This is my first time posting on AudioCircle although I have been following the Daedalus posts for a few months now. Thanks for all the information you all have posted on these wonderful speakers. JCC's review, which, along with Lou Hinkleys general ideas about speaker building as posted on his web site, had a lot to do with my decision to purchase these speakers.

After living with my pair of DA-1's, beautifully finished in the cherry veneer and walnut fronts, for over four months, I feel ready to make my views of the speaker known, for what it's worth..

A little history would tell you that I have been an avid audio hobbyist for the last 25 years and have covered much territory on this journey. I even dabbled in it as a business, becoming the first and only importer for the Supratek line of Preamps and amps in the USA from 2000 to 2001.

My first high end system was built around DCM Time Windows, which in their time, were a high end audiophile product. On to Thiel 04A speakers...to Thiel 3.0's and 3.5's...to Proac Response 2's...to Legacy FOCUS speakers.... to B&W 802's.... to Reference 3A MM mini monotors.... to Beauhorn horns with a few different SET's amps....to Dbl stacked re-built Quad 57s with the incredible sounding Altec 1570B triode amps.... back to Reference 3A Royal Virtuosos and now back to a multi driver speaker system, the Daedalus DA-1's. There were a bunch more speakers in between these, but this illustrates a quest which has been fun, and at times frustratiing. My wife tells me I am an equipment hound, always on the lookout for something new. I tell her I am on a quest for sound which is good enough for me...That simple.

Well, after four months of owning the DA-1's, and in this room, which is a big deal with these speakers, I have the best reproduced sound I've heard anywhere yet. In fact, I am absolutely thrilled with the sound I am getting out of this system and the DA-1's are the main reason.

As Lou mentions on his web site, real music is dynamic and these speakers are extremely dynamic in both a micro and macro sense. There is something to be said for speakers that are designed electrically to be easy to drive, but yet will take a lot of power. That something to be said are dynamics that are to the point of sounding real. For instance, last Wednesday my wife and I had the privilege of hearing Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, Joe Ely and Guy Clark play an acoustic set at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in Asheville, NC. The venue seats about 6,000 and we sat in the 9th row, pretty much in the center. They each took turns playing a song on solo guitar with only occasional help from one of the others. Of couse they were all plugged in, but we noted the great sound they were able to produce in this venue. It really sounded good, as did Leo Kottke at another great place here in Asheville called the Grey Eagle a couple of months ago. Well, when we got home and decided to do a little comparative listening, the sound was not far removed from the live perfomance. In fact, timbre and dynamics were every bit as good as live. Of course, listening to the stereo isn't anything like a live event as there wasn't the eye candy to enjoy, or the wonderful, funny as hell, stories these fellows told, which made the event special. However, sound wise, there just wasn't that big a difference between what we heard at the show and what we are able to reproduce in our home right now. In fact, "imaging" was probably better at home as the mix at the auditorum had their voices coming out of both left and right speaker while their guitars were pretty much localized to the center of the hall.

The DA-1's are also more transparent than any other speaker I've owned, including the Ref 3A's and Beauhorn's, which probably tied for the previous best. They are also the most perfectly balanced speaker I've heard and the most beautiful to listen to because of this. Tonally they are similar to the Quads, but are much smaller, subjectively more attractive, image better and will play much more loudly.

Soundstaging is as good as any I've owned, which again would include the Ref 3A and the Beauhorn's. A good example of both of these would be Chet Atkins on his "Almost Alone" CD. On track 6, a Slack Key guitar piece called "Pu, Uana Hulu", Chet is off to the right in the soundstage and until now, had occupied a fairly narrow space where his guitar and moaning/breathing originated in a single space. With the DA-1's and the Altec amp, the sound is now spread out where you can more clearly here the mix with his guitar playing and moaning/breathing now occupying distinct spaces in the soundstage. This is not to say that the speakers are "ruthlessly revealing" because of a tilted up tonal balance. They simply recreate this music with more transparency than I have heard before, but with such a beautiful tonal balance and such real dynamics. The sound sounds real...

If there is one aspect of performance that most audiophile speakers do not deliver the goods on it is the ability to play anything you want to, as loudy as you want to, assuming you have the amps to drive the speakers. Again, the DA-1's will not dissapoint. They will play as loudly as any speaker I've previously owned, which would be the Legacy FOCUS. My test here is a Reference Recordings CD called "Holidays & Epiphanies" the music of Ron Nelson. This music, which I think is a must own, is played by the Dallas Wind Symphony and is real dynamic stuff, including some real impressive sounding Timpani's at various times throughout the track and especially toward the finale of the track. The sound here is glorius in its timbre and scale. All who come here want to listen to this piece, particularily track 2, the Sonoran Desert Holiday. My wife, who normally could care less about music played on the stereo, asks to be played this piece on a regular basis. In a large 18 x 24 ft room, with plenty of power provided by the Altecs at around 175 triode watts a side from two 811 output tubes's, or the bargain priced NAD C272's at 300 watts a side, the sound here is spectacular. Also, if you like AC/DC, as my 5 year old son does, they sound just great on these speakers.

Obviously, I like the DA-1's a lot. In fact, I love them. They just push all of my buttons. They look great, sound great on every kind of music I like to listen to, play as loudly and dynamically as any speaker I've heard and are priced more than fairly, especially if you consider their birch ply cabinet, construction techniques and level of finish.

There are a few caveats regarding the DA-1's. The speakers like current and although they might seem like a good match with SET's because of their high sensitivity, make sure you listen to this combo before you make a purchase decision. I've not heard them with SET's, and they might sound good, but as a multidriver speaker they also might not work as well as some alternatives with at least some damping factor. Also, make sure that the room you might situate them in will support them properly. They play big and seem to need room to breathe. I have them situated approximately 5 1/2 ft from the wall in back of them, about 3 feet in from the side wall with an absorption panel adjacent on the walls and about 13 ft apart from one another. I am about 13 ft away from them. I have only heard them here, so Lou can probably better help you in this regard. He is busy, so if you contact him, try and have patience. The speakers are worth it. One last thing is to make sure your preamp and amps are quiet. If not, the high sensitivity of the speakers will reproduce noise. I installed attenuators on my amps to deal with the noise issue with no discernable harm done to the sound.

I am not in the habit of writing "reviews", so I hope this information is helpful to those interested in the speakers. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me via e-mail at figcon@bellsouth.net or through this forum. I don't go to AudioCircle on a regular basis, although I will try to do better in this regard.

FIG AudioCircle.com

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