Lovecraft Designs Cain & Cain Abby Loudspeakers Review

Audio/Speakers&Amps by KeithSuppe @ 2009-04-23

Lovecraft Designs was originally founded as Cain & Cain in 1980 by Terry Cain. Just prior to his passing in 2006, Terry entrusted his friend and associate Jason Flanary to head the company. Jason has not wavered in his commitment and Lovecraft Designs continues to forge ahead. This passion is prima facie in the Abby loudspeaker´s engaging performance

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Abby and system specifications

Single Driver Subtlety:

Madshrimps (c)

The Fostex FF165k (pdf.) nearfield version full-range drivers were the perfect solution for my room (5mx7m), although I would be interested in hearing the Abby's with their usual Fostex FF165e (pdf.). The FF165k drops down an additional 10Hz to 40Hz and the bass is excellent for such a diminutive driver. The amount of bass these small drivers are able to deliver belies their size. This is where the TQWT (Tuned Quarter Wave Tube) "horn" design and use of pure hardwood construction all contribute to substantially improved low frequencies while reducing unwanted resonance.

Abby Specifications
  • Single-driver, crossoverless loud speakers
  • Bass ported, modified Voight-pipe design
  • Hand crafted Alderwood available in multiple stains
  • Full range driver - Normal version: Fostex FE 166e driver
  • Full range driver - Nearfield Version: Fostex FF 165k driver
  • Sensitivity - 95db ~ 1 watt ~ 1 meter
  • Frequency response - FE 166e: 50hz ~ 20khz (+/- 4db)
  • Frequency response - FF 165k: 40Hz ~ 17KHz (+/- 4dB)
  • Nominal Impedance - 8 ohms
  • Minimum Impedance - 8 ohms
  • 70"H x 9"D x 9"W (5.8ft H x 0.75ft D x 0.75ft W)
  • Cardas - internal wiring
  • Copper 5-way binding posts
  • 2x4 Brass spikes
  • 2x4 Brass cones (fit under spikes for hardwood floors)
  • Specially secured for shipping single crate

  • The Abby's run approximately $1,500 a pair which will shock some, excite others and not mean a whole lot to many unless you hear them. Insofar as cable matching, for the GLOW Amp One the Unity Audio Basic Link gave a very satisfying sound. With the Tecon Model 55 both the Oyaide Tunami Nigo or Zu Audio Julian. And with the Peachtree Audio Decco a good match were again Unity Audio Basic Link, or Oyaide Electric Tunami Nigo (all pictured below). Each integrated amplifier came with it's own USB interconnect.

    Madshrimps (c)

    Test System
    CPU Intel Quad-Core Q6600 Kentfield (SLACR) Socket-775
    Mainboard Foxconn Black Ops (X48/ICH9R chipset - BIOS Ver. P05)
    Memory Patriot Viper DDR3-1600 2x1GB (CL7-7-7-20)
    GEIL Evo One DDR3-1600 2x1GB (CL8-7-7-18)
    Graphics XFX 260GTX PCIe
    Gigabyte GV-RX3870
    Power Supply PCPower&Cooling TurboCool 1200W
    Cooling D-Tek Fusion S-775 cpu cooler, Danger Den Black Ice Xtreme III triple radiator, 3x12cm Sunon fans (98CFM), LAING D5-38 Vario (setting #5) 1/2ID Tygon
  • Decco 50W hybrid integrated amp (USB-DAC Phillips TDA1541)
  • Tecon Model 55 single ended integrated amp (USB-DAC Burr Brown PCM2707)
  • GLOW Amp One Single Ended Pentode integrated with internal USB-DAC (C Media-102S)
  • Cain & Cain Abby single driver loudspeaker
  • Era Design 4 satellite loudspeakers
  • Zu Audio Julian speaker cable
  • Unity Audio Basic Link speaker cable
  • Unity Audio Solid Link speaker cable
  • Oyaide Tunami Nigo speaker cable
  • Unity Audio Basic power cable
  • Oyaide Electric PA-23ZX power cable
  • Operating System Windows XP SP3

    As free streaming audio (try out and digital music files replace the Compact Disc we will probably find scenarios where the ideal "listening position" may not be in the cards. Should those of us whom don't have dedicated listening rooms give up our quest to hear High End Audio? I think not. As our PC use encompasses As I indicated in my first [M] Audio review on the Audioengine A2/A5 powered speakers, almost all audio hardware tested will meet certain criteria and this includes the computer HDD as a source. Ergonomics will play an important role if you want to "hear" all the benefits of your High End Hardware, improper speaker placement and cable mismatching has led to the premature ejection of many systems. There are other solutions for those wanting HDD storage solution, many are explained in this Stereophile article Music Served For the most part we shall eschew such specialized boxes as one of the criteria was to keep costs low compared to the High End norm.

    Madshrimps (c)

    The digital connections seen above at the rear of the Decco amplifier are indicative of changing times. Integrated amplifiers much like Receivers have, for the most part been shunned by an industry dominated by costly esoteric separates. In an industry where a 1M pair of interconnects cost as much as $14,900 (Tara Labs The Zero) its intriguing there are those whom would frown upon attempts to introduce lower cost products. Why? Well if a $2,000 system such as the AVI-d ADM9.1 we are currently testing can effortlessly out-perform $10,000 in separates, this may not bode well for the competition.

    Onto listening...
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