Vincent Brient is French guy who has built an interesting installation that I think worth to analyze. Years back Vincent was an enthusiast, like normal people, but it looks recently he turned “pro” and came to audio market with his own version of multibit DAC. There is nothing wrong with it of course by my attention will be about Vincent’s own playback not about his audio product.
The Vincent speaker is custom made 185Hz -18KHz ribbon tweeter with their order high-pass. He estimated that it has around 95-96 dB sensitivity. The 38Hz exponential midbass horn with Altec 515G with a composite crossover at vicinity of 280Hz. An infinite baffle ULF operating from 10Hz to 30Hz, built in horizontal array. The system is bi-amped with 300B, the ULF is driven most likely with a SS amps, crossovered with d-crossover as I understand built-in into DAC. It might be not, I do not know exactly. Anyhow, here is the setup, for sure it is different.
As usually I will be talking about what I do not like and where some pitfalls might lay.
The midbass horns are firing right at the listening position – this is not good as midbass need to “age” before it reaches ears. The ULF is radiating from between MF – this is a big no-no in my book, even not as stupid as radiating from another room as I used to have until recently. I would much rather would like the infinite baffle ULF to sit on the two short vertical columns on the right and left of the horns, if the space permits. Still my main objection to this playback is the MF ribbon driver.
Sure, no one know what it is and how it sounds but I can bet all money in my pocket that with this size it has problematic HF, not to mention that being a ribbon it sound worse with each Hz of lower extension. I know, it is elegant idea to have wide-band ribbon but there is a reason why reasonable people do not do it – because ribbons suck in wide-band. It is not to mention that they have absolutely no tonal characteristic. Tonally ribbon is like sucking plastic pencil instead of smoking Cohiba. If you suck wooden pencil then you still have some “feeling” as you feel some wood and paint smell in your mouth. The “taste” of plastic pencil is the true tone of true ribbon transducers. Even plannars with thier film wrappers have some tone. The best true ribbons are free from any tone.
I do not think that Vincent Brient’s playback sounds too advance. I truly would like to see in there some kind of sane MF channel, preferably 105-106 sensitivity. It looks like Vincent had it in past and stepped out from it. It is hard to guess why. He might be was not able to get his MF to sound properly of he might not have proper referees what “proper MF sound” would entail. There is a remote chance that he use his 300B amp that drives the Ribbon to specially colorize the total output of MF but I did not detect any signs of it.
I do think that Vincent needs to swallow his DIY pride and return back to 2-3 describe channels replacing this ribbon monster. I am sure that if he does so then he will post information at his site.