AXPONA 2012: Aerial, ARC, Krell, Transparent

I’ve heard the $10k Aerial 7t loudspeakers at a local dealer, so I kinda knew what I was getting in for here in Audible Illusions’ second room (the other was that crazy Martin Logan demo).

Jeff Dorgay, of TONEAudio and my sometime/future editor, insists that the Audio Research Reference lineup — here, it was the $13k Reference 5 preamp and the $13k Reference 150 amplifier — are da bomb (my words, not his), so I was a little stumped by what I heard here.

It was “okay”. Again, this was perplexing because I’ve heard and loved the Aerial 7t speakers. Great bass, fantastic imaging, layered sound stage, detail, you name it, the 7t brings it. And the ARC gear should have been sweet.

But today, the bass seemed to have called in sick. Or maybe the mood lighting put it to sleep, which is pretty much how I’m explaining my inability to focus in this room; I left with only a pair of usable images out of the dozen I tried to snap off. Whatever. I chalked this up to “show acoustics” as everything else held up. Treble extension was clear and clean, imaging was pretty good, and the room was usually crowded (good sign!). Take a few of those bodies out of there and these speakers probably would have opened up dramatically.

Anyway, it was the $10k Krell Evolution 505 was spinning the silver discs on my visit. That is a gigantic chassis. And all those little buttons are very nifty to look at. An ARC DAC 8 sat below it, I don’t even think it got turned on. The Tape Project had a deck in here too, but if they played anything, I missed that as well.

Transparent Audio Reference cables were used throughout.

About Scot Hull 1039 Articles
Scot started all this back in 2009. He is currently the Publisher here at PTA, the Publisher at The Occasional Magazine, and the Executive Producer at The Occasional Podcast. There are way too many words about him over on the Contributors page.


  1. I have always found it silly that people looking to purchase speakers do NOT consider that they are simply a link in a chain of gear and cannot be reviewed independently. Why would you dismiss the 7T’s here because they didn’t sound their best with this gear AND in this room?

    Of course, it is best to audition them in your room but that is often impractical; granted. But to not even audition them with your gear is asking for trouble and disappointment. Or, you can simply purchase the speakers and gear in a setup that you have found to be just right for you.

    As far as back as the readin of my first Stereophile review, I have always considered their opinions (and those of others) for what they are: a review of a particular piece as part of a system. If I would consider purchasing a piece of gear I would also consider purchasing the other components in a review.

  2. Got it tx for feedback. My other option was used Magico V3’s or possibly the new Marten Django’s. It’s all about the journey in this hobby, too many options not enough time to critique them all but sure is fun 🙂

    • If you’re willing to go up that high, I’d check out the Joseph Audio Perspectives. I think they’re $12k. At $16k, the eFicion F300 is outstanding, and is my current reference.

  3. This was actually the post I was waiting for as the 7T’s are on my short list. But less than a resounding endorsement here. Interested in your thoughts on other speakers in this price category, perhaps the new Devore X’s ?

    • I would do a first-hand listen before I jumped on them, but hey, that’s me. They’re really good, just not sure they’re universally appealing — or will work perfectly with any particular set of gear. I just don’t know! That’s why you should check for yourself, hear for yourself. Capiche?

      To answer your question, I don’t have a magic bullet in this price range. I wish I did! PM me if you want to chat.

  4. That is because Jeff Gorgay has too many hair follicles in his ears.

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