This speaker is not like any other, since it is able to reach a level of accuracy unknown to most of the competition. They have been designed by John Dunlavy, who has pioneered accuracy and sonic truth in all the speakers he has designed so far. It is interesting to point out that all his design always measure well, and listening to them can effect your listening habits. The SC-IV/As are able to highlight all the musical details that you can normally hear only in front of the live musical event. They are coherent, accurate, and are able to image like no other speaker.
Mr. Dunlavy is an engineer and relies a lot on acoustic and electrical measurements. Transients and impulse response are as equally important as perfect frequency response, and he stays far from empirical designs that many speaker manufactures often employ. This leads to an important part of the design: directivity and sound propagation in the listening room. They also match all the drivers in order to avoid any discontinuity in their radiation pattern. Dunlavy has also be able to control the diffraction of high frequency by using a patented special arrangement of the mid/high drivers, and is getting amazing results. They have also studied radiation patterns of many musicals instruments.
The closed box design, low Q configuration, symmetrical arrangement of the drivers, and proper loading all lead to a perfect design. One test is very critical: step response, with a perfect exponential decay. This is where most of the competition fails - having peaks and valleys instead, and showing poor phase relationship between drivers. It is also important to note that all Dunlavy models are designed this way, which leads to all of their models having the same sonic aesthetic.
The SC-IV/A is well built using MDF, with the cabinet wall thickness going from 2.5 centimeter up to 7 centimeter when it is necessary. This leads to a box weighting 74 kilograms and measuring 1.83 metre X 30.5 centimeter X 45.7 centimeter deep. The drivers used in the design originate from Vifa and Scanspeak, 2 X 25 centimeter for bass, 2 X13 centimeter for midrange and 1X 2.5 centimeter fabric dome tweeter. On the lower back of the speaker there are two sets of five ways binding posts - one set for bass, and one set for mid/high. Behind the five ways posts are located the crossovers which use high quality parts, such as high current polypropylene capacitors (French made), ceramic resistors, and huge air core inductors. The crossover is designed to have maximum phase linearity using a 6 dB /octave slope which allows the speaker to measure within +/- 1 dB from 32 Hz to 20 000 Hz, with +/- 20 degrees maximum phase shift within that frequency range. Careful placement of the speaker in the listening room allows the speaker to achieve 20 Hz in the +/- 3dB range.
The SC-IV/A are impressive in the way they are able to convey the smallest details of the musical event. They can give the listener goose bumps in the way they sound so real, with their fast bass, the silence between the musical notes, and an absolute coherency of the message delivered.
In Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" (Reference Recording RR70CD), the timpanis sound real, with the pitch and speed so accurate, and the size of instrument being perfect. The settling time of bass is also very true, (getting real timber of bass is always difficult with many other speakers), and here the SC-IV/As give you those timbers so true and accurate. In medieval music, the strokes on drums reach a level of accuracy that you have the feeling of the instruments present in the room. Polyphonic songs melody lines never collapse, and males voices have their right pitch with no emphasis in the lower mids, meaning that the speaker has no boxy sound at all.
In the Cesar Franck's "Ava Maria" all the subtle modulation effects on the syllables are there with an unbelievable presence. The soprano singer pushes a note in the 'fff' range, and the speaker reproduce it without any stress, while the continuo produced by the organ in the background can still be heard. At the same time, the natural reverb in the church gives the true dimension of the venue.
On the Franz Shubert mass the credo featuring two tenors and a soprano, all three voices are accurately delineated with air around them. The orchestra sounds real in the background with an extraordinary liquidity - you have the feeling that just the music is there and the speaker is not. In a sonnet for harp and double bass - again goose bumps! The effect is so true with an holophonic image, with the harp in the background and air around the instrument. String touches are perfectly audible, while the double bass in the foreground is full with its true pitch.
What else is there to say? Go listen and discover for yourself what this amazing speaker can do for you.
ROOM and SYSTEM information for this review
ROOM SIZE : 18 x 15 x 8 FEET RT60 of the room
(REVERB TIME to get -60dB of the initial sound)
LISTENING POSITION : 10 FEET from each speaker in the largest dimension (9 FEET between speakers).
CD player : MARK LEVINSON ML37
D to A CONVERTER : MARK LEVINSON ML360S (24 bits 192kHz)
PREAMP : MARK LEVINSON ML380S
AMP : MARK LEVINSON ML334 (2x130 watts 8 ohms)
DIGITAL CABLE : REVAR AUDIO ULTRA LINK AES/EBU 110 ohms
INTERCONNECT : SILTECH G3 technology
SPEAKER CABLES : DUNLAVY Z6
MAINS LINE CABLES : Z-CENTER and Z-CORD II by MIT
ACCESSORIES : REVAR AUDIO LINE CURRENT PROCESSOR between
output of ML360S and SILTECH INTERCONNECT and
between output of ML380S and SILTECH INTERCONNECT
going to the ML334 . The purpose of theLine Current Processor
is to eliminate cable artifact and random energy storage .
translation by PORT ROYAL AUDIO
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