Nearfield Acoustics PipeDreams Floorstanding Speakers

PipeDreams

User Reviews (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9  
Eric Nelson   AudioPhile [Aug 25, 2003]
Strength:

Bass, soundstaging, midrange quality, sounds realistic, beautiful finish, dynamic, low distortion.

Weakness:

Heavy, too tall to fit through doors, intimidating.

Mr.Damm above must have heard them set up wrong. I love the JM Lab Utopia line, as most people do, but the pipedreams when properly set up are the best speakers in the world. I bought my model 18s used, and the fellow that I bought them from had them too far apart, in the corners of the room, with a big fireplace and flat TV in between them. It sounded lousy there, as expected. In my room, the factory recomemded setup (away from the walls, spread further apart than the distance to the listening chair), the speakers sound wonderful! They are easy to drive, my 8 watt 211 amps drive them very loud without clipping. These speakers kick butt.

Similar Products Used: JM Lab Mezzo Utopia, Martin Logan QuestZ, SL3, Bag End subs, Magnepan 3.3, JM Lab Daline 6.1, KEF 7, Audio Artistry Dvorak. + many hundereds of speakers heard at stores and the CES.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
David Payes   Audiophile [Aug 01, 2000]
Strength:

Resolution,unsurpassed dynamics,musicality(after long break in). Soundstaging and recreation of spatial cues .Ability to tune bass to room .

Weakness:

In absolute terms expensive, otherwise none.

The 7' Reference 18 I recently purchased is without doubt the best speaker I have owned. It replaced Eidolons which
are a hard act to follow.
The Pipedreams recreate on many recordings a close facsimile to real music.
The Pipedreams at one level provide all the necessary audiophile essentials, dynamics, soundstaging , timbral accuracy and a wide sweet spot. However they are at a
completely different level to all other speakers I have auditioned in their incredibile musicality. They produce
goose bumps , an emotional involvement with the music
that is unsurpassed.
The Pipedreams are remarkable in their ability to create
an enormous soundfield without any audible distortion or
room overload. My room is 13'x22'x9' brick walls and timber floor. Acoustic room treatment has tamed certain room nodes
but obtaining good bass with other speakers such as the Eidolon was always difficult. The individual electronic crossovers enable a perfect matching of the bass subs to the midrange/treble towers and to the room . Control over phase , amplitude and crossover slopes play a large part in producing tuneful, tight and natural bass.
The soundstaging and imaging is superb, better IMHO than even the superlative Eidolons.
In all areas they easily outperform the Eidolons(but at 2x
the price they ought to)
One reviewer commented that the Grand Utopias were better in soundstaging and spatial recreation. I beleive the Eidolon outperforms the Utopias in this area .
The Pipedreams are in a different leaque to these 2 fine speakers however, but then again all audiophiles have their
biases.
In a word the Pipedreams create real music, and that surely is all we are looking for.

Similar Products Used: Avalon Eidolons, Avalon Ascents, Rockport Sysygy.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Jim   Audiophile [Feb 13, 2001]
Strength:

Superb detail, dynamics, and soundstage

The Pipedreams represent a sonic improvement so profound, it's like the step from black & white to color TV. Even with a $20,000+ price tag on the smallest models, I truly believe they represent a tremendous value.
While I cannot afford them, I am fortunate to have audiophile friends of greater means. And it's through these friendships that I've been able to enjoy extended sessions in front of the Pipedreams three times now.
Twice I've heard the seven-foot model called the reference 18s. One session was with the eight-foot model called the reference 21s. In my experience, the difference between the two models is negligible.
Each of these sessions has been in a different room and with different electronics. Regardless, the Pipedreams presented themselves (and the music) the very same. I've never heard such a stunning and perfected combination of detail, dynamics, and soundstage.
As for detail, the Pipedreams are living proof that other speakers literally shortchange you. You will be amazed at how much more music you hear – music that is indeed recorded but not reproduced due to failures in the playback chain. On some acoustic guitar tracks, for example, the Pipes deliver the subtle and beautiful harmonic resonance of strings not played. That's a treat I previously believed could only be enjoyed at a live performance in close quarters.
As for dynamics, the Pipes have changed my mind about the ability of cones and domes to deliver a cat-quick punch. I've always been a fan of dynamics, and have for years kept around a pair of horn speakers to give me an occassional "dynamic fix." But the inherent timing vulgarities of horns frequently smear impacts of broader spectrum. The Pipes, on the other hand, don't seem to care what frequency or combination of frequencies is played – the dynamics are the same. They're always powerful and perfectly linear.
As for soundstage, the Pipes are truly holographic. Not only are the images vividly three-dimensional, they are more palpable and more stable than anything I have heard before. Let's say, for example, that a female singer is front-left in the soundstage and is singing directly to your position, front row center in the audience (your sofa). Now with typical speakers, when you move your listening position to either side of the room, the soundstage makes a dramatic shift. You lose your bearing on which direction the singer is singing. Dimensionality collapses. The image disappears. With the Pipedreams, the soundstage remains fixed. The singer is still just as palpable as ever. And she's still singing to the sofa! It's the same as if you moved your position at a live performance.
Another thing I like about the Pipedreams is the size of the image. It's lifelike. So many speakers reduce an image to the point that you feel far removed from the stage. With the Pipes, you're always up front. And the image, rather than being restricted to the space between the speakers, seems to even break through the boundaries of adjacent walls.
I am saving my money for Pipedreams.





Similar Products Used: nothing compares
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Matt Kozink   an Audiophile [Sep 15, 1999]

I have read reviews posted to this site regarding products that I am inimately familiar with. By and large I find the reviews consistent with my opinion but overly generous in terms of overall rating. I find myself in the awkward position of being criticized for the same fault with my rating of my Model 15 (6 foot version) Pipedreams speakers from Nearfield Acoustics. I have been "audiophiling" for the better part of thirty years and I never enjoyed a product more. The build quality is exceptional (my speakers were finished in a magnificent highly figured Japanese Ash called Tamo with "reference" black granite bases). The speakers in this configuration include 5 components; 2 main towers containing 15 midrange drivers and 30 tweeters each, 2 cylindrical sub-woofer modules containing 2- 18" drivers each and an active crossover with passive high pass distributing frequencies above and below 60 Hz to the appropriate cabinets. The system does require bi-amplification, but because of the speakers inherent efficency (~93dB @ 1m @ 1W) one does not require high amounts of power. However, because this speaker is so revealing of the quality of signal "upstream" one must present it with high quality amplification. Once all the basics are attended to, the Pipedreams replicate the acoustic of the recording venue, complete with walls, ceiling and floors, in a manner I have never experienced. Try Emmy Lou Harris' album "SpyBoy", Kurt Elling's "The Messenger" or Haitinck's Concertgebow (SP?) recording of Shostakovich 13th "Babi Yar". Wow! For fans of multi-track recordings, you can hear deeper into the mix than I have ever had the pleasure. Multi-tapped echos and gated reverbs emerge from the soundstage with a clarity and musicality that the artist/producer/recording engineer intended but I couldn't previously hear. Try Scott Henderson's "Reality Check", Bill Frissel's latest or Medeski's "Lunar Crush". Stunning quality with dynamics, air and space so complete that you can't believe it wasn't recorded in one take, in real-time. I could go on but I think you get the point: a transcendental product built to reproduce music from any source in a way I have never heard short of a live performance. It has no precedent: 5 stars in the truest sense.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Tom   Audiophile [Dec 02, 1999]
Strength:

Deep bass power and extension

Weakness:

Confused imaging

I have heard the smallest 6-foot version both at HI-FI '99 in Chicago and at some length at the sole Chicago area dealer. Both auditions were disappointing. Don't get me wrong: the speakers are not terrible by any means. It's just that I was expecting far more given the prices and glowing reviews in TAS.

The deep bass is truly exceptional, even in this "smaller" version. The organ pedals on the Reference Recordings Rutter Requiem are reproduced as few speakers can, with extraordinary depth, solidity, and definition. This was with a McCormack DNA-2 powering the woofers at the dealer.

The upper ranges, powered at the dealer by the big Cary SET monoblocks, and at the show by I-don't-know-what, were very dark sounding at the dealer and somewhat bright at the show. The highs in the sparkle and sheen range of the uppermost octave (10 - 20khz) at the dealer were very seriously rolled off. This frequency balance did little damage and may in fact have complimented the Jazz at the Pawnshop CD, but was not too kind to other material.

In both places, the imaging was rather confused, just what you would expect from a quasi-line source using a multitude of closely spaced similar drivers. While, on the positive side, you do get the line source height of image of the Magnepans, you also get confusion front to back. The chorus on the Rutter Requiem recording kept moving backwards and forwards, both en masse and with individual voices being alternately thrust forward and receding. Lateral imaging was just so-so. The Requiem chorus was also generally far too forward in the soundstage, a first for "serious" speakers in my experience. And the organ pedals, while exceptionally well produced frequency-wise, also failed to emanate from deep in the soundstage as they should. At the show, I heard what can only be described as interference effects among drivers--frequency response peaks alternating with dips--as I moved my head slowly up and down.

I will keep an open mind on these and would urge readers to give greater weight to the views of other careful listeners who have had the opportunity to hear these in their own systems or at greater length. Maybe the setups I heard were to blame and maybe the larger, more expensive models avoid these problems. But at $17,000 and up, from the evidence I've heard so far, I would look elsewhere at this point.

Note that the overall rating below is based on this product versus other cost-no-object (or nearly so) products I have heard.

Similar Products Used: I am not aware of any products other than the larger Genesis models which use anything like this number of drivers in a line array. Other line-source speakers I have used or heard quite a bit from over the years include various ribbon speakers from Magnepan, Apogee, and the Carver Amazing Mk IV, plus electrostatics from Acoustat, and Sound Lab.
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
2
Robert Nielsen   Audio Enthusiast [Aug 22, 2000]
Strength:

I have not purchased these speakers yet, but will in 6-8 months. They are the finest speakers I have ever heard. I listened to the Pipedream 15's (6' tall with two subs), which retail for approx. $29K. These are truly holographic in their presentation, whether country, jazz or classical. You really are front row center at "live" performances. Although high cost, I think they are the best value in high end speakers. I have heard $100,000 speakers that are not better that these. Beautiful cabinetry.

Weakness:

tall and heavy.

These are the best I have ever heard at any price.

Similar Products Used: I have spent time with Utopia's, Watt Puppies, Sound Lab A3's, and own Monitor Audio Studio 60's.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Paul   [Jun 10, 2000]
Strength:

These pipes can reproduce music at any volume including ear splitting levels beyond life levels of orchestral music (that is a whole lotta sound).

Weakness:

These units cost a WHOLE lot of green. They also require at least several hundred hours of break-in at loud volume levels to start sounding natural.

After reading the reviews to date, I can only caution people considering the PipeDreams to always ask how many hours of playing they have on them. These towers require at least 200 hours of hard playing to start sounding like they should. I understand the pipes at CES 2000 only had a few hours on them when they were shipped. I have had my Pipe 21's for 9 months and with accurate input and amplification, they sound as close to live music as I have ever heard. If they don't sound good at your dealer, check to see what they are doing wrong. Even though they are very efficient, don't use too small of an amplifier as you will be playing them louder than you have any other speaker as there is NO distortion.

Similar Products Used: Previous owner of Magnepan MG-20's and Infinity RS-1B's.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
rollo tomasi   Audiophile [Oct 29, 1999]
Strength:

Big soundstage and very full range

Weakness:

very dark

I disagree with the other review, I heard them at an owner's home with very high end equipment and felt the sound was uninvolving and a bit textured.

OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
2
Rob Damm   Audiophile [Jul 27, 2000]
Strength:

Plays very loudly without any distortion, resolution is incredible, the lowest bass I have ever heard... bass that thumps you in the chest.

Weakness:

Images are not as distinct as many speakers, including speakers that cost thousands left, not as fast a elctrostatics. Dark sounding, Soundstage is sort of confused.

Compared to other "cost no object" speakers, I feel these are overrated. I compared them to the 70k JMlab Utopia Grand and found the Grand to blow them away in terms of spatial resolution and soundstaging. The soundstage of the Pipes seems contrived and the same for every recording. The imaging, as well is not on par. In fact, many 2-5k minimonitors have better imaging ability

The pipes play louder than any speaker ever created, as far as I'm concerned and have the best bass I've ever heard. I really feel that they aren't worth the money, though. On the other hand, I would be willing to take out a home quity loan to buy the JMlabs Utopia Grand.

Similar Products Used: JMlab Utopia grand, Martin-logan The Statement
OVERALL
RATING
3
VALUE
RATING
2
Showing 1-9 of 9  

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