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July 3, 2011

Steinway Lyngdorf S Series Speakers


Wrote Michael Hsu in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, "The brilliance of this marriage-saving system is that its speakers are designed to be mounted flush to the wall or built into it. As any audiophile will tell you, most speakers need to be placed away from the wall in order to 'breathe.' But whereas other speakers are at the mercy of physical placement, Steinway Lyngdorf compensates with raw computing power. It uses a digital processor that unleashes all manner of psychoacoustic wizardry to make small rooms sound larger and ensure the myriad frequencies arrive at your ears in perfect unison." 


"Patent-pending Ambience Enhancing Radiation dipole twitter design, Fully Digital Amplification, Boundary Woofers, and RoomPerfect™ room adaptation technology."


Starting at $22,100: Apply within.

July 3, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink


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I'm not at the ultra-audiophile level of stereo/multi-channel THX/Dolby equipment, but I would like to hear what the composer and performer created - not the engineer's idea of how to manipulate the recording through some proprietary DSP trickery.

Dolby made his bones through a simple frequency shifting algorithm - he shifted the high-frequency notes to midrange at the time of recording to take full advantage of the limited fidelity of the recording media (audio tape) - and then shifted the recorded notes back to high notes in the playback thereby avoiding "tape hiss" a problem that didn't exist in pure analog recording. Modern digital recording has an essentially flat recording curve. I well remember the Hirsh-Houck Labs review of the first CD in Stereo Review - they printed the 20 Hz-20kHz frequency response curve (if you can call a straight line a "curve") on the cover of that issue.

With the products of pioneering recording engineers (e.g. DMP) the era of DDD began and listeners were given access to the "next best thing to being at the performance".

Many times over the past 30 years I've been pleased and appalled at what the technology has wrought. I can listen to Jay Leonhardt in his seminal recording, Salamander Pie (on the DMP label) and I can hear that I'm about 12-15 feet back and centered in a hall with excellent acoustics. I can hear Mike Renzi's fingers slide on the strings of his base and I can hear Jay's fingernails click the piano keys just before the staccato in Flight 861 and Jay's wonderful voice is captured in full (I've had the pleasure of attending several of his concerts - live or DMP - I can't hear a difference).

The question raised with all of this DSP technology is: does it change the performance? I have heard quite a few different variations of amplifier and speaker - I find that the most accurate / pleasing sound comes with the least manipulation of the recording.

A MacIntosh amp, or an old Harmon-Kardon Citation (both tube amps) are wonderfully neutral-sounding and Martin-Logan electrostatic speakers just disappear - wholly neutral and entirely capable of flat frequency response across the entire spectrum of human hearing. I expect that a used amp & a pair of used Martin-Logan electrostatic speakers will set you back about 1/10th the price of these speakers.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jul 3, 2011 11:55:41 AM

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