Philharmonic 3 Review

Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
9,405 64 3
#23
So you're another Alex. I think I'm starting to see a pattern here but you will from here on be known as Old Southern Alex (OSA).

They sound better in Alex's room than my Living Room
I noticed that they sounded better in Dennis' space than YAA's space. I think it's got something to do with the wooden floor over a basement that uses the stair way as a port for extra boom and floor rumble.

I've never liked looking closely at my own woodwork.
I'm doing okay looking at your woodwork in the MB-27s. Modifying those grills to fit over the GR Research mid was slick. I love the aesthetics of that curved shiny cabinet with a grill. Plus the router work was tight.

Dennis' cabinet manufacturer, Del, makes some rock solid enclosures. Salk does have better finishes and that is reflected in the price. Gotta pay to play ... unless you know Kurt. :)
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,156 14 4
#25
So you're another Alex. I think I'm starting to see a pattern here but you will from here on be known as Old Southern Alex (OSA).
Unless you're suggesting that Kurt has a thing for Alex's, I'm not sure of the pattern. But will gladly accept my new nickname! Especially since neither of those terms have ever been used to describe me, despite my hairline!


I noticed that they sounded better in Dennis' space than YAA's space. I think it's got something to do with the wooden floor over a basement that uses the stair way as a port for extra boom and floor rumble.
Don't know YAA, but speakers of this quality do require mindful set up and location. This is when good speakers can sound mediocre simply because of the room. And the Phils sure did when placed in Kurt's living room, and so I was 'put off'. But then I kept reading Toole's 'Sound Reproduction' (still not finished but it also is covered in Hi-Liter and folded corners...) and looking over the Phil's website and said, "There must be more that I'm not hearing!" So I asked to bring them over and took time placing them and adjusting stuffing etc. and was mesmerized! Acoustic only music has never sounded so good! But even then, electric guitars and basses come through with such distinction, that you can hear the tonal differences of guitar pick ups and the skill each note is played with; similar to a single tube Class A guitar amp, you must play perfectly cause of the short signal path, that it exacerbates any slight string buzz or weak fingering!

I bring up 'dialogue intelligibility' in threads a lot, and for example, if you've ever watched either Pitch Perfect, the quiet asian girl that mumbles her lines, she is heard with perfect clarity in my room. And I've achieved clarity like that with every set of speakers reviewed. From the room's transition frequency, to about 3000 hz it would seem to me that reproduction of those frequencies is more dependent on speaker placement than of the driver's ability to reproduce all the nuances. You simply can't hear the nuances with a poorly placed speaker. And distance to the rear wall is key!


Dennis' cabinet manufacturer, Del, makes some rock solid enclosures. Salk does have better finishes and that is reflected in the price. Gotta pay to play ... unless you know Kurt. :)
Apparently Del moved to Hawaii, so Salk is the man, now. I have not ever communicated with Salk, but Dennis was quite impressed with Jim's 'no compromise' approach to finishing. And as someone who does furniture grade, hand rubbed finishes, it is an incredibly time consuming process! And you have little control! Each piece of wood varies in the number of coats it needs, and temp/humidity means the difference between applying one coat in 24 hrs, or five coats! And the Arm-R-Seal that I use, needs 2 weeks to cure!
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,335 10 2
#26
I'm doing okay looking at your woodwork in the MB-27s. Modifying those grills to fit over the GR Research mid was slick. I love the aesthetics of that curved shiny cabinet with a grill. Plus the router work was tight.
That's because I didn't make those shiny black curved cabinets – I bought them from Parts Express :D. They came with no cut outs in the front baffle, so I did rout them. I used a black Sharpie pen to hide little bit of unpainted wood that showed around the tweeter flange. You need a flashlight to see that. Love those BLACK baffles. To get the grills to fit around the mid woofs, I used trial & error with a Dremel tool.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,335 10 2
#27
YAA (Young Asian Alex) is fuzz092888. He also has Phil 3s and a matching center. He made the Philharmonic Audio web site for Dennis.

Really enjoying reading your impressions of the Phil 3s. Have you played with different amounts of stuffing behind the mid range driver?

Dennis Murphy and Jim Salk teamed up a good 10 years ago. Dennis designed at least the crossovers for nearly all of Salk's speakers. Some speakers, such as the SongTowers, were his concept from the start.

When I first met Dennis, I was an eager newbie to DIY speaker building. I was going to get myself a design rig, and make my own. Then I heard Dennis's DIY designs and that changed my mind. I was happy to build what he designs.
 
Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
9,405 64 3
#28
YAA=fuzz=Site developer for Dennis.

Young Asian Alex ...

I've been called OEEA. Old Eastern European Alex.

That open back does allow for variable stuffing depending on what you need as is determined by boundary proximity. How does that work? The closer the wall, the less stuffing? I was never clear on that.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
Ratings
4,335 10 2
#29
That open back does allow for variable stuffing depending on what you need as is determined by boundary proximity. How does that work? The closer the wall, the less stuffing? I was never clear on that.
I got the impression from Dennis that it was for the owner to vary according to preference. Think of it as way for the owner to control the apparent depth of the sound stage.

Less stuffing allows more mid range back wave to reflect off the rear wall, and more stuffing reduces the back wave. I guess it simulates moving the speaker closer to or further from the wall behind it, all without moving that large heavy cabinet.
 
fuzz092888

fuzz092888

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,913 42 1
#30
I noticed that they sounded better in Dennis' space than YAA's space. I think it's got something to do with the wooden floor over a basement that uses the stair way as a port for extra boom and floor rumble.
Mine didn't have nearly enough space to breath when you heard them. In the space they're in now, they definitely sound better, but still aren't in an ideal location. The best place for them would probably be in the basement, but I wasn't crazy about the idea of having them in the dedicated HT.

Dennis' cabinet manufacturer, Del, makes some rock solid enclosures. Salk does have better finishes and that is reflected in the price. Gotta pay to play ... unless you know Kurt. :)
Del's cabs are great, although they do have some minor imperfections that would never show up on a Salk cab.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,156 14 4
#31
Yes the open back planar functions like a dipole, and I preferred it playing loud and proud with no stuffing. I guess if you have an overly reflective room you might keep the stuffing in. I found it to sound more transparent without stuffing.

With what the Phil's came with, I tried partial and full stuffing, right up behind the drivers themselves. Still preferred no fluff!
 
fuzz092888

fuzz092888

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,913 42 1
#32
Yes the open back planar functions like a dipole, and I preferred it playing loud and proud with no stuffing. I guess if you have an overly reflective room you might keep the stuffing in. I found it to sound more transparent without stuffing.

With what the Phil's came with, I tried partial and full stuffing, right up behind the drivers themselves. Still preferred no fluff!
For the room they were in, I had to have them stuffed fairly heavily, which did kill a lot of the spaciousness. Nowadays I have very little stuffing in one, and the other lightly stuffed and I think they sound much better.
 
D

Dennis Murphy

Audioholic General
Ratings
1,905 3
#33
For the room they were in, I had to have them stuffed fairly heavily, which did kill a lot of the spaciousness. Nowadays I have very little stuffing in one, and the other lightly stuffed and I think they sound much better.
There aren't any hard and fast rules about the amount of stuffing. It will depend on the room, but also on the type of music you play. If that's mainly studio mixes of popular vocals, and not much reverb has been added, there's not much point to the open back, and I would stuff it heavily. For music sources recorded in a real venue with natural ambiance, I would use a lot less stuffing. I personally always have at least some stuffing in there, because I can hear a box resonance in the lower midrange even with the absorbent material I apply to the interior walls of the upper cabinet.
 
fuzz092888

fuzz092888

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,913 42 1
#34
There aren't any hard and fast rules about the amount of stuffing. It will depend on the room, but also on the type of music you play. If that's mainly studio mixes of popular vocals, and not much reverb has been added, there's not much point to the open back, and I would stuff it heavily. For music sources recorded in a real venue with natural ambiance, I would use a lot less stuffing. I personally always have at least some stuffing in there, because I can hear a box resonance in the lower midrange even with the absorbent material I apply to the interior walls of the upper cabinet.
Interesting. I can't remember what music Alex brought with him, but I think quite a few tracks we listened to were recorded live and the boxes were definitely stuffed heavily. Placement was also a little bit sketchy based on your recommendations, so that didn't help.
 
tyhjaarpa

tyhjaarpa

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
426 2 10
#36
I wish I didn't read this topic.. Makes me want to buy a pair when I'm moving to bigger house in years to come and would have room for them! Have only read positive things about these speakers and the used parts as well sound really good! Maybe not the prettiest speakers but I can imagine how good they sound.
 
TheWarrior

TheWarrior

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,156 14 4
#37
I wish I didn't read this topic.. Makes me want to buy a pair when I'm moving to bigger house in years to come and would have room for them! Have only read positive things about these speakers and the used parts as well sound really good! Maybe not the prettiest speakers but I can imagine how good they sound.
They're not cheap, but I really don't know of a speaker that can function so well without a sub, and have those incredible highs and mids for under $4k. And if that now includes Jim Salks wood working, then these are will always win for best value in the high end space!
 
tyhjaarpa

tyhjaarpa

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
426 2 10
#38
They're not cheap, but I really don't know of a speaker that can function so well without a sub, and have those incredible highs and mids for under $4k. And if that now includes Jim Salks wood working, then these are will always win for best value in the high end space!
They are not cheap indeed, but only twice the price of KEF R500 pair that I own now and if they are as good as I imagine they are well worth their price tag.
 
fuzz092888

fuzz092888

Audioholic Warlord
Ratings
4,913 42 1
#39
They are not cheap indeed, but only twice the price of KEF R500 pair that I own now and if they are as good as I imagine they are well worth their price tag.
I heard a pair of Kef R500's with a Funk Audio sub over at @Steve81 's house and they were darn good. I haven't compared the Kef's directly to my Phil's, but the Kef's are no slouch. For full range play, I think the Phil's beat the Kef's, but crossed over to some capable subs and I think it's a bit more even. A big advantage that the Phil's have on some material is that open back mid.
 
tyhjaarpa

tyhjaarpa

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
426 2 10
#40
I heard a pair of Kef R500's with a Funk Audio sub over at @Steve81 's house and they were darn good. I haven't compared the Kef's directly to my Phil's, but the Kef's are no slouch. For full range play, I think the Phil's beat the Kef's, but crossed over to some capable subs and I think it's a bit more even. A big advantage that the Phil's have on some material is that open back mid.
R500 are fine speakers I can't deny that, that is the reason I have them. But Phil's have those mid/high range elements with well engineered crossover that I believe will produce more open sound than R500. Of course I haven't heard the Phil's and can't really say how they sound for comparison.
 

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