On December 13th and 20th, we tested a total of eight floorstanding speakers at Alpha. Live on Youtube. With live music. It was a great experience to do that. And it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the participants, the band, the entire team behind the streams and you as the viewer! For your convenience, let’s walk past the candidates and name the highlights This was one of the largest and most complex tests in the history of Alpha Audio. Not so much because of the eight floorstanders; we’ve done that before. It’s more the combination of eight candidates, live music, sampling, control and the fact that it’s live: so it should be interesting and useful to watch. Plus the recording of a live track from the live band and the use of that recording in the test. You get the idea: it’s not easy. However, we like a challenge.
We have set up two systems to perform this test. One system is a complete NAIM system with a 252 pre-amp and a 300DR power amplifier. Both with an external power supply. So it is brutal. The second amplifier is our own Yamaha A-S2200. The price is more in line with the speakers. However, we have also very consciously added the NAIM. This to remove any weak link; we want to get the most out of the speakers.
As source we use a Sonnet Audio Hermes and a Sonnet Audio Morpheus. The morpheus is set to -3dB to prevent clipping. A standard NUC with Roon Rock takes care of the processing of the audio files. We stream FLAC files from a USB drive inside the NUC. We used Driade Flow speaker cable.
The live recording will be done by Martijn van Artone Studio. He levels everything and takes care of the high-res export of the track. Note: this is not a master. A master usually sounds even more polished.