Many of you may not be familiar with Pacific Northwest rap lyricist Anthony Ray, better known as Sir Mix-a-Lot, but I’m going to invoke one of his better-known ditties to help convey how I feel about the Exemplar system I heard at RMAF – in particular the XL III speakers – please hum along in your head if you know the song I’m riffing here;
I like single drivers and I cannot lie
You other brothers can’t deny
That when a speaker is efficient no power does it waste
Despite a 10″ driver pumping sound in your face
I could go on, but I think you get my gist.
John Tucker smiles a lot. Like a Cheshire Cat kinda smile. Like he knows something is up that the rest of us don’t know, or just haven’t been clued-in enough to vibe on. And that nugget of wisdom he smiles about (in my mind anyway), is the cohesion that single-driver speakers bring to the table.
The Exemplar system Tucker had set up in Denver was suggested to me by no less then three separate people whose ears I trust (I will never name names… unless you buy me a beer), so I made sure I got there on Sunday afternoon before I jetted back to the West Coast, and I’m very glad I did.
eXception T105 (modified Oppo 105) – $4,995 USD, eXception Integrated – $5,495 USD, and a couple thousand dollars worth of eXception interconnects and speaker cables. A nice, simple set-up that was producing a sound that really made me NOT want to get up and leave. Again, for the record, I’m not a digital guy, but this system was really defying the norms for me with its open, textured and satisfying sound. Gobs of space around everything playing in the few songs I got to hear. Breathing room if you will. The XL-III speakers in particular were really combing my hair straight back with an incredibly cohesive, dynamic-as-all-hell and deep-bass capable sound that just screamed fun and engaging. Now, please, indulge me. I haven’t been doing this gig a long time, (feel free to tell me to get bent) but I can tell you that after running into and out of over 150 rooms in the last six months at three major international audio shows, I can walk into a set up and know if there’s anything in it I give two sh*ts about in about 20 seconds (you will no doubt, think quite differently from me because your brain is wired completely differently than mine). But, I’m going to be very clear here; I gave a sh*t about this set up.
The eXemplar integrated was really doing a hell of a job driving the XL-IIIs, because man, they were really pressurizing the room and making my right eye twitch (it does that sometimes when something unexpected happens I BLAME MY MOTHER). This is just one of those unassuming rooms that a lot of people probably passed by after sticking their heads in because, well, it doesn’t look like much, but let me tell you; looks can be deceiving. This simple, unpretentious kit outperformed a lot of much more expensive gear I heard in Denver.
Maybe that’s why Tucker smiles so much. Like I said, he seems to know something many don’t seem to divine; that single-driver loudspeakers can smack a listener around like Steinbeck smacks words around.
You just keep smiling Tucker… KEEP IT UP.
No seriously, keep it up, you’re doing brilliant work.