Valentina P8 (Mark II Passive) October 2019
Posted to the Audiogon Discussion Forum
No sub Woofers needed:
Well they say timing is everything. Here I was listening to my Janszen zA2.1 speakers with a pair of JL Audio E110 subwoofers, along with careful setup in my listening room, and as always, I was enjoying my system. As fate would have it, I just happened to blow a woofer about the time David Janszen was getting ready to release a new version of his Valentina speakers. The new version comes with new, improved and larger 8” woofers and some magician like tricks in the crossovers. After a talk with David, I was convinced the new version would be sonically superior. So that’s all it took and what the hell, I had to send a speaker back anyway. I have the first test pair, and the test has passed with flying colors.
The original wonderful sounding but bass shy zA2.1 Valentina has had an impressive upgrade. Slam, bang, these woofers are delivering the goods. I have always considered these among the sweetest sounding speakers I’ve ever heard with very few short comings. With the most significant short coming removed, they are the sweetest and complete full range speakers I’ve ever heard.
Now the 3D Image is more prominent than ever. Plucked bass strings are deep and tight. The difference in bottom end output is night and day. The sound stage has grown and even the sweet spot feels bigger, although I don’t know how thats possible. Integration between the woofers and panel are seamless. I still have my subwoofers but have yet to turn them on. I could get that last bit on the bottom with them but I’m enjoying what I’m hearing so much I don’t want to mess with it.
I’m going by memory but when I heard the active version of this speaker at our DC HiFi group meeting, it didn’t go as low and full as I’m getting now. Sorry Brad. David is great guy and will patiently explain the changes he’s made but me not being an engineer, my eyes start to glaze over after a few minutes. I’m sure he will chime in here to explain.
I played Bela Fleck’s “Flight of the Cosmic Hippo” and Victor Wooten’s bass was subterranean sounding. Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture sounds like cannons instead of pistols. I really can’t believe it. I’m not just comparing these woofers to the old woofers but to any other 8” woofer I’ve ever heard.
Of course speaker quality will be effected by upstream gear. The synergy of Janszen Valentina speakers and Linear Tube Audio ZOTL40 amplification is the pinnacle of my listening enjoyment. I have owned more expensive amps and speakers but nothing sounding on this level of beauty and refinement.
Sent by email
Dear Mr. Janszen,
I am writing to let you know how delighted I am with the JansZen zA2.1a’s. To my ears (and those of everyone else who’s heard them) they make reproduced music uniquely absorbing, fascinating, and enjoyable
In my room, the zA2.1a’s have an uncanny ability to place performers in an appropriately scaled, convincing acoustic space and to allow me to hear individual performers and instrumental lines – even within large groups. When reproducing smaller groups, the zA2.1a’s are uniquely revealing of each player’s expressive subtleties.
In fact, the zA2.1a often makes instruments sound like “the real thing.” By that, I don’t just mean that the tonal balance of instruments seems correct. Rather, I also mean that I can easily hear the way that sound resonates in and emanates from the bodies of instruments and vocalists.
I’ve never heard reproduced music sound quite so beautiful.
Until I heard the zA2.1a’s the highest praise I could imagine speakers deserving was “They transport me to the concert hall if I listen with eyes closed.” On many recordings the zA2.1a’s make me question the eyes that, when open, tell me I’m listening to speakers.
I recently demonstrated them for a friend using well recorded classical music. While he said that their sound was the best he’d ever heard, he wondered whether they’d sound as good on recordings of lesser quality. In response to his challenge, I put on the first Rolling Stones CD that came to hand. We were both amazed by the amount of (never previously evident) musical information the zA2.1a’s revealed – and by the fact that they revealed that information without sounding the tiniest bit harsh.
Another friend who has long held that quality of reproduction has no impact on his enjoyment of the music he prefers recently dropped by with a few CD’s in hand. About 15 seconds after I started playing his first CD, he turned to me and said, with a smile, “Thanks for ruining my life.”
Posted to cordial email group with about 8 members
I guess it's about time I give a review of my setup. The entire system has about 300 hours on it and I'm on the finishing touches to the room.
For those that don't know my setup consists of the following:
Sony Modwright HAPZ1es
LTA Micro ZOTL-MZ2-S With the stock now tubes Mogami RCA to XLR 6 ft cables going into the Valentina Actives
My room is 12 ft by 17 ft, the Valentinas were setup and positioned by Mr Janszen himself. I was really thankful for the slight assymetric setup which helped with reducing room modes and making things as flat as we could across the audio spectrum.
I have the speakers 7 ft apart with their centers angled toward my seating position 7 ft in the standard equalateral triangle.
Lots of heavy gik soffit and tri bass traps, 8 of them total. Diffusion in the front and sides of the speakers. Gik 244 panels on side and rear walls, 5 freestanding bass traps, two at first reflection points, 3 on rear wall with diffusion.
I love it!
Lol, it's been a journey to get to this spot in listening pleasure, I still have a room mode to crush but these Active Valentina's are a pure joy to listen to. I can now understand why some who listen to Electrostatics won't go back to standard driver designs.
For reference, my musical tastes can be a bit strange and all over the place. Classical, Baroque, Original sound tracks, World music, Medieval, Orchestrated, Orchestrated Metal, Big Band Jazz, Swing, Techno, Electronica, Chiptune, As well as other genera that I can't classify.
The thing I love best about the Janszens is how resolving and fast they are when complex Orchestrated passages are run through them. They present the sound in a beautifully layered etherial form as etherial as the notes move through the air at a live large concert hall or orchestra pit, all in my little room as long as the recording is good.
I involve my family in enjoying them, and understanding my addiction. My mother sat and listened to some Foreigner and was astounded by how this setup sounded, the notes she noticed were missing in other systems playing her favorite songs jumped out in a lifelike fashion. She said she felt as if she was in front center row at the concert. When I tried to explain the technicalities of the speakers, room, etc. I actually got "shuushed" as she proceeded to select more of her songs and for the first time was experiencing a closer representation of what the artists intended for their audience to hear.
That's not an easy thing to do for my mom you see, she's so active she won't sit down and take time to just listen, but she actually will for this setup!
The Sony Modwright is so simple to use, I started collecting music when I got my first CD player in 1984, and over the years my CD collection was huge as friends and family dumped their CD music on me as they went to mp3. I have spent the last 5 years converting to Flac and some mp3 so the Sony is a very convenient solution. The LTA used as a preamp is such an easy and carefree setup, It just works, no fussing other than to give it a minute and start enjoying it with the rest of the system.
I could just go on gushing about this setup, but really It has become my comfortable refuge from the stresses life throws at all of us. Here are photos of my room. Thanks to my understanding family for giving me this space to express my madness and build this shrine to music. Thanks to Mr Janszen for creating Electrostatics I could enjoy in such a room, and for setting them up so quickly. To LTA for a great pre amp that my family is not afraid to use, and to Dan At Modwright for Upgrades to the already good Sony HAP-Z1es.