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Thread: My feeling on S2's

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2017

    Default My feeling on S2's

    Just wanted to give my thought on S2's. Before that, i should talk about speakers I've owned and still own.

    When I worked at an audio store named Audio Insight, my boss Larry was co-designer with Paul Hales of Hales design Group. So, needless to say, I learned a lot about speakers and design. This does not mean I'm an expert, just that I was around it for almost a decade. When I started working for Larry, they were just finishing a speaker called the Hales Revelation 3--I still own a pair to this day--it's a fabulous speaker. The other designs I was around were the Hales Transcendence series based on the Seas Excel drivers. Paul loved Seas drivers--he thought they were some of the best he's ever heard. The tweeters were Vifa from Germany that Paul and Larry designed--with double magnet assembly and a special design in the back of the tweeter getting rid of eddy current. To this day Paul and Larry are so secretive that they won't talk about the design. Also they made some type of unique sealed enclosure for the tweeters and midrange. The Transcendence line was made up of 5 speakers, all using a Seas 5 inch midrange designed by Paul. The T-1 two way with excel 6 1/2 inch woofer with Vifa tweeter was a fabulous speaker. The T-3 three way used Excel 5 inch Seas mid with 8 inch proprietary woofer and the same Vifa tweeter. The T-5 10 inch three way used the same mid and tweeter drivers as T-3. The big T-8 had a dual 10 inch woofer by aluma pro--an incredible speaker that I still own today. Last was the Transcendence center, a three-way dual 8 inch Excel woofer and the Excel 5 inch mid and Vifa tweeter designed by Paul and Larry, with the same configuration as the Horizon. In my opinion, a three-way center is way better than a two-way center, especially the ones with a woofer/tweeter/woofer array. I think these speakers are fabulous and I will never sell mine. I have replacement drivers for all--cost me a fortune but they will last me a lifetime. Also Paul and Larry matched the drivers vertically and horizontally per pair. They also color coded each speaker so if you ever had a driver problem, you could match exactly to your speaker. Mine are all reds, so all my extra drivers have a red dot on them to match to my speakers. These guys went the extra mile. They are also all driver matched to less than 1 db to each other. The drivers were matched vertically and horizontally to each other.

    I also owned a pair of first gen B&W 805 diamond that got rave reviews, but I sold them. I'm not going to elaborate--I think you get the reason why I sold them. Also had a original pair of Sonus Faber Cremonas, the last speaker Franco designed under the Sonus name before his untimely death. I love those speakers.
    Ok, the S2's--a lot of people rave about the Raal tweeter and I agree. It is awesome--incredible horizontal dispersion makes for easy setup and having no toe-in sounds best to me. But I think sometimes we forget how nice the Seas curved driver is, and that, in my opinion, is why this speaker is stunning. When I asked Paul and Larry what is the hardest part of speaker design, they always said the bass, especially on the T-8 where there's two woofers seeing different space and they had to get them to work together. But even on all the Hales speakers they said the bass was most difficult. That's why Paul and Larry designed all woofers for both the Revelation and Transcendence series. The Sierra nails the bass which is why the Raal is not something that stands out to me. Yes, it's special, but the S2's are so well voiced, it speaks as one. I really don't hear a weakness at all. To me, in the 805 diamond, I always heard the tweeter and could not listen past it. The Sierra checks all the hifi buttons to me--tonal balance superb, coherence superb, image size superb, dynamics micro and macro superb. And let me just say, the accurate and tuneful bass is some of the best mid to low end I've ever heard on a monitor. The width of stage is superb also. People talk about a lack of vertical height, but not for me. When I hear a cymbal rise out of the cabinets--well, just wow! I think Dave is one of the top speaker designers in the world. I'm very impressed by this speaker. He has done his homework and is giving people a speaker that competes at any level, in my opinion. No, I have not heard the Magico two-way-- don't need to.

    As you can tell I have a special place in my heart for Hales speakers, because I was even asked to listen and give my opinion during development and I was around for all of Paul and Larry designs. But the Sierra 2 has a place in my heart too. It is a fabulous speaker. We are very lucky to be able to own a world class monitor at this price. This speaker could sell for A LOT MORE. It has a beautiful build quality in my opinion. The Seas curved driver is special and so is the Raal. They are definitely exotic drivers in a beautiful cabinet with one voice. I'm giddy over this special little dude. It's a stunning design that makes me happy and tap my feet. After all, it's about the music and the speaker getting out of the way. Well done, Mr Dave, well done. Oh trial period over you can keep my money!
    Last edited by Wadia171i; 02-15-2017 at 03:26 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    S.E. La. - USA

    Thumbs up Re: My feeling on S2's

    Well Wadia, you clearly qualify as a "critical listener"! Wonderful you are enjoying their musical attributes!

    The Sierra-2 Is a stunning performer, getting out of the way as a transducer and allowing the music to effortlessly flow into the room! I totally agree on the excellent horizontal dispersion pattern of the RAAL and the quality of the Seas 6" Curv woofer in keeping-up and "matching" the performance of the S-2 top end. Dave and AA has done superb engineering to achieve what may be one of the Best 2-way monitors on the planet. To do so at their asking price is truly the biggest feat!

    In my music room, I did try the Sierra 2's for some time. Alas, I was not able to easily integrate their limited vertical dispersion characteristics into my environment. My thread on this subject started HERE and ended HERE! After watching the "LUNA" development get started and to where it is currently now (in production with limited reviews), believe the smaller baffle and 4.5" curv woofer along with a possibly more open mid-range, would integrate better into my small near-field intimate 990cf audio room (9'wX10'dx11'h)!

    I haven't approached Dave to get his recommendations concerning this upgrade from my current Sierra-1 NrT's to the Luna's, but when they become more common place in their business sales, will get his take on my situation!

    Last edited by theophile; 08-20-2017 at 06:44 PM.
    Sierra-1 NrT's, Axiom EP 500, Emotiva USP-1, Emotiva UPA-2, Phillips CD880 (dedicated 2.1 listening room)!

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