The Charney Maestro Extreme
Aum AcousticsIntegrated 45 Tube Amplifier
Finding An Ultimate Speaker Solution
You ideally should have two speaker systems if you want the bet listening system and one that is good for mixing and mastering music. One for a low powered tube amp that is emotionally seductive and one that is neutral and bland and probably involves connecting an active pro audio monitor. Optionally use a pair of subwoofers if you’re interested in listening to and possibly creating electronic music. The bass in electronic music is artificial and goes lower than good acoustic music and is the only reason to add subwoofers to this speaker design. In my opinion, an even better way to do this is to spend more money and purchase the larger Charney horn speakers. Cost, however, can be $12,000 to as high as $90,000 and I’m not interested in spending that much. I’d rather have two different audio systems and possibly the less interesting one could also power my large screen TV and not be emotionally seductive. That would be my preferable direction.
Based upon decades of audio experience, I’m now recommending one specific pair of audio speakers made by one manufacturer that is my ideal pick for size, weight, cost and audio reproduction with my 45 tube amplifier. These are now the backbone of a really excellent music listening and system. They do not require adding subwoofers and that is why I’ve picked them as my “ultimate” speaker. These are the absolute best speakers I’ve ever used (for my own goals) and they play down to 38Hz without subwoofers. That’s plenty for acoustic music and good for most electronic music. If you want to go down to 20Hz (to play artificial low notes) add a pair of good subwoofers. But . . . they are not needed.
There are many different speakers and types of speakers that you could purchase for your needs – high efficiency, compression horns, box speakers (sealed or ported), transmission line, open baffle and a myriad of other combinations. Over the last number of decades, I’ve built most all of these various types to learn about each one and have sold other manufactured speaker designs. I know first hand what each of these designs can and cannot do. I’ve gone from high efficiency to low efficiency designs. Low powered powered amps to high powered amps and everything in between.
I’m finally at a place in my life when I can highly recommend this ultimate speaker design that I’ve recently discovered. Without a doubt, you are going to enjoy them and find them useful for a very long time. My goal is to use a pair of speakers like this that are worth owning and then to have them hold their value and be flexible so they can be passed on beyond my life. These are speakers that truly are heirloom in both build and sound quality. They are “desert island” speakers and could be only ones you need to own for the remainder of your life. But they don’t have the bling factor that you might expect since I don’t pay for unnecessary veneering and other external non-sonic improvements. My goal is to use the best components in the best way and the speakers that I now own and recommend are it.
My Pick Is The Charney Maestro Extreme Cabinets
With Voxativ A2.6 Full Range Drivers
Cost is $6,900 Plus Shipping
These high efficiency speakers will cause you to want to listen to music with low powered tube amps and you’ll find many times when you simply do not want to turn the music off and go to bed or perform other tasks that you should do if getting away was easy. It won’t be. That is, if you’re using the 45 tube amp like the one that I have built. Are there other amps that sound as good? Maybe, but in my opinion, the 45 tube provides the best sound quality if you have the right speakers.
Plus, I pay what you pay for these speakers since Brian doesn’t have a distributor and dealer network to pay. He only sells his speakers direct and doesn’t provide a dealer discount. These are so good that I’m willing to pay full retail instead of purchasing a speaker where I could receive at least a 40% discount as a dealer.
I doubt you’ll find a really good long-term solution that is as good as this one (my 45 tube amp with a pair of these speakers). Whenever I look inside other amps I still see low quality components being used. Even though the price might be high for these amps, most of their price goes to sources (distributors and dealers) other than the manufacturer. That represents easily 60% of what is paid for these amps. Then, the amps still need to be build to be profitable for the manufacturer and lower cost components are used whenever possible because staying in business means making a profit. Many manufacturers focus on creating a pretty external image of an amp and waste money on that goal instead of putting the money into using internal components.The high end stuff I use typically is only seen in the most expensive components like the high end Audio Note creations. Those too must be built to show a profit for the manufacturer and in my opinion a lot of their cost is unnecessary unless the purchaser has money to burn and doesn’t care. That’s not me.
I will only build my 45 tube amplifier the correct way using only the highest level of components that I can purchase and have tested through decades of working with these components in other amps. Even wire makes a large contribution and its rare to find someone who only uses all single crystal wire with the least capacitance possible throughout an entire amp design like I do. I also use solid silver wire carefully to increase the sound quality where needed. Documenting everything I do and everything I’ve gone through to come up with these conclusions is impossible within a website format. The best way to realize that what I’m sharing is true is to use my amps and connect them to the Charney Maestro Extreme or the larger Charney speakers that Brian Charney makes. If you do, you’ll have a great sounding combination!
What's The Tradeoff When You Purchase The Lowest Cost Charney Maestro Extreme - The One With Baltic Birch Plywood Cabinets for $6,900 Plus Shipping?
I don’t believe in just throwing money at an audio product and expecting it to meet all of my goals. I love the look of natural finished baltic birch plywood but, the Charney speakers aren’t finished and are sold in their “raw” state. In all honesty, even though these speakers will sound as good as the ones with veneer applied to their surface, they don’t look good. In fact, they look awful until finished. Brian sells these unfinished baltic birch cabinets to keep their cost reasonable in the eyes of the purchaser. It would cost too much to include the cost of proper finishing like I do.
I spend a full day of sanding and then take anther 6 full days to apply a thin coat of wipe on poly with each and ever coat. I sand the finish up to 2000 grit between coats and after 6 coats of finish, I end up with a look that is incredibly beautiful and looks like it has been professional applied. It has!That’s a lot of work and time involved but is worth it for these speakers.
I prefer the natural birch finish compared to covering them with veneer for the following reason:
Nick or dent one of the sharp corners required on veneered surfaces and your speakers are ruined! Veneer is not a good long-term solution.
The finished plywood speakers don’t have that problem. If you do dent them and cannot cover up the problem, mask the area with painters tape and apply Bondo. Sand it to the shape and then apply a few coats of wipe on poly. Yes, you’ll have a slightly odd looking repair but it will blend in. Damaged veneer will never look good and is not possible to repair well. I do not recommend purchasing a veneered cabinet particularly one that has sharp edged corners like these.
If you’re looking for speakers that are relatively easy to lift by yourself (maybe 60 pounds per cabinet), are reasonable in size (15″ side x 12″ deep x 42″ high), look superb, and sound absolutely sublime, these speakers will work extremely well with low watt tube amps. They are 101db efficient (will work with the best 2W amps) and play down to 38Hz. Plus they do not require stands. They image extremely well and without crossovers that sap your sound quality, they sound simply alive and dynamic as hell. In my opinion, the bass on the tractix design that Brian Charney uses is superb and produces low tight bass that I rarely find in speakers this small in size.They do it for me!
Cost is $6,900 for a pair plus shipping cost. Shipping is expensive and only being strapped to a pallet and delivered by truck would be the shipping method to use if you can’t pick them up in person. Picking them up is my only recommendation since anything other shipping method risks ruining the finish and possibly the speakers. Driving a few hundred miles to gather these speakers yourself is the way I recommend buying these speakers. Because Brian is located on the East Coast that pretty much limits his speakers to people located in New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and maybe as far away as Washington DC. But that’s it if you want my recommendation. If you live further away, maybe you can find a used pair that have made it through the system but, they will probably have some shipping damage. I highly recommend purchasing new cabinets and finishing the baltic birch natural yourself. You end up bonding with the speakers you finish and in the end, they look better than anything you could purchase.