When I walked into Jeff Joseph’s room at High End 2019 in Munich, I thought of one thing–Orange Creme. Coca-Cola has just come out with an Orange Vanilla flavor and is pushing it hard here in the states, and I still remember the orange 50/50 ice cream bars being a wonderful thing when I was a kid. Jeff had chosen to exhibit his new Joseph Audio (website) Perspective 2 loudspeakers ($14,999/pair) with amplification and digital sources from an intriguing Danish company called Alluxity, the new brand from Alexander Vitus Mogensen, the son of Hans-Ole Vitus of Vitus Audio. All of the Alluxity pieces were anodized in a luxurious orange, which were a stunning contrast to the white Perspective 2s. Everything looked delicious.
I’ve long believed that the Joseph Audio Perspectives are one of the most sane buying decisions you could make in audio. They’re relatively petite, relatively affordable, and the sound, in my opinion, is almost without fault. The Perspective 2s look very similar to the original model with one notable exception–the new SEAS graphene cones on the woofers. As Jeff was quick to point out, the use of graphene on the magnesium cones required a revamping of the design of the entire driver by SEAS, which led to a “re-engineering” of all of Jeff’s filters as well as the crossovers. The result, as Jeff explained, is a Perspective that is more resolving than its predecessor, yet more laid-back and relaxed. These traits were clearly heard in his High End 2019 room.
Jeff explained that this new sonic character allowed him to use recordings at High End 2019 that he had previously deemed a little to harsh for a show demo. He was also able to set the Perspective 2s further apart than usual without creating a center-fill issue. The Perspective 2s, like most Joseph Audio speakers, sounded huge despite their modest footprint, with plenty of low-bass energy gripping the large room. At times the realism of the system was breathtaking, with several moments of pure sound and music reminding me of systems far larger and far more expensive.
Jeff was spending equal time at High End 2019 between streaming and using a Technics reel-to-reel with the amazing Doshi Audio V 3.0 tape stage ($15,000), all with Purist Audio Design cabling from Jim Aud. (A couple of my favorite rooms at High End 2019 used Jim’s cables.) Just when you thought digital streaming couldn’t sound any better, Jeff would switch to the analog side and reveal a whole new level of sonic splendor. Since I loved the original Perspectives so much, I can’t describe the improvements in a more specific way without an A/B comparison. But the Joseph Audio Perspective 2s are such a compelling and intelligent choice at this price point, I would find it difficult to pick anything else.
Thanks for your reply.
I didn’t mean to put you on the spot 🙂
I just wondered, given you like both as I do, what you saw as the individual strengths in those speakers. While comparing under controlled conditions “at home” is optimal, I would disagree that no conclusions could be drawn about their relative strengths. I’ve found the general character of each speaker brand “in the wild” to be discernible and consistent. And of course there’s no problem asking about personal preference. Though I appreciate that in your position, that’s something you may have to hold closer-to-the-vest for practical considerations.
I believe either you or another writer has expressed here before that you “don’t do comparisons” as if they are somehow invalid. Your reply, unless I’ve read it incorrectly, seems to run along those lines “the slippery slope” of some sort of relativism not useful to others. But that can’t make sense. If you reviewer speaker “A” one month, then later on review speaker “B” then insofar as you write a review, you have assumed it is worthwhile, after doing your best to dial them in, to describe to the audience how they sounded. So there is nothing in principle any less justified in doing a comparison between Speaker A and Speaker B as you heard them. If describing their sounds singly in separate reviews is valid, comparing their sound to show distinctions would be equally valid.
I actually find reviews that draw comparisons to be particularly insightful. This is because a reviewer may speak of various characteristics “dynamics, transparency, smoothness” etc that could apply to any number of speakers so they don’t necessarily “differentiate” the speaker in the review. But if the speaker in the review is compared to even one other speaker, it seems to clarify and solidify the *distinctive* character of the speaker under review. At least in my reading of reviews. I’m not saying you ought to start doing comparisons; only providing a defense of the practice. (And sorry if I’ve misapprehended your views on the subject).
In any case, I enjoy the reviews and excellent photography on this site. Keep up the great work!
Thanks for the report on the new JA Perspective2 Graphene speakers.
As someone who almost bought the Perspectives a while back and who continues to contemplate the goal, I’m very interested in the latest version! If J. Joseph has managed to make the upper frequencies even more relaxed and smooth, without losing the sense of aliveness and drive of the originals, let alone give even better controlled bass frequencies, that’s going to be one heck of a speaker!
To my ears (and it seems many others) the Joseph Audio speakers have a particularly clean, grain-free sound that, rather than being anti-septic, is married to a beautiful warmth of tone. Voices sound rich and human, not thin, hard-edged or electronic. Jeff has achieved an amazing balancing act with his speakers. I find that the particular, individual timbral sounds of voices and various instruments come through on the JA speakers like few other brands I can think of. And they “boogie in the bass” as well, so they aren’t just audiophile-detail-approved; they are also fun. I’m not surprised at the enthusiasm you and the other writers here have regularly displayed for the Pulsars and Perspectives.
On that note, after listening to a great many other speakers on the way to the Perspectives, another brand that tugged at my heartstrings were the Devore Fidelity Orangutan (0/96 and 0/93) speakers. I’ve seen the Devore speakers get a lot of love on this site as well, often cited, like the Joseph speakers, as favorites among the writing staff. (And of course they are popular with many reviewers at other sites too).
I found the Devore ‘O” speakers also played with a tone that struck me as particularly natural and organic, but especially in terms of producing filled out, rounded and substantial tone. Where many speakers in my estimation tend to produce subtractive versions of instruments: guitars with only strings, no body, pianos made of keys being struck in the air, without a sense of the huge resonating soundboard of that instrument etc. The Devores seemed to give back the sense of corporeal body, weight and size to instruments that made them believable. Plus, they have a way of giving drum snares a sense of snap and pop that cuts through the mix, along with a round, warm yet nimble bass, that allows them to really groove – I always “get” what the drummer is doing and how he is playing on the Devore speakers.
And yet, despite that both the Devore and the Joseph speakers seem to capture essences of the real thing, they are very different sounding speakers. Almost at opposite sides of the same coin! The Josephs giving a “modern clarity” of sound and a precision in individual timbre and imaging/soundstaging; the Devore O speakers a rich wall of sound, a general “organic” (even ‘woody”) tone, old school, yet also modern enough in terms of detail, openness and imaging.
Given the writers here seem to often cite the Devore and Joseph speakers as favorites, I’d be curious about your take on comparing those speaker brands (unless you don’t do that here). E.g. what musical experience do you think you’d get with a Devore 0/93 over the Perspectives, and visa versa?
I’m a huge fan of both DeVore Fidelity and Joseph Audio, but I wouldn’t presume to say which one is better unless I was able to have them both in my home at the same time for A/B comparisons. Even then, one speaker might be more optimized to the system than the other. And the room. And what about personal preference…can I speak for others or only myself? And. And. And. See the slippery slope when you do comparisons between products in high-end audio? Suffice it to say that John DeVore and Jeff Joseph are two of the top speaker designers in the US, as well as the world. I would be proud to own either.