Luminous Audio and the Pure Audio Project

I mentioned earlier how uncolored, detailed, transparent, and image-specific an open baffle loudspeaker can sound. Unfortunately, not all open baffle speakers are created equal, and making a coherent and musically satisfying open-baffle speaker is much more complex than just bolting a few drivers to a sheet of plywood. The question any loudspeaker designer must ask is, how far should I go? When is done right?

To my ears, “done right” describes the Pure Audio Project’s Quintet15 Horn1 Modular Open Baffle Loudspeakers ($9995) I auditioned at CAF. Pure Audio Project offers a range of tall, structurally solid, open-baffle speakers with a user-selectable choice of single “main drivers” mounted in bass-mid-bass arrays with groups of 15” woofers. I have experienced Pure Audio Project open-baffle speakers in variety of configurations, but most often with a Voxativ wide-range main driver. Here, I was especially impressed by the power of the presentation and the three-dimensionality of the imaging. The Quintet15’s sounded coherent, and the horns just looked right sitting in the middle of the curved 72" x 21" aluminum frame. These are to my taste: good-looking loudspeakers.

All Pure Audio speakers are rated at ~96dB/1W/1m and have proven triode-tube-friendly. Here, though, they were powered by Pass Labs XA160 mono amplifiers ($20K/pair). There was also a VPI Prime turntable with an Audio-Technica AT-OC9/III phono cartridge driving the Luminous Audio Arion phono stage ($6995) followed by the Luminous Audio Axiom II passive preamplifier ($895).

The adjectives that best describe the Pure and Luminous Audio’s sound are: full, large, relaxed, open, and naturally detailed. No hi-fi unnaturalness.

mememe2's picture

you state that "Unfortunately, not all open baffle speakers are created equal". A bland non specific pronouncement. How about some brand names Herb? If you can't name them then your general assessment does not hold water. We want transparency from our speakers - but also need it from the audio press. So Herb how about some honesty directly coupled to transparency?

blang11's picture

You're comin' on a bit strong there, mememe2. I don't think it's really called for in this show review to roll out a list of open-baffle speakers that Herb thinks are no good.

mememe2's picture

I like Herb and his views, but I am not a sychophant of generalized negative comments. Open transparent criticism is much preferred. A reviewers job is to tell the truth (as he sees it ) not protect advertising revenue.

JHL's picture

Settle down.

Herb Reichert's picture

was (in my mind) referring to all the countless open-baffle speakers I and my DIY friends have made.
Long ago, the Dahlquist DQ-10 inspired me to build several multi-driver open baffles - all of them muddy-sounding failures. More recently I have heard Cube speakers on open baffles and they made me VERY happy. One of my close friends uses Altec 604 drivers in open baffles -- to excellent effect.
Is that "transparent" enough?


invaderzim's picture

I guess it is a diy background in common because I instantly thought that is what you meant. I guess I've just spent way too much time contemplating bolting speakers to sheets of plywood.

mememe2's picture

Backtracking is OK, but why not put those details in the original missive?

mememe2's picture

Backtracking is OK, but why not put those details in the original missive?

invaderzim's picture

Those speakers really do cross over into being art. They are likely a great conversation starter and I'm guessing that by the second sentence of any conversation it will turn to "let's listen to them"

Someday I'm going to have to go to an audio show just to get a change to listen to unique items like that.

worldofsteveUK's picture

I heard these at the UK HiFi show with significantly more modest equipment and they still sounded ridiculously natural, the best sound at the show, had me thinking about cashing in the pension...

dlkramer's picture

I own an original pair of DQ10's that I purchased back in the 70's. These were my pride and joy for 40+ years. The woofers required refoaming and I sent them off to Regnar for this task. They not only refoam but test the speakers. It is likely best to have a professional do this task as I tried to refoam a 5" woofer years earlier in my Infinity RS-1000s with poor results. Trying to exactly center the cone onto the new surround is difficult.
Back to the DQ10s. After 40 years I purchased a pair of used KEF 207s as I had always wanted the KEF reference. These are excellent speakers with extremely clear high end. I prepared my DQ10s for sale by removing any dust and checking all the drivers then refinishing the wood sides, I tested the speakers once more. They sounded warm and comfortable. Much like the difference in playing vinyl vs CD. The high end was not as detailed as the KEFs but the DQ10s performed very well and never sounded harsh even at high volumes. I never had listening fatigue with the DQ10s. I can't say that about the KEFs as I need to reduce the volume after 20 or more minutes of high volume listening. Surprising, as I'm 62 and my hearing drops off after 13,000 Hz. My wife is trying to convince me NOT to sell the DQ10s as we are looking to build a home theater room. The KEFs would go there and the DQ 10s would stay in the main living room.
You can pick up a pair of DQ10s for about $500. With an investment of another $200 to $300, you can refoam the woofers, recap the crossover and have a speaker that should provide 40 more years of continued enjoyment.