I’ve known Al and Lori Ann Clark of Danville Signal Processing for many years–we originally collaborated on the Moos Audio wireless speaker project back in the early days of Colleen Cardas Imports. Those speakers didn’t quite make it to the finish line, but the technologies everyone came up with led to other projects and other products. Danville Signal Processing often exhibits at trade shows, using mostly static displays for their own products (DACs, DSP crossovers and more), although they have done room shares with others, including my own Down Under Audio crew. The rooms are usually full of other tech-minded digital audio peeps, discussing the latest advancements with Al. At AXPONA 2019, however, Danville teamed with Hollis Audio Labs (HAL) to exhibit a very different type of system.
The Danville Signal Processing and Hollis Audio Labs room was dominated by a huge pair speakers called the Monoliths, very industrial in appearance, that is mostly available as a kit–one that can be shipped flat, by the way. The HAL Monoliths have a planar tweeter and midrange in a separate unit, and a huge open baffle enclosure for the servo-controlled dual driver subwoofer. It’s triamped, with the servo unit for the bottom drivers and additional amps “chosen” by the user. It uses the dspMusikLCD 2X8 by Danville Signal, which includes a DSP crossover, a DAC, remote/volume control, digital and analog inputs and balanced operation, although it can be ordered with single-ended inputs and outputs. The Hollis Audio Labs MS-5 Music Server (just $899-$1399 depending on storage) was used as the primary source.
Not Your Normal Show System
The entire Danville Signal Processing and Hollis Audio Labs set-up was unconventional by trade show standards–much space was devoted to displays of the Danville Signal circuitry and the listening area seemed confined to a relatively small space, considering the size of the Monoliths. What’s more, the planar midrange and tweeter units were not lined up with the servo cabinets, which might be a problem for people with OCD. I asked Al briefly about this, and he said the angles were due to the room itself. And then I felt dumb for asking one of the leading developers of DSP technology if his speakers were set up properly.
The overall sound from this system was utterly surprising, even though I had trouble sitting anywhere near the sweet spot for most of my visit. (As I said Danville Signal rooms tend to be packed.) But the HAL Monoliths sounded consistently impressive through a wide range of material, especially jazz. There was a heft and authority to the sound that was satisfying, and all this latest digital and wireless technology ensured one thing, and that backgrounds were as quiet and black as I’ve heard. It was fun to visit with Al and Lori Ann, but it was also exciting to see how Danville Signal Processing’s designs are being used by so many others today–including the Dragonfire Acoustics system I reported on a few days ago.