Auditioning Elipsa SE tomorrow, getting my ducks in a row, am I missing anything

Gonna head out before the chickens wake and drive 350 miles to hear a pair of Elipsa SE in the morning. Will have to get it right as a second listen is gonna be tough

I've sent pictures and descriptions of the listening area and speaker placement. He's gonna try to duplicate that setup before I arrive. Speakers 11 feet apart, listening position about 12' feet from the wall and speakers set a foot or 2 off the wall. 

I don't do vinyl anymore so will be streaming and CD only. I don't have any hi res media but plan to take female vocal (Ricky Lee), male vocal ( Leonard Cohen), an instrumental, and Rodrigo y Gabriela for full, fast and hard. Will hopefully listen to some high res of whatever he has on hand when I get there.

I'm looking for a wide and amazing soundstage.  I'll figure out amps, etc that work with whatever speaker I end up with.He's gonna setup the demo with ARC VSi-75 and Lumin A1. I've heard the integrated with a pair of Trio Ct's and it was nice but didn't take my breath away. Not sure if the ARC will show them best or if I could expect more out of the Elipsa with something else.

Moving forward sources will mostly be streamed though a PS-Audio Direct Stream so have lots of hopes for improvements.

While I'm in the city going to swing through some dealers and listen to Focal, Wilson, other Sonus Faber, and whatever else I can get my ears on.  

Any advice on what I've missed or should consider when looking at the Elipsa SE?

Thanks in advance



 What amp would you be driving the Elipsa SE with? ARC is a great match but the VSI 75 is a bit under powered. The bass for one will not be as crisp. I have a Ref 110 (with KT120 tubes) driving my Elipsa SE speakers. This combo works really well, I would not want to go with a less powerful amp. Can you bring your amp with you to audition the Elipsa SE?
Very helpful feedback!

I currently have a Arcam A32, which will find a different home. Can't imagine that would marry well with these. There will be a new amp in my future, just wanted to get the speakers 1st then find an amp that works with the speakers. 

Good to know about the loss of bass paired with the  VSI .I can discount a bit of bass loss during the audition if I can recover it with a better amp.

If I end up with the Elipsa I'll sure consider the Ref 110.  Was thinking about the Ps-audio BHK 250 as an option. Heard great things about the BHK pre-amp as well. Have thought about just a really nice amp like the Ref or BHK and using the Directsteam for volume control which would allow going without a pre-amp.

you are on the right track w/ ARC gear and SF speakers. lostbears offers very good advice. Take your time, have a safe trip and enjoy the Audio journey. Which city will you visit?

Happy Listening!

 Did you see the Tone Audio review of the Elipsa SE? These are superb speakers and truly gorgeous in the violin red. Underpowered they wont sound quite as dynamic and as I mentioned, the bass won't be as crisp. They really need 100 wpc or more to sound their best.

The speakers are a great place to start. Then you can make a plan and upgrade your electronics as you go. At this level a truly great preamp is as or more important than the amp. In my system I hear more of an impact when changing preamps then amps. But a synergy with both is important. I have my Ref 110 paired with a Ref 5se and Ref Phono 2se.

 I have not heard the current PS Audio stuff. If I did not have ARC gear, I would probably have Pass. The problem is the preamp. The Ref 5se is a truly great preamp. I have not heard any thing near the price, especially used that sounds as good. 

 Curious you mention Leonard Cohen. I just picked up the 45 rpm box set of Famous Blue Raincoat. Jennifer Warnes sings Leonard Cohen.

Elipsa SE's are wonderful speakers, especially in the famous violin red color that SF is known for, as was mentioned before. My only concern would be your room, if it truly limits them to 2 feet from the wall. Elipsa's are difficult to place well, and I don't think 2 feet off the wall will begin to allow them to perform optimally. More like 5-6 feet in  most of the better systems I've heard.
I would recommend a 12” sub with Elipsa SE, like a REL or JL Audio. I have heard the Elipsa’s and they are amazing speakers with wonderful mid’s and high’s but not so much the low end. 


Have you tried a sub with SE’s? 

 Because of their shape, the Elipsa SE are actually very easy to make sound good. If you take you time and set they up properly, they will really shine.

I have a pretty good size room and so far have not felt the need for a sub. 

 There is a long thread at on the Elipsa SE in a smallish room.

Great feedback

I got my new DAC today and in love! Although I should be in bed resting, we're up listening to music and wow the changes the DAC brought to my tired old system. 

Off to Seattle in a few hours. 

Love the look of the violin red, but right now the graphite is whats on the market and might be what I end up with. 

I'll post after returning. Might end up spending the night and heading up to the Canadian border to hear the Daedalus speakers. Talked with Lou and they also sound promising and are works of wood art as well
Back from the trip and now awake. 

There was good and bad about the SE's. Very attractive, although red would be so much nicer, and the tone or maybe the quality of the sound was towards the nicest I've heard. It like when I heard a cello solo, it really sounded like a cello. The bad was the soundstage, I really wanted to love these. It was hardly there, didn't give that feeling I could close my eyes and picture the instruments and vocal in place. Flat forward to rear as well. 


I believe that you are getting the things on yours that I was seeking out of these. Although I was told what a great match the amp was to these speakers I've been disappointed with the sound stage with the same model at a different audition. Cables were also minimal and was told cables would make the stage pop!. They were also not demos but trade in. I thought this was an SF deal. Can't pay a premium price for this.


I did hear some other options at some dealers. All used Mac intergrated amps. Cable deal was an eye opener, I've never heard the difference when I tried stuff 10 years ago. During an audition, changed the speaker cables and the game changed. Real wow moment for me. Part of what makes me think the SE's weren't the problem, 

@lostbears, what speaker cables might you recommend for SE's?

The stand outs from all the listening were

Wilson Sasha 3. Nice tight, sound stage nice, but couldn't put my finger on it. Sort of felt like the music was standing at attention. Not sure and gonna chew on that

B&W 803, good where the Wilson was good yet had a "warmth" that carried. I was told that what I was hearing I should expect to hear in everything I play though them. Wouldn't argue if my wife gave me a pair, but think a pass for me

Sonus Faber guarneri-tradition - Great sound stage, great everything except it lacks the presence that comes from a floor standing full range. After a long discussion. The Wilson loving, owns a pair, dealer is telling me yea, you would love the full size SF and would be everything I want, except, they are gonna be way out of my range, recommended maybe an Olympia 2 or 3 but I'd be in love with the higher model. For my budget pointed back to the Wilsons.

I'm thinking if the guarneri-tradition had what the SE's were missing, it was a specific problem with that particular pair or the audition system.

Right now I'm thinking I need to find different pair of Elipsa SE that are priced fair and just call it done. Then upgradet the right stuff going on around it 

Update, my little voice told me to read my own post. Made an offer on an other pair of Elipsa SE.

Hopeful, but then if it doesn't work out might be a red pair come up.

 The Elipsa SE have a deep wide sounstage with that "in the room" sound. They can be mesmerizing. The Elipsa SE can make a piano sound right and that is not easy to do. One of the problems is the integrated. The Elipsa SE need more power to sound their best, and they need a real preamp. They also need to be setup properly. If they are too far apart they will loose soundstage. You also need to play with the toe in and rake. If not toed in properly they can loose soundstage. Acoustic treatement can help alot in a problem room. If they sound boomy because they are close to the back wall, bass traps in the corner can really help. Also something non reflective in the center. I have a tapestry on the wall between mine.

The Elipsa SE are much better sounding than any of the Olympia. Go to and search for threads on the Elipsa SE. They are compared to a number of different speakers including the  Olympia. Around $12.000. is a fair price for a nice pair. I will say that I could not imagine owning a pair without them being in Violin Red.  Graphite just does not do them justice. But it depends on the room.

OK, I'm in the club now. I'm pretty jazzed

Buyer accepted my offer on the SE's, sadly not in red, but at a great price as compared to $12K lostbears quoted.

Also getting a new pair of Cartas cables shipped along with the speakers
I have the Elipsa SE and they surely have an awesome sound stage, wide and deep. Close your eyes and there is a wall of sound.
I play vinyl with a CJ ARTsa, and recently added a Ps audio BHK preamp which was a huge upgrade. The sound is wonderful and the speakers are beautiful.
I am very happy with the speakers.

@doitwithlife  Congratulations! Hope the chickens sleep in more often as you will be up late listening. : )
Glad to hear you have the BHK preamp running on these. I've been considering this after reading so much great about it.

Toying with the the following 3 options

Get the BHK 250 and use the Ps audio directstream dac without a preamp, All digital now and don't listen to headphones much and may never again 

Get the 250 and BHK pre-amp now, monoblocks will never happen

Or get the monoblocks now , run without the preamp and hope for the money fairy to rain down on me years from now to get the pre-amp. 

Knowing what the pre-amp gave you with your SE's how might you divide the pie?

Dealer was like, thats a tough call, believes the monoblock will really fill out the speakers but I'd also be really happy with the 250

Thanks to everyone's feedback , it really help me to believe the potential these speakers can have. 

 It is a pain but I would go back and pick the speakers up. The shipping boxes are cardboard. Granted there are foam inserts but they are still cardboard and not wooden crates. The speakers weigh around 100 pounds each. I would hate to see them scratched or damaged because of shipping. And I have see many shipping nightmares. There is guy on Audiogon who just had crated Apogee speakers destroyed. Why take the chance?

 Decide what electronics you want BEFORE you buy cables. Cables are very system dependent. If you do decide to go with Audio Research gear, Cardas Cables are a really bad match. If he used Cardas in the demo that was one of the problems.

 Make a plan. Listen to everything you can in your room with your speakers. Then decide what sounds best to you. Make a long term plan and work toward it. The cables should be one of the last things you purchase. Use what you have for now or buy something really inexpensive from a brand like Audioquest. They seem to work well with most gear. Once you know the direction you want to go then you can seriously consider cables.

I would get the 250 and the preamp.
Many of the articles written about the BHK compare PS audio gear with and without he preamp and all prefer with it.
For my system I was really surprised what a huge upgrade the BHK has been.It has taken it to the next level for sure. It could be my last preamp.
The 250 should be plenty of power as my amp is a tube amp,140 WPC and makes the SE's sing. I also wanted mono amps but am more than happy with the stereo model.
Congrats on your new speakers!

I hear you on the freight trauma. I would much prefer to hand carry myself, but this would be about a 4000 mile round trip. 

They will be insured and its a Sonus Faber dealer shipping. Its about as good as I can get it


good to read that you had a fun, safe trip. There are many excellent Audio shops in the Seattle area. You are fortunate to live close to all of that action! Keep us posted on your audio journey.

Happy Listening!

There may be, but apparently not worth giving the business to? Hopefully the OP has valid reasons for not doing so and is purchasing something from the dealer where he auditioned the SFs. 

These are discontinued speakers and you have to go where they are. Either trade in or private seller.

They did have Olympia and the bookshelf, but don't have SF other than that.

As for a local, like less than 300 miles away. Talked to that dealer and if I wanted ELAC or similar, they could help me. Nice talk about the brands they used to have and no longer carry. Other then that shop, which sells cookware and vacuums, best buy is the only other option.

I had heard that if you do not buy from a SF authorized dealer, or buy them used, SF will not honor any parts replacement or warranty repairs. They won't even sell you any replacement drivers or parts. REMEMBER, I said I heard (read) this. Not sure of validity.

 had heard that if you do not buy from a SF authorized dealer, or buy them used, SF will not honor any parts replacement or warranty repairs. They won't even sell you any replacement drivers or parts. REMEMBER, I said I heard (read) this. Not sure of validity.

I think this is a myth. I have not heard of anyone actually having problems with service or replacement drivers. I know my dealer has replaced the drivers in older SF speakers. And if you are buying from a dealer I wouldn't worry about it.

@doitwithlife Thanks! Dealers have been taking it on the chin. Distributors, importers and manufacturers are undercutting them. Audiophiles are doing end runs around them. I’ve recently received terrific support from a few dealers and they have brought significant value to the table, for me. It’s great that you made the trip to visit a few dealers, despite the distance.

I think I understand: you heard the Olympias but not the Ellipsa SEs, and the Ellipsa SEs are the ones you went forward on, correct?

As I said in my first post in this thread, congratulations on your purchase. I am sure you will be very happy once you have them in system and have chosen your amplification components. All the best!
off topic


I’d love to support local dealers. I traveled to see one of 2 pairs of SE’s that I found for sale in the US. Went to see a demo pair and was prepared to come home with them. I thought I was going to the SF dealer, turned out was not the SF dealer, and were 2nd hand. The addition didn’t go well for me and I left disappointed and had written of the SE as a fit

Wanted to make the most of the trip so visited so other dealers. Turned out I did make it to the SF dealer and heard the SF bookshelf speakers only. Great sound but not the right fit. Story ends with me believing in the potential of the SF line although I had lost the belief in the ones I heard.

The other set were trade ins with an SF dealer that knew the product well. In the end an SF dealer got my business and I feel like although way far away, he’ll be my go to guy for all my future needs. The guy with the original pair had the chance to lose my business and that’s what happened.

The local SF dealer gets gold stars from me, yet they didn’t have what I wanted.They are 1st rate and if I wanted new models of Wilson or a few other lines, I’d be doing business there.They offer value to their clients.

I get the push pull of the struggle with local support vs long distance purchases. as consumers things are hard now and I think we have to balance the value a local dealer brings with everything.

On my trip I also wanted to audition a particular amp. Lucky for me I called the dealer before wasting another 4 hours of travel. Although they are the dealer in this part of the country, they had nothing of this brand. No inventory, no stock, no demo gear, nothing, they could order what I wanted. So as a consumer, where is the value and why should I take my business there?

Now that I have a connection with the dealer in a far away city. He knows my desires, has the knowledge of the lines, and I feel like I’m going to be taken care of.

Not local, but for me, I’m gonna get my guy on the phone and take my business there 1st.

@doitwithlife That's great that you found the right dealer for you and it has worked out for the current speaker purchase as well as for possible future purchases.

When do you get them in? Looking forward to hearing your impressions and how they work out for you! Have you made any headway with amplification decisions? 
Doitwithlife, a great story about your quest.

If you haven't gotten the PS audio gear, yet you may want to take a listen to the T+A gear, in particular the HV 3000, which is an $18k integrated amplifier.

The HV 3000 is a 300 watt power house based on the companies $35k separates but put into one chassis. The circuit design emulates the sound of tubes by running the transistors at very high rail voltages which enables the transistors to run with greater linearity which reduces distortion and gives the amp a very open and musical sound, while enabling the amplifier to preserve tiny details . 

The HV 3000 an integrated amplifier was compared to $120k worth of CH Precions gear, and the newer HV 3100 was compared to a $45k D'agastino Mommentum Integrated amplifier. 

Many people don't consider the merits of an uber integrated amplifier, or think that a high end integrated amp can sound better than separates but they can and often do.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

+1 on the T+A recommendation. It's worth giving Dave @audiotroy  a call to discuss your amp situation and perhaps expand the possibilities of what you are considering. 

 Congratulations! Now take your time and don't rush. Listen to everything you can. Once you have found something you really like, bring it home and listen to it in your system. Preamps are much harder to get right than amps. There are a lot of great amps out there but their matching preamp doesn't do them justice. I have always liked an amp and preamp frpm the company. I own a Audio Research Ref 5se. It is one of the best preamps I have ever heard. And I have heard and own a lot of gear in the the last 30 years. I am sure there are a few better preamps somewhere, but not for a reasonable price. 

Had hoped to get a tracking number today. Guessing 7-10 days to get them.

For now no decisions until I get them hooked up. Will run without sub and original cables, then roll in the new cables and enable the sub in steps and see how it all fits. 

The Arcam A32 integrated will drive these for now and we just see what makes sense. At that time I can dig into the T+A option as well as others

Thanks again for all the input and advice, it is a fun journey
The speakers arrived in wonderful shaped. OK, not so much arrived, but rather retrieved. They quickly made they way to Spokane, then began transfers between shippers and lots of delay. Finally, hey can I just will call these? Picked them up the next day, so glad I took the truck. 

Happy is an understatement. These have exceeded my expectations and Lise described them as "beautiful". Between travelling and a nasty cold she hasn't been able to listen yet, but I'm hopeful.

Some friends came over the 1st night to listen. We did a quick A/B against the Maggies and then there were unplugged and stored. He felt they sounded 10x better than the Maggies yet he loves the Maggies. Currently trying to talk his wife into a way to get those into his home. She had a nice smile too and wanted me to turn the Elispsa up to see what they could really do. LOL

Still waiting for the PS audio bridge to arrive so I can stream high res, for now, just running through CDs and hearing so much that I was missing 

Several neighbors are interested in the Maggies, very confident they will be enjoyed in a new home shortly. 

Thanks for all the input. 

4 months later. 

I'm loving the Elipsa Se even with my old Arcam integrated. Got my old M+K sub in the mix and it really adds. Set the sub on the B speaker output so easy to take it in and out. Everyone can hear the difference, its night and day

 Added a DirectSteam DAC as my source and the speakers came alive even more. Hugh sound stage and they are very forgiving of my room. Stream Tidal almost 100% now, the CD player is collecting dust unless the internet goes down which happens a lot here.

Just ordering a new amp and pre today. The extra current to these speakers should make a monumental difference. Also expect going from single ended to balanced should help also.

Gave my Maggies to my best friend and he is in his own heaven. Friends should let friends do soundbars!
What amp and pre amp did you end up getting? Have you experimented with tube vs. solid state? What about speakers cables and interconnects? 


Provide us with an update on your gear/system?  Happy Listening!

Hard to believe its been a year since this journey started. 

Ended up going with a full BHK stack. The mono blocks are a hybrid design with tubes on the input stage, solid state on the back side. 

Finished off the electronics with  P15 regenerator.  Wow took everything to a new level.

Speaker and interconnects are Cardas sky. 

Power cords are a mix. Have a Cerious Marix from the wall to regenerator,  dedicated 20A, High Fidelity Reveal to the Dac, Cerious graphite for the mono blocks, Forget whats feeding the pre.

Some GIK acoustics for room treatments.  Still have yo put the ceiling panels up. 

I'm in love with the system and sound. Spent the winter hold up listening to music and watching the fire. Without exaggerating I've listened to more music this year than I have in my entire life.

Lise loves the system as well and right now is playing 2 Cellos selections and telling me wow listen to that. In fact she bought the GIK as a gift.

Thanks for asking and happy listening 
The old Maggies were the 2 way intro deal from 20 years ago. Gifted them to a friend who loves them
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