Clayton,

Having lived with my new Lumina Beryllium 12 Statement speakers for a couple of months now, I wanted to report back with a few observations:
 

First, a bit of background.  You and I have discussed how living with a particular style of system shapes how we evolve to appreciate music and evaluate gear. My early audiophile experience was with Quad ESL 57s, in college and afterward (culminating in a double-Quad / transmission sub / ribbon tweeter rig similar to the Levinson HQD).  I then went into the hifi business and sold a wide variety of gear (Vandersteen, Beveridge, Dayton-Wright, Gale, KEF, Sonab, FMI, Celestion, the list is very long) and eventually opened two shops of my own, specializing in the big Meridian digital gear.

The Quads taught me to listen for detail, timbre and ambience, and for years this shaped my listening toward acoustic instrumentation and vocals, small jazz and classical chamber pieces.  This first love never waned, as each successive step in my hifi journey opened a vista of its own, doing something the previous system couldn’t do. Unfortunately, each of those steps was frustrating, because with every step forward I felt I gave up something.  To compensate, I moved back and forth from systems of utter simplicity and purity (I still have a Wayne Picquet restored pair of ESL 57s driven by small tube mono blocks) to massive complexity and muscle (my previous rig, which you heard, was a quad-amped monster with big sub-bass units and thousands of watts into exotic drivers, and you have to admit it sounded pretty damn terrific).

Now, to the present.  You can search the Internet to see if I’ve ever posted anything remotely resembling what I’m about to write.  You won’t find anything, because I’m not given to this sort of “lifting veils” and “blowing away” rhetoric:

The Luminas have changed everything.  That’s something I’ve never been able to say in my 40-year progression as an audiophile and music lover.  By a wide margin, the Luminas do everything better, at both ends of the spectrum, than those specialized systems ever did, and they do everything in between gorgeously, too.  I mean spectacularly better, to the point I can comfortably say I’ve never heard a better music system.  And I’ve heard my share, including several well into the seven figures (each has had its charm, which is why I say I’ve never heard a “better” system - just some that are different).  And the Lumina setup is by leagues the most satisfying system I’ve shared space with, personally and professionally.  That may seem a preposterous claim, but I mean it.  Everything sounds spectacular.  Even - and this is a first for any system I’ve owned - lousy recordings are enjoyable.  In the past, they were the hardest to bear, but there’s something magically musical about these speakers that sprinkles fairy dust on anything they play.  

Demonstrating for friends, I typically start with something starkly acoustic, unprocessed and small.  The system is intricate, intimate, vanishingly subtle, even more so than the most delicate, detailed electrostatic.  This doesn’t prepare listeners for what I demonstrate next: its stadium-level lungs.  I’ve never heard anything so alive, dynamic and effortless playing the biggest, deepest, most powerful music without breaking a sweat.  It’s downright shocking.

I could rhapsodize about the simplicity of this system - no more complex architecture.  I could go into details about different elements of the sound - the vanishingly low distortion of the beryllium tweeters (you and I have discussed how the dirty secret of speaker specs is their very high distortion) and the ungodly slam and speed of the servo bass, coupled with the free ease of open-baffle design.  But I don’t dissect music on these speakers that way.  I think the Luminas may have finally liberated me from being an audiophile.  And for that, I can’t thank you enough.

Ken Askew