I recently came across an intriguing article on SoundStage! Australia where Edgar Kramer was writing a report on his visit to the Arcam factory in the UK.
(full article here)
Arcam have built two studios within the complex to showcase their equipment. One is a theatre, and the other is a dedicated two channel room which at the time of Edgar’s visit featured their top of the range pre-power amplifier combination. What caught my attention was that one of the two pair of speakers used in this room was a pair of Brigadiers Audio BA-2 speakers from Australia. On many occasions we have sung the praises of the smaller speaker from this stable – the OneAudio Mu.2. While many would contend that $5,500 is a lot to pay for a bookshelf speaker, we can assure you that there are not many speakers out there that will better the performance of the Mu.2 (bookshelf or not).
Brigadiers is a loose group of local designers and engineers who specialise in speaker design. This group includes Brad Serhan of Orpheus Loudspeaker fame, and who was one of the team that developed the remarkable Axis Voicebox ‘S’, another favourite of ours.
Why this article resonated with me is that I am fairly sure that Brigadiers do not have a distributor (yet) in the UK. Arcam could have chosen any speaker they wanted – speaker manufacturers would be falling over themselves to have their speakers in the Arcam showroom. I don’t know how it came about that their speaker of choice is the BA-2, but it is a big feather in the cap for the local boys.
Edgar’s comments were ‘The BA-2’s performance was nothing short of astonishing’.
High praise indeed.
While on the subject of Brigadiers some of the team, along with Les Davis of Les Davis Audio, recently spent some (considerable) time in our showroom assembling a turntable based system around the Mu.2 speakers.
Their final selection was a Prima Luna Dialogue Premium HP valve integrated amplifier, Rega Planar 6 turntable with Les Davis mat, Rega Aria phono stage, Inakustik LS1603 speaker cable, Sound Organisation Z1 speaker stands, and a pair of Mu.2’s.
I found this to be an interesting process. This was a team of very qualified people with no allegiance to any brand or product outside of the speakers. They had free reign over everything in the store, and the result was a very involving, musical system. While the combination would come in at a little under $20,000 the system outshone many systems I have heard costing many times this amount.
There are many characteristics that make up any system, but in my opinion the main one should be involvement. Does the system draw you into the music – in fact the hardware itself should vanish. You should be able to simply become immersed in the music itself.
When some of the best minds (ears?) in the industry come together to research what they consider to be the best combination for a specific pair of speakers we should not have expected anything less.