AudioKinesis Auditorium Beta - First Impressions

I have recently sold my SoundLab A-1PXs and Ayre MX-Rs, not entirely voluntarily. I was determined that I would replace them with gear that I could live with happily. On Friday, I took delivery of Duke LeJeune's Auditorium Beta system, consisting of two main speakers operating in bipole configuration, along with his SWARM subs, comprising 4 small(ish) units driven by a 1000 watt Class D amp. For those of you who don't know about the SWARM, Duke's theory (and Earl Geddes before him) is that the sub modules are to be irregularly spaced relative room boundaries in order to smooth out bass nodes. An audio buddy here in Texas is using the SWARM with his Innersounds, and claims that they work VERY well. I haven't heard his system since he received the subs, so cannot comment apart from forwarding his remarks. Unfortunately, I can't yet comment on my own SWARM, as the line level box to drive the dedicated sub amp has not yet arrived.

In addition, the replacement amp for the Ayres (Atma-Sphere S-30 Mk III with V-Caps and Caddock upgrades) is not yet in house. That'll be another week or so. So, I am presently listening to the main speakers only, driven by a $500 Jolida integrated amp. Full review of the Auditorium Betas will follow after everything is in place and some serious listening time has elapsed.

Regardless, I wanted to share the following:

1) They throw an extremely large soundfield, even larger than the SLs - or any other speaker that I've auditioned, for that matter.

2) The overall spectral balance is a little different, with the Auditoriums being a bit 'lighter'. Don't know how much of this is due to lack of the subs, however. It's clear that the deep bass is missing, so I'll look forward to getting the subs connected up.

3) Imaging is a little more diffuse, especially in the center. I haven't played with placement too much yet, though, apart from rotating the angle a bit. I started at 45 degrees (relative to the side wall) as suggested. Initially, I think a slightly smaller angle will be better in my room.

4) The Auditorium betas definitely need space behind them. Duke, I believe says that 3.5 feet is a minimum, and 5 feet is much more optimal. I couldn't agree more. I'm fortunate in that my listening room is large (32' X 15' X avg. 9'). I have them set 6' from the wall behind and 3' from the side walls.

5) The absolute see through clarity of the SoundLabs is lacking just a bit, but it's close. Damn close. I'm very impressed.

6) I can say that it's clear that these sound significantly more 'uncompressed' than the SoundLabs on certain cuts, probably because the SLs (with PX panels) behave themselves quite well in terms of little harshness or other nasties - they simply compress. I find myself saying wow, I didn't know that peak was there.

7) The high frequency drivers are waveguide designs. There is no 'horn coloration' that I can discern. None.

8) I'll be playing with the resistors Duke uses to tailor high frequency balance in the future. That will have to wait until the subs are operational, and the Messenger/Atma-Sphere combo is driving things.

First impressions are extremely positive. It sounds so far as though Duke made some very sensible tradeoffs relative to the SoundLabs. As I said, full review to follow.
I can understand some of what your saying but I sure dont get the Ayre,S 30 II swap.THats 12K for 2.5K the other way.This is sure a funny hobby,Good luck,Bob
> I sure dont get the Ayre,S 30 II swap

key words from the initial post: "not entirely voluntarily". In other words, this is largely a financial decision.

Having said that, the Planetariums are 96 dB efficient. The MX-Rs would have been serious overkill in terms of power. In addition, the Atma-Sphere products, all of them, are superb. I probably would have been using either the MA-1s or MA-2s on the SoundLabs instead of the Ayres if I could have stood the heat. However, I live near Houston, with tropical weather much of the year. It just wasn't going to happen.

Basically, I'll be using the same amp with which the speakers were designed.