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Eminent Technology LFT-8b

161.185.150.85

Posted on January 10, 2012 at 09:26:36
JohnnyTee
Audiophile

Posts: 33
Location: New York
Joined: January 9, 2012
I had the chance to listen to the LFT-8b's last week. I was hoping to be impressed but I felt as though they were a little veiled. I want to replace my MG-IIIA's but when I played them with the same discs upon returning home I felt they sounded larger and more transparent (of course they are larger and have a larger radiating surface area) than the 8b's.
I was hoping to be swayed to the 8b's because I want something new and I like the push-pull design philosophy along with the 8" 25hz woofer capability but I'm not sure. I am attributing some of the disappointment to the room (carpet) and the volume (moderate) they were played at. The amps were mono block solid state at 150w/ch. I am using a Moscode 600, 300w/ch with the MG-IIIA's.
Maybe someone can sway me? I think we purchase audio many times by the hype of reviewers.

Thanks, JohnnyTee


"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him" Proverbs 18: 17

 

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RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 10, 2012 at 10:31:21
JLindborg
Audiophile

Posts: 967
Location: Uppsala
Joined: April 26, 2010
Well, at low volume only 1 watt will suffice.

Personally I like carpeting.

But anyway, one should always try to listen to a new speaker in the same environment as ones own.

Just my thoughts...


The one who succeeded was the one who didn't know it was impossible.

 

I'm A Reviewer, So You Can't Trust What I Say Anyway..., posted on January 10, 2012 at 12:04:57
Doug Schroeder
Reviewer

Posts: 817
Location: Midwest
Joined: September 21, 2005
but I'll try. ;)

First, if you have not seen it yet, glance at my review of the LFT-8A to 8B conversion review at Dagogo.com. It should be listed with the speakers reviewed in the past.

Some variables/factors to consider:
1. The equipment/room - you acknowledge that you did hear it in an entirely different setup with an unfamiliar (?) rig. The cables alone can turn a speaker from revealing to smudged and subdued sounding. With a 150wpc amp the speakers will not even get up and dance, much less impress. I recommend a minimum of 250-300wpc for those and other planar speakers. One exception would be a ballsy Class A amp at around 150+ wpc.

If your room is not carpeted that is a huge difference; when a person is not used to hearing speakers in a carpeted room those speakers will sound fairly "dead" no matter what speakers they are. A non-carpeted room will make a speaker sound far more prodigious in terms of utilization of the floor's hard surface. However, it also often contributes to distortion from reflections from the flooring. I prefer a carpeted and well tuned room to reduce unwanted reflections from the floor, ceiling or walls.

2. Positioning and elevation of the speakers - the LFT-8B, as you know, is a hybrid with a sealed 8" woofer cabinet very close to the floor. The supplied legs are problematic for placement on carpeting. Essentially, the sealed woofer box even with spiked stands from ET are probably touching the carpeting, or very close to it. That is far, far from ideal and kills the bass response. The speaker is tighter/more coherent sounding when using aftermarket stands, or in my case when using hockey pucks under the mfgrs. stands. I had the LFT-8B at about 3" off the carpet. The speaker is more tight and less sloppy when the bass is taken out of contact with the carpet.

3. The settings on the tweeter - Again, this alone in conjunction with the particular components is dramatic in impact. Are you aware that there are three tweeter settings available for the LFT-8B? The vitality and vibrancy of the speaker can be kicked up a notch or two with the tweeter setting. If the owner had it on the lowest output in a deadened room then I can see perfectly why you would not be impressed; neither would I. If, again, the cabling was so-so then the sound wouldn't be impressive at all.

4. The difference in width of the Magnepan - yes, the Maggies will be significantly "larger" sounding due to the larger radiating area. However, the positioning is critical as well. If one system was toed in differently than the other the entire experience changes perceptually. I prefer any panel speaker toed in as opposed to parallel to the head wall; the center imaging tightens up significantly when the speakers are toed in, and I cannot accept the splayed imaging of parallel placement, imo.


As you will read in my review, I find the LFT-8B to be a more controlled speaker than the older/mid-line maggies due to the LFT-8B having double sets of magnets. The LFT-8B is tighter and more precise than even the 1.6QR (I owned the 1.6 and the LFT-8B and did comparisons).

Final analysis from where I sit; inconclusive. From the description of your listening session it seems like the strengths of the LFT-8B were not on display.


The greatest impediment to advancing an audiophile system is the audiophile.

 

RE: I'm A Reviewer, So You Can't Trust What I Say Anyway..., posted on January 10, 2012 at 12:29:44
JohnnyTee
Audiophile

Posts: 33
Location: New York
Joined: January 9, 2012
Thanks Doug. Yes I have seen your review and read it several times as I usually do when researching a purchase. Your points are well taken and I would agree with all of them.
1.The amp on the maggies is 300w/ch hybrid and the speakers are on concrete!
2.The LFT-8's were on carpet but he did have the Sound Anchors; not 3 inches off the carpet though.
3.The tweeter was set on the high position, but this would be negligible given the other limiting factors.

I did get the feeling that the strengths of the 8b's were not on full display and that if I had them in my setup they would have compared more favorably if not better than the MG IIIA's. Maybe I should go for the 30 day trial.


"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him" Proverbs 18: 17

 

If You Are Fully Prepared to Accept Return Shipping Costs..., posted on January 10, 2012 at 15:44:16
Doug Schroeder
Reviewer

Posts: 817
Location: Midwest
Joined: September 21, 2005
if it doesn't work out, then a 30 day trial is about the best deal going today considering how many people are not near an audio shop.

I think in your home the final decision might be between the scale/size of the image of the Magnepan vs. the bass authority of the LFT-8B. The coherence between the panel and dynamic bass driver of the LFT is not perfect but awfully good.

Seems like you are thorough and know what you're doing. I strongly suggest you bi-wire the LFT-8B as well, since with a good system the difference in clarity and dynamic punch is improved.


The greatest impediment to advancing an audiophile system is the audiophile.

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 10, 2012 at 15:55:12
josh358
Industry Professional

Posts: 8750
Joined: February 9, 2010
Contributor
  Since:
February 3, 2012
Agree that you should make sure listening conditions are the same. However, as much as I like the Eminent push-pull quasi-ribbons, in my experience they don't match the transparency of the true ribbon on the IIIa's.

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 10, 2012 at 18:53:50
bryan
Audiophile

Posts: 1170
Joined: June 6, 2001
I have little experience with maggies and will not compare. But I have lots of experience with 8B setup. Obviously you're comparison is flawed because you can't compare in the same system and you probably don't have any control over the place you heard them.

If you think they are veiled there is something wrong with the setup. They are very, very transparent. They lean more to not veiled than anything else. Did you read the review in WhatHiFi I think it was where the (senior) reviewer said they are almost too revealing and a superb tool for reviewing? That is their nature. I actually found that review to be one of the best at articulating how they sound to me.

The first thing that comes to mind is toe-in and listening position. IMO this is critical and can make or break how revealing they sound. You can make a whole list of factors that might be contributing to what might impart a veil but IMO toe-in and seating position would be one of the biggest factors to consider. With not enough toe in the midrange driver doesn't radiate to your ears enough and you lose detail. Once you get it toed in enough degrees and that's locked in, then tune for preference. And speaker placement in general is very important (well out in to the room!!!!).

I also agree with DS that how they interact with the floor can make or break detail but since you were not listening at higher SPL's I don't think there were major issues there.

I would try and listen to them again if you can. Even if the system and room isn't your own. Just to see if you can get them to sing like they can. I have to admit I bought mine unheard and it worked out fantastically.

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 02:32:58
Satie
Audiophile

Posts: 2618
Joined: July 6, 2002
You have a great setup. The Moscode is fab with the IIIA.

Don't bother with the 8B, if you found the demo a little volume challenged it is because the LFT 8b can't hack the volumes you are wanting. The IIIA can be modified to improve on the 8B. So if you are capable of some DIY, Davy has a set of simple mods for the 3.x models that can be applied in the mid and tweeter crossover with great impact and little cost.

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 04:12:45
tyu
Audiophile

Posts: 963
Joined: April 19, 2011
I have Had a pr of the ETLFT-8b.....an i well say that this push pull setup looks good on paper but i have found that ESL even sound better in a none push pull setup... but as satie states....the MG3a that i dont like the sound of myself...had more output than i could ever get out of the ET..
Drive wise thay were like the Quad 57s ESL thay had sweet sound but i could not get that real sound stage in my room...just one mans finding
But i did put them in my home...an paid the $$$...so you do need to do the same are you well never NO...Goodluck

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 05:15:44
JohnnyTee
Audiophile

Posts: 33
Location: New York
Joined: January 9, 2012
Bryan,
Thanks for the insight and yes I agree with your last statement; I will try to set up another listening sesion and experiment some more with toe in and listening level.


"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him" Proverbs 18: 17

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 05:34:22
JohnnyTee
Audiophile

Posts: 33
Location: New York
Joined: January 9, 2012
I had considered this option also. I am aware that there are modifications to the Maggies that will bring out more potential. As a first step I had considered sending them to Magnepan for a rebuild, about $800 total with shipping, and then doing some other crossover mods or active crossovers with biamping etc. I will have to decide if that's the route I want to go.


"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him" Proverbs 18: 17

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 06:45:28
JBen
Audiophile

Posts: 2506
Joined: May 18, 2008
Contributor
  Since:
December 0, 0000
JT, the LFT-8b is a very fine speaker. I've heard them in a couple of settings and they did not sound veiled. So, it most have been the particular demo room you heard them in.

I have modded MMGs, which are fairly decent overall and do a fabulous job of imaging... but I am missing a ribbon tweeter. So, I'll eventually go to 3.7s one day (better tweeter, superb imaging).

However, the LFT-8b is currently my speaker of choice to suggest to friends and acquaintances in need of some extra dynamic impact from a planar system.

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 06:54:40
bryan
Audiophile

Posts: 1170
Joined: June 6, 2001
What a bunch of BS. If you need to listen louder than what ET's will go, you're deaf. The ET's will totally energize a 22 by 12 room for sure.

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 07:32:35
DavidJames
Audiophile

Posts: 162
Joined: January 13, 2004
You are correct. I'm not sure where that myth started but I see it whenever the ET LFT 8 is discussed.

I had the 8a for a while but had to sell and replaced them with MMG's. I miss them.

I hope to get a set of 8b's, or c's or d's ;) in a few years.

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 08:49:09
JohnnyTee
Audiophile

Posts: 33
Location: New York
Joined: January 9, 2012
Thanks for your input. I'm sure the 3.7's will be impressive. Like the 3a's they are much larger and will present a bigger sound image than the LFT-8b and with the newer QR panel may have just as much low frequency response. I would like to go that route but I also have to consider size and price.


"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him" Proverbs 18: 17

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 08:57:08
JohnnyTee
Audiophile

Posts: 33
Location: New York
Joined: January 9, 2012
Well that's what this hobby is all about I guess, differences of opinion. Any feedback on the MG 3A crossover mod and what kind of differences it would make?


"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him" Proverbs 18: 17

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 09:43:41
JBen
Audiophile

Posts: 2506
Joined: May 18, 2008
Contributor
  Since:
December 0, 0000
You should be just fine. Your are looking into real good choices. BTW, I saw the suggestions that you should look into modding your Maggies.

Given what doing so did to my VERY old MMGs, I would expect your system to do a quantum leap. Your would have to go the distance -- modding is not for everyone -- but it can be fun. (At the very least you would not have to wonder "what if I had done it"!)

 

Magneplanar Bass Also Distorts At High Levels..., posted on January 11, 2012 at 12:18:27
Doug Schroeder
Reviewer

Posts: 817
Location: Midwest
Joined: September 21, 2005
In my experience they also are limited and distort with high output. The bass on the 1.6QR did not fare nearly as well when pushed too hard. I consider the distortion due to the single magnet array of the 1.6QR as strong as the distortion of the bass driver of the LFT-8B; neither one handles very high levels well. Different technologies and different types of distortion when pushed too hard.

But one has to get to what imo is reaching higher listening level to do so with either speaker. The LFT-8B has no problem with 88-90 dB. That is more than enough for the majority of audiophiles. Now, if someone is trying to fully pressurize a 20x25 room and expects an 8" sealed woofer to do so they are expecting way too much, and would be expecting way too much of any passive, sealed 8" woofer. You run a 1.6QR at the same levels and you'll hear plenty of distortion as the midrange is effected as well, whereas the LFT-8B is a bipolar and has a smaller diaphram surface area; the mid is more under control as a result.

The OP did not state why the demo was at moderate listening level. I have known audiophiles who play their system well below 90 dB and never turn it up.


The greatest impediment to advancing an audiophile system is the audiophile.

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 12:19:47
Satie
Audiophile

Posts: 2618
Joined: July 6, 2002
It is a matter of his preferences, not yours.

For quite a few of us "sufficiently" energizing the room is not enough.

I would have loved to use the LFT3 but it is a distinctly mezzo forte player, which is the same problem I found with ESLs.

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 12:32:02
Satie
Audiophile

Posts: 2618
Joined: July 6, 2002
The first difference is clarity and coherence. Davy did an asymetrical passive XO in first order and is very happy with it.

Of course, bracing with Mye stands will significantly enhance bass dynamics and extension, and clear up the midrange noticeably.

The main impediment for me suggesting a biamp for you is that the Moscode you have is such a beloved piece, and I would be reluctant to make it redundant as it would be way overkill for driving the mid/treble sections in a biamp setup.

There is a great improvement potential with a pair of sealed subwoofers. Mainly by taking the bottom octave off the MG3a, which saves you alot of IMD higher up the freq range. Dayton (parts express) produce an affordable powered "reference" sub that can be put in for well under $2K.
e.g. 10" "Titanic" pair of these http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=300-761 not much more for the 12", about $1200

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 12:51:37
Satie
Audiophile

Posts: 2618
Joined: July 6, 2002
That should have been obvious as a downgrade.

To restate what I said to bryan, not everyone listens at civilized volumes. and DO want to try approaching concert levels - particularly on peaks.

 

RE: Magneplanar Bass Also Distorts At High Levels..., posted on January 11, 2012 at 13:17:03
Satie
Audiophile

Posts: 2618
Joined: July 6, 2002
While you are correct that the maggies distort on high level bass, that is just as true for the LFT 8.

There is the point that among value planar speakers, the LFT8 is the current version of a $2k speaker, while the 3a is an old version of a $5k speaker. Do you really think there is a benefit to going to the smaller speaker vs updating the 3a he has with decent modern XO parts?

The bass of the 3.x models is far better than that of the 1.6, and their ribbons outperform the LFT 8. The main drawback on some of the 3.x models is a bit of incoherence between the ribbon and midrange. It is more significant to some than to others.

As Davy has found out it is not inherent to the speaker design, but a byproduct of the XO alignment. Going 1st order for the mid/tweeter XO really resolves this.

 

Listen without the speaker grills, it will change your opinionů.n.t., posted on January 11, 2012 at 14:23:54
DirtAuger
Audiophile

Posts: 97
Location: Michigan
Joined: January 30, 2005
Contributor
  Since:
April 22, 2005
nt

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 16:39:16
josh358
Industry Professional

Posts: 8750
Joined: February 9, 2010
Contributor
  Since:
February 3, 2012
I'm afraid I have to disagree. Bruce Pick provides enviably thorough specifications on his website (I wish other manufacturers, including Magnepan, would follow suit), and he lists the maximum SPL as 105 dB at 1 meter. This is not sufficient to play large-ensemble acoustical music at concert hall orchestra-seat levels. It is likely adequate for studio pop, with its limited dynamic range, and many audiophiles listen to orchestral music at lower levels. But the LFT-8b is a low-output speaker even by consumer standards -- see Figure 8:

http://www.zainea.com/Dynamic%20range.htm

Again, this isn't going to be a problem for everyone, but your claims of BS and deafness are incorrect.

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 16:43:06
josh358
Industry Professional

Posts: 8750
Joined: February 9, 2010
Contributor
  Since:
February 3, 2012
If you're doing a rebuild, you could consider redoing the mids with quasi ribbon foil. You'd have to do it yourself of course. Computerman is currently trying that with his IIIa's, we should know soon how it works out.

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 18:47:42
DavidJames
Audiophile

Posts: 162
Joined: January 13, 2004
To each his own. My home theater has never experienced 105DBs.

As for deafness, I'll take the word of the experts thanks.

I confess, however, I don't have the golden ears of others. I can't hear the difference in properly sized and constructed speaker cables, power cables, interconnects, fuses, amps, etc. etc. etc. I don't feel so bad though, as no one else has under proper blind test conditions.

Oh, and you may mean Bruce Thigpen

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 19:22:38
josh358
Industry Professional

Posts: 8750
Joined: February 9, 2010
Contributor
  Since:
February 3, 2012
True that nobody has ABX'd cables (though there has been at least one successful single blind test). For what it's worth, many amps are easy to distinguish in a blind A/B test. The only controversy I know of is what it is about the amps that can be distinguished, Richard Clark says that once you adjust for frequency response differences they can't be ABX'd if you run them in their linear region, e.g., you don't push them to the point at which they become more nonlinear.

You're right, of course, I did mean Bruce Thigpen.

 

RE: Eminent Technology LFT-8b, posted on January 11, 2012 at 19:36:05
JBen
Audiophile

Posts: 2506
Joined: May 18, 2008
Contributor
  Since:
December 0, 0000
DJ: "I confess, however, I don't have the golden ears of others. I can't hear the difference in properly sized and constructed speaker cables, power cables, interconnects, fuses, amps, etc. etc. etc. "

LOL! Nothing to confess. Consider yourself lucky and brag about it. Not only do you have a nice set of speakers but you can get to enjoy them as heavens mandated. That is, unencumbered by the mania that afflicts must of us here. In fact, to this date I keep wondering what kind of friend am I. I told a good friend of mine what to listen for. Because he started perceiving these things, I only made him miserable.

[For listening myself, I have no choice because I grew up in the music, if you will. However, nowadays I am more inclined to help people stay happy with what they have if that is what they enjoy.]

Now, that same friend, who owns great [dynamic] speakers costing 8 times the LFT-8b, found the latter very appealing in sound. I told him that he had to listen to the 8b (for his 2nd room). He agreed that they were more akin to his likes than the Magnepans. The irony was that his wife did not like them for their "looks". They heard them with no grills and the darned salesperson failed to tell him that grills were indeed available. Lost sale.

 

I Agree With Much of What You're Saying..., posted on January 12, 2012 at 07:20:58
Doug Schroeder
Reviewer

Posts: 817
Location: Midwest
Joined: September 21, 2005
My use of the word "also" was intended to affirm that both can be over-driven. I do not make a habit of listening over 90dB, and I believe a large number of audiophiles also do not. Achieving a somewhat realistic reproduction of an orchestra at live levels is exceptionally difficult and would tax any smaller speaker system. Any number of sealed woofer/smaller subs would have a fair bit of distortion doing so. Imo, the levels at which you are listening would tax any speaker with 8" bass drivers, as well as one like the 1.6. So, given your preferences I agree that the LFT-8B would not suffice. But that is hardly indicative of the listening habits of many audiophiles, for whom the LFT-8B may never even approach those levels.

While a speakers price may be indicative of it's sound quality this is not an absolute relationship. It is quite possible that a $2K speaker can sound better than a $3K speaker, especially an older design. If the relationship was absolute then selecting speakers would be easy - just go for the most expensive one you can afford.

I agree that the modded 3.x may sound a fair bit better, but it entails modding; it would depend on whether the OP is up to it. Perhaps he is, and if so then it may be a great solution.






The greatest impediment to advancing an audiophile system is the audiophile.

 

RE: I Agree With Much of What You're Saying..., posted on January 13, 2012 at 13:36:11
JohnnyTee
Audiophile

Posts: 33
Location: New York
Joined: January 9, 2012
OP here,
One other variable I have to consider; the emotional satisfaction of owning something new and different. I think it is wise to modify older previously top of the line components to match up to today's considerably more expensive components. But not only are you taking the "new" aspect out of it, you also have to consider the fact that you still have an older model, and other components in that older model can fail.

I believe that modding the 3a could make it sound better than the LFT8b, depending on what you consider better. The other think though for me is size. Although the 8b weighs more than the 3a, it is a smaller panel and does not dominate the room as the 3a, and that is something I want to consider.


"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him" Proverbs 18: 17

 

If they sounded veiled, posted on January 14, 2012 at 12:32:01
Stale
Audiophile

Posts: 2984
Location: Illinois
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Contributor
  Since:
April 12, 2006
don't blame the speakers. It is either what was feeding them or your taste is toward extremely bright speakers.

As much as maximum output, in my 16 x 15 x 8 room open to hallway and dinning room they can play waaaay louder that I could ever want. Most of my listening was done using Rogue 90 in triode mode. For parties I would switch to 90 W and friends would usually ask me to turn it down.

Of course,if your preference is toward very loud listening, ET and planars in general are not speakers for you.

But ET should play to about the same level as IIIA-s. However, note that while IIIA-s need high current amp due to low impedance, LFT VIII-s sing with tubes due to relatively high / even impedance.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane."

 

RE: If they sounded veiled, posted on January 14, 2012 at 13:48:35
Mr_bill2
Audiophile

Posts: 2030
Joined: September 17, 2002
I greed!

I currently run 120 p/p tube watts(use to run 350 ss - so I have a good reference point) with very nice results in a fairly large room. They play plenty loud reaching levels over 100dB, not Bose concert hall levels but I'm pretty sure ET didn't have that in mind when designing them. Plenty of others out there for that - so look elsewhere.

Veiled is NOT a word I would ever associate with the ET8Bs. They DO need care with placement and unfortunately minor adjustments can in some cases have major affects so care with placement is a must(as is with most planars). It took me quite a while to get mine dialed in, more time than I care to divulge out of embarrassment(as my wife already thinks I'm nuts) but patience is your friend here. A helpful hint - I started with the Cardas room set up for planar speakers and tweaked from there with the help of the Stereophile test cds(I/II) and lots of listening.

Lastly, I run mine 8' apart w/o any toe-in and use the mid tweeter setting. Also a tip I picked up from a reviewer was to remove the top wood caps which help soundstage height. In reference to width, anyone that claims they have a small stage is listening to the speakers improperly set up. The only thing with no toe-in, the depth of stage can suffer a tiny bit but the gains in overall width are wall to wall filling with disappearing speakers. Oh yeah, ditch the grills!

At $2000, it really is a steal!

 

RE: If they sounded veiled, posted on January 14, 2012 at 23:19:58
JBen
Audiophile

Posts: 2506
Joined: May 18, 2008
Contributor
  Since:
December 0, 0000
So my wife is not the only one, huh? LOL, planars do that to us. When I first got my Maggies, the initial priority was placement. Damn if that lady didn't make jokes at my expense for months!

"He moved them 1 inch and almost started crying with joy when he listend; not even in bed do I get him to do that!"

She was exagerating, of course. It was more like 1.5" at that time...and it resolved imaging grandly, to where it has stayed glorious for years.

I agree also. The 8b are not inclined to sound veiled. At least I have not heard them do so. I guess that the OP got a bad demo setup. It would be worse if his Maggies are dialed in well enough, because their large ribbons get a chance to show off better.

 

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