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Thread: Array 1400 at CES 2011

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    Array 1400 at CES 2011

    I voted JBL Array 1400 one of the top 5 best speakers at CES 2011. The speakers along with Mark Levinson gears outperformed many set ups that cost 5-10 times more. Here are the pictures of the JBL/Mark Levison set up:

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    Array 1400

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    Price List of the set up

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    Senior Member clmrt's Avatar
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    Besides the gear, where's the decorator's touch? One little plant?

    Isn't it true this series is discontinued already?

    Lot's of ???? from me, sorry.

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    Senior Member clmrt's Avatar
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    So I jumped on the S'phile site to see if there are any blurbs about JBL / CES, and the first thing you see is a big theater pair with horns (cool, but...). Then you see Westlake (!) selling $0.05 blocks of foam with holes made to keep cables the perfect distance apart, for $60.

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    http://stereophile.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by clmrt View Post
    So I jumped on the S'phile site to see if there are any blurbs about JBL / CES, and the first thing you see is a big theater pair with horns (cool, but...). Then you see Westlake (!) selling $0.05 blocks of foam with holes made to keep cables the perfect distance apart, for $60.

    More mixed with

    http://stereophile.com/
    Wow, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Some people think I'm easily duped and got suckered buying over-priced audio gear, but a look through that link leads me to believe I'm not nearly as whacked out as a lot of other folks.

    Some of it is best characterized by what? Absurd? Eccentric? Bizarre? Insane? No, no, none of those. I have it now: obscene.
    In.

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clmrt View Post

    Isn't it true this series is discontinued already?
    No, the 1400 Arrays are still available in the dark gray finish... which I believe is what is pictured above though it is hard to tell in photography. The 1000 and 800 Arrays are the speakers that have been discontinued.

    I agree that they are quite a bargain... not all of the crazy audiophile stuff is bad or stupidly expensive. Even though many audio fans/music lovers in the on line world consider "audiophile" a derogatory expression, I bet a random poll of the general public would consider the 1400 Arrays an "audiophile" system... I mean after all they don't look like furniture or disappear like a tiny Bose system.

    Widget

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    Senior Member audiomagnate's Avatar
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    I was there too...

    I heard the 1400s at the show as well. They started with a piano piece and I thought to myself, "Wow, that sounds like a real piano, but I'm sure they're going to fall apart on vocals and more complex musical material." Next came a Boz Scaggs tune and I was simply astounded at how "real" they sounded. I wasn't even in the sweet spot of the fairly small room, but I knew I was hearing something very special. By the time the remastered version of "What's New" by Frank Sinatra came on (which I own and am very familiar with) I had worked my way into the sweet spot. It was the most realistic sound I've ever heard from a stereo, ever, period.

    When I told the Harmon rep how good I thought they were he immediately started downplaying them, telling me I had to hear the K2s down in the truck at the Convention Center. After I pumped him for more information - they had no literature on the speakers whatsoever - he told me that Greg Timbers had stumbled upon the vertical mid/horizontal tweeter setup, but since they knew vertical horns would flop in Asia, they have never really tried to aggressively market the Array series. It almost seems as if they put these on the market to placate Greg (a total assumption on my part) but that all of the marketing effort goes to the K2/Everest line. I mean, who goes to a CES show without bringing literature?

    After hogging the sweet spot for about half an hour I left to listen to the new flagship Sonus Fabers. I'm sure this system was in the $500,000 plus range. Next I listened to the Wilson Alexandria x-2s with some incredible looking tube amps and associated gear. I happenned to see a price sheet for the whole system, it was around $670,000. These two systems sounded very similar to me. I would call them "polite." They certainly didn't sound anywhere near as real as the 1400s, but by this time I was starting to question my sanity. After all, the 1400's retail for a paltry $11,500 and use antiquated 1940s horn technology. How on earth could they sound better that the Wilsons which employ "anti-jitter technology" and which are constructed from "X material" which costs 14 times more than MDF.

    I returned to the Harmon suite after a few hours of this audiophile insanity to make sure I hadn't lost my mind, and sure enough the funny looking 1400s sounded every bit as wonderful as they had during my first visit.

    The next day I shuttled over to the Convention Center and located the Harmon truck out in the parking lot. This setup was more like a Disney ride than a somber audiophile listening session, but in between "rides" the nice folks at Harmon agreed to put their 7.4 channel Sythesis system into two channel bypass mode and play the two K2s with the same material I had heard the day before at the Venitian. Since I was the only non Harmon employee in the room I got the sweet spot. The K2s sounded excellent, really excellent but not as amazingly lifelike as the 1400s. To be fair, the truck had pretty horrible acoustics, no treatment, and they were using Synthesis electronics instead of Mark Levinson, so it wasn't a fair comparison.

    I have been chasing the Holy Grail of a real sounding loudspeaker since I was in college in the 70s. When I heard Mark Levinson's HQD (Hartley Quad Decca) system at the Palmer House in Chicago at some ancient CES show I immediately went home and tried to duplicate it on a student's budget. I even founded my own speaker company, KAS Audio, and designed, manufactured and sold a line of speakers and subwoofers which hold their own to this day. After all, almost every speaker out there today, no matter how insanely expensive, ends up reproducing the highs with a one inch dome tweeter and a cone midrange, as did my designs. The Dynaudio/Morel MDT28 - or a clone thereof - that I used back then is still in use today in most megabuck systems. The difference is, I charged $1000/pair for my floor standing speakers not $200,000.

    In short, I think the 1400s deserve to be in every snooty, tubed up audiophile salon in the country, where they would put to shame all the lifeless overpriced hokem that passes as "state of the art" these days.
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    Senior Member clmrt's Avatar
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    Great post, thanks!

    And thanks for taking a picture of that poor plant, too...

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    Senior Member audiomagnate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clmrt View Post
    Great post, thanks!

    And thanks for taking a picture of that poor plant, too...
    It reminds me of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. They were really pushing the Revel Salons in the front room, bringing the 1400s seems to have been an afterthought.

    I swear my ears resolve better than my crappy cell phone camera. Here's a shot of the truck that had the K2s.
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    Quote Originally Posted by audiomagnate View Post
    It reminds me of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. They were really pushing the Revel Salons in the front room, bringing the 1400s seems to have been an afterthought.

    I swear my ears resolve better than my crappy cell phone camera. Here's a shot of the truck that had the K2s.
    When I first heard they were going to do the whole Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey thing I knew it was the beginning of the end... they don't even bother setting up tents...

    I'm surprised someone remembered to bring the Arrays...

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    Checked out the Stereophile thread. The pair of $18,000 cables that look like 10kV high voltage cables cracks me up! To spend that kind of money on visual effects amazes me. Because anybody with some kind of common sense, knows that there's no way, that the inside of the amplifier or the speaker has cables looking anything like that. And even if it did, can you imagine taking that all the way to the voice coil? Looks cool, if you're a fool. I'll stick with the heavy gauge copper wire I get from Home Depot for my 4315's.

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    That Harman truck is some marketing genius's wet dream. It does a disservice to every product placed in it.

    Widget's room at the CAS was better than that truck, and it was far from good. Yet the Salons, Everests, 1400s played quite well in it, as did the very brief K2 demo. Plus, he's had both 1400 and K2 in his personal room, and he still has his 1400s.
    In.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regis View Post
    Checked out the Stereophile thread. The pair of $18,000 cables that look like 10kV high voltage cables cracks me up! To spend that kind of money on visual effects amazes me. Because anybody with some kind of common sense, knows that there's no way, that the inside of the amplifier or the speaker has cables looking anything like that. And even if it did, can you imagine taking that all the way to the voice coil? Looks cool, if you're a fool. I'll stick with the heavy gauge copper wire I get from Home Depot for my 4315's.
    If you've spent any kind of time at all around these people you'd know that they are anything but common.
    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome View Post
    That Harman truck is some marketing genius's wet dream. It does a disservice to every product placed in it.
    Most of the people at Harman are probably too busy watching their stock to care about much else. If they need to axe more people and outsource more of the company to get that <censored> stock up so be it. I'm pretty sure that 90% of them don't even know what any of this stuff is beyond "product".

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    "The Lotus Group's Granada speaker ($125,000/pair) combines 21st-century technology—a digital-domain crossover realized with DSP, including room correction—with distinctively retro loudspeaker engineering—frequencies above 200Hz are handled by a single Feastrex unit featuring a field-coil magnet and a paper diaphragm with a coincident "whizzer" cone. The paper used for the diaphragms is sourced from a Japanese "National Treasure" paper maker, Ichibei Iwano, and the surrounds are made from lambs' skin."

    PS: The lambs were carefully selected from the high mountains of Peru and were certified 'stress-free'. DNA Genetic purity was laboratory checked by an independent and certified Swiss Genetics Lab. Only pure white lambs were selected and any color variations were culled from the small herd of 12 available lambs, leaving three for production.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Regis View Post
    "The Lotus Group's Granada speaker ($125,000/pair) combines 21st-century technology—a digital-domain crossover realized with DSP, including room correction—with distinctively retro loudspeaker engineering—frequencies above 200Hz are handled by a single Feastrex unit featuring a field-coil magnet and a paper diaphragm with a coincident "whizzer" cone. The paper used for the diaphragms is sourced from a Japanese "National Treasure" paper maker, Ichibei Iwano, and the surrounds are made from lambs' skin."

    PS: The lambs were carefully selected from the high mountains of Peru and were certified 'stress-free'. DNA Genetic purity was laboratory checked by an independent and certified Swiss Genetics Lab. Only pure white lambs were selected and any color variations were culled from the small herd of 12 available lambs, leaving three for production.
    Lambs' skin!? For the love of all that's holy!!! Someone took Silence of the Lambs a bit too seriously...

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    Senior Member clmrt's Avatar
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    Maybe this all means that the 2-channel SOTA was acheived during the period between 1977-1986. Since then, the market has done nothing but gyrate, regurgitate, spin, market and embellish.

    Innovations come and go, things are refined, build quality and execution move to the fore. But the fact that glitz trumps reality is proof that there's really nothing left to conquer.

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