Clearly, something is going on over there. Something very good. Color me curious!
Alex Sventitsky of WyWires had nothing but great things to say about his friend’s efforts, and they showed together at RMAF last year. So, even with the rave review from the man who makes my reference wires, I still didn’t get a hold of Fritz until last week.
We chatted for an hour as I wandered through the hills of Western Pennsylvania driving home from a business trip and he talked to me about his speakers, where he was coming from and what he was up to. This is the kind of thing that I really love about this hobby — the people. Yeah, there are quite a few that do this as a job and you can feel the ennui pouring off of them in deep, current-laden, waves. And then there are guys like Fritz, that obviously “do this” because they have to. They love it, can’t seem to help it, so why not just go with it? And Fritz has “gone with it” for years.
Fritz wanted to know if I’d be interested in taking a look at another of his speakers, one that doesn’t get as much airplay as his Rev 5s and Carbon 7s. Something different.
I was sent some Groves. Different drivers, different speakers, different sound.
They’re compact speakers with a big ol’ port on their rear, and sport some rather interesting drivers from HiVi. Interesting in that I’ve seen them before! The Groves look like really big Totem bookshelves, actually, maybe Mani 2s or something, but Fritz tells me that these are the same drivers I had in my old Totem Forests, which, if you happen to be following along, were the first hi-fi speakers I ever owned. Grove, Forest, get it? This HiVi sports a big 3″ voice coil, so they’re going to need some serious juice to really get going. I’ve got them hooked up right now to one my favorite desktop amps, the Signature 15 from Red Wine Audio, which is cranking out a whopping 15wpc into 8ohms. The recommended power is 50wpc and up (and with that big voice coil, way up), so they’re going to be heading over to the Plinius rig as soon as I have stands to put them on.
The major deviation from the Totem design, which I guess makes it more Dynaudio than Totem, is the big silk-dome Morel tweeter. Looks a lot like the bigger, fancier brother to the tweeter I had on my old Merlin speakers. I remember that tweeter as being airy and grainless, but while Merlin uses some fancy external RC networks to “tame it”, here, it’s naked and gloriously untouched. Other than what’s already in the crossover, of course. No taming necessary.
This is pretty quickly becoming a trip down memory lane. The Greatest Hits keep a comin’ and a comin’.
Its a big box. Bigger than it looks, actually, but my review model is also a skosh smaller than the specs say, a full inch shorter than the 16″ that’s on their site, and I have to say, I’m really happy about that.
The cabinets, Fritz told me, are actually old stock, which he likes to use for his demo pairs. The newer cabinets have magnets sunk into the interior of the cabinet for supporting the grills, which I have left off in the pictures here. So, what you get will be all spit-polished and clean shaven with no posts on your grills or holes on the face to hold them.
I really like this size! It looks pretty much at the edge of perfect for a near field monitor. Any larger, and I think I push absurdity. As it is, they sit really purty on my desk! Yes, I’m sure they’ll be better on stands, and as I said, I do plan to go grab mine soon — keep your drawers on.
Anyway, I got ’em today and need to break ’em the heck in. More soon, but did want to mention that the fit and finish — even for demos — is quite fine.
As for the sound, well, the imaging is there, right now, with no break in. Tone? Good to go. Bass? Oh, yeah, but I suspect that this will do something tremendous once the big amps get into the action. The sound does remind me quite strongly of the Totem Model 1 Signatures that I have sitting on the floor. No real comparisons as yet, but its on the agenda, trust me. The rest will have to wait while I give them some time on the big juice.