Let me get this out of the way first:
These speakers ROCK!!!!
I came across these when a vendor at Audiogon.com was selling his last 2 pair for $790/pair!!! I couldn't pass this up, b/c I was dreaming about these speakers for months. I'm also going to brag about what I paid for shipping, only $120 with US Freight. They babied these speakers to my front door. So I got a great deal!
Anyways, here are my list of things that are awesome about the speakers.
1)Sound Quality (I've got them biwired)
I've read some reviews on how deep the bass is and how bright these speakers are. I tend to agree, but if I had to make a comment on what speakers these Aerogels remind me of, it would be a hybrid between Klipsch and Paradigms. I almost got a pair of Studio100s, I'm glad I saved myself an extra $1300.
But these speakers, are extremely well balanced. My Onkyo TX-DS797, doesn't have enough power to even start a rumor that I'm straining them. (Note, this is bad, b/c now I want to buy a seperate amp multi-channel amp).
The Aerogels produce deeper base then my JBL PB12 sub. But it doesn't rumble like my sub woofer does.
These things are built like a brick $hithouse. Thick wood, sturdy internal bracing, great brass stands.
3)Finish and Design
Even though they only come in black, it is a beautiful black finish. Nice dense wood.
The music test:
I tested several music CD's on these. The most trying had to be the "John Williams greatest hits". Lots of horns, high and deep. Then the "Lord of the Rings" soundtrack. These speakers laugh in the face of complex music, and recreate the full soundstage easily. I believe the brightness of these speakers, is actually the key to them.
The Movie Test:
Next I watched a couple movies. Which brings me to a wierd spot. I wanted to watch "Final Fantasy" the night I got them, but ended up watching "Amelie". I was suprised by two things. 1) "Amelie" has tons of sound effects, and special effects, which the Pinnacles really brought out. 2) How much these speakers bring out the best in movies. Everything sounds crisp and clear, but there is absolutely no edgyness. The next night I watched "Final Fantasy", I heard noises that I never heard before, and the sound felt more 3 dimensional and encompassing.
This speaker is musically accurate. It has very detailed high and midrange coverage. The bass that is produced from two 8" woofers is astounding! This speaker almost matches my old 15" woofer cerwin-vega M-100's in the low end. The diaduct tubes certainly seem to be serving a purpose. These speakers are more attractive than pictures reveal. The only complaint I have about the aerogels is that you can accidentally reverse the speaker grill and possibly do damage to the woofers(it lacks any reference logo on the grill). Personally, I don't think there's a speaker in it's price range that compares! Also worth noting is the fact that pinnacle has very reliable service to boot.
Fantastic speakers-sounded great right out of the box.Excellent on movies,simply stunning with two channel music-great bass (26 hz. +-3db.),midrange that makes the singer sound like he/she is right there with you,and highs that are crisp without being harsh.Can you tell I'm happy with them?
Associated eqipment:Denon AVR-5700 receiver,Acurus 200x3 amp(powering the front 3 channels),Pioneer DVL-919,Monster "Z" series bi-wire,Monster inter-connects.
Well, to start, they arrived days later than expected and one speakers went thru hell.. The cabinet has some dents. Gladly, all drivers work fine. For that reason i didnt make a claim, too much of a hassle. One thing though is that Pinnacle's packing sucks. All others i used were very thoughtful and here come the pinnacles, the heaviest and largest, with the flimsiest packing,,go figure!!
The bass was a bit overpowering, so i built bass traps, so its great now. They throw such a wider, higher, and deeper musical picture, I was smiling when i hooked them up. I love the midrange driver. They added another dimension to the music, and they speakers sound very relaxed. great detail and clarity, and not an ounce of strain.
Parasound CDP 2000, PH/P 850 pre-amp (sson to be a Musical Design SP-B2 tube pre), Musical Design D75 amp (soon to be 2). speaker cables are MIT T2 biwire, and IC's are Mi 550.
I had been shopping for a speaker upgrade for some time and had conducted a fair amount of research before settling on the Pinnacle Classic Gold Aerogel speakers. I had lived with my Klipsch horn speakers for a number of years, and although I totally LOVED these speakers, their limitations were making themselves known as I had improved other aspects of my sound system in recent months. I know there are staunch advocates in opposing speaker camps (horn vs. dome tweeter designs) but I've never been one to take sides. Instead, I let my ears decide for me, irrespective of the technology. With that said, I must say that my love affair with my Klipsch's were coming to end for two main reasons: (1) their colored performance (although when it comes to coloring, the Klipsch's do it in a very pleasing way) and (2) their questionable midrange and upper treble performance.
My initial goals for replacing my Klipsch's were to first address their weaknesses. In other words, I wanted a very neutral speaker with strong performance across the board --you know, the Holy Grail-- a speaker with a totally flat frequency response. Oh yeah, they had to cost less than $1500.00 a pair.
I decided if I was to get the upper treble accuracy that I had been missing that I should go with a dome tweeter design. Most reviewers seem to whine about that elusive midrange, so I concentrated my search on speakers that were strong in that area as well.
After looking at numerous speakers, I kept coming back to the Pinnacles. Ultimately, I decided to go with them when I found them for what seemed to be a very attractive price.
When the speakers arrived at my home, I was initially impressed with their solid, consistent construction. These are very well built speakers! I thought their triple port designed seemed a little "hot rod" and wondered if this was more for show than performance. Despite their excellent construction and massive size, I still thought that, cosmetically, they appeared a little on the cheap side. This is purely a personal taste issue, but standing before the speakers they did not impress me from the amount of money I spent on them.
After digesting my initial impression with their appearance, I hooked them up and gave them a listen. Right out of the box, I was both impressed and a bit disappointed. They had phenomenal presence but were very, very bright sounding and more than a bit constrained. I'm sure part of their bright performance was more perceived because of my prolonged association with speakers that did not reach this upper level of performance. I was sure that their constrained nature would be resolved after burn in. Before doing any critical listening, I let the speakers burn in for about a week of continuous use, playing a wide variety of material at a moderate sound volume.
After burn in, I sat down in anticipation for their first critical evaluation. These speakers ABSOLUTELY must be burned in! I'm talking a major difference from my initial impression. They really opened up and impressed me even more with a presence I've rarely experienced. Still, it wasn't long before their shrill nature crept back up on me.
As mentioned previously, I felt that the brightness was just my own perception, and I still felt this way, since the highs were very airy and articulate. I just wasn't used to it and it was bothering me! It was then that I noticed that gold dome tweeters were positioned at the exact same height as my ears. I was being directly bombarded by the tweeters. Suddenly a light bulb went on in my head.
I had my old speakers up on 6" lead-weighted speaker stands. I didn't think I would need them with the Pinnacles since they came with cone feet and were a fair amount taller than my Klipsch's. In fact, I thought that using the stands might make these speakers sit precariously high. But, I just had to try the stands out on the Pinnacles.
Wow, wow, wow! What a difference the stands made! First, this raised the dome tweeters just above my ears and positioned the aerogel midrange (the Pinnacle's strongest point) at my ears. For me, this is the perfect way to position these speakers. Gone was the shrillness I had been experiencing! They sounded fantastic – very open, airy and articulate! Also, putting these speakers on the massive, stout stands succeeded in isolating the speakers even more and they really, really opened up! I could not believe the improvement! Also, I was happy to find that once resting on the stand, they sat there very solidly and were not precarious at all. I cannot recommend strongly enough that these speakers be put on stands. The stands I use are Lovan Jazz 600’s (still available through Audio Advisor) that by all means should be weighted down with lead shot.
At this point I was totally happy with these speakers and continued to live happily with them for a couple of months. After a while, though, I began to feel a sense of dissatisfaction with their performance, and could never quite figure out exactly why. It wasn't long before I realized the source of my dissatisfaction was with the Pinnacle's mid-bass performance. This is an area where my Klipsch's were quite strong, so this lacking aspect of the Pinnacles was becoming quite obvious.
I decided I would attempt to tackle this problem. My first thought came back to the "hot rod" ports on the Pinnacles. Were these ports really doing their job or were they just for show? I knew I could get better mid-bass performance from a closed box speaker, like the Klipsch's. I then took an old blanket, cut it into long 4" wide strips, rolled 'em up and stuffed 'em into the ports on one of the speakers, then proceeded to do a back and forth comparison between the "stuffed" speaker and the stock one.
Muffling the ports did indeed help to improve mid-bass response, but unfortunately, not to the level that satisfied me. Still, I was almost tempted to move forward with this solution, but after further listening I started to notice that the strengths of the speaker were being degraded. Presence seemed a tad lacking, their open and airy nature seemed constrained, and there was an overall forced quality to their nature. I played around with muffling combinations of one or two ports, but nothing really worked for me. I then concluded that the designers really did know what they were doing and that these ports were doing a valuable job.
Before I forget, I better mention something regarding the Pinnacle's power requirements. Despite the manufacturers claim of 20 to 300 watt power handling, to get the best from these speakers you need to venture to the upper end of that range. I am using these speakers with 125-watt mono-blocks, and I really wish I had more power for them. These speakers DEMAND big power! Actually, they perform at their absolute best when listened to at louder volumes. In fact, their mid-bass limitations seem to disappear when they are properly "fed". At louder listening levels, I have absolutely zero complaints about this speaker. I think a little more power headroom, even at lower listening levels, could really help their performance.
Finally, I have relegated myself to living with these speakers and accepting them for what they are, and being quite happy, despite all my nit-picking. They are fabulous speakers and should make just about anybody very happy. However, with all their hype and technical claims, I feel these speakers should be performing at a slightly higher level. Considering their retail price of nearly $1800.00 a pair, these speakers are way overpriced. Even with the price I paid, $1200.00, I think they are still a tad on the high side, but very close to reasonable. At around $1000.00 a pair, I think these speakers could be considered a very good value. Please note that the value rating I have attributed to these speakers is for the price I paid for them. At full retail, I would give them one star for value.