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  #1  
Old 02-18-2018, 08:32 AM
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Default Testing the all new Ilumnia Magister!

Last weekend, my audio buddy Jacques (aka Jem666) and I went to Meerhout in Belgium, to extensively test/hear/admire the speaker developped by the 2 brothers Nuyts.

You can read about this unique project on their good website:

https://www.ilumnia.be

It took them 7 years of blood, sweat and tears to finalise their new driver concept.
It uses electro-magnetic suspension, which is the reason that the response is more linear than any other driver in the world.

Here it is:




The cone itself is incredibly light:



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Old 02-18-2018, 08:45 AM
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There you have the driver, installed in the speaker:




This is the power supply, needed to generate an electro magnetic field for the cone to float in.
It resides on the Gamut pre-amplifier:




5 positions in the power supply, to influence the suspension tightness.
It is in fact a very stable (until 1/1000th of a Volt!) 3 Volt rating power source.
The speaker itself is 100% passive.

__________________
Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers
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Old 02-18-2018, 08:51 AM
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This is the set-up.
No room treatments, Tom Nuyts wants to create the same circumstances as there exist in most living rooms.






Crossover happens at 7 kHz.
The driver goes to 12-13 kHz but the Scanspeak Illuminator takes over at 7 kHz (slope 6 dB).

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Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers
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  #4  
Old 02-18-2018, 09:04 AM
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We started off with the Jadis integrated (2x30W), an EAR DAC, and the music came from streaming or an Accuphase DP-80 used as CD-drive.






The speaker has a sensitivity of 88 dB, but is quite easy to drive.
I didn't feel lack of power in most tracks.
Jacques found the bass lacking with this combination.
But I'll comment later on sound quality.




I tested EAR DACs some time ago.
I compared them profoundly against my Burmester DAC/CD player, and me and my wife found them very very similar.
I knew this would make an evaluation of this speaker more trustworthy.



__________________
Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers
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  #5  
Old 02-18-2018, 09:12 AM
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We listened to a couple of tracks Tom chose first.

Then we went to the selection I brought.
Very well known tracks, that I have heard on multiple systems.
Before I left, I went through them, to really imprint my reference.

First:
Rebecca Pidgeon - The Raven




Ben, from Acoustic Matters, learned me how to listen to track 12, 'Spanish Harlem'.
I noted: very fast transients, very clear and transparent sound. Mids and treble close to perfection.
But: bass a bit disconnected.
This is clearly not a point source like some reviews stated.
__________________
Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers

Last edited by bart; 04-26-2019 at 03:31 PM.
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  #6  
Old 02-18-2018, 09:22 AM
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Next track, a piece that Jacques knows by heart:

Michael Hedges - Aerial Boundaries




Track 1, 'Aerial Boundaries' is bass heavy, and it is a complex bass to reproduce.
Jacques found there was not enough separation in the bass, it all became a bit a one tone fundament.


Next: Madredeus - Ainda




Track 9; 'Ainda' contains a very low, steady note. I heard it during a live concert and was so disappointed that my system at the time could not reproduce it.
When I went with a sub, it could, but it was only with my current speakers, the Vivid G2 Giya, that the result was entirely satisfactory.
B&W 800 D2s were not able either to adequately transduce it, so it is a difficult track for loudspeakers.
Here we heard the tone a bit, but only a bit.
Tom said they measured output till 16 Hz.
So it is possible that the room was partly the cause of the bass a bit monotonous and/or lacking.
I also found the timbre of the singer's magnificent voice was a bit poorer than at home.
__________________
Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers
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  #7  
Old 02-18-2018, 09:30 AM
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Next: Muddy Waters - Folk Singer




Here I had to complement Tom!
Truly excellent.
I thought the ambient noise of the recording studio was even more apparent than at my place.
Wonderful.

Jacques and I agreed that the imaging of the speakers was brilliant, even in such a bad room.
That became even more clear in Ludovico Einaudi - Divenire

__________________
Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers
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  #8  
Old 02-18-2018, 09:40 AM
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Liadov - Baba Yaga




This orchestral piece showed that the Ilumnia can reproduce an orchestra quite faithfully, even the double bass section.


Forqueray - Pièces de clavecin




A torture track.
A harpsichord is difficult to transduce realistically.
The Ilumnia did again a great job on the mids and highs, but the lower notes were a bit muddled.


Gabrielli - La Nascita del Violoncello




This is a terrific recording.
And the Ilumnia did a terrific job.
A bit less coherent bass than at home, but very natural and drawing into the music.
Tom liked this album a lot.
He really is a MUSIC LOVER first of all!
__________________
Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers

Last edited by bart; 02-18-2018 at 10:51 AM.
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  #9  
Old 02-18-2018, 09:48 AM
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Ella Fitzgerald - Let No Man Write My Epitaph




Piano and voice, like in the fantastic song 'Black Coffee' were rendered beautifully.


Ella and Louis




We listened to a couple of tracks.
Voices and trumpet again fantastic.
But I could again hear that the bass was a bit of a problem.
Especially the double bass made the enclosure resonate a bit.
Not like with Harbeths or other English speakers, but still a bit.
I'm quite sensitive to that phenomenon, and I don't like it.
Tom told us it was a choice they made, so that the speaker wouldn't sound too 'dry', or 'dead'.
__________________
Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers
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  #10  
Old 02-18-2018, 09:52 AM
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The second part of our listening session was with the Gamut pre and power amps.










We clearly gained (a bit) of power, at the expense of musicality (for me, not really for Jacques).
I think a good tube amplifier can make these babies sing.


__________________
Stereo: Hegel H590, Burmester 061 - 948 - V3 & V6 racks, Vivid Audio G2 Giyas, Wireworld Platinum Eclipse IC and SE SC
AV: Hegel C-53, Marantz AV8802A, Oppo BDP-203EU, Pioneer Kuro 60", Vivid Audio C1 & V1w's, Wireworld SE & E
In storage: Halgorythme amplifiers
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