The Greatest HiFi in the World!  ...that I've heard
I have standards for sound reproduction when reviewing gear. Once a minimum threshold is met; each system will have its own merits and compromises.
For my stereo I have a higher standard. I require it to have super powers. The kind of machine that is worthy of saluting when you enter the room. Power ultimate, shredding all of the world's problems and replacing them by force. When the world is collapsing around me - kids jumping in my face, back hurting, the wife giving me a look of distain, and responsibilities knocking on every door - I can lean back, up the volume, close my eyes, let musical emotion wash over me and I shed a tear of joy. A good stereo is man's best friend.
The Selah Audio Mejor Supreme is an experiment gone right. With the top cabinet being Mejor, and the subwoofer stands Supreme, translated means "Better Superior."
Back in 2008 Rick Craig of Selah Audio wanted to make a 2-way speaker using the new Scanspeak Illuminator 7 inch driver, but the driver has issues where it would normally crossover to a smaller ribbon or even most dome tweeters. To make it work he would need a high order crossover slope, only available with DSP, and use the larger RAAL ribbon, which you won't normally find in even the most high of the highend. Using this plan the DEQX system was speced as the right tool for the job. The larger RAAL ribbon covers as much as possible while keeping it free from distortion and self destruction. Given that the DEQX is designed as a three way digital crossover, subwoofer stands for the monitors were designed using two 10 inch, new at the time, Audiopulse drivers from TC Sounds, making a solid foundation for the system.
The Serbian made RAAL Ribbon tweeter took the industry by surprise back in 2007 when it showed up in a few designs at RMAF, making nearly everything else sound lacking by comparison. With specs like 13,000G's of acceleration and an extremely wide horizontal but controlled vertically dispersion pattern this thing is built for speed. On the Mejor they are surface mounted, and do not seem to be affected by the baffle at all, projecting sound from almost in front of speakers with 90 degrees off axis horizontally being just as flat and clear as directly on axis.
Holding a big RAAL in hand you feel the weight of about 5 pounds of neodymium, transforming the holder into Magneto.
The prettiest of all of the Scanspeak drivers. A sequel to the more industrious Revelator line, the Iluminator's have neodymium ring magnets and a embossed multilayer paper cone to reduce breakup distortion.
The basket design gets everything out of the way, reducing backwave interference.
These are the definition of not fucking around. 11 inch diameter, 20 pounds, 2 inches of peak to peak excursion, and 600 watt power handling each mounted in a sealed box. With a large shorting cap and a faraday ring they play cleaner and more efficient than most subwoofer drivers. To prep these monsters for use with standard power amps the dual 2 ohm voice coils in each driver are wired up in series as an 8 ohm load.
Massive 8 inch spider with lead wires threaded helps avoid rattles and keeps the cone movement linear. The blue basket is a bit much, but at least it's not visible once the driver is mounted.
The heart of the system, making it all possible.
The Australian made DEQX corrects the system using multiple layers of 24 bit 96k FIR filters to +-0.5dB on axis using linear phase higher order crossovers between drivers, and digital delay to create perfect anechoic time/phase alignment above 150Hz.
For bass response a Parametric EQ is provided to tame room modes or extend bass response.
As the subwoofers have the headroom I boost the .54 Q subs to flat out to 20Hz, and do only minimal cutting of the room modes to keep the sound balanced.
This 2.6 unit has been upgraded to a 3.0 housing and separate toroidal power supplies for the digital and analog sides of the preamp.
This is the only passive component in the system, a cap that protects the RAAL ribbon from self destructing during the DEQX calibration process. And I do mean process, the DEQX manual is about 1 inch thick and can easily overwhelm someone new to speaker design.
The cabinets are 1.5 inch thick MDF veneered in ribbon striped mahogany. The fit and finish on these speakers is top notch. They are very heavy with the sub cabinet weighing in at 90 pounds each, and the tops about 40 pounds. That foam is Sonic Barrier acoustic sound damping. When taking the speakers apart I noticed this one panel had partially come unglued from the raging maelstrom that the cabinets contained over the past 7 years. A helping of hot glue fixed it up good as new.
This stereo has headroom. It can get loud enough to push walls and stay flat without congestion at 110dB levels. Because this is an active setup it required 6 channels of amplification: two for the tweeters, two for the midwoofers, and two for the subs. I use a variety of amps depending on the weather. Class A(300wpc) for winter supplied by my stack of old Kinergetics KBA-75's, an Adcom GFA7707 Class A/B (600wpc) for spring/fall, and I'm putting together a new group of class D iNuke amps(1400wpc) for Summer. The power being pulled from the walls varies inversely, with the class A regularly throwing 20 amp breakers and heating the whole house, and the Class D pulling only a couple hundred watts from the wall at listening volume.
This Adcom is a beast, it weighs 125 pounds.
This is my room. It's too small for my stereo, way too small.
The room width is fine, I get 5 feet from the tweeters to the side walls, so my brain can do a good job of separating reflections from direct sound. In a perfect world there would be at least 8 more feet behind my couch, but we play with the cards we are dealt.
Standing in the room you are too close to the speakers, all of the high frequency information sounds reflected, like the stereo is in another room.
Sitting down on the couch, and the sound is transformed. Given a few seconds for your brain to adjust to the energy in the room and then it happens, the direct sound fully engages you. Imaging is pin point, well beyond the speakers and even the room's reach. For a soft ballad you can place everything on the sound stage, not separate from you, but there with you. You can't just listen, and are forced to hear the music. When a song comes on that wants to attack, your animal brain goes into protection mode and you hold your breath instinctively like your head was just shoved under water. The illusion becomes real when a bass note hits and vibrates your bone structure with speed like a hammer to your kneecap. Speed rare in even larger dedicated rooms.
This system gives music power over the listener.
Now it's not perfect, no stereo is. Occasionally a bass note will blur into a room mode and hang for a little longer than they should, and I've heard other systems do tricks this one can't. Those systems had their own problems which I consider to be too much of a compromise. All things considered, especially the room, this system is as good as it's going to get.
In the past I've said that my stereo is frustratingly good. It is, because I have searched far and wide looking for something better and have yet to find anything that measures up.
I truly believe this is one of the world's finest HiFi's. It has the kind of minimal compromises I can live with in my small room, and keeps me up at night thinking of what it could do given room to breathe.
If you are interested in picking up some world class speakers I suggest you give Rick Craig at Selah Audio a call. He is a savant when it comes to designing speakers, putting out new designs whenever the need or mood strikes him. He has worked with some of the best in the industry including helping Don Keele make his CBT line array a reality, and assisted Jim Griffin with some of the earliest implementation of arrays for home use. His work is good, he is honest and will not do you wrong.
You can find more of his work over at Selah Audio's website, or you can check out the Audiocircle community for more listening impressions of his speakers.
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