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REVIEW: Chapman Audio Systems T-7 Speakers

Model: T-7
Category: Speakers
Suggested Retail Price: $3,200.00
Description: 3 way box; 10
Manufacturer URL: Not Available
Manufacturer URL: Not Available

Review by Doug Schroeder (A) on December 11, 2005 at 11:12:41
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for the T-7

I never thought a box speaker would take me away from planars. The Chapman T-7 has! I was running a "stacked" Eminent Technology LFT-8A speaker setup, with biamping on all four - 8 channels at 200wpc, for a total of 1,600 watts into the four speakers! It had incredibly impressive scale, presence, soundstage, etc. That speaker system did things that I'll likely not ever be able to recreate in my HT.

However, having come across a used pair of T-7's on Agon, I had to get them. I remembered hearing the sound from over ten years ago - they were that impressive the first time I heard them. Getting the new (used) pair, I was not disappointed.

The configuration is 3 way; 10" bass, 6" mid (Scanspeak), and 1" metal dome tweeter. There is a difference between T-7's made prior to '95 and those after. The earlier T-7's have paper cone mids, while the '95 version and later (for a period of time) have doped paper mids and a "brilliance" switch with three settings hidden under the removable top wooden plate. I find that the speaker sounds best in the "zero" or neutral position as opposed to the "-" or "+" position.

This speaker is hand crafted by Stuart Jones of Chapman Audio in Vashon, Washington. In a word, it's a work of acoutstic art. It's looks are simple, somewhat reminiscent of the VAndersteens. But it's sound is something else altogether! It puts the Vandy 2CE's to shame. Stuart hand matches drivers, calibrates crossovers, etc. to a fanatical precision. It shows up in the end product, the sound.

These speakers have wonderful natural, extrenely listenable sound, and have phenomenal imaging. They cast about 75% of the soundstage that the stacked ET's had, but are much better at fetching the details of the music, such as the nuances in the sounds of the room the artist is recording in. When they talk about a speaker that "disappears" and lets you hear the music, I never knew what they meant. That's because with former speakers I owned, I had never heard it. As good as the Vandersteen 2CE's, Magnepan 1.6's and ET's are, they couldn't (at least in my system) get out of the way. The Chapmans DO disappear and you DO hear what seems to be an actual performance.

These speakers are insanely low priced for the quality of components and sound they yield. The Scanspeak mid is the same one used in the $10k Wilsons. There is no shucking off poor quality on unsuspecting buyers here. These are not the kind of speakers you buy and later dump. They're the kind you buy and find a different location for them at home if you move up the line.

Speaking of which, I'm in process of having Stuart build me a custom pair of T-77's, the flagship model. Will incorporate same 10" bass, but two 5" Scanspeak mids and same 1" metal tweeter. Bass will be side-firing. I'm having them built biwirable to my desires, since they are normally single wired.

If you find a pair of T-7's used for under $1k buy them, no questions asked about performance. There is nothing out there that can compare for the money. Those are strong sentiments, but if you get to hear them, I'm quite sure you'll agree.

Give Stuart a call at 206-463-3008. He is a pleasant conversationalist, and he can make you a killer speaker for a pittance compared to many overpriced better advertised speakers.

Product Weakness: Simple styling may not be fancy enough for some.
Product Strengths: Dynamics, Imaging, quality of components, value, etc.

Associated Equipment for this Review:
Amplifier: PS Audio HCA 2
Preamplifier (or None if Integrated): PS Audio PCA 2
Sources (CDP/Turntable): Rega Planet 2000
Speakers: Chapman T-7
Cables/Interconnects: Harmonic Technology
Music Used (Genre/Selections): Jazz, Instrumental
Room Size (LxWxH): 23 x 12 x 8
Room Comments/Treatments: sound panels
Time Period/Length of Audition: 2 months
Other (Power Conditioner etc.): Tice Audio Conditioner
Type of Audition/Review: Product Owner

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Topic - REVIEW: Chapman Audio Systems T-7 Speakers - Doug Schroeder 11:12:41 12/11/05 (13)

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