The new 800 Series Diamond was six years in development. As you can imagine, our engineers listened to a lot of music through all those iterations and developments. Andy Kerr, Senior Product Manager at the Steyning Research Establishment takes us through his top ten demo tracks for the new range.
1. Ivo Pogorelich – Andante-Adagio-Allegretto (Mozart: Piano Sonatas K.283 & K.331; Fantasia K.397)
Piano is one of the most challenging instruments to relay realistically. This stunning recording has exceptional presence and realism, and has always sounded fantastic on the outgoing 805 Diamonds. However, play it on the new 805 D3s and the improvement is immediate and, for the unsuspecting listener, almost shocking. The Continuum cone’s ability to quash unwanted noise and relay transients with immaculate accuracy is uncanny and as a result, this recording goes from merely wonderful to truly wondrous.
2. Gregory Porter – When Love Was King (Liquid Spirit)
This warm, emotionally engaging recording places Porter’s sonorous voice at the heart of a full and deep soundstage, and there’s a highly impressive lack of noise in the piece that will impress. But the emphasis here is also on spatial placement. Instrumental strands and vocal elements are perfectly placed in the image before you.
3. Chris Jones – No Sanctuary Here (Roadhouses and Automobiles)
The deep, elastic bassline of this track is particularly well served on a floorstanding loudspeaker such as the 804 D3. The emphasis here is on both low-frequency extension and overall bass character: the 804 D3’s strong cabinet and Matrix bracing are as influential as its new drive units when it comes to playing back a track like this.
4. ZZ Top – Blue Jean Blues (Fandango!)
Here, the emphasis is on the realism of Billy Gibbons’ wonderfully dexterous blues guitar solo. With a fantastic pair of loudspeakers like the new 804 D3 this track really comes to life. Listening to this excellent track you can forget about the niceties of hi-fi and simply enjoy the experience for what it is – a truly musical piece of music.
5. Lauren Dawes – Stormy Monday (For Eva)
Tweeter-on-top loudspeakers excel at relaying spatial cues: they’re great for conveying the realism of a live musical performance. Play this live piece of modern jazz – the opening double bass is a particular delight – on one of the headed models in the 800 Series Diamond and the performance is spellbinding.
6. John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts (Pale Green Ghosts)
Modern electronica with a familiar feel, this haunting track has excellent spaciousness, superb weight and real soundstage depth. It’s a great way to emphasise both the out-of-the-box character of the Turbine head and the exceptional stiffness of the new reverse-wrap cabinet. Bass is punched into the room effortlessly and cabinet coloration seems non-existent
7. Songs: Ohio – The Black Crow (The Lioness)
This majestic orchestral piece brings together low noise, excellent spatial placement, effortless extension and wonderful high-frequency performance. On great speakers, the violins are realistic but free from harshness even at high volumes. The piece is a great showcase for dynamics too, switching from subtle and delicate to soaring crescendo with exhilarating speed.
8. Dub Colossus – Azmari Dub (A Town Called Addis)
This track complements the orchestral scale of the LSO with the sofa-shaking dub inflections of the mighty Dub Colossus. Delivering deep bass is simple, but delivering deep bass that is expressive and well-modulated is far harder. Here, there’s a mountain of room-filling bass on show but it’s all cohesive and properly integrated into the piece. On the new 802 D3 you hear bass hanging between the speakers rather than confined within them, a testament to the stiffness of the reverse wrap cabinet plus the exceptional accuracy of the new Aerofoil bass cone.
9. Rose Cousins – One Way (We Have Made A Spark)
Furthering the notion that the new 800 Series Diamond is both our most insightful and our most refined loudspeaker yet, this intimate recording features just Cousins’ crystal clear voice and a spare piano backing. It’s a beautiful track, involving and intimate, and her characterful sound is relayed with both terrific detail and exceptional focus. Of course the larger 6in Continuum cone on the 802 D3 and its Turbine Head housing also play a big part in bringing you closer to this particular track.
10. Fink – This Is The Thing (Fink Meets The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra)
To finish, another live recording. This outstanding demo track places instruments and performers convincingly on the stage, it brims with details both subtle and vivid and most importantly, it sounds uncannily real. The soundstage is vast – unsurprising given that it was recorded at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam – and Fink’s vocals are a soaring delight, floating effortlessly above each 802 D3. The track builds and broods, bringing in weightier strands as it develops until it culminates in a muscular drum crescendo that is both thrilling and utterly convincing.