Kirksaeter Silverline 60 loudspeaker Page 4

Part of the Kirksaeter's captivating presentation, and a solid strength, was its realistic presentation of detail. It wasn't a "magnifying glass" type of over-etched microdetail, but detail of a more natural kind—and one much better integrated into the images and ambience. On Sonny Meets Hawk, for example, I could clearly hear people—musicians as well as others on the sidelines—talking and singing along in the background. The voices didn't stand out disconcertingly, but were woven into the sounds that defined the performance space.

I mentioned "Tom's Diner." It was riveting—I couldn't believe that I was listening to a tiny, $698/pair speaker. Suzanne Vega's vocal was warm and breathy, and there was a great sense of dimensionality, of the woman behind the voice. I could close my eyes and place her right there in front of me. I found myself tightly gripping the arms of my listening chair as Vega drew each breath and I waited for her next line to begin. Even subtle changes in pitch and volume were easy to follow; I could hear her moving around the microphone, shifting slightly forward and back, dipping her chin slightly as she gathered herself, then raising it again for the next, higher note.

With orchestral recordings taped in concert, the Silverline 60 reproduced enough of the whispers, chair scrapes, and coughs—not to mention the subtle details of a bow against a cello's strings—to make the performances feel alive. Even the silences before the orchestra's first note just felt right with the Silverlines, crackling with electricity and anticipation.

Summing Up
Reading the passages above and double-checking my pluses and minuses, it occurs to me that the essence of my description, and the essence of the Kirksaeter Silverline 60, is captured in the first few lines—before I even begin dissecting their performance, I wrote "I listened to these speakers for two months and enjoyed every minute of it."

At one point during my critical listening sessions, I cued up Ray Brown's Soular Energy (LP, Concord/Bellaphon Jazz LELP 111), fully intending to concentrate on Brown's bass, or perhaps Emily Remler's guitar, to see what I could learn about the Silverlines' performance. Twenty minutes later, I had a blank page and an empty wine glass, and realized that I'd been humming along, tapping my foot and simply enjoying the music.

Based on my experience of a number of good speakers ranging in price from $300 to $1500/pair, the Kirksaeter Silverline 60 is very competitively priced, and more musically satisfying than the best below-$500 speakers I've heard—models like the NHT SuperOnes and the smaller PSB Alphas. On the other hand, the Silverline 60s aren't giant-killers. Good as they are, they don't compare with such topnotch $1500/pair designs as the Magnepan 1.6/QRs, the Castle Severns, or the Meadowlark Kestrels.

I definitely enjoyed my time with the Kirksaeter Silverline 60. Sure, there were compromises. It doesn't reproduce the bottom octave, and it's rolled off a bit on top. It doesn't like to play particularly loudly, and it definitely prefers smaller rooms and more intimate performances. But the bottom line is that the Silverline 60 is a wonderful little speaker, and a solid value at $698/pair. If budget and/or space concerns put you in its market, I definitely recommend giving the Kirksaeter Silverline 60 a listen.

COMPANY INFO
Kirksaeter
US distributor: Kingcaid Acoustics
1943 Linden Lane
Hatfield, PA 19440
(215) 361-1559
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