Snell Acoustics Type D/IV Floorstanding Speakers

Type D/IV

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User Reviews (32)

Showing 1-10 of 32  
Ulisse   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 20, 2009]

After owning for 7 years B&WCDM7 loudspeakers I became tired of their sound: after changing the other gears of my chain (Preamplifier, signal cables, CDP) the sound did’t become better as I expected: the B&WCDM7 sound good (enough warm and detailed, maybe lacking in bass) but are not very transparent, they don’ t change a lot their sound as you change other pieces of your chain. So about 1 year ago I decided to substitute them with more transparent speakers, but I had not over 1300 euro to spend (about 1600 USD), so I began to search in the second-hand market.
In the following months I tried some different speakers (Sonus Faber Grand Piano, Proac studio 140, Proac D25, Advance Acoustics UM40, Thiel CS1.6, and other speakers by Mission, Tannoy, B&W). I loved the D25 but they were too expensive for me.
Finally I found these Snell type D in perfect condition for 1100 euros (maybe in the U.S. it’s expensive but here in Italy a bargain). They are sooooo transparent: as you change the preamp, the source, the power amp, a power cable, as you put on a different CD, the Snell D begin immediately to reveal the difference.
But at the same time they have a precise personality. In every situation the bass is incredibly beautiful: deep, definite, articulate but full and solid like a rock. The other frequencies are all very natural and transparent, with a lot of air between the instruments (if the rest of your chain is good), and all the frequencies are well amalgamated, without any hole or coloration. The ultra-highs are very extended and sweet, and the rear double silk-dome adds a lot of 3D effect into the music.
They sound big: the sound is full and complete, and fills your room all around the speakers, they disappears from the stage: a soundstage that’ s really amazing, deep, precise, realistic (ever if your chain is good). In a word they are transparent, they change but their personality is solid and strong.
They are an easy load: my power amp pass Labs Aleph5 (60wpc but NO high current, they don’ t love difficult speakers) plays loud with a plenty of energy, much more than f.e. with Souns Faber or Mission loudspeakers.
At first hearing the Snell D may seem a little cold-sounding (I became from 7 years of warmth-coloured B&W, but I didn’ t knew it was a coloured sound…). But after few days of listening I get used to their beautiful and big sound and now I didn’ t never go back to B&W, Sonus Faber or Thiel. Yes, Proac D25 are beautiful but they cost 3 times the Snell type D.
I guess that today you must spend 3.000 USD or more to have a similar sound and built quality.
The only negativity: they are not very beautiful, quite encumbering wit a bad W.A.F., my wife is not very pleased with them.

STRENGHTS: sound transparency, amazing bass and soundstage, smoothness and naturality

WEAKENESS: Weight and dimensions, but if you want a big sound....


my chain:
Philips 963SA
NAD 1155 preamp
Pass Aleph 5 power amp
MIT Shotgun S3 signal cable
KIMBER CABLE cables for speakers

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
fresco   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 27, 2007]
Strength:

Solid round base. natural flat sound.

Weakness:

Heavy but it indicates good quality.

Have been keeping this speakers for 12 years now. This Type D is just stunning and never think of changing it now.

I have listened to Thiel cs 1.6, JM lab, revel f32, sonus faber cremona, usher recently and snell type D just beat them all. Those speakers just didnt catch my attentionafter listening to snell type D. I use aragon 8008 for the amp and musical fidelity a3cr for preamp. But later I use BAT VK-60 as the amp and WOW!! Incredible. The sound is clearer and the bass is round and solid. This type D is just hard to beat.(no joking). Try the song "Hotel california" by eagle and you will know why its bass is the best. Try Norah jones songs, and you will know why it has a natural flat sound. Even the current kevin voecks design dont perform as good as his older snell design except its revel salon.

You never know how good this type D is until you listen to it. Sure, the cremona has a good airy and silky sound but thats it. Snell type D beat them in every aspects.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
R.S.   Audio Enthusiast [Dec 01, 2006]
Strength:

Sounstage, details, timbre.

Weakness:

Could use a subwoofer in bigger rooms.

These are very fine speakers. I would recommend a tube amp or preamp, because these babys will really extend the details.

We'll start with the bass. Positioning is very important.Too close to the walls, and they will be a bit boomy. Bring them out a couple of feet from the back wall and you will not hear better sounding bass coming from 8" woofers. I've never heard the bass drums sound more distinct during the crescendo at the end of Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 than with these speakers. Great bass separation.

The best mids i've ever heard were from a pair of critically acclaimed JBL Ll110s from the mid/late 1970's. The timbre from the Snell Type d's equals the JBLs. The texture from the bows pulling across the violin strings during the beginning of the 3rd movement of Rachmaninov's Symphony No. 2 is truly a thing of beauty with these speakers. As is the the interplay between the oboe and accoustic guitar during Rodrigo's Concertio de aranjuez. You actually feel like your on stage listening to a live performance.

As mentioned before, these speakers have two tweeters... in the front and in the back. This creates a very realistic soundstage for the higher ranges. Check out Jack Dejohnette's cymbal work on Mile Davis' B----'s Brew, it sounds spectacular.

I was very fortunate to acquire these speakers for $350 a pair. I was looking for a larger pair of older Klipsch speakers and came across the Snell Type Ds in the classifieds. I did a little research on the internet and made a phone call asap. Luckily, i was the first to call and am I ever glad. Beautiful walnut finish without a scratch. I could probably sell them for 3 times what I paid for them, but why? if I paid that much more for a pair of speakers, there's no way they would sound as good as the Type Ds.

These are very fine speakers. I would recommend a tube amp or preamp, because these babys will really extend the details. Also, if you listen to a lot of CDs, make sure you have a good quality cd player (preferably an HDCD or SACD player). The speakers are only as good as their source.


Similar Products Used: JBL Ll110's.

OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
garyoke   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 11, 2006]
Strength:

So how have the Ds held up comparatively to other neutral speakers, like the B&W 603s? Very, very well. They remain an incredibly neutral, open, transparant speaker system well suited for most of the music I listen to at this stage in my life - pop more than rock (Sting, James Taylor, Paul Simon), Piano based jazz, and classical music. James Taylor's Live double disc set sound fabulous. Put on the Smetana Quartet's old Dennon recording of the Dvorak Quintet, closed my eyes, and saw the seating arrangement of the players in my mind's eye. My wife remained dubious till I had her sit in "the chair" to "see" the second violinist behind the first violinist. My son plays sax, and I put on Sonny Rollins 958 classic MFSL remastered disc Way Out West and his jaw literally dropped - "That's a sax! Right in this room; that's a real sax!" And Dylan's openner Thunder On The Mountain on his new Modern Times sounds better than he ever has before. Which may not be saying much to many of you, I know, but in that case let me suggest Glenn Gould's last recording of the Goldberg Variations. A little dry in the acoustic perhaps, but the piano's right there. Best of all, unlike electrostatics, the sound is balanced regardless where I'm sitting or walking in the room. I'm living with music all around me.

And the quality of the cabinetry - did I mention that? They're gorgeous. Hey, when the wife says "They're nice looking" and the boxes are four feet in height - this is a good thing, right?

Most of you are probably ahead of me and know about the tweeter in the back, right? Most of you, like me, have probably lost your uppermost frequencies in your ears at this point in you life and wouldn't buy speakers with frequency response curves that your ears now have. I may not hear much over 10,000hz, but damn it, I'm 5 for 5 in tellling my kids when they teset me by turning those tweeters on or off. They do add, I dunno, ambient sizzle. Sue me. they're cool. Just don't poke your fingers into them when you pick up these 93 pound boxes. Yes, they're big and heavy, but to paraphrase a recent stereophile article - I don't care how good those new fangled mini monitors are - I always feel like the music is being spit out at me. Give me the big ol' boxes!

Weakness:

The bass response. Can't escape it. Peter Snell did a hell of a job desiging this speaker, but a ported 8 inch woofer ain't gonna project those fundamental tones. It's there, but it's not real. I stick foam in the ports to baffle the slight boom, and live with slightly less bass. If you're looking for slam, you need to add a sub, as I may do in the near future. This is not the speaker for home theater, but then again, most home theater speakers and amps are not designed for 2 channel music reproduction either, Get hte Infinity Preludes or something for that. This is not the speaker for Led Zep, Crunk, or Metallica. This is a speaker for amplified instruments, played in real acoustics, in real time. But for those of you who listen - really listen - to music, well as my wife said, you'll hear things you've never heard before in some of your most beloved recordings. There's plenty of bass for orchestral recordings (except pipe organ) and jazz/pop - just purchase the Ds with realistic expectations. While I don't know for sure, I don't imagine that the Snell Cs offer all that much more with a double 8inch woofer - you probably have to go up to the B minors. But from everything I read, you may lose something of the transparency and soundstaging that the amazing Ds offer.

Audioreview needs a more current review of these classics, so here it is. You read correctly; I paid $500 for a gorgeous pair of light oak D's on eBay - really lucked out - nice seller too, whose ad referred me to audioreview for more info on the Snells. i wanted these guys ten years ago, but the kids were too young, the mortgage too fresh, and the marriage too argumentative. Now, the kids are off to college, the mortgage is no longer fresh, and the second marriage much more supportive. And the price just could not be passed up.

Similar Products Used: For movies, I go with the Infinity compositions - the poor man's preludes, if you will. They lack the open transparency of the Snell's but also have good balance, clarity, extrordinary soundstaging (look ma, no center spekaer!) and their built in amped subs guarantee that The Matrix rocks the house.

Make no mistake, I love my new old Snell Ds. I'm not sure that the audio law of diminishing returns will warrant replacing them once I add a sub to the system.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
thielejw   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 10, 2002]
Strength:

Natural, effortless sound. Beautiful cabinet construction.f

Weakness:

Too few and inconsequential to mention for a product in this price range.,

I have been the proud owner of the Snell Type Ds since 1997 for use in a secondary two-channel audio system. At the time of purchase, there were few speakers in this price range that could match the natural, effortless sound of these speakers across the audio spectrum. To this day I''m often amazed at how good these speakers sound with both full-scale orchestral and electronic music. The only thing these speakers don''t do as well as my B&W 801s is throw a well-defined lateral soundstage, but for the price difference you wouldn''t expect them to. Although a simple rectangular box, the finish and construction make this speaker a beautiful addition to any room. Although I will be selling my pair in the near future for an upgrade, the rational side of me says I''m a fool to do so. Highly recommended if you can find a pair on the used market. d

Similar Products Used: Favorably compared to Thiel, Martin-Logan, Paradigm, NHT, Vandersteen.
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Ed A.   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 04, 2000]
Strength:

Overall sound quality
Bass
Build quality
Good looks

Weakness:

Size & weight - what can you do?

As described in the reviews below, one of the best speakers for the money and very competitive with similar high quality speakers. After listening to several other speakers, the bass and overall clarity of sound sold me on the Snell D's. The beautiful finish of the walnut cabinet didn't hurt the sale either (oak, black and maybe other finishes are available, too).

After two years, they are still magical. They really shine at medium to very high volume levels. Imaging is incredible at the higher volume levels - you can place each musician (I'd swear the drummer in Lyle Lovett's Large Band is behind my fireplace!)

Just be prepared, they are huge and heavy - and should be placed at least a foot from the wall. They're good in a very big room. They are easily bi-amped.

Anyway, on the used market, it's tough to be them. Mine were $900 in mint condition.

Buy them and smile.

Similar Products Used: Tested several similarly priced speakers.
Driven with dual 'vintage' Nikko Alpha 220 amps
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Scott Groves   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 23, 2000]
Strength:


Brilliant Soundstage-Imaging-Responsive Bass-Liquid Mids & Crisp Highs

Weakness:

None yet.. :)

Its not that these are great speakers for the money..."They are a great speaker period". Along with my Threshold S-150 Amp, Aragon 24K sp Preamp,Denon DCD-1560 CD,the sound is simply breathtaking.(I love em !) :) All my interconnects are Straightwire Rhapsody's,speaker cables are Straightwire Encore(Bi-Wire). I have auditioned B&W's, Definitive Techs,Infinitys,Paradigm...and so on...These Snells are more musical than any in their price range, and beyond. If your looking for a top quality speaker that sounds great across the musical spectrum,get yourself a pair of the Type D's.
Oh,I almost forgot,I have the Light Golden Oak's,"They are absolutly georgous" :) No kidding. The build quality is fantastic. Plus....Snell's customer service is unbeatable ! ! ! 6 Stars :) Way to go Snell

Equipment:
Threshold Stasis S-150 Amplifier
Aragon 24K SP Preamp
Denon DCD-1560
Adcom GFT-1A
Straightwire Rhaspody Interconnects
Straightwire Encore Bi-wire Speaker Cables
Snell Type D Speakers (Golden Oak) :)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Paul Botto   an Audiophile [Feb 27, 1997]

Snell Aoustics is a purist company based in Haverhill, MA. They rent a shoe factory for a dollar a square foot. The reason I tell you that is because it is a big factor in their low overhead. This leads to alot of speaker for the money. Gorgeous cabinetry, unmatched attention to detail. The D's where given Stereophile A or B rating (forgive me I can't remember which). They are reputed with one of the most nuetral cabinets in the industry. These speakers disappear. A friend of mine has C's and they blew me away. So, I recently brought a pair of D's home to audition and they perfored well beyond my expectations. Imaging was fantastic. Soundstaging was three-dimensional and got better and better the further you got them off the wall. They are bipolar in that they have a rear-firing super tweeter (Snell invented bipolar technology) that can be turned on or off using a toggle switch. The front tweeter has an attenuator so you can easily place these speakers in just about any room. I found that attenuating the front tweet to about ten o'clock and turning the rear tweeter "off" had the best staging and realism in my room (considered a bright room-large windows, sliding glass doors, and cathedral ceiling). Though severely underpowered (Yamaha RXV-870), base response was excellent. Clean and articulate, quick transients were handled with ease. True the C's do have more base due to a much larger cabinet and an extra woofer and mid-range. But I think the D's are easier on the room and have a better ability to simply "disappear". It really is impressive to have these speakers off the wall about 6 feet. On Eric Clapton's "Unplugged" CD, Clapton was place three feet directly BEHIND the right speaker! A second guitarist was set about two feet behing the left speaker. I also noticed not one but two pianos; one was elevated slightly on the left side about ten feet behind the speakers (remember they are only 6 feet off the wall!), and the other toward the right side in between Clapton and the percussionist. These are serious competition to a B&W 803 (hands down better than an 804) and cost a fraction of the price- $1799. Find out who sells Snell Acounstics in your area and listen to them before you buy anything. They have 3 models above the D's, including the acclaimed Reference A's at $20,000.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Andy   Audiophile [Mar 31, 2000]
Strength:

Imaging, soundstage, transparency, bass response, build quality, flexibility.

Weakness:

None that I have found

I recently purchased a demo pair of D-IV's and am completely satisfied. After listening to B&W, Definitive, Boston, Paradigm, and even AR, I found my speakers. There truly is no sound like bipolar sound from Snell. The definitives tried to compete with their BP line, but with no bass response. The B&W 300 line has paper passive cones...nice technology! Paradigms sound nice, but the build quality is poor. To me, there is no better speaker for the money than the "orginal" Snell Acoustics D's. It is unfortunate that these speakers are gone and "Peter" allowed the real company to be bought out by Boston Acoustics. Never again will there be a pair of speakers with such incredible build quality and such superior imaging ability. These cabinets are absolutely gorgeous. They listed for $1800/pair and I paid $1200 for the last pair of demos on the floor. The bass is deep, articulate, and has an awesome punch. The updated tweeters are accurate as heck and perform beautifully. The mids bring it all together seemlessly. I have owned Snell Acoustics for 15 years so far (E-II's) and have been nothing but satisfied. Now I am blown away by my upgrade and am looking forward to another 15 years of audio-bliss! If you are in the hunt for a great pair of speakers that WILL LAST, try and find these!
They show-off particularly well if you enjoy contemporary jazz like Ritenouer, Fourplay, Norman Brown, George Benson, or David Benoit. Over-all, the best audio decision I have ever made. A 5 PLUS!

Similar Products Used: Snell E-II
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
John Kawalec   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 22, 2000]
Strength:

detail, bass, imaging

I had these speakers for almost a year and have detailed and accurate sound, with no weakness that I can think of. Imaging is awesome. Tried the C-V's but concluded the D's have a better overall sound. If you can get a used pair in good shape for around $900 you won't be disappointed.

Associated equipment-
NAD 218THX amp
NAD 160 preamp
NAD 540 CD player
MIT Terminatior speaker cables
Monster 400 interlinks

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 32  

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