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Infinity Renaissance 90's

Posted

Pros: Superb imaging and soundstage. Smooth and sweet yet extremely detailed highs and mids; tightest bass I've ever heard. Cabinets are rock solid.

Cons: Hard to drive - an Adcom GFA-555 alone put out almost no bass. Bi-amped with the Adcom on bottom and a Carver TFM-15CB on top it's great.

These are a fantastic pair of speakers - easily the best I've ever heard.  At $3800 new in the 1990s, I've read that they're among - if not the best sub-$10,000 speakers ever made.  Compared to the Kappa 8s I have, these are better in every respect except the difficulty of driving the 10" Watkins (dual voice coil) woofer.  Look at audioreview.com - there's 33 (excluding mine) unanimous 5-star reviews for these.  I drove 1200 miles from Michigan to Virginia to pick them up, and it was worth every mile.

 

The bass output isn't overwhelming like on many other speakers - it's tightly controlled and perfect in quantity for every genre of music.  The gain control on the Carver I use is essential as it lets you control the balance between the EMIT/EMIM/mid-bass coupler and the Watkins woofer.  The bass extension is the best I've ever heard.

 

The new High Energy EMIT and EMIM drivers are spectacular.  This is my first speaker with an EMIM midrange, but the new EMIT is definitely better than the older Kappa and RS series ones.  It's sweeter yet more detailed - an extremely difficult feat.  I honestly can't imagine a speaker with better highs.  The EMIM is really the star of the show though - I can't believe how much better it is than the Polydomes on my Kappa 8s and older RS 5s.  All of the excellent properties of the EMIT are carried down to the EMIM.  Vocals, horns, guitars - everything - sound spectacular.  The EMIM is so transparent that on a good recording I feel like I'm in the studio and the musicians are playing in front of me - but not too close.  The sense of depth is excellent - something I've never experienced before.

 

The best thing I can say about the mid-bass coupler is that it is entirely unobtrusive.  I never even notice it, it is so well integrated with the EMIM and woofer.  The lower midrange and upper bass is full and "right" sounding, never overwhelming.  The only time it ever sticks out is with recent poorly recorded albums that have a mid-bass hump to make it seem as if there is more bass on cheap speakers.  That's not a fault of the speaker though - just a result of the poor mastering that is demanded by users of iPod earbuds and laptop speakers.

 

The footprint of the speakers is nice, too.  They're actually quite small, accentuated by the trapezoidal shape.  They look awesome - the wood grain is rich even on my matte black speakers.  The built quality far exceeds my Kappa 8s - these are solid speakers.  The binding posts are solid metal, unlike the plastic-capped posts on every other speaker I've seen.  Unfortunately the grille frames broke on mine, but that was under the auspices of the previous owner.  The rubber surrounds are great as they're still supple almost 20 years later, but the foam in the rear EMIM diffuser is deteriorating as happens to all of these.

 

As I said before, these are easily the best speakers I've ever heard.  The Kappa 8s are good too, but these are just on another level.  The imaging is spectacular - and I don't even have a good room for setting these up.  In a big room with lots of space behind and around them I know they will be even better.  Same thing goes for the amps - I don't have the money for a Krell or Levinson or McIntosh, but the Carver and Adcom together do an excellent job of powering them.  I highly recommended them for amping the Renaissance 90s on a budget, but I'd love to hear a truly high-end amp powering them.

Infinity Renaissance 90's
Description:

4-way floor-standing high-end loudspeaker with planar midrange and tweeter sections.

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