- Written by John E. Johnson, Jr.
- Published on 16 October 2013
I tested the Focus SE's with an OPPO BDP-105 universal player, Pass Labs XP-20 preamplifier, and BAT VK-75SE power amplifier. Cables were Wireworld.
When we were in Rekjavic, Iceland, on vacation, we heard a beautiful female voice playing as background music in a local shop. I asked the manager who it was, and she said, "Haley Westerna", and the album was Pure. Her ability to hit high notes, and I mean really high, rivals Celine Dion. In fact, I'm not sure Dion could hit some of the notes that Westerna does, and on this particular album, the tracks "Benedictus" and "Dark Waltz" are simply astonishing. Listening to them on the Focus was mesmerizing, and when she hit those sky high notes, I knew the album was named appropriately. The sound was smooth, and just seemed to sail across the room like a silk scarf in a breeze to my ears.
Michal Buble's album, Call Me Irresponsible, is an obvious tribute to Frank Sinatra, and many of his fans consider his voice to be very much like Sinatra's, but I disagree. There is no one who could be another Sinatra, just like there will never be another Buddy Rich. Nevertheless, the album is very good, with a male voice that is at least four octaves lower than Westerna's high notes. I felt very much at home with the sound. It was comfortable, and like Westerna, smooth, but smooth as Russian vodka cooled to 320 F, rather than a silk scarf.
When one thinks of string quartets, chamber music without a distinct melody that distracts you, comes to mind. This was the case for string quartet music of the Baroque era. But Tchaikovsky's string quartets, such as this DSD recording, String Quartet No. 3, Op. 30 (Praga Digitals 7 94881-76266-8) are much different. They sound like string quartets that have more of a symphonic nature, with a definite melody. It takes some getting used to, if you are a fan of string quartets from the Baroque era, as I am. Notwithstanding, I thoroughly enjoyed the tracks on this disc. The strings all remained quite distinct, without any harshness, and the tonality was completely neutral.
The trouble with Satellite radio is that I get several classical music channels, and I keep a notebook nearby when I hear something that I want to purchase. The notebook became full very quickly, and my collection grew in return. When I heard Mendelssohn's Konzert für Violine und Orchester e-moll, Op. 64 (Violin Concerto for Violin in E Minor), the notebook came out, and the Amazon shipping envelope was on my doorstep a few days later.
The concerto is extraordinary, and the soloist played beautifully. The Legacy Focus SE's did their part in reproducing the music which transported me to the land beyond, beyond. The orchestra had intense, detailed sound from the highs to the lows, and again, no harshness with the strings, no boominess or chesty bass. I cranked this one up pretty loud, and it was no problem for these 128 pound tigers in cherry wood.