, I can turn to the more important question of how they sound. The answer is, "Great." I don't want to be overly emotional, but I cannot hide the fact that I've become quite enamored of the XAMS. They are exceptionally well balanced and integrated, and are free from any serious shortcomings. NO area of the frequency spectrum is noticeably exaggerated or recessed, and the image and soundstage are outstanding. On good recordings the image extends well beyond the outer edges of the speakers and goes very deep 2. The soundstage has narural, life-size proportions. The sound itself is very open and seems to bear no relation to the two black obelisks sitting on the floor of the listening room.
When properly adjusted, the ambience drivers add a fullness to the sound without making it heavy or slow. They also give an added sense of body and presence to the performers. The result is that, on better recordings, one has the sensation of being in the recording hall or sound studio with the performers, rather than listening to a re creation of the recording location in one's listening room.
Speed and fine detail resolution (the ability to hear such things as fingering on woodwinds and the principal cellist turning pages of sheet music) are fair to good for dynamic cones, though not a match for good electrostatics. The ability to resolve harmonic detail and render tonal colors is first rate. The same is true of the reproduction of dynamic contrasts. Transient dynamics (the ability to change level from soft to loud very quickly) arc excellent in the bass and somewhat better than average in the midrange.
The treble is well extended, natural, and free from hardness or glare. Boy sopranos, who give most speakers trouble, are handled well by the XAMS. The treble is very clean and there is a purity of tone from piano that I've heard from very few speakers. Upper harmonics of brass also are tendered very well. I suspect this upper harmonic purity contributes a great deal to the quality of the image. It also M2kcs balance adjustment and cartridge alignment critical. I found myself using the balance control every time I changed records, and adjustment frequently was required between different cuts on the same record, Any imperfections in cartridge setup, paticularly anti-skating adjustment, are patently obvious. If the anti-skating is off, even small amounts of mistracking will causs a buzzing in one channel. 3 As with many speakers having good HF performance, the listening window is small, and treble response drops sharply as one moves off axis.
Speed and fine detail resolution (the ability to hear such things as fingering on woodwinds and the principal cellist turning pages of sheet music) are fair to good for dynamic cones, though not a match for good electrostatics. The ability to resolve harmonic detail and render tonal colors is first r2tr- The S2MC is true of the reproduction of dynamic contrasts. Transient dynamics (the ability to change level from soft to loud very quickly) are excellent in the bass and somewhat better than average in the midrange.
The treble is well extended, natural, and free from hardness or glare. Boy sopranos, who give Most speakers trouble, are handled well by the XAMS. The treble is very clean and and there is a purity of tone from piano that I've heard from very few speakers. Upper harmonics of brass also are rendered very well. I suspect this upper harmonic purity contributes a great deal to the quality of the image. It also makes balance adjustment and cartridge alignment critical. I found myself using the balance control every time I changed records, and adjustment frequently was required between different cuts on the same record, Any imperfections in cartridge setup, particularly anti-skating adjustment, are patently obvious. If the anti-skating is off, even small amounts of mistracking will cause a buzzing in one channel 3. As with many speakers having good HF performance, the listening window is small, and treble response drops sharply as one moves off axis.
The bass is the best I've heard in a speaker costing under $1500. The manufacturer claims a -3 dB point of 21 Hz, and this seems about In my listening room I measured them –1Db down at 32 Hz. There no midbass bloat, and they stayed tight and quick all the way down. As I mentioned 2bove, the XAM-4’s can be used with the Davton Wright ICBM-l subwoofers. The main improvement is not the slight bass extension they provide; more noticeable benefits are an increase in power handling capability and more impact. The improved power handling results in better transient dynamics throughout the frequency spectrum.
After hearing the ICBMs with the XAM-4’s I believe that my previous review of these subwoofers did nor do them justice (Vol. 8, No. 2). Using the ICBMs with the LCM-1 as satellites, I simply couldn't tell just how low or loud they can go. When used with the )LA-%Is, these mothers can crank. "Awesome" is the or-Jr word that seems 2ppropriate, wl-ich is unfortunate since that term is over-used-of late. During a good session, the ICBM’s would knock the pictures on my walls askew and start the chandelier swinging. The capabilitics of XAM/ICBM combination in the bottom end are so outstanding that I have no hesitation in recommending the extra expenditure for the subwoofers despite the very limited increase in bass extension they provide. I have heard nothing short of the WAMM’s or the Infinity IR5’s that can better the XAM/ICBM combination in the bass.
The conclusion is easy: the XAM-4’s are highly recommended. They are among the most listenable speakers I've heard and are free from fatiguing side effects. They are by no means perfect or even outstanding in all respects, but they have a great many virtues and only minor serious shortcomings. They sound like good $2000-2500 speakers.
There is one caveat. It does not relate to sound quality, but to
what one must go through to make these speakers work. In a Sense
the XAM-4’s are a true audiophile's speaker, because setup is critical
and, quite frankly, difficult. My infatuation with the XAM-4’s was
not a case of love at first listen. It took me about two weeks of
trial and error (including lots of hard work) to Make them sound right.
If LA. had not reported to me how good these speakers sounded when he heard
them at the manufacturer's plant, I am not certain that I would have made
the effort necessary to get them to sound their best. The distance
of each speaker from the listening position, the angle of toe-in, tweeter
level adjustment, and ambience level all must be precisely "on" or the
wonderful illusion of reality which these speakers are capable of creating
is lost! For a true audiophile the reward is worth the hard work.
Of all the products I've reviewed in the past year and a half, none have
given me as much pleasure as these speakers. I have found myself
listening t ' o music 2 lot more since they arrived; I'm rediscovering
much of my record collection. And the more I listen to these speakers
the better I like them.
Footnote 2: I had the opportunity to audition these speakers at Mike Wright's excellent listening room in Richmond Hill, and they did something I've heard no other speaker do. Sitting quite close to the plane of the speakers (about four feet away), the XAM-4s, which were about twelve feet apart, projected an image both outside the outer edge of the speaker (by about 15”), and in front of the speaker. I was blown away Though I didn't have time for an overall evauation of their performance, I heard nothing to temper SWW's enthusiasm. LA
Footnote 3: To correct mistracking: increase the antiskating force if the buzz occurs in the right channcl, decrease it if the buzz occurs in the left speaker.
Footnote 4: The only room situation that might be insurmountable is one too SM211 to allow the speakers be P12Ccd at least three feet from the side walls. Closer than three feet the XAMs won't sound bad, but their full potential will not be realized.
© 1980 Wright Electroacoustics - These Reviews are used with the permissions of the copyrite owner's.
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