Philharmonic Audio

Reviews

The price/performance ratio compared to other speakers at the similar cost is phenomenal.

—— Kevin Garcia

Philharmonic Audio has almost single-handedly taken control of the market for full range towers simply by offering more for less.  No other speaker comes to mind, for less than $4000/pr, that can even come close to the experience derived from a pair of Philharmonic 3's.

—— TheWarrior, Audioholic Field Marshall

The sound coming from the speakers was so good that I simply couldn’t find any weakness what-so-ever.  This was a track I used to play on such speakers as the Dahlquist DQ-10s, AR 9s and Magnaplaner Tympani speakers.  While I didn’t have any of these speakers to compare to, I can remember weaknesses in each of these speakers that I didn’t hear on the Affordable Accuracy Monitors.

—— Michael Barnes, Founder of Nohr Loudspeakers

Good Morning Dennis, The AA’s arrived safely, and I am enjoying this pair just as much as the first pair.  I have listened to A LOT of bookshelf’s in my day, and like I have said before, the AA’s are a very accurate great sounding speaker.  I think they sound better than the Axiom’s, the Martin Logan’s, the Ascends, and of course the Elac’s all in that same size range.  The only other affordable bookshelf that I have heard that rivals it would be the Monitor Audio RS1, but it costs quite a bit more dough.  The AA’s go so well with my modified Sansui amps from Tom Tran.  I know not all amps sound the same, but these AA’s seemed like they were made for my amps.  I am a big fan of Philharmonic Audio, and you sir, for bringing a bit of hi-fi to the working man.  All the best, and Thank You.

—— S. R.

Dennis' forte is crossover design (working with Jim Salk on a few designs), and his talent is audible in the 3's, the sound is seamless and coherent with very flat frequency response.  I was able to listen to 6 of my personal cuts and every one sounded great, focused vocals, transparent, deep powerful bass, and natural!" "With eyes closed (the Slims) sound eerily similar to the 3's..."

—— Enjoy the Music, Capital Audiofest 2013

The second “AVA room” had loudspeakers from local company Philharmonic Audio.  Dennis Murphy was on hand to lead the crowd through their aural calisthenics — and I found quite a few folks completely unprepared for the amount of work they were going to be doing.  The Philharmonic loudspeakers, which share some design heritage with Salk Sound, are quite the performers.  At their price ($3,500 which includes the sloped baffle and upgraded cabinet), the Philharmonic 3 is just fantastic.  A RAAL 70-10D ribbon tweeter is paired with a BG Neo 8 planar midrange transducer.  Bass comes from an 8" Revelator woofer and is said to extend “usefully” down to 20Hz.  For those with lighter wallets or less space, the “Slims” tower ($2,700/pair) and the Philharmonitor ($850/pair) are both viable options.  But I have to tell you, if you can, get the Philharmonic 3.  One of my favorites in that sub-$10k space, no question at all.

—— The Part Time Audiophile, CAF 2013

Philharmonic Audio Dennis Murphy, the gent who designed the Salk Sound Song Tower and HT2 loudspeakers, was on hand with his new venture, Philharmonic Audio.  While I was cruising through, Dennis was demo'ing the Philharmonic 3 ($3500) in his room, fronted by Van Alstine equipment.  Featuring RAAL 10D ribbons, a BG Neo-Planar mid-range driver, and rounded out by an 8" ScanSpeak Revelator woofer, the Philharmonic 3 pushes a frequency response from 20 Hz to 30 kHz.  I hadn't intended to stay so long in this room, in order to be fair to others at the show, but with that first few notes from John Williams' Star Wars (Main Theme), I was riveted to my seat.  Big fan of orchestral music?  Say hello to the Philharmonic.  Philharmonic?  Please take a bow.  An outstanding debut!

—— Enjoy the Music, CAF 2012

When I asked the price of the floorstanding Philharmonic 3 (front), which I had heard producing a big sound with extended low frequencies on a recording of Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man, driven by an AVA amplifier, I was expecting an answer of the usual "many thousands of dollars."  Instead, I was told the speaker costs just $2800/pair!  That is a lot of speaker for the money.  The 3 combines a Raal 10D ribbon tweeter crossing over at 2900Hz to a BG Neo 8 planar-magnetic driver in an open-back enclosure.  The bottom enclosure, isolated from the upper with a 1/25" vibration-absorbing pad, handles frequencies below 650Hz and loads an 8" Scanspeak Revelator woofer with a transmission line.  Less-expensive versions of the speaker, the Philharmonic 1 and 2, differ only in the drive-units used.  Check out www.philharmonicaudio.com for the full technical story on these speakers.

—— John Atkinson, Stereophile

I wouldn't have been surprised one bit if the (Philharmonitor) had been priced at $2,500.  And even at that price, I would have wholeheartedly recommended it for its wonderfully neutral stance and natural sounding character.  Run, do not walk, to audition this incredibly affordable product.

—— Stereo Times

I am the proud owner of a new pair of "Philharmonic 3" Speakers, and a "Philharmonic Slims Sr. WMTW Center Channel, front ported, with an upgraded RAAL 70-10 Tweeter".  I think I have had them hooked up for about a week now.

Cabinets, of course, by Jim Salk, and the "magic" by Dennis Murphy!

First of all, they physically look amazing!  As soon as I get everything organized, I will take a picture and post, but I guarantee you that they are the best looking furniture in my living room!

And now, for the sound! Of course they sound AMAZING, FANTASTIC, PHENOMENAL, AWESOME (let me google some more adjectives!) but there is a story. . .

Dennis sends a "test CD" with the speakers, to test them out, and show off their amazing qualities.

I can't speak for everyone, but I would think that a lot of "Phil 3" customers already own a pretty decent L & R speaker setup.

Well, to be fair, I wanted to hear the "before" and "after", so I played the CD with my current speakers (Axiom Audio M80's that I bought 2003-2004 or so).  OK, so I was anxious, so I only listened to the first 5 tracks on the CD, then I stopped, because I wanted to hook up my new Phil 3's.

"Holy cow, I forgot how good my M80's sounded", I thought.  "Did I just make a mistake by buying these speakers?"  I was more than a little worried, as I saved up for this purchase, but still, it was a big "chunk of change" for me to spend, especially if there was no improvement in sound.

I anxiously hooked up my new Phil 3's, and played the CD again.

As I listened, I started to smile, and was VERY HAPPY!  This was the best decision ever, to get the Phil 3's.

I have nothing bad to say at all about my M80's.  They were my main speakers for 15 years or so, and could have lived with them for the rest of my life (actually, I will live with them for the rest of my life, as I can't bear to part with them!

However, the clarity, the detail, the soundstage were just AMAZING with the Phil 3's.  There was one track, that gave me such an incredible "center stage" feeling, that I had to get up and re-confirm that I was indeed listening in "Two channel stereo", as I thought my new center channel was "showing off".  The center channel WAS turned off! That "3 dimensional" soundstage was coming solely from my two Phil 3's.  While the same track sounded very good on my M80's, I did not experience that "3 dimensional" experience that my Phil 3's gave me.

As a former Timpanist from High School and College (1977-1982), I really enjoyed "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copland (included on Dennis Murphy's test CD). It sounded great on my M80's.  BUT, it sounded so incredible on my Phil 3's.

I am trying not to go overboard on analogies and adjectives, but here is how I felt when listing to "Fanfare", before and after. When I listed to Fanfare "before", I was a little scared.  "Damn, that sounded good, how is it going to sound any better?"  was worried, that I already owned something that sounded as good as the Phil 3's.

When I listed to the same Fanfare with the "Phil 3's".  I was astounded.  I had to stop playing the CD.  I just sat there in silence.  I was absolutely amazed, almost shocked (not joking).  It sounded VERY GOOD with the "before" speakers, but the intricacy, the detail, the "stuff that makes a live musical experience", well, "an experience", were present in the "Phil 3's".  It was "Phenomenal Subtlety", if I can coin a phrase.  (I am going to have to "borrow" some adjectives from my December allotment of adjectives!)

In my case, the sound improvement was not so much "night and day", but the ability to hear the detail, and clarity, the subtle details that one might hear in a live performance.

And the "detail and clarity" exists at all frequencies, the Timpani did not sound boxy or "boom-y" or "phony" on the M80's at all, I was very happy with the sound (a reason for being worried), but they sounded so clear on the "Phil 3's".  The M80's sounded very good, no complaints at all, but the Phil 3's sounded like you "were there".

Again, it was that "Phenomenal Subtlety".

As I use my system for both "home theater" and 2 channel music, I noticed an unexpected benefit, even with "just" 3 new speakers, and that was "clarity at lower volume levels".  (Dennis is in the final stages of sending me 4 more speakers!!!

I would not have classified my other speakers as "harsh" by any means, but my three new speakers gave me a "smoother, yet clearer" listening experience, even at lower volume levels.

I would also like to note, that NOTHING else was changed or modified in my system.  I upgraded my 15 year old receiver to an amp and pre-amp, in anticipation of my new speakers 4 months ago.  I also changed out all my cables, but again, that was 4+ months ago, so I had 4 months of listening to my "old" speakers on my new system, so when I installed my Phil 3's, everything else stayed exactly the same.

As a relatively poor college student, still living at home, in the 1980's, I used to "worship" the glorious B&W 801's in my local high end audio store.  I must have annoyed the heck out of the two guys that worked there. I forget how much they were back then, but they might as well have been a "gazillion" dollars, as they were way, way, way out of my league.  (AND you needed the electronics, and they would not have fit in my 8x10 bedroom!)  But I loved the sound.  As I got older, the various "state of the art" speakers got more expensive, and one day, I realized that I would never be able to afford, or justify buying such expensive speakers.

My Phil 3's are my "final" set speakers that I will ever purchase for my main L&R speakers.  (OH wait, what happens when Dennis comes out with the "Phil 4's????? - My brain just blew up! (grin!)

Dennis gave me something that I never thought I would be able to obtain in my "real" life (that is my life without winning the 300 million dollar powerball lottery!), "a state of the art", speaker system! Dare I say, "beyond state of the art".

Thank you Dennis!

—— Bruce Pinkham, on AVSForum