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Single Ended Triodes (SETs), the ultimate tube lovers dream.

RE: "worth the money"

I had a guy chasing me around on forums for years telling me the AN E never sounded good to him - then bam he heard them in a Warren Jarret set-up and said it was the best sound he ever heard (aside from his own system of course). I get a lot of such PMs so let's say I have a lot of patience that they're a "grow on me" kind of speaker.

The problem in audio is there is rarely a shared experience. If you drive a fully loaded Toyota Camry in London and I drive one in Vancouver and assuming the roads are good then we have a shared experience that is far closer than in audio. So let's say we drove all the cars in the Camry class then we can both evaluate the seats the steering the handling relative to other cars and we probably come to very similar conclusions.

That generally isn't possible in audio. I listen at CES, you listen in Germany - the rooms are different the volume is different, the music is different, the gear is different.

I listed both MBL and YG Acoustics as two of the 5 worst-sounding rooms at CES and then ranked them 1-2 at the California Audio Show - and both rooms used the same electroniocs - MBL uses MBL and YG Acoustics used Ypsilon. Audio Note didn't make my top 15 at the second show and ranked top 5 at the first.

Even at the same show - I auditioned the AN room in 2017 (CAS) and then ran into a reviewer who didn't like it - ok - we went back to the room together - I put on my albums - I played it at my volume (the people running the room left) and he wound up choosing them as a top 3 room. Because when he was there they were playing some snooze fest coma-inducing classical music.

In 2019 (CAS) I sat with a couple of symphony pianists in their 20s (I think they were a couple) and I decided to compare notes - which rooms do you two like best for piano? Their top three rooms were my top three rooms. (Audio Note E, Acapella Audio Arts (with AN front end), SoundChaos with class A PureAudio amplifiers (run by David Cope - former Audio Note show runner who left and now sells other brands).

I don't care what the speaker is - the reason there are so many speaker options is that they don't all appeal to everyone. Steve Hoffman is one of the biggest names in all of the music recordings - he has mastered some of the absolute biggest artists in the music industry for decades (and at the top audiophile labels) - he has attended many shows and heard all the major speakers - he noted recently that the AN E is the best speaker he has heard in 40 years. He is using the speaker at home for pleasure and now in the studio.

But, if those first auditions didn't go well then things would be very different wouldn't they? You never get a second chance to make a first impression? I mean in my case the AN's were so bad I made fun of them on an old Audio-Forum (AR) back in 2000.

I was in the shop mainly for Reference 3a. My favourite boxed speaker maker at the time. In future auditions, the AN K bettered the De Capo. That wasn't the case the first go-round, however.

But hey I continue to listen to all kinds of speakers I have not liked much over the years - I mean Magnepan does zero for me but they're massively popular and have been for decades - but so far not yet for me. I am still waiting for the BAM moment where I have to pick my jaw op off the floor like so many others have felt about them.

Fortunately, I live in an Audiophile hotbed with plenty of chances to audition a huge variety of gear. The problem is that on various forums there is always someone who says I must hear X because X is way better than what I have or anyone has. Right now it's Benchmark - I must hear Benchmark because it measured the best on some AMR site or some such. But last year it was some Cherry Class D and the year before it was Devialet and years before it was nOhr speakers that were all the rage and Scaena and KingSound and on and on it goes. And invariably I listen and am not at all impressed - I just heard those silly Devialet speakers in their system - the speakers look sop cool they sides pump in and out as they sing along to the music - but boy did it sound dreadful to me. If they just sounded decent they would be a great thing to own. A lifestyle product with respectable sound can justify it.

Anyway - too many flavours of the month to keep up with.

Edit: sorry for the long post - I get on the AN E train and lost the point I made in my prior post - the companies like AN who makes the whole train largely lives and dies on the speakers. So if a person goes into the AN room doesn't like the speakers then they won't likely consider the amps or days or cables etc. Other brands can get around that - a person auditions a Soundlab and likes it - well one show it might be Bricasti and other a Benchmark another a Bryston. If you like the way Soundlab presents music then chances are you will have a favourable impression of all three amplifier brands. There aren't too many audio shows where a Meishu Tonmeister is connected to some HE speaker from some other brand. So it doesn't get the benefit of the doubt - because after all it is ALWAYS shown with an AN E and it is never shown with anything else. Whereas a Wavac you may hear with 10 speakers - you might love it on 3 of them but that's enough to be remembered and it gets the credit for the sound - even if it was middling with 7 other speakers.

Memory tends to work with things that are dazzling.

Edits: 09/08/21

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