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Salk Sound SongTower speakers Review

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I later replaced the Rotel A14MKII with my Wyred4Sound mINT integrated amplifier to compare the sound of these two outstanding integrated amplifiers, also using the mINT’s built-in DAC. This little class D integrated was also a great match for the SongTowers. The mINT does not have a phono stage, so I only listened to CDs connected to the mINT DAC. Again, I played a wide assortment of music. The first CD was iFiesta with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra on a Telarc recording (CD-80235). Like the Rotel, that pure natural refined tube-like sound was also evident with the mINT. The superior DAC gave me the clarity that was obvious. These amplifiers were able to take full advantage of these wonderful speakers. Once the SongTowers were dialed in, they gave me a wide soundstage along with pinpoint imaging giving them the ability to disappear while listening to Tito Puente. The bass was nice and full. The midrange was natural sounding. The highs seemed just a tad more recessed using the mINT. The SongTowers seem compatible with any high quality amplifier. This is usually an indication that the speakers are fairly neutral sounding as opposed to when they sound good with only certain equipment. Also, like with the Rotel, I just wanted to sit and listen.

I went to another system, connecting the SongTowers in place of Magnepan MMGs in my living room stereo. The turntable is the Goldring GR1 (Rega 2 clone) combined with my Talisman A low output moving coil phono cartridge. The phono stage is my new iFi Zen that I reviewed last year and ended up purchasing. I used it with my NAD preamplifier. The power amplifier is my Parasound HCA 1200 high current amplifier. This 300 watts per channel into 4 ohms is a more powerful amplifier than either the Rotel or the Wyred4Sound. Placing the speakers about 40” from the rear wall and six feet apart seemed to work well. I listened to these speakers angled toward me as I did in the family room, although I had to experiment more with placement in this room than in the family room.

I played one of my favorite pieces, Handel’s Water Music with Christopher Hogwood conducting The Academy of Ancient Music on the Oiseau-Lyre label. This is a beautiful piece of music that I can listen to repeatedly. The midrange was so pure and natural with first rate resolution. My living room has an open floor plan with vaulted ceilings, so there are not a lot of walls to reinforce the bass. This room also has the new hardwood flooring, which has made the bass a little lighter, but the highs still have that very sweet sound that I always like. I still enjoy listening to music in my living room, despite the drawbacks of the room. I preferred the two integrated amplifiers with the SongTowers, favoring their more refined sound to the greater power of the Parasound HCA 1200. The SongTowers always seemed to let more of the music through.

Finally, I connected the SongTowers to my main system, which is in my office, using the AR “The AR turntable” with a Sumiko Premier MMT tonearm and the Ortofon MC-1 Turbo high output moving coil cartridge along with my NAD PP1 phono stage. The preamplifier is the Antique Sound Lab tube line stage. The amplifiers are a pair of Quicksilver 25-watt tube power amplifiers now using 6l6 output tubes. Since these are 4 ohm speakers, I used the 4 ohm taps. This is a small room, so I pointed the speakers straight ahead. I used AudioQuest speaker cables. These 88 dB speakers were a great match when combined with the 25-watt Quicksilvers, which had no trouble driving the speakers to full volume. Again, you really don’t need a lot of power in most rooms. I prefer my low powered tube amplifier to a high powered solid state amplifier. The SongTowers can take full advantage of the tube magic.

I continued to play records from jazz and classical to rock. Even in this small room, the soundstage was fairly decent with the same pinpoint imaging. The midrange had clarity without sounding harsh, and the bass was all there; this room is still carpeted and the speakers were placed closer to the back wall. The treble remained very sweet sounding without being recessed. Overall, however, I preferred the SongTowers in a larger room.

No matter which amplifier I used, I was rewarded with a nice, warm sound with decent, clean bass. I am astonished that you can get this quality of sound for $2,300 per pair. There are a number of mini monitor speakers in the $1,500 to $5,000 category. The SongTowers make the same small footprint as a pair of mini monitors and give you advantages of listening to a nearly full range pair of speakers, especially the more extended bass.

Generally speaking, Salk Sound does not have fast delivery times — each pair of speakers is custom made to order. The website says 60 to 120 days and my pair came in at closer to 120 days. The wait was difficult for me, but, fortunately, Jim Salk was patient with me and my emails asking when my pair would be ready. After listening to the SongTowers, I must say it was worth the wait.

Because Salk Sound sells direct, your options for auditioning the speakers before you buy them are limited. On their lower-priced models with a standard finish, Salk offers a 30-day in-home trial period. You can return the speakers within 30 days, in new condition, for a refund in the event they do not perform to your satisfaction. The custom finishes and/or more expensive speaker models can be returned, but you have to wait until another customer wants the exact same product before you can recoup your costs. You could also hear the speakers, as I initially did, at one of the audio shows, which will hopefully return in the near future. In the meantime, I hope this review will give some insight into this well made, great sounding pair of speakers. I expect most music lovers would be very happy with the SongTowers.

My conclusion is that for $2,295, you get a beautiful pair of handcrafted speakers that not only look stunning but also sound great. If these speakers were sold in a retail outlet, they could easily sell for double and still be considered a great value. The only way you can get a pair of speakers of this caliber for this price is to order them factory direct. As a bonus, you get outstanding customer service from the designer, Jim Salk. Jim is a great guy and available to help you with your decision along with helping you optimize the sound and placement of Salk speakers in your home. The Salk Sound SongTowers are highly recommended.


Copy editor: Dan Rubin


3 Responses to Salk Sound SongTower speakers Review

  1. Burt says:

    Nice review of a pair of speakers I’ve often thought about purchasing. One comment regarding auditions, it seems that Salk owners across the US are a generous bunch with many willing to audition their speakers for potential buyers. A call into Salk Speakers will very likely yield the contact info of a local owner that will welcome you into their home for a listen. Mr Salk also maintains a circle on with this info.

  2. Eric says:

    I love this line: “ When I closed my eyes, I felt the speakers disappearing …”

  3. Kev says:

    How about a comparison to the MMGs!
    Price difference not withstanding, how much of an upgrade are the Salks over the Maggies?

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