The Clarisys Minute Speaker.
I always have been interested in Planar/Ribbon/ Electrostatic speakers. I heard Magnepan many years ago and I was impressed. It sounded like the instruments were coming out of the center of the speaker. But years later I listened to the 20.7 and the 3.7i and I dunno, this time they didn’t sound as good as I remembered. I think the salesman was using a Rouge amp that he installed KT-150 tubes, and it just wasn’t a good match.
I have also heard Martin Logan and again I liked the sound. It seemed the larger models appealed to me. And I was close to buying a set.
Somewhere down the line I got into tube amps and the Magnepan, and Martin Logans models probably would have not worked well. So, I went down the road with several different dynamic speakers. My final speaker was the Focal Sopra 2’s and with my 4-JL Audio F-113 subs they satisfied me for several years. But I still had this desire for the flat panel speakers.
Then I read several reviews about the Clarisys Minute speakers. Not only did they get rave reviews, but they claimed could be used with tube amps. Now my present tube mono blocks put out 400 watts per channel, so they could work?
Man, these speakers have been a hassle. First, they are imported into the US from Vietnam, I had reservations about this since I was at draft age during that conflict. I escaped the draft with a high draft number.
There is only one US dealer and to be honest it was somewhat of a hassle. Forget the fact that to me these speakers are quite pricey, I wanted to hear them first. There was a long wait time, 4+ months to even get another set into the US. I live in Michigan and the dealer is in Florida and I have some health issues that prevent me from being on long plane trips. So, when the pair I was to get finally arrived in the states (but unpaid for) went to a reviewer, I was disappointed. I guess I can’t blame the dealer because I was so wishy-washy.
After reading more raving reviews I was really anxious. The next pair to arrive in the US was now next year. So, I asked the dealer that when the reviewer was done with the speakers could I buy that pair? By the way, the reviewer raved about the speakers in Positive Feedback.
I made my deal with my Focal trade in and waited for the speakers. The speakers were coming from California and just as they were shipped an 85-year storm event went right through the County where the speakers were on the truck. Then once they were near Michigan, again, another storm event occurred. Many difficult sleeping nights!
Finally, the speakers arrived! Now I am 70 and I was not expecting the speakers to be so heavy and so awkward. First problem was the truck company arrived with a 53’ trailer and the dispatcher said they would only deliver to the curb. I live in the country 500 feet from the road with a gravel driveway. I was not sure how I was going to maneuver them into my garage! But the driver was cool and did back up to the garage and brought them down with a liftgate and helped unstack them. I gave him a tip, but he was reluctant to take it. Great guy!
I volunteered my son-law to help me take them in the house and down the basement stairs. Another problem not only were the speakers in flight cases weighing 250+lbs. each but they were too wide to get through the basement door. So, we had to carry them on an angle down the stairs. Then once in the audio room they had to be placed upside down on their heads so the bases could be installed. Whew!
I noticed that one of my mono blocks amps had 2 tubes that were installed correctly. I put them in the proper way and fired up the amps. First sign…the amp needle was pegging! Huh! Evidently the bias needed to be reset based on the tubes new (proper) orientation. So, with that resolved I did notice that I needed to turn up the volume from my usual setting of 64 to now 70. So, they are not as efficient as my Focal’s but still was really no problem.
Finally, ready to go. No wait, these don’t sound right. I had to remove my 8 feet tall stacks of ASC bass traps from the front corners. They were absorbing too much!
My speaker cables are 3 feet long, thick and stiff. This made it awkward to move around the speakers to dial them in. I decided to get some old extension cords and cut them to 6-foot lengths, and I installed some banana plugs. Now, for the next couple of days (with furniture mover discs under the speakers) I moved them back and forth, sideways etc. while taking notes.
As I write this, finally, I can say I think I have them dialed in. In addition, I did find my Stillpoints Aperture panels placed behind the speakers on the “Head Wall” was a plus with spreading out the image.
After all of this I am finally happy. Would I do this again? No way!