Infinity Servo-Statik 1 loudspeaker Manufacturer's Comment
Thank you for the extremely complimentary and comprehensive report on the Servo-Statik 1. We feel it is for the most part accurate, but a few points should be mentioned.
The Servo-Statik 1 panels are designed to utilize the reflections from the rear, and for best results should be placed 2-3' from the rear wall and at least 1' off the floor. This eliminates the slight "phase interference" phenomenon noted by the reviewer, and dramatically enhances the stereo imaging.
The peaks reported at 1kHz and at 8kHz must be considered debatable. There is a very broad peak centered around 850Hz, but of only about 1.5dB in magnitude. We have never observed a. peak at 8kHz. The frequency response of the system is ±1.5dB from below 20Hz to above 20kHz, so any peak or dip within that range should not be of any real sonic significance.
We assume that Mr. Holt had tongue in cheek when he "complained" about hearing the "squeaking of chairs" and "grunting of cellists." Obviously, if these things are on the disc, and are reproduced clearly by the SS-1, then subtle musical nuances will be reproduced just as clearly.
The "subtle zippiness" at the high end when going through the electronic crossover must also be termed debatable. With so much variance between the sounds of various power amplifiers, preamplifiers, and cartridges, it is difficult to know which mny be responsible for "zippiness."
Even though the reviewer observed that the electronic crossover did seem to cause a subtle change in sound, it must be emphasized that the insertion of the crossover (with its gain of 2 and 0.005% distortion) halves the necessary output signal from the preamp. Since this reduction of the preamplifier's output signal will reduce the system's distortion, one would expect to find a difference in sound. Distortion reduction and improved transient response should increase the sharpness and clarity of the sound.
This subjective argument is also germane to discussions of tube vs transistor power amplifiers. There is no denying that early transistor amplifiers had excessive crossover distortion, resulting in unpleasantly hard sound. But we do not feel that the best of the current-model transistor amps exhibit hardness as such. They are, in fact, truer reproducers of the original signal than the tube amplifiers of yesteryear.
Along with their very exciting reproduction of castanets, bells, triangle, snare drums, etc.,—hard transients—comes the liability of some "hardness" on top in comparison with tube amplifiers. The fact that tube amplifiers could never reproduce these hard transients as accurately, and were never capable of as much sonic detail as a good transistor amp, makes it clear that their "sweetness" was in fact a result of certain inherent deficiencies in the tube units, regardless of how "pleasant" they may have sounded.
We think it all boils down to the point made in the review: That improved transparency and detail in a loudspeaker carries the "liability" that any kind of distortion fed into the system is exposed with merciless clarity. We suspect that the "zippiness" has always been present in the program material, but was masked until recently. Whether the sound of the SS-1 does, in fact, exhibit slight zippiness or sublime sweetness is a moot point within the framework of our knowledge about the program material available to us. We at Infinity have not observed any hardness or zippiness when directly comparing first-generation master tapes with the original performance, including massed strings.
One final remark about suitable simplifiers: The Crown DC-300 (in the Hysteresis mode) is of course a superb driver for the midrange, but there are many other fine amplifiers available with the requisite power and stability, including the Marantz 16B, the SAE Mk.VIII, and the McIntosh 2105.—Arnie Nudell, Infinity
We did not find the optimum panel location in our listening room to be as recommended. We still advise experimenting.
The "complaint" was indeed tongue-in-cheek. We like to be able to hear everything that's there.
The subtle (and it was) change in sound when the crossover was inserted could not have been due to a reduction in preamp distortion, because it was observed when no preamp was used. The output from a tape recorder was fed through a purely passive volume control (500 ohms, to terminate the recorder's transformer outputs) and then into the crossover unit. With the crossover out of circuit, the only thing that was changed was the setting of that control.J. Gordon Holt