Soliloquy 5.0s Loudpseaker
Size: 14″H x 7 1/2″W x 11″D
Sugg. Retail: $1499 pr (CAN)
Soliloquy S10 Subwoofer
Sugg. Retail: $1895 (CAN)
Size: 20″H x 12″W x 18″D
Distributor: Audiopathic (American Sound),
9108 Yonge St., Richmond Hill,
Ont. L4C 6Z9
(905) 886-7810 FAX 886-6920
(Reprinted from the Almanac 2000 Audio Ideas Guide)
Soliloquy is a new American manufacturer that has entered the speaker business looking like they’ve always been there. Based in Raleigh, North Carolina, the company has produced first models with fit and finish that are outstanding.
The 5.0s is a bookshelf speaker that has optional matching stands ($499), using a “5.25″ rigid poly fiber cone” and a “1.125″ double chamber, silk dome with unique proprietary coating applied by hand”, according to the brochure. Both drivers are magnetically shielded. Origin of these drivers is not revealed, though it appears they are custom made for Soliloquy, and are inverted, the tweeter below the woofer/midrange. The crossover is at 3.2 kHz, a 3d order design. Finishes for this speaker are glossily finished veneers “Curly Maple, Cherry, and Rosewood”.
The S10 subwoofer is not all that large compared to some (though a lot bigger than our pair of Sunfires combined), but at 100 pounds, it’s not one to encourage you to experiment with placement. The driver is “a proprietary low frequency drive unit” with a 10″ aluminum cone in a very rigid box that has blockable slot-loading ports at front and rear that allow either to be used; this strikes me as a good feature, since this sub is so hard to move around, allowing you to opt for more or less deep bass easily. The S10 seems to have been designed for power and dynamics rather than outright extension, and I’ll say more about this in discussing the measurements. The rear amplifier panel provides level and crossover control pots, and a 180o phase switch. Inputs are high and low level, with similar high pass outputs. Again, the finish is gorgeous, options here Curly Maple, Cherry, Rosewood and Black Oak.
Looking at the measurements for the 5.0s, we see an impressive promise of high performance, with smooth response across the audible range. In the Pink Noise Sweep (PNS) and Summed Axial Response (SAR) we see +/-2 dB from about 70 Hz to beyond 10,000, and the curves overlay very nicely, always an indicator of good design in dynamic loudspeakers. The quasi-anechoic curve below shows some reticence through crossover and a tiny bit of extra energy on axis around 8 kHz. The axial curves are closely grouped, showing excellent dispersion right out to 60o, with a falloff of about 4 dB to the extreme sides.
At the bottom of the range, the rolloff is quite a bit less steep than you normally see for a ported bookshelf speaker, and in listening I noted excellent deep bass from the rear port. This suggests that a quite low crossover point would be appropriate, and this is supported by the curves for the S10. The top one is with crossover wide open (180 Hz), and is +/-1 1/2 dB from about 150 down to 40 Hz (incidentally, the S10 is specified to only 40 Hz, a little surprising), while that below at around 90 is less flat, but offers a bit better extension. The lowest setting is smoother over a narrower range, and can be seen to extend response with the 5.0s as well.
The 5.0s impedance/phase measurements show peaks in bass and midrange around 320 ohms, with the lowest value between 200 and 300 Hz being 7 1/2 ohms. Electrical phase covers the specified +/-45o through the crossover region, which should not pose any problems for amplifiers, the sensitivity a fairly common 88 dB.
Listening to the 5.0s pair by themselves revealed a surprisingly extended bass that was detailed and tuneful. For example, I could easily hear the truck going by outside in the early notes of Chuck Israels’ bass solo in Johnny Come Lately from The Bellingham Sessions, Vol. 1 (AI-CD-11), this energy below 30 Hz not usually audible on smaller speakers.
In general, the tonal balance of the 5.0s is clear, open, and a little lean, with some emphasis on sibilants with voices, but good resolution on massed voices. The tweeter is very fast and clean, while the woofer matches it well in both speed and definition. The net result is good dynamics for a two-way design, and excellent soundstaging in terms of both breadth and depth. I found the sound on strings just a little etched, but not thin or steely, these speakers more natural at a slightly greater listening distance than many bookshelf types. There’s a lot of performance here for the price in the 5.0s pair, especially considering the excellent woodworking that completes the package.
The S 10 Subwoofer, for all its power and SPL capability, might be disqualified as a true subwoofer on the grounds that its response does not extend below 30 Hz, and with the crossover in its highest setting, drops off quite steeply below 40 Hz. However, with the 5.0s pair it did enhance the bottom end performance of the system. This sub has plenty of oomph for home theatre, even if it won’t plumb that bottom octave to 16 Hz like the Sunfire Signature (Almanac 99). Its bass is also very tight and tuneful, the aluminum cone, the heavy, rigid enclosure, and an excellent amplifier responsible for this.
Many who hear the Soliloquy 5.0s will want to own them, because of both looks and sound, and will probably shell out for the beautiful stands, too. I’m not so sure the S10, good as it is, represents a similar value, but there’s no denying that the three make a very good system together.