The JM Labs 'Electra 926' replaced a pair of KEF Reference 3 / two as my main two channel speakers, the latter having been 'demoted' to home theater duties.
The main difference between the two speakers, is the level of articulation the French speakers offer, combined with deep but very fast and tuneful bass notes, as against the, evidently, slightly slower bass of the KEFs.
The Electra is a delight to listen to, especially for the human voice as well as, individual instruments that do sound amazingly real. Clarity, transparency and realism are simply breathtaking, matching in my opinion that of most electrostatic or panel speakers.
They do need room around them, to give the air and sense of spaciousness they're capable off, so careful positioning is a must.
One other important point about them is the fact that, for such an airy and transparent speaker, one has to be careful with amplification. At the end of an overly bright sounding amplifier, they might become a bit too enthusiastic in the higher frequencies so, choose your amplifier carefully.
In my case, I alternate between a Yaqin MC 100B valve amp. from China ( pair of KT88 output valves, in ultra linear or triode switchable modes), and a pair of Bryston 7B SST mono block monsters, with no less than 600 watts on tap (8 ohm), an overkill for the Electras no doubt, but never the less, extracting the very best from them, with extended bass and unprecedented authority while, keeping the delicate nature of the midrange and purity of the higher notes, totally un affected.
So, for low(ish) level listening the Yaqin is more than capable with its' 36 watts in triode mode, with all the qualities of valve amplification present in all it's glory.
For more demanding listening sessions, connecting the Brystons brings the orchestra or singer, literally, in the room, with frightening realism and authority.
Like Sam Telling ( of Stereophile magazine, in his review of the 926's), while listening to these, I often wonder why would one need to spend more money to get to audio nirvana.. They're THAT good!
These are truly reference transducers that can challenge much more expensive offerings, do have a listen if you can get your hands on a pair!
I haven't had the opportunity to test them against the newer Electra's with the Beryllium tweeter but I suspect, there's not going to be much between them.
I owned B&W CDM 7. Overall nice speaker but with time I couldn't stand the metalic shimmer in the treble. In my search for a new speakers I auditioned Triangle - didn't like them, Sonus Faber Grand Piano Home - not bad, Vienna Acoustics Beethoven very nice speaker, vey musical, Dynaudio Audience and Contour - my second favourite, naturally sounding speaker (new Contours were still to come), Jmlab Electra (and a few more). Out of the box bass was a bit boomy and treble aggressive. After the burn in
Electra is a very smooth sounding speaker, musical, not as much forward as my previous boxes, especially in the midrange. Bass, though not very deep is very fast, very tight, gives the speakers authority. This frequency area is as good as midtones. And the passage in the midrange is impecable. Highs are smooth, precise and quite airy. One of the most transparent speakers I've heard. Very impressive. It's resolution enables enjoying the ambience of the recording venue.
Soundstage is good, very wide with good depth and nice layering. Images are 3D but focus could be a little better.
926 benefits from better amplification. With Plinius 9200 integrated amp system is musical and very, very involving. It's so good that I've forgoten about highs, soundstaging, images and all that stuff and started listen to the music.
Could you please add a new item to review products:
[I]Manufacturer Name[/I]: JMlab (Focal.JMlab)
[I]Manufacturer's Website Address[/I]: [url]http://www.focal.tm.fr/gb/sommaire.htm[/url]
[I]Category (DVD Player, Subwoofer, etc) [/I]: Floorstanding speaker
[I]Product Name or Model Number [/I] ... Read More »