Ryan Speakers and Pass Labs – RMAF 2018

While Ryan Speakers certainly has a flushed out line of floor standers to standmounts, its the new S610 that has really caught our eye as of late. Their room at RMAF this year was a relatively simple one, lined up next to elaborate vinyl incarnations and room-filling giant horn speakers. But it was simplicity with a cold shot of hifi accuracy, dynamics and well… value, all things considered.

The entire system wasn’t what most consider fully budget value, as each component easily sailed victoriously north of $2k per, but rather an interesting mix of slightly more attainable high end. The S610s themselves will set you back around $4k, as will the Auralic G2 Aries Streamer ($3.9) and Vega DAC ($5.7). But combined with the PASS Labs INT-60 this time around, things quickly become very upper crust. And considering the overall size of everything, more downright XMAS miracle. Like Santa-Claus-swing-down-the-chimney wonderful, except instead of toys for all the boys its big boy toys for those who love sonic joys.

Of particular interest was the contrast between last show’s INT-250 ($12k) to the INT-60 ($9k), both of which bring some obvious bonuses to the gang here. Surprisingly, room (and company) manager Todd Ryan gave a nod towards the 60’s bonus this time around, for extra “sweetness” – perhaps tapping into some special AB solid state synergy with the 86dB sensitive, 8 ohm two-way speaker. Also worthy of note, the INT-60 holds on to class A until 30 watts.

The sound was sweet indeed. Chantal Chamberland’s stripped down version of Thinking Out Loud took away some of that Hollywood studio magic from the original and left us with just raw, beautiful vocals and simple guitarwork. Immediate and wonderfully striking, the source > integrated > standmount combo sets an example of what can be done with a limited footprint, but isn’t always achieved even with more (including bigger pricetags). Its the ultimate office setup which also puts many full size options to shame. Do me a big office/study favor though friends, don’t cram speakers in actual bookshelves or up against a wall, they need to breath!

Particulars for the S610 include the previously mentioned two-way design via a 1″ chambered beryllium dome tweeter and 6.5″ laminated Nomex cone. There is also a slight lean to the cabinet design, from the company site:

“The unique shape of the S-Series enclosures allows the acoustic centers of all drivers to be perfectly aligned. A large radius is applied to the front and rear baffles eliminating edge reflections. The S-Series features our silent core cabinet material with internal constrained layer damping. The S-Series enclosures reduce unwanted noise by up to 50dB compared to typical MDF enclosures. “

Consider the bar set for rigs of this style. Not every room can reasonably accommodate a floor stander, and the simplicity of this stellar performer has my interest peaked. What’s the next on the horizon for 2-way bookshelves? And how do the 3-way floorstanding S840’s sound?