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Krell Resolution 2 Loudspeakers Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 December 2004
Article Index
Krell Resolution 2 Loudspeakers
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During the review process, I used a multitude of sources, including Super Audio CD (SACD), DVD-Audio, traditional CDs, two-channel movie soundtracks and FM radio as a background source. One consistent trait imparted on all these sources was the Resolution 2s’ smooth, somewhat laid-back presentation. They were the antithesis of overly etched, forward-sounding speakers that sometimes find favor with those who only listen to audiophile-quality recordings. The Resolution 2s consistently impressed many visiting listeners with their musical and non-fatiguing demeanor. This was especially true when listening to high-resolution formats, such as SACD and DVD-Audio.

Founded in 1975 by saxophonist and producer Jay Beckenstein, Spyro Gyra’s infectious sound quickly became a precursor of many of today's most popular contemporary jazz styles. With their 1979 pop hit "Morning Dance," Spyro Gyra broke into the pop charts and has consistently created its own instrumental hybrid, incorporating elements of jazz, R&B, Latin and Brazilian music. All five of the main members are prolific writers who have each contributed to the longevity and diversity of the band. Listening to the SACD version of In Modern Times (HEADS UP) tested the system’s ability to decipher complex, dynamic and multi-layered music. During “Your Touch," the Resolution 2s imaged beautifully, with the individual speakers disappearing behind the music. The Krells were capable of keeping pace with the track’s funk-driven change-ups while equally articulating the quickness and delicacy of the keyboard. The scorching jam "Florida Straits" features Beckenstein's sexy sax and Julio Fernandez's Latin style, rock-influenced guitar riffs. David Charles’ powerful percussion, along with the hammering of drummer Joel Rosenblatt, gave an opportunity to stress mid-bass through the low-frequency region of the Resolution 2s. The bass was firm, deep and tight, percussive passages were clearly delineated and the drums were solid with a crisp snap on the attack. The midrange and treble were equally impressive, floating Beckerstein’s sax effortlessly in the vivid, expensive soundstage.

A sizable portion of my eclectic music collection falls outside the realm of “audiophile” material. However, in the real world, I find myself listening to many of these recordings a majority of the time. Therefore, it is important for me to have a speaker system that has excellent resolution and dynamic capabilities, while also maintaining the ability to respectfully reproduce the music of my lesser recordings. The Resolution 2s did a fine job of melding these two requirements. This was evident while listening to two self-titled recordings by Malo (Warner Brothers) and It’s A Beautiful Day (San Francisco Sound). Both bands flourished during the San Francisco music scene of the late ‘60s/early ‘70s, never reaching any commercial success beyond a few recognizable songs, yet are still actively touring. Malo’s music is mostly power-driven, based on soulful Latin rhythms, electrifying guitar riffs (played in part by Carlos Santana’s younger brother Jorge) and big blasting brass, with a touch of R&B to top it off. It’s ironic that their only true hit, “Suavecito,” was a beautiful, poetic love melody, very different from most of their material. Recorded in 1972 and subsequently released on CD in 1995, “Suavecito” is relatively well produced, featuring a collage of beautifully interwoven vocal and instrumental elements. The Resolution 2s did an excellent job of delineating the layering of harmonizing vocals from this cut, constantly sounding warm, rich and pure. Integration of high-frequency and midrange drivers was flawless, effortlessly reproducing the small nuances between the track’s instrumental and percussive passages. Distinct sounds such as cymbals, chimes and cowbells were sharp on the attack, yet had a resonant fullness that made each instrument sound real. Other Malo classics such as “Nena” and “Cafe” were well represented by the Resolution 2s, with the Latin-infused percussion and horn sections sounding fast, tight and powerful. Dynamic capacities of the loudspeakers were tested throughout this recording, displaying no signs of compression or dynamic limitations, even at high playback levels.

On the other side of the musical spectrum, It’s A Beautiful Day was the quintessential psychedelic-era band. From its plucky, acoustical string intro flowing into the melodic vocals of former symphony violinist David LaFlamme, “White Bird” blossomed, sounding clear and coherent. Again, the Krells were seamless through the midrange, reproducing the enchanting flamenco-style guitar solo and beautiful violin, which is infused throughout the song. Melodic vocals and instrumental images were solid and steady, located within a realistically dimensioned sound field. Tambourine and cymbals emanated clearly in their own spaces, displaying excellent separation and tonal correctness.


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