I listened to a lot of CDs and SACDs with these speakers, but here are the
This new SACD from Telarc
(SACD-60648) is actually an old recording that was done in
SoundStream 50 kHz digital by Telarc back in the 1980s. This
was the way they recorded music for release on CDs.
I have used the CD version for
years in my reviews. It is one of my favorite recordings of
There is no compression at all,
so it tests equipment, particularly amplifiers and
subwoofers, to their limits.
This is the first time I have
been able to listen to the recording with the full 50 kHz
sampling. The CD version had to be down-sampled to 44.1 kHz,
so there were unavoidable artifacts.
It was thrilling to finally
hear all the detail that the original recording had. SACD is
capable of a higher frequency response, but at least
everything in the original SoundStream recording was now
The planar tweeter and midrange
drivers in the Strata Minis delivered incredible nuances,
and the powered subwoofers reproduced the thunder of the
huge bass drum that is used in the music.
Wow! I was not simply
impressed. I was thrilled!
I know, I know, this is my namesake, and it is embarrassing to
mention it, but the recording is really good. It's Naxos
What I listened for, and got, was the attack of the
strings being plucked. The rosin on the strings as the musician
slid fingers along them was clearly audible too.
This is the sort of thing you get when listening to planar
Another favorite recording of mine is this one by
Besides being a pleasure to listen
to over and over again, her husky voice is a test for the
possibility of a speaker being "chesty" in sound quality,
meaning too much in the lower mids.
However, there was none of that with the Onix Strata
In this case, the sound I was listening for was coming
from the mid/woofer.
This is a great disc in CD form, but as an SACD, it is
A combination of electronic music and
percussion, it tests all areas of a speaker's
There is an astonishing amount of detail that has to
be rendered, and the Strata Minis did the job, thanks to
those planar tweeters and midrange drivers.
The bass was tight as well, and the percussion was
natural in tonality.
Really, just an amazing set of speakers.
The Strata Minis need plenty of
power, just as most other planar speakers do. I would suggest at least 100
watts per channel. You could play them with low powered amplifiers, but just
not really loud. If I were going to put these into a home theater system, I
would use an SSP and one of the 200 watt per channel multi-channel power
amplifiers that are out there.
to Go to Part III.
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