Sonics Allegra Speaker
The new Sonics Allegra speaker, shown here with Immedia's Allen Perkins (left) and designer Joachim Gerhardt (right in JA's pic), differs from the one I reviewed in January 2009, primarily in how the cabinets are attached. In the first series, the top, midrange and tweeter cabinet was solidly affixed to the top of the woofer box. Joachim Gerhardt decided to mechanically isolate the two cabinets to give the midrange and tweeter a cleaner environment in which to work, so they're now attached with an absorbent elastomer layer. To maintain the mass loading and resulting stability, however, there is now an approximately ½"-thick, stainless-steel plate attached to the bottom of the mid/tweeter cabinet. Simple, clever, and effective.
The system sounded great, as I mentioned, with the wide-open soundstage and effortless dynamics that characterize Perkins/Gerhardt setups, but was particularly noteworthy in its lowvery lowand articulate bass. Even in substandard show conditions, the system's bottom end had a natural feel and character that one rarely hears outside of a concert hall. Whether it was the new table, arm, preamp, amp, cables, or speakers is a bit hard to say, of course, but I look forward to hearing the gear in more familiar surroundings.
By an accident of good fortune, I overheard a brief exchange between Joachim Gerhardt and legendary designer John Curl. Joachim had pulled out a small, sheet metal box, of the sort that Altoids come in but about twice as big, pulled off the top, and was showing it to John. In about 30 seconds, the two had discussed, analyzed, compared notes on, and come up with potential improvements to the circuit. The two credited each other for the critical ideas and agreed that it should work quite well, indeed. Joachim noted that it could be built for "less than 20 euros" and set it aside. True genius is an amazing thing to see because it usually looks like anything but.