Coherent Systems - Reviews

Robert Ryan - Coherent sales and service

Over three years has passed since our first visit to Coherent. We had, and still have, a high end Audionote system and were looking to change our loudspeakers. The first change in 30 years! Joyce (my wife) and I listen to classical music together almost every day so the music system is an important shared part of our life. In a two month period we had travelled to Glasgow, Nottingham , Luton, Bath and others before arriving at Coherent to hear some Focal speakers.

We arranged a demonstration and, as Tony had recommended, arrived with all our Audionote equipment. He took great pains to set up an excellent demonstration . The care he took was the first of many things that impressed me and I will highlight a few of these. One of the first things Tony did was to get a feel for the type of sound we were seeking so he could understand our needs. He is a firm believer that there is no 'right' or 'best' sound for all but only for the individual. He takes a lot of pride in being able to select components to tailor the sound to suit the individual. I have never heard him 'rubbish' any manufacturer's equipment but give a fair and balanced appraisal of it.

During the demonstration we never once felt under pressure to purchase or feel subject to constraints of time, throughout Tony sat with us, eyes closed, listening to the music. He is passionate about music and to get the very best from a system. Yes, we did buy a pair of Focal speakers and I was further impressed with the substantial concern, care, interest and service we continued to receive. Delivery and installation were exemplary, equipment was left to run the speakers in and regular phone calls to check on progress. Another visit ensued when speakers had run in to fine tune and position.

Since then Tony has kept in touch and recently phoned to tell me about the virtues of 'Black Ravioli'. Despite the beautiful sounds our Audionote and Focal system was producing one could not escape the inherent problems that make CD problematic. Harshness with massed violins, choirs, congestion on crescendos etc., really all those things that analogue enthusiast complain about. Once before I had ignored his advice and used spikes on our speakers only to find, nine months later when I removed them, how much better they sounded! Normally I would have dismissed the claims Tony was making regarding 'Black Ravioli' but, as I had developed a healthy respect for his opinions, it would have been foolish not to try it.

A visit was arranged and Tony spent the day gradually introducing the BR under each piece of equipment. One of the first things we did was to remove the expensive cones and granite from the system ( he is not a great lover of granite and it's removal converted me to the same belief). There was a very noticeable and cumulative improvement as the BR was placed under one piece of equipment at a time. The music became very organic and lost the harshness that is associated with CD replay. Violins now had texture, individual voices could be heard in choral music, sections of the orchestra could be clearly defined during crescendos and so very much more. Dynamics increased, low frequencies instruments had far more weight, sound stage increased in focus, depth and width. Faults I had attributed to recordings/digital disappeared and listening pleasure increased enormously with an air and sweetness that took me back to my vinyl days. The Black Ravioli has released the potential of the other parts of our system and as time passes just gets better. It defies my logic and understanding. I didn't want the hassle or expense but the emotional involvement and pleasure it has brought to our listening would make it almost impossible to live without.

Appreciation for all your time, help and advice ............ Robert

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