Looking forward to reading your review.
The Clarisys Minuet Sound Quality:
Looking at some of the Clarisys reviewer’s rooms and the Axpona Show Rooms that they were placed in all seemed pretty small compared to mine. My audio room is approx. 17’ X 25’ X 8’ heavily insulated walls with 5/8” drywall over all surfaces, along with carpeted concrete floors.
While waiting for these speakers I disassembled my amps, cables and my Focal speakers for about 2+ weeks! Without any music, I began humming to myself. LOL. My wife and dog thought I was losing it… After what I have gone through, I just might be!
Once they were installed, they seemed to go through a break in. Even though the reviewer had them for several months! They should be broken in, right? But each day they seemed to take on a little more dynamics and loudness. The frequency extremes seem to be shifting daily.
The first day they sounded slightly muffled, then a few days later too bright. It may be because the equipment and the speakers were not used for some time. Or, the ribbon panels are readjusting? I guess the ribbons could have become constricted doing the moving adventure and are now relaxing. I know it sounds strange, but I heard it.
First listen, there seems to be quite a bit more of left/right channel information, more so than I was used to. There is also a very wide-open soundstage. No need to position your head just right so you don’t lose the soundstage. It is quite immersive.
The bass is ok, not transformative like the reviewers have commented, but also not over whelming. I guess I could be happy with them without subs. But I still will use my (4) JL- Audio F-113 subs for the low bass information. Right now, I am having an issue with choosing the right bass frequency and loudness. For now, I have the subs set at 45hz and at a much lower volume setting than with the Focal’s. I think it is because the Clarisiys speakers do produce deeper bass than the Focal’s so there is perhaps more frequency overlap. Go figure…
The midrange seems natural, and the treble is extended, but it is different than my Focal speakers. The Minuet’s seem to be a warmer sound than the Focal’s. Kind of surprising to me, I was expecting planer/ribbon/dipole speakers to be more upper end detailed. In comparison, the Focal’s speakers use Beryllium tweeters and to my old ears the Focal’s seemed to have more upper detail, but I think the Clarisys is probably more accurate.
The biggest change from the Focal Sopra 2’s to the Clarisys speakers is in the depth of the soundstage. With the new speakers, it is now possible to hear way back into the soundstage. Moving the speakers in or out changes that depth, but it also affects bass, and the center image. So, placement is the word. And, when you stand up the sound level is greatly diminished, very strange. So, this won’t be a party speaker.
The dealer insisted that there should be no acoustic treatment behind or near these speakers which uses the back wall as reflection. Now, I have quite a bit invested in ASC Bass/Tube traps and I also have 7 of the Stillpoints Aperture ll panels. With the Focal’s I had the ASC traps in the corners and turned/dialed in so that the center image was aiming right into my head. The Stillpoints were at first and 2nd reflection points along with a set between the speakers and there is also one behind my seating position. I consulted with ASC and Stillpoint and both reps advised that their products work well with dipole type speakers. So, who is right?
Well to my ears and equipment, I have found, (thus far) that the ASC tube traps used with the Clarisys Minuet panels did indeed restrict the liveliness of the music. However, turning them did change the image. For now, they have been banished to storage. I may revisit them later.
The Stillpoint ll’s however, was a winner. They are said to provide absorption, reflection and diffusion in the panel. I placed a couple behind the Minute’s on a chair and liked the way they performed. The sound became much more dynamic and spread out. Center image also improved. So, I installed a pair behind each speaker on the “Head Wall” and kept the set between the speakers and the one behind me. (Check out my systems page). No sidewall treatment is necessary.
With the Clarisys Minute speakers although the sound quality is different than the Focal’s, I have as much bass, mid and treble as before, but with added depth, soundstage and as I mentioned the extreme left/right information. However, better recordings now sound a lot better and poorer one’s not so good. I prefer Classic Rock so this may be an issue.
There also seems to be quite a variance between softer or louder recordings on Qobuz, more so than before. Example: The Doors 50th Anniversary remasters, these recordings seem to be very low and need to have the volume increased more while listening.
As I was about to post this review, I decided to go completely au natural and removed all of the Stillpoint Apertures and turned off the subs. Now, I don’t know if it was the speakers, room, or my brain but suddenly the whole sound as I remembered changed. First off, it seemed to take about 20-30 minutes for the speakers to “charge”. By charge I mean they seemed dull at first and then later became quite listenable. This may have also been the case with my tube amps needing to warm up, but I just never noticed it as much with the Focal’s. The bass without the subs was quite satisfying, so that is an area that I will need to pay special attention to, so I don’t add too much bass overlap when adding them back.
And, as has been requested, raising/lowering the volume does not change the sound quality. So, play them soft or loud they will perform the same!
To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure if the Clarisys Minutes were the best speakers for me after enjoying the Focal’ 2’s for all those years. I started and deleted quite a few posts. I just couldn’t get the treble right. It always sounded either too weak or too aggressive.
So, after many hours of moving these speakers to find the right placement in my room, I think I have it!
The dealer said they should sound the best between 4-5 feet from the front wall. Well, the best spot in my room is about 5.5 feet from the front wall and about 20" from the sidewalls. That last measurement goes against my way of thinking, but it works! I may even try to pull them out further into the room.
The sound now explodes! I don’t even have my subs on, and the bass is amazing! Soundstage and depth is fantastic! They are sure different to set up than dynamic type speakers.
Man, I am changing my opinion daily.
To Stillpoint Aperture’s or not? Thus far the Apertures center placement seems to be good, behind the speakers not so good. But this seems to be different with different music. So still experimenting. They are kinda of PITA to install and remove from the wall.
BTW, I now have a very slight toe-in (about a 1/2"), I think I have the distance (sidewall, front wall) dialed in.
I could sure use some help in the preferred set up with Planar speakers. Anyone have any suggestions or website suggestion? Rear diffusion or reflection or keep bare? What to use?
Now where is my drink?...
So, the never-ending saga continues. I just sold all of my Stillpoint Apertures (7 of them!). So no more absorbent type panels in the room. I guess the dealer was right. I have also moved the speakers in towards the front wall. I now have the speakers 60" from the front wall. And NO-Toe-In.
Next, I think I will experiment with some type of diffusor behind the speakers. There is also a tweak that I used with my Focal Sopra 2’s that I have incorporated into the new set up. It is quite remarkable. I dare to mention it, it is not for the non-believers...
Those are some nice speakers you have Sir.
I’m a bit confused. Are you saying you no longer have any acoustical device in your room now? Not even at first reflection at side walls? I know you are still in the process of setting your system back up. It’s fun and a PITA at the same time.
I recently purchased 4 of the GIK Quad diffusers. They work ok. I posted my opinion under the Misc Forum today. They probably will work in your room? Since it seems the speakers want a Live Wall, no absorption.
Good luck to you Sir.
Yes, that’s right. I removed all of the sound absorbing panels in my room. The Planer’s do not reflect any sound to the sides so no need for first reflection control. The center on the front wall was a tough decision but I think these speakers sound better without them.
I did however just get some of these to try.
"TroyStudio Acoustic Sound Diffuser" via Amazon.
They are pretty cheap, don’t look too bad and I think do add to increasing the soundstage. I'll post a picture on my systems page.
GIK Quad diffusers may be in the future.
So, the latest Update:
Again, I have moved the speakers about 100 times since last entry. I am learning alot about my room.
First off, with the previous speakers if the center image was off, I just toed in/out one of the speakers a little more.
But since I am keeping these speakers aiming straight ahead (with No-Toe In) it has been a little more challenging.
It appears that my front wall is not true. One speaker is now 60 " out and the other is 59". One inch difference! Enough to drive me crazy before I figured this out!
Now the center image is locked, and it seems that the speakers are playing a little louder or perhaps more dynamic?
No room is perfect. I have the same issue. My right speaker is about 1/2 inch closer to the front wall than my left. It bothers me also but it sounds correct that way. I have dialed them in. No matter what I do the right side always comes out a 1 inch or less offset. I’ll just have to close my eyes.
Most speakers you would usually measure from the left then center then right side of speaker to center of listening position, I use a laser to get accurate measurements. Then repeat for other speaker. Is this not the case for planar speakers as well? If you measure to the front wall and your room isn't perfectly square then one of the speakers will not be right at the listening position.
Reading between the lines I'll take a guess ozzy will sell these speakers in less than 6 months. Just a guess. 😉
Thanks for that suggestion. I have my 3 dedicated AC lines on the short wall so using the long wall is not a possibility. I don’t think it’s a matter of the amount of space width wise. These speakers are different in design. The sound that I have been used to for all these years has changed and I want these new speakers to sound there best. Perhaps I am too obsessed with that.
I have changed my room treatment radically and need to get a handle on that.
The issue I have is there does not seem to be as much treble energy as I had with the Focal’s. The bass is great. The dynamics is confusing. Some recordings really jump out at you, others seem lame. Finding that right combo of distance from the sidewall, frontwall and perhaps toe in has been a challenge. The speakers are heavy, cables are short and stiff, and my back is hurting. Other than that, No problem. LOL
Perhaps I’m not as crazy as I thought. Just don’t listen to my wife...LOL!
The dealer noticed that from my pictures that the ribbon tweeter may have become loose. Afterall, they were originally shipped from Vietnam to Florida then to California and then to my home. However, I feel I now have them zero’d in within my room!
He is sending a couple of guys out next Wednesday to check and tighten them up.
This may be why I have had some issue with dialing the speakers in my room.
I just connected up some old lamp cord wire instead of my pricey speaker cables. I connected these before when I was moving the speakers around a lot, but I really wasn’t paying much attention to sound quality.
You know what? It sounds better!
I just happened to recall that my speaker cables (Townshend F-1) had some type of network inside, (Zobel?). These cables sounded great with my Focal’s but perhaps filtered the signal too much with my now Planar/Ribbons, but I’m not sure.
The Clarisys Minutes sure sound different with these cheapo cables connected. More open, louder etc. Really a big change.
So, I found a pair of the cables that the Positive Feedback reviewer used when he reviewed the Clarisys Minutes speakers that I now own. They are called Clarus Crimson. Heck, the name even sounds similar to the speakers! They are bi-wire with spades at the amp end and bananas at the speakers. The seller however won’t ship until Friday.
Now to put my cables up for sale…
I used Zobel networks with my Alpha Core Goertz ribbon speaker cables as recommended. These insure against the rare potential of certain amplifiers architectures having oscillation due to the low impedance cables. I have read and in fact experienced no difference in sound with the networks in or out.
If you want to try some great solid state amps that don’t break your back, 13 lb, or bank check out Benchmark AHB2. They have a trial program and the science / construction is impressive the have a noise floor that is lower than most pre-amps 240 watts at 3 ohms both channels driven, 132 dB of dynamic range. They play my 20.1 Maggies at concert levels even with their poor 88 dB efficiency. All this is done with almost zero THD. I know that the Clarisys speakers are much more efficient. . . I have two, vertically bi-amping each speaker. It’s crazy how revealing they are.