Of course, I read your Alta Audio Alec review, as I have a pair being shipped to me by Alta Audio’s founder and president, Michael Levy. I wondered if you ever listened to a “non-defective” pair of the Alecs? Don’t worry about offending me. I picked up a slightly blemished pair at a very good price.
At the end of my review, I noted, “When the review was sent to Alta Audio for fact checking, designer Michael Levy stated that the review samples of the Alec loudspeakers sent to SoundStage! were defective and not representative of current production models.” I did get a replacement pair of Alec loudspeakers to listen to. The issue I noted in my review was that “the midbass . . . was indistinct, lacking definition and clarity”—this issue was also present in the replacement pair.
The question is, what does this mean?
There are some excellent reviews of the Alec and other Alta Audio loudspeakers on the internet. So, there’s that. Unfortunately, we did not get to measure the Alec in the anechoic chamber at Canada’s National Research Council, the way we have with many other loudspeakers. That would have been interesting. Poking around online, however, I did find some measurements conducted by Stereophile’s John Atkinson of the Alec’s little sister, the Alyssa. This is a two-way like the Alec, but a standmount instead of a floorstander. Design traits often carry from model to model within a manufacturer’s line.
In the Stereophile measurements of the Alyssa, Atkinson stated: “Strong discontinuities in the impedance traces at 174Hz and 291Hz imply the presence of resonances of various kinds.” He followed that up by writing that “the nearfield outputs of the woofer and port (red trace) are afflicted with severe resonant peaks, the two lowest in frequency coinciding with the frequencies of the discontinuities in the impedance traces.” Atkinson concluded his commentary by stating, “I remain concerned that the resonances in the upper bass and lower midrange regions and the others at the top of the woofer’s passband will lead to audible coloration.”
Take what you will from the Stereophile measurements of the Alyssa loudspeaker. I could only describe what I heard during my time with the Alec, but cross-referencing the subjective performance I experienced with the objective measurements of the Alyssa indeed starts to paint a picture—and it’s not a pretty one.
I hope the Alec loudspeakers give you more musical satisfaction than I obtained during my time with them. Good luck.