Infinity Prelude MTS loudspeaker Page 5

The "perfect" speaker? I'm not saying that. Not everyone will cotton to hearing the inner workings of recordings so ruthlessly exposed. Not everyone will want a loudspeaker that isn't inherently "warm," that doesn't slap a happy face on a music library. And I'm not convinced that the Prelude MTS can match the airiness, transparency, and "palpability" of some other speakers—though all of those attributes may well be colorations.

The Prelude MTS had balls and a mind, but I had a hard time finding its soul—which could be precisely what Allan Devantier and Floyd Toole intended. After all, the recording should provide the soul. Whether a speaker should inject "soul" because too many recordings don't is something you'll have to determine for yourself when you hear the Prelude MTS.

And you should. I enjoyed every minute I listened to my pair—as I enjoy the Amati Homages, which can't compete with the Preludes in some respects and are far less than perfect, but which exert a pull on me I'm not sure science can explain.

Nuisance Variables
In a paper published in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society (Vol.33 No.1/2, 1985), Floyd Toole discusses "sources of variability" in scientifically conducted "subjective" listening. I'll briefly rip through these "nuisance variables," as he calls them, as they relate to this decidedly "nonscientific" review. Among the variables involving the physical environment are: the listening room, the loudspeaker positions, relative and absolute loudness, the program material, and electronic imperfections.

Toole passed judgment on my room and where the Preludes were placed. I used an SPL meter during my listening because the speakers produced such low distortion and were such smooth performers. I found myself inadvertently playing them far louder than I normally listen, which of course can skew one's perception of a speaker's performance with familiar recordings, especially in terms of high-frequency response. I did play thoroughly familiar material, however, and if measurements are the guide, the Nu-Vista 300 is pretty much "perfect." It's also a great-sounding amp. (I bought it.)

The second set of "nuisance variables" are more personal. Among them are the listener's familiarity with the task, his or her ability to judge sonic differences, hearing acuity, and relevant accumulated experience. I'll leave those to you.

Conclusion
The Prelude MTS puts Infinity back on the audiophile map. The speaker's sonic and (I'm sure) measured credentials change the loudspeaker playing field. It offers exceptional performance in all important operating parameters: it's user-friendly; it has a full, exceptionally flat frequency response with outstanding dispersive characteristics, unlimited dynamics, high SPLs, and vanishingly low levels of audible distortion; and it has superb imaging and soundstaging plus rhythmic swing. It's a transducer that behaves almost like a piece of electronics.

When you consider the amount of high technology packed into the Prelude, the level of performance it provides, the amount of R&D that must have gone into its development, and the 850W powered sub, $8000/pair seems a price only a multinational corporation could afford to ask. While the Prelude will not please all ears (what speaker does?), all ears should experience this amazing performer. With the Prelude MTS, Infinity has created a loudspeaker destined to become a classic.

COMPANY INFO
Infinity
250 Crossways Park Drive
Woodbury, NY 11797
(800) 553-3332
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