Breaking new: The SA 5000 attacksSA5000
This is the mysterious warrior from outer space: I had not heard it much, just in a couple of rigs at the nat meet, but I liked it and decided to buy it. I have read a lot of controversial posts about it and it has earned the name of SA5000 NIYE (five thousand needles in your ears).
They are still not fully broken in, so it still needs to sharpen its swords
Massive Attack - The first five things you notice it the SA are: detail, detail, detail, speed and speed. Wow this thing certainly is not boring! This CD get extremely eventful, there are really a lot of things going on and you really don’t miss any of the action. The SA manages to grasp immediately your attention and never gives you a moment of relax: as soon as you start to think about something else, it immediately draws you back to the action. Great fun; I have not tried to use them for several hours yet, but I can imagine a little of fatigue will arrive after a while, not due to brightness, but because they constantly demand your full attention.
The bass is not the heaviest, but I like it a lot: it is extremely fast, detailed, really tight and textured; it never interfere with the other frequency and is extremely easy to follow the bass lines. It rivals with the bass of the W5000 and in my taste even just a bit better. As I said the detail is so absolutely unbelievable that gives a really unique sound signature. Compared to the W5000, the SA lacks of body without any doubt, but some of the punch is there with a bit less of impact. The speed is also astonishing, in a certain way may be even a touch too much: this HP never even remotely struggle to resolve the busiest and most complex situation. Cymbals and drums are snappy and impact, the attack is fantastic, but there is almost no sustain and decay, so they don‘t bear much resemblance with reality, even though the effect is quite enjoyable; drums and cymbals is one of the points were the W5000 are miles ahead.
The soundstage is really unusual: certainly not wide, but it develops mostly in a vertical way: think about a band where each musician is positioned in a different floor. Certainly does not correspond to a real soundstage but, as usual with the SA, things are exciting: in a lively CD like this one there is tons of action shifting slightly laterally and mainly vertically. I believe this is the essence of the SA: not much fidelity to the real events, but lots of fun and excitement. Anyway the soundstage is certainly another clear win for the W5000.
There is a certain amount of brightness, but only occasionally and is not really a big issue as somebody reported; also they are not fully burnt-in, so it will very likely improve.
Plenty, plenty of air, no matter how complex the musical passage might be. I remember Drarthur wells describing the sound of the SA with some very strange words for me: he said that the individual notes are encapsulated in the air, or something like that. Now I see absolutely his point.
Moving to the different acoustic instruments, there is always the same sensation I had with the cymbals: the instruments don’t sound at all as they do in real life, but still everything sounds nice and enjoyable. For example, in the lovely second track of Nick Cave album, “breathless”, there is a flute introducing; with the SA you really could never guess which instrument you are hearing, although the effect is once again very pleasant. I believe that this is the reason why this can is probably the best with electronica: here you don’t have to confront the sound you hear with real life instruments and you can just enjoy the exciting sounds coming out of the SA without comparing.
Probably the artificiality of the instrument is due to the sheer speed of the SA: you end up hearing just the attack, but no sustain and decay; how can a piano or cymbals sound authentic in these conditions.
Shifting to Fiona Apple and Anthony I had a nice surprise: both female and male voices sound really good with the SA. And for once they sounded perfectly natural, not artificial at all, not quite as emotional as with the W5000, but more “true”, if I might say so (sorry but English is my third language).
All and all the SA puts on an excellent performance and they are definitely going to stay in da house. Probably I won’t use them very often, but when I am looking for excitement I am sure they will give me a lot of fun. I would not recommend them at all to classical music lovers, but they certainly rule for electronica, they are good rock cans (although light years behind the W5000) and probably will do very well with electric rock (some Chick Corea stuff for example). I remember they sounded great with TDSOTM.
Finally I believe a tube amp with the proper tube rolling could be a good match.
Note to self: I will add Kraftwerk’s Minimum-maximum to the next battle