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Old 04-25-2012, 02:02 PM
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Default Lafite thoughts

Hi all.. I've had the Lafites for 5 months now, I think it's time to share my thoughts. The picture is a bit grainy, hope it came across ok

The Lafites are quite tough to write about they don’t have a typical single definitive characteristic such as “smooth” or “detailed” or “holographic” or “dynamic” certainly they are all of these things, but not one in particular. I guess if I had to pick one predominant trait though, it would be lively and invigorating, but that really doesn’t do them justice.

I have never experienced a speaker that presents the performance in such an utterly life-like manner. To mention a list of others that have passed through this room for context: Harbeth 7s, Reference 3A studio monitor – prequel to the MM de Cappo, Auditorium 23 Solovox and home made Zigmahornets. (I also demoed many of the Devore speakers ((but not the Orangutan )) but never actually owned them) I loved every one of these speakers - I still have them all except the Harbeths, but the Lafites are a different animal altogether. I don’t want to say in a different class altogether – that would be callous - but the Lafites have an interpretation that I have not heretofore experienced. In fact I have a little difficulty calling them speakers, since they don’t seem to have that “essence of speaker” that all my other loud speakers have in common. As I said I really loved each and every one of my other speakers, but never before has it been so blatantly apparent that I was listening to a pair of loud speakers than when I put them back into the system AFTER the Lafites. The closest meaningful comparison I can make was my own personal experience of hearing a great turntable for the first time, after having spent my whole “audiophile” life listening to digital. Of course the analog wasn’t perfect, it had it’s own inherent set of flaws, but the absolute visceral, bodily presence of the performance was a complete game changer. That analog interpretative experience was a musical “Eureka” for me – just as the Lafites have been.

Are the Lafites perfect? Subjectively, that’s not really the right question – is there a perfect piece of art? How about objectively? Certainly they are far from perfect, I’m sure there are many technical imperfections, but I’m not sure I care. Here are a couple that I have noticed: There is a bit of a shout or coloration associated with some female vocals, a bit more noticeable with movie dialog than music. This has diminished considerably during break in (more on that later). The bass is not as “deep” or “tight” as some of my other speakers, occasionally it may even be slightly tubby – very likely this could be positional, something I am still tweaking.

Furthermore no other speaker I have owned has been so massively sensitive to the source. The Lafites are absolutely not plug n play (again just like analog) They are certainly not forgiving and wont suffer bad sources lightly. They really highlighted deficiencies in my turntable setup, things that were hardly noticeable through my other speakers became blatantly obvious through the Lafites. They will require a commitment to get the best out of them - that may, or may not, appeal to some people. The rewards of the Lafites are contingent upon diligent setup. To that end, I am still mucking about with things.

Another important point, the break-in period for these is huge (I’ve had them 6 months and they are still changing) To be honest, they sound like excrement, complete excrement, right out of the box. It takes a long time before you begin to forgive yourself for blowing all that money on them. But forgiveness comes, followed thereafter by jejoicing.

Despite (or maybe because of ) all the above, the Lafites performance is completely captivating. I used to occasionally enjoy a good read while listening to my other speakers, I loved that I could listen for hours with zero fatigue, completely relaxed. That is not the Lafites however – I’m not saying they are fatiguing, but they demand your attention. They are too involving to be relaxing. Do I sound confused? When I go to a live performance, while I am indeed relaxed, relaxation is not the primary experience. It’s the stimulation, the invigoration, the emotion and the enjoyment. In fact, I dare say that listening to a full scale live performance ALL day could potentially be quite draining. The Lafites are an adventure, not a snooze on the beach. Matt described them as rambunctious, that a good word for them, they love reproducing live performances and delight in percussion. There is an incredible energy associated with them.

So, if you’re still reading, let me please say this is not meant to be a “my speakers are better than your speakers” review. The Lafites are different not better, and I just happen to prefer those differences. But, not everyone wants to go on an adventure, for some, relaxing in the sun on the beach is the preferred route to bliss. Who’s to say one is better than the other.

Are the Lafite’s forever? I don’t know, I haven’t heard the Latours
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Last edited by Shindoug; 04-25-2012 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 04-25-2012, 02:19 PM
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Very nice review. It sounds as though your audio journey has been fulfilled for now. You have a beautiful system. I love the simplicity of if.

Are you using a first gen. Playstation for digital playback?
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bakerman View Post
Are you using a first gen. Playstation for digital playback?
Ah - you spotted it hiding on the floor. Yes, the Playstation I gets used from time to time. It's a bit bass shy but other than that, it's very musical.

Doug
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shindoug View Post
Ah - you spotted it hiding on the floor. Yes, the Playstation I gets used from time to time. It's a bit bass shy but other than that, it's very musical.

Doug
Nice set up. Are those Box Furniture Co racks?

Joe
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Old 04-25-2012, 03:58 PM
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Very nice review. I'll be back to read it again. I also like how Shindo san makes smaller speakers that can fit in most homes.
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Old 04-25-2012, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by joe1515 View Post
Nice set up. Are those Box Furniture Co racks?

Joe
Thanks Joe. No, they're just Doug's garage racks - I made them. 3 layers of 3/4 inch ply glued and screwed. Certainly nothing like as beautiful as box furniture, but they work well - and cost a few thou less (I had to save $ creatively to afford the Lafites.)
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shindoug View Post
Thanks Joe. No, they're just Doug's garage racks - I made them. 3 layers of 3/4 inch ply glued and screwed. Certainly nothing like as beautiful as box furniture, but they work well - and cost a few thou less (I had to save $ creatively to afford the Lafites.)
Nice Job. They look pretty close.

Enjoy your system.

Joe
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:36 PM
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Doug, Nice write up!

I know where you are coming from regarding relaxing with the Lafite. While I can certainly relax with them, well recorded music will hit with so much realism that it startles you. It can be hard to pay attention to a book, for example. The Lafite will just draw your attention back into the performance.
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Old 04-25-2012, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Loop4fun View Post
Doug, Nice write up!

I know where you are coming from regarding relaxing with the Lafite. While I can certainly relax with them, well recorded music will hit with so much realism that it startles you. It can be hard to pay attention to a book, for example. The Lafite will just draw your attention back into the performance.
Yeah Bill, that's exactly it. It's not so much just passively hearing the music while I do something else. It's a much more attention grabbing active listening experience that makes it quite hard to concentrate on a secondary task. It's incredibly involving.
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Old 04-25-2012, 06:09 PM
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Great write up! The system looks awesome.
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