Dunlavy Audio Labs Signature SC-VI loudspeaker Page 6

Accuracy redux
In his March 1996 review of the Jadis Eurythmie II horn speakers (Vol.19 No.3, p.109), Jonathan Scull devoted a great deal of space to the speaker's emotional appeal. Since I believe the music, rather than the equipment, should supply a listener's emotional jollies, I intentionally haven't gone on at length about the sound of my favorite music through the big Dunlavys. Also, the Dunlavy aesthetic is a rather left-brained affair, and such purple prose would be rather out of place.

The Signature VI is not intended to make recorded music sound any better or more musical than it really is. By using more "emotional" components like the Manley 240 monoblocks, it will be possible to create a system that sounds more visceral and less intellectual, if that is your aim. The nice thing about the Signature VIs was that they were very much a blank canvas, waiting for the rest of the system to color them. If you lust for bacchanalian excess, put enough tubes in front of them and you'll probably end up dancing yourself to death stark naked. If you require crystalline, intellectual perfection, couple the Dunlavys to some thoroughbred, high-horsepower solid-state gear and you can probably tell not only how many angels are pounding on a drumhead, but what brand of stick they're using. The Dunlavy is merely the last link in the audio chain. Most likely, it won't be the weakest one.

Some audio pundits have come to the boneheaded conclusion that because many of their cherished recordings are flawed, a musically accurate system is one that makes the majority of these "gems" enjoyable to listen to. Bzzzt—wrong. "Accuracy," as defined by Stereophile's founder and Chief Tester, J. Gordon Holt, is "The degree to which the output signal from a component or system replicates the sonic qualities of its input signal. An accurate system reproduces what is on the recording, which may or may not be an accurate representation of the original sound." Please note that this does not mention perceived level of realism. If the source is realistic, the final result will be realistic, if—the big if—the rest of the system is accurate.

The tendency of many high-end products to attempt to "fix it in the mix," as audio engineers would say (ie, attempt to "improve" the realism of the original source material), is not in the best interests of ultimate fidelity. For audiophiles who value accuracy over euphony, products like the Dunlavy Signature SC-VI loudspeaker are a breath of fresh air in a landscape polluted by pretty-sounding panderers.

SS sums up
The minute a reviewer declares any product to be "perfect," they're begging for trouble. Technology marches inexorably onward, crushing those who foolishly believe they stand on its pinnacle. JGH readily admits that the only reviews he regrets are those in which he declared a product was without flaw. I won't fall into this particular boiling cauldron. Notice that I have consciously avoided claiming throughout this review that the Signature SC-VI is "the best" loudspeaker in the world. "Best" is a subjective term that should be relegated to the pages of old Sears catalogs, since it actually means little beyond "my personal favorite." Do you really care if the Signature VI is my personal favorite? You shouldn't.

What is important is that the Dunlavy SC-VI represents a landmark in loudspeaker design. It sounds not only harmonically neutral, but also remarkably free of phase-shift, dynamically effortless, and surprisingly transparent. Yes, it's a big one-listener coffin-box that needs a large room with dedicated sound-treatment to perform optimally. But if you have the space, it's the least tweaky and troublesome super-speaker you'll find.

So does the Dunlavy Audio Labs Signature SC-VI get an A-rating? Are you kidding? It gets an A+ with at least five gold stars, a bullet, and couple of dollar signs to designate them a stone-cold bargain. Anyone, no matter how tweaky, who purchases any other more expensive large speaker system without at least hearing a pair of properly set-up Dunlavy Signature VIs is an utter fool. I'm no fool—I bought my review pair. I'll bet the other Jiminy Crickets of the world—you know who you are—will be sure to follow suit.

Dunlavy Audio Labs
P.O. Box 49399
Colorado Springs, CO 80949-9399
(719) 592-1159