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Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review! (Read 876 times)
drD
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Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
06/14/20 at 02:51:28
 
After reading this review http://www.glowinthedarkaudio.com/lii-audio-fast8.html and many positive reviews about these little Betsy's I was quite curious to have the experience of an open baffle speaker in my own room which accoustically is quite good. All my walls are slanted and I don't get much with regard to reverb. I had heard a few various open baffles at a couple of audio shows and was always impressed with their speed with highs and upper midrange. With that said, I mainly play jazz like Bill Evans, Ben Webster, Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery to name a few at pleasant, relaxing volume levels. As such, I wasn't going into this at all with the expectations of rock'n the house. I have a pair of Klipsch Heresy II's and a pair of REL T5i subs for that kind of mood for stuff like Albert King and Stevie Ray. I also have a pair of Magnepan .7's as well as a pair of Dynaco A10 speakers, so I do have some frames of reference to compare to. I'm also running a few different amps FYI because I believe the way a speaker is driven is paramount to speaker performance. For this review, I used a Decware SE84UFO, a Dynaco PAS 2 preamp restored and a fairly new Bob Latino Dynaco VTA ST-70 with KT88 tubes.

Randy at Caintuck was quite a gentleman to work with and an absolute wealth of audio knowledge that I wouldn't dare compare myself to. There's just something about his level of audio wisdom and sense of humility that that really made an impression on me. Randy said the Betsy's would take about a month and I said no problem. When these speakers arrived I was shocked at how beautifully packed they were. I was not expecting this. I opened the box and dropped my jaw! He literally places thin sheets of wood around the entire inner box with protective foam. I couldn't believe he only charged $75 for packaging and shipping this nice. Then when I looked at the speakers I was blown away at the build quality which was a solid 10.

One minor thing which I will try to make myself are some little front risers out of wood. In some photos I have noticed that the little Betsy's are tilted back slightly at an angle. Since mine came tilted straight up at 90 degrees, I am temporarily using some little wood blocks I found in my garage. Regardless, this is by no means a big concern and can easily be worked with soon. I can't state enough how absolutely drop dead beautiful Randy does these speakers. The negative and positive terminals behind the speakers are spring loaded, so I simply plugged my banana plug wires into them but aside from the speakers, I'm just really impressed with how well made these little Betsy's are. I ordered solid sapele. I do woodwork myself and appreciate the craftsmanship. One thing that often happens to solid hardwood that's interesting is that when you stain the cut edges, the stain normally penetrates much darker, so you have an uneven match on the side edges compared to the front. One way to avoid that problem is to add a very thin clear coat only to the edges. This will then help prevent the edges from darkening differently than the back and front of the wood. I have no idea how Randy did these but they match flawlessly. Really, I just can't say enough about the build quality.

In the package, Randy was also kind enough to include a very nice high fidelity CD with 15 various songs of various genre that play well with the Betsy's. All of the songs on the CD are wonderful and one particular track that really moved me was track 6 by David Roth called "last thing on my mind". In this song, there's what appears to be some some very nice acoustic guitar, vocals and some really low end bass in a couple of areas of the song that stand out. For me, the way I judge a speaker is how it makes me feel emotionally. In other words, how does it connect the listener to the music. One thing a wise audiophile once told me is that the way to know whether a speaker is good or not is to ask yourself if you enjoy listening it. Well, let me tell you something. I got the speakers about 4pm, then had them set up by 6pm. I then listened to them from 6pm till 1am. I then got up the following morning and played them from 6am till 11am and at that point my wife asked me if I remembered that I have a 5 year son that needed some attention too. †::)

Let me describe how they sound. Using the little Zen by itself and also with the Dynaco preamp drove the little Betsy's quite well, but what really shocked me was when I coupled the Dynaco VTA ST-70 with the newly restored Dynaco PAS on these little Betsy's. OMG! the sound of drum symbols and articulate details were absolutely beautiful and emotional to listen to. At one point tears were rolling down my face. In my opinion, once you get the right settings going into these little Betsy's they are just an absolute joy to listen to. Some words I would use to describe the sound would be dynamic, articulate, detailed, holographic, open, airy and three dimensional. I was really surprised and how amazingly well the ST-70 drove these little gems.

One of the recording I played is by Bill Evans called "at the montreux jazz festival". This recording came out extremely well on CD. When I heard the stand-up bass plucking, piano, and drum symbols, it really had a very lifelike presentation to it and they can get pretty loud too even though that was not my intention. I then coupled my pair of REL T5i's just ever so slightly. I don't like muddy bass and these little REL's are fast! I have the phase and the volume on them set just so they are barely even audible so you only hear them very lightly when that bass is needed. All in all, I am really impressed and moved with these little Betsy's. Sure, they don't have big bass but I wasn't expecting that. I think that when you really appreciate what a speaker can be good at, that's when it's really at its best.

Randy, thank you again. I couldn't be more pleased.  


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drD
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review
Reply #1 - 06/14/20 at 02:56:23
 
BTW, I went back and looked at some images of the Betsy's just now with regard to their tilt or angle. Maybe I'm wrong about the idea that I thought they were slightly angled, please correct me. This may be an oversight on my part. Regardless, I'm very happy!
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drD
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #2 - 06/14/20 at 03:15:17
 
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drD
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #3 - 06/14/20 at 03:16:44
 
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drD
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #4 - 06/14/20 at 03:18:31
 
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drD
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #5 - 06/14/20 at 03:22:51
 
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drD
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #6 - 06/14/20 at 03:24:37
 
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drD
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #7 - 06/14/20 at 03:26:10
 
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drD
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #8 - 06/14/20 at 23:54:12
 
Made some stands today.
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drD
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #9 - 06/14/20 at 23:55:27
 
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drD
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #10 - 06/14/20 at 23:56:58
 
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Donnie
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #11 - 06/15/20 at 02:12:10
 
drD,

Do you need the stands?
I thought that part of what made Betsy's work was how it coupled with the floor.

Every time I've listened to them they were on the floor. Seemed to work real well from that position.

But I've never listened to the Fast 8's that I can remember. Maybe that is the difference.
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drD
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #12 - 06/15/20 at 04:22:25
 
Hi Donnie, Iím still experimenting but so far the results are fantastic. These speakers produce so much musical detail on the stands. Iíll be doing a YouTube video next.
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Geno
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #13 - 06/16/20 at 12:34:14
 
drD,

Beautiful baffles and stands! The consensus on the Betsyís is that they should be on the floor to help the bass, but your ears can tell you what is best. Look at the Big Betsy thread for some good information. Also, you should experiment with tilt back on the floor (talked about in the thread) You may be surprised with the results.

Best,

Geno
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Alnico Betsy Baffles OR Crystal 10 Baffles
(2) 12" Lii Bass Baffles
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drD
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Re: Betsy Lii Audio Fast 8 Review!
Reply #14 - 06/17/20 at 01:35:28
 
Hi Geno,
I agree 100% with what you are saying. I've always noticed better bass with  speakers on the floor in fact my Heresy are that way always. The main reason I've been experimenting with the Betsy's on the stands is only because I have a pair of REL T5i's coupled to them. One thing Randy mentioned about the Fast 8 though is that they are a bit more detailed in their musical characteristics compared to the standard drivers he normally uses. What I'm seeing with the stands is that they may be even a bit more detailed than needed lol. I will definitely be listening to them on the floor again for sure and your suggestions will definitely in my thoughts. Thank you!
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