Studio Electric is finally breaking into the big time. After showing a variety of wild, quasi-prototype speakers at past shows, Studio Electric’s new $7900 T3 speakers are primed for hip hi-fi fans everywhere. The T3s feature Studio Electric’s signature diving bell driver enclosure with a new bass system. These speakers are a lot smaller than the pictures let on and, as you can tell, are conversation starters. With all the audiophiles fondling these speakers, it’s amazing the inch-thick layer of grubby fingerprints didn’t show up on camera.
Sonically, the speakers are part of the Precise group. Studio Electric began making speakers for studio recording and the pedigree is obvious in their sound. Paired with Studio Electric’s $6500 Electrodyne amplifier and a Benchmark USB DAC-1 (with integrated volume), the system was super clear and powerful. When I played my demo track, the Studio Electric and Benchmark guys applauded. Yeah, these are some hip dudes. The system handled all the dynamics, bass and attack of my brutal CD while offering a nice touch of warmth and smoothness. People who typically don’t like Precise gear will find themselves gravitating to the Studio Electric system.
The main tech feature is, of course, the big silver sphere’s 6.5” wide-band driver. The driver crosses over to the tweeter around 4kHz, higher than typical speakers. The 8” woofer comes into play at 50Hz and goes down to 25Hz. The unique Electrodyne amp is a hybrid affair with NOS Siemens tubes for the gain stage and solid state “English mosfets” for 275 watts of power and, as far as I can tell, a very pure, clean sound with a touch of warmth and smoothness. The Benchmark is the latest version of their famous DAC-1. Now with USB inputs and silver chassis, the Benchmark paired with a laptop make for a KISS front end. More and more speaker companies are demoing with Benchmark DACs sans preamps for amazing results — the best preamp, after all, is no preamp.