Genesis II.5 loudspeaker system System
At the time of writing, I've been using II.5s for the past five months, auditioning them with a variety of equipment. Without question, the best amplifiers for the II.5s were the superb Audio Research VT150 tubed monoblocks (reviewed in Vol.17 No.8). When relieved of driving the woofers, the VT150s could really sing. It was almost as if these products were made for each other: the II.5s were particularly adept at resolving things the VT150s do so welleg, depth, space, truth in timbre, and layering. After trying solid-state amplifiers, I recommend tubes for the II.5.
Preamplifiers included the Sonic Frontiers SFL-2, Audio Research LS5 and LS5 Mk.II, and the Mark Levinson No.38. The analog front-end consisted of a Well Tempered Turntable and Lary Pederson's highly modified Well-Tempered Arm fitted with an AudioQuest AQ7000nsx cartridge. The turntable sits on a Marigo Turntable Isolation System and Motor Terminator Kit, then on the sand-and-lead-shotfilled Merrill Stable Table. The turntable is further improved by the Black Damped Platter, a Marigo turntable mat, and a Marigo Well-Damped Arm Clamp. The turntable output feeds the superb Vendetta Research SCP2B phono stage.
Digital sources included the Adcom GDA-600, Mark Levinson No.30 and No.30.5, Sonic Frontiers SFD-2, and the HDCD-fitted Pink Triangle DaCapo (reviewed elsewhere in this issue). The transport was primarily a Mark Levinson No.31, connected via an Audio Alchemy DTIPro and/or Sonic Frontiers UltrajitterBug. Digital interconnects included AudioQuest Diamond x3 (balanced), NBS, WonderLink balanced, Ensemble DigiFlux, and generic ST-type optical cables. At the request of Genesis, Transparent Audio sent me a pair of their Ultra cables for the II.5s, along with two pairs of balanced interconnects. Other interconnects included AudioQuest Diamond and the newest iteration of TARA Labs RSC (both balanced). Unbalanced interconnects were Magnan Type V and Monster Cable's Sigma.
Because I recently moved, I had the opportunity to hear the II.5s in two rooms. My old room was 14.5' by 21', with a high, sloped ceiling. The new room is 21' long, 17' wide, with one side open to the rest of the house. The ceiling isn't vaulted, but has two recesses that give it three slightly different heights. The new room is much more live acoustically, which I've found to improve soundstaging. In addition, the larger size allowed the II.5s to develop deeper bass.
On the down side, the new room's bass isn't as smooth or articulate as that of my previous room, which was built from scratch with optimum dimensional ratios for room-mode distribution. Loudspeaker placement is more critical for bass coupling in the new room, but the soundstage is wider and deeper, particularly with dipoles (footnote 1). Adding absorptive material behind the II.5s greatly improved their soundstaging, and ASC's Tower Traps in the corners and behind the loudspeakers smoothed the bass and increased soundstage width and depth.Robert Harley
Footnote 1: Jason Bloom of Apogee recently set up a pair of his $1995 Slant 6 loudspeakers in the new room. Watch for a full review of this promising dipolar dynamic/ribbon hybrid.Robert Harley