Veracity is the correct term for these special speakers. 99 percent of the musical information is revealed. 100 percent in most recordings, however, i am a bass player, and love the lowest of the low end. The Veracity QW's excel at all ranges, and accurately produce the lowest tones of musical information. They are solid musical reproducers. I chose some very hard CD's to play, in order to really try these speakers, and they didn't miss a beat. The reproduction system is Class A operation, and the room is active, and a bit small, so the slightest mistakes in recording, are heard. Good material is a must. Poorly mixed material will sound poor. We started with Ani Difranco's "Reckoning and Revelling." Vocals are perfect. each slightly off mic turn is heard clearly. Her guitar style of pick and strum is very dynamic, and full sounding, and the kickdrum is purely all there, with the tophat being perfectly reproduced. I think that tophats are the hardest to reproduce, because normally, the crossover is right there, and you loose some of the character. Not so with the QW's. Solid bass, and just shimmering tone is all i can say.
2nd up, Dave Matthews band. "Listener Supported" recorded live. Nothing like a live recording to point out any weaknesses in a system. Basically, when cranked up to about 3 in this room, you are there, right along with Dave. There are alot of instruments to hear on this recording, and you hear them ALL. The most impressive is the Sax, with all of it's blistering tones. So smooth and silky to say the least. Imaging, soundstage, and depth of field are perfect with the speakers slightly toed in, and away from the side walls.
The Veracity QW's are definately priced for quick sell, and anyone who wants to hear music the way that it sounded when it was recorded should have a listen, NO, should pay the price to have a set of these speakers delivered.
We won't talk about the excercise in patience to get them shipped to Europe, since it paid off after receipt, but take this advise. Pay to have a large, reputable carrier deliver them straight to your door. With that said, these speakers are a dream to own. I recognize that these are the same speakers in all the photos, and as such, have been shipped all around the US, and now to Europe. There were a few niks here and there, but VERY MINOR, and only I could notice them, because i am very attentive to detail. If you have a set custom ordered, The fit and Finish will most likely be flawless. Have a look at where Jim gets his veneers, and you will realize that it's the finest and rarest in the country. A solid A+ to SalkSound,and the Veracity QW's.
Rarely do I write reviews anymore, particularly for 2-ways, since a number of great 2-ways exist on the market these days and even the best share the same frequency response or output limitations, while other have high distortion bass in comparison to much pricier reference-class multi-way speakers. While I have now been looking for one such multi-way design, I have also spent a good deal of time auditioning a number of the <$10k speakers, a number of which are listed below. Although I enjoyed a few of the ones listed below, none of them really compelled me to move away from my Norh 9.0’s, either due to dispersion problems, various distortion anomalies, or the fact that there wasn’t much upgrade in terms of extension/bass quality.
As I mentioned in my Salk Veracity HT3 review, I auditioned the HT1’s a year ago in Chicago and was most impressed by the sound and craftsmanship. They were one of the best 2-way standmount speakers I have auditioned, but I did not buy because, as I stated, I wasn’t in the market for another 2-way standmount. When I auditioned the HT3’s recently, Mr. Salk requested I listen to the Veracity QW… and I am glad I did. By far, they are the most impressive 2-way design I have run into, and aside from the HT3’s, clearly the best speaker under <$10k I have witnessed.
The Veracity QW is a big speaker, even moreso than the HT3’s, although perhaps not as physically deep. As explained on the website, they are a folded quarter-wave design, sort of a pseudo-transmission line, which explains the shape/size. Aesthetics may not please everyone, but given Mr. Salk’s ability to customize with any wood, I am sure potential buyers would have no problem finding the perfect match for their deco.
How do they sound? For starters, they have no resonance problems, something I am very sensitive to, since any such resonance problems bother me quickly in long-term listening. The QW shares the same open refinement and upfront, honest nature of Dennis Murphy’s best work, a clarity in mids and highs that matches the very best reference-class multi-way designs. The bass performance goes surprisingly low, with exceptionally high quality – this speaker goes deep with low enough distortion for probably 95% of music-lovers out there. At all volumes, you forget the term “bass” and realize that instruments simply extend lower than what you may have heard in more restricted LF speakers… integration is truly remarkable. Dispersion is very good… vertically probably not as great as a few 3/4” soft dome speakers (but not far behind, and certainly better than other ribbon hybrid speakers), and horizontally superb. The coherence if the QW’s is astounding, and despite their size, I am sure they would fit well even into smaller/medium size rooms. While the high low frequency power of the HT3’s had issues exciting room modes at loud volumes, the QW’s did not seem to share this problem. Yes the QW’s handle all types of music well, and do just fine on the most demanding, massed orchestral pieces, in addition to reproducing jazz, vocals, etc. without issue. Most speakers fall apart on complex orchestral works – these don’t.
Needless to say, the QW is an extremely well-tuned, coherent speaker. For what it does in frequency response, I couldn’t find a single flaw (whereas I can find flaws with all the models listed below), and for people who can’t accommodate the pricing or room required for a reference-class multi-way, I cannot recommend any speaker more highly than the QW’s. Unfortunately I have never heard the Kharma 3.2 or SP Technology speakers, both of which are priced far more (I chose not to audition the Kharmas because I could never justify a $22k price tag for 2-way speaker and did not want to waste a dealer’s time), but I would be absolutely shocked if they could better the QW’s in the qualities I listen for. That said, I would be happy to give an unbiased listen if given the chance – I have been wrong in the past.
This is a first-class speaker, and one that should be at the top of your list of auditions if you can afford them. Feel free to email me with any questions or more specific comparisons, as I consider these speakers a secret that deserve keen attention. If you can’t handle the size of the QW’s, go for the HT1’s… but know that the QW is a unique diamond even among some amazing gems.
I recently broke an audiophile rule. I purchased a pair of speakers I hadn't auditioned. I've done this before. I bought
Spendor S3/5 speakers based on reviews by trusted reviewers. I wasn't disappointed at all.
The speakers I just purchased, Veracity QW's (salksound.com) are the best speakers I have ever owned. What lead me down this
dangerous path? I wanted more dynamic range and fuller frequency response for my main system. I listened to some old
favorites, Vandersteen 2ce Signatures after getting some friends to buy Vandersteen 1c's. I wanted Vandersteen 5's or maybe
the Sonus Faber Cremona's I heard recently. Something of beauty that also has terrific sound. I just didn't want to spend
that much money! I researched some other speakers on the web. VMPS. I have one of Brian Cheney's subs and it is quite good
and an excellent value. Vandersteens are a high value also. But the Vandersteens and VMPS aren't as attractive as I wanted. I
found several threads on the internet about VMPS and other speakers of 'high value'. I read some of Cheney's thoughts on
value, or lack of value, in todays commercial high end speakers. I had to agree with his conclusion that value was not a
concern in the high end. Profit rules. Small 2-way speakers for $6000 dollars? These have about $200 dollars of parts and a
cabinet. Crazy. B&W 801's have about $9 worth of chinese parts in the crossover. Where is the value?
I heard of some small companies on the web that built high value speakers. No inflated prices to build inflated egos or calm
anxious audiophiles. Just serious products with great attention paid to musicality, excellent design, the best parts, and
custom finishes. I found Jim Salk and was hooked. One site had real folks review his new Veracity QW. They said it was the
most natural sounding speaker they had heard. I like natural sound. They said it was the best imaging speaker they had ever
heard! The reviewers are a group of speaker designers who build speakers because they love to. Should I trust them?
I emailed Jim Salk and started a dialog. Jim is very knowledgeable, professional and easy to work with. We determined the
QW's would be best for my needs. (Jim makes many other designs too.) I started looking at veneers for the cabinets. Talk
about custom, I could choose anything! (I settled on fiddleback anegre and walnut.) I learned quite a bit about different
woods, cuts, burls, fiddlebacks, curly, crotch, etc. Wow! This is fun! Jims website has photos of his work and they blow your
mind. His woodwork is stunning. He goes with the flow too. I asked for outboard crossovers. Sure, he tells me. I can make
them out of the same woods you picked for the speaker cabinets. The crossover boxes are beautiful. I opened one. No cheap
parts here. The best available. You don't get the most from your drivers without a top quality crossover. OF course they also
have two of the best drivers available.
Oh, yeah, how do they sound? Well, in a word, natural. They have no character I can discern. They sound like the CD you put
on. Bad CD's sound, well, kinda bad. Average CD's will reveal new things to you. They will surprise you with information you
hadn't heard before. And great recordings take you to the recording session. Oh my..... The midrange resolution is amazing.
The midrange driver is phenominal. I see the same driver in some other speakers priced from $7000 and $125,000. I hope they
get as good of sound from it as Jim has. The QW design sure works well. The tweeter is transparent. Not hyped, transparent.
All is seamless. I have owned electrostats and these are similar, except for the solidity of the image, the easy load, the
efficiency and the resolution. These resolve better than the electrostats I have owned. They play lower too. Like
mid-thirties in the bass.
I have them connected to an Odyssey Stratos amp (another great value!), a Cary SLP98 preamp and a conrad-johnson CD player.
Did I mention how beautiful they are? Everyone comments when they walk through the door. (You can see them on the
salksound.com website, but they are prettier than the picture conveys) Several non-audiophile friends have commented on the
sound. 'Hey, Bonnie Raitt is moving her head as she is singing!' You can't deny what you are hearing. It is too obvious. THE
SPEAKERS VANISH AND THE SOUNDSTAGE APPEARS. The tonal color is right on if the recording has it correct. Naxos recordings,
Mapleshades, Telarcs, and The Doors on Elektra (The End) all sound wonderful. The European jazz recordings of Chet Baker take
you into the clubs where they were recorded.
I have been a serious music lover and audiophile for about 30 years. I have sold high end audio in a top SF area store. Some
of my friends have worked for high end manufacturers. I have been around the block a few times with this stuff. The Veracity
QW's are still amazing me. I have always listened to female vocals. Many speakers I have owned have done a great job on
womens voices. The Veracity QW's do as well, but they also are wonderful on male vocals. I listened to Tony Bennett and Bill
Evans. I was transported to Fantasy Studios, 1975. There is Tony right there.... Too bad the engineer didn't give Bill Evans
as much attention. You can hear everything.... The engineers mistakes, the singers and performers in the room they were
recorded in, or even the different rooms they were recorded in. The QW's are musical, revealing, satisfying, compelling, and
my home theater is getting lonely. I keep listening to music!