Sjofen The Clue speakers

I bought a pair of The Clues from Lars about a month ago for my bedroom system. I decided to break them in with my main system, which consists of a Modwright LS100 preamp and KWA 100SE amp, Oppo 105 CD player, Jolida FX Tube DAC, Jolida phono preamp, and a SOTA Star TT. My main speakers are Joseph Audio RM25XL floor mounts speakers, which are fantastic. I have had many stand mounts in my system over the past few years, including GMA Callisto's, EOS HD's, KEF LS50s's, Ascend Acoustics, Usher 718 Diamonds, and a couple others I now have forgotten.

I am simply blown away with the musicality of The Clues, particularly with their dynamic extension. These speakers go really low and are extremely well balanced. They perform optimally when placed directly against the back wall of your listening room.

After listening to them for a month, I will go out a limb and say they are nearly the sonic equal of my $4300 JA speaker! I could go on and on about how fine The Clues sound, but I will say that I have never had a stand mounts speakers in my system that performed as fine as these do. For $1000, they simply have no reason to sound as wonderful as they do, but they absolutely do. You owe it to yourself to give these little gems a listen. Friends that have heard them in my system have come to the same conclusion that I have: they are fabulous, full-range speakers that are modestly priced. Highly recommended!
Everything that I have read about these is more than positive. I would love to hear them.
I heard these at an audio show in NYC and thought they sounded phenominal. I think he had four speakers playing with one on top of the other on each side backed pretty much right up against the wall. Almost didn't even sit down to listen cause I thought there's no way this mess is gonna sound good. Couldn't believe what they were doing, and I even played the role of the dope looking around for the subwoofer. Biggest surprise of the show for me. Glad somebody brought these up as I'd almost forgotten about them.
Yep, the stacked Clue's were the biggest surprise in NY. Very very much the bargain @ $2K for two pair.
Yes I was at the NYC audio show and heard the Clues with a friend. We were both blown away that these little speakers were making such big musical sound with deep bass.
What do you think gives this speaker the ability to sound so good so close to a wall? The specs say 2.5" of front wall. That's an attribute that could sell a ton of speakers. We see the question of what speakers work well placed close to a wall on here all the time. It sounds like this speakers could give the Harbeth P3ESR a run for its money at a fraction of the cost. A six year warranty is very nice on a $1k speaker.
I've always wanted to hear these. The WAF of a speaker that will sit against the front wall would be huge. :-)
@whitestix, are you still happy with the clues? Did you get them setup exactly to spec or were you able to go outside the setup params (either to fit or tune your room)?

What surprises me is that if you do a search for "clue" in the virtual systems area of this site's forums, there are zero hits. Is this flash in the pan or long lasting monitor?

I live across the lake from Seattle and hope to listen to these soon. I am not sure if I can get them exactly to setup spec in my room but I could get very close. My tekton 6.5t monitors can go pretty low on my good stands and it would be a very good shootout to put them side by side. You can see my system details on my system page with room picture...
Oddly indeed. That review runs counter to just about any assessment I've seen of these speakers, including mine. That the reviewer didn't reach out to the manufacturer given his negative experience, especially since these speakers are so placement and room dependant, to me is very irresponsible and inexcusable. IMO this reviewer is lazy or incompetent, or maybe both. And it doesn't look like Atkinson bothered to contact the manufacturer to see what was going on with the measurements either, which he should have given the importance of the room and placement being so critical to this speaker's performance. I think this review is a failure across the board by Stereophile and in no way is reflective of how the speakers actually sound. They should be ashamed of themselves. I bet if the company paid for advertising there would've been more of a effort made to get it right. BTW I don't own these speakers nor do I have any affiliation with the company.
I would be interesting to see how many people were able to get the Sjofen Clues setup correctly in their rooms. I PMed a couple of sellers and they confirmed that they could not reproduce the magic that they heard in the shows or demo rooms. I think the owners like this are minority unless the majority of positive posts were from listeners and not owners.

I've exchanged a few emails with Lars. I hope to hear his one of his demos soon but I am concerned that my room and setup will not let me get the placement where they should be. My room would allow me the following (see system page):

- max width of speakers: 8.5 feet
- 1:1.2 ratio is: 10.2 feet (my actual listening couch would be almost one more foot deeper than 10.2 feet)
- I would be able to get the speakers very close to the back wall but I don't think I could get anywhere close to 22.5 deg toe in

I am curious to see how they would sound in my room...
And another thing I would be interested in is how the Clues sound with a lot less toe-in...
The Stereophile reviewer in question admitted in his review that this was one of his first (if not the first) speaker review he has done.

Sofjan's people lashed out in their rebuttal at the end of the issue, pointing out much of everything discussed in this thread.
Then again, any speaker that demands THAT much specificity and fussiness in regards to placement and context seems a bit short-sighted.
Reminds me of my $500/pr Triangle Titus XS speakers that are very average until you get them set up just right then wow. Also not bad close to rear wall. It mostly has to do with a more directional sound dispersion pattern with the tweeter than a typical surface mounted soft dome tweeter, I suspect.
This thread on S'phile's (the clue) review, which I started on, is absolutely fascinating, especially since John Atkinson participates. He gives no ground to the idea that the review was a botched job and yet - IMHO - if you read between the lines, it pretty clearly was just that.
Thanks for the link Rebbi. I found Croft's response particularly interesting and seemed to make perfect sense, as I guess it should since he designed the things. By contrast JA's comments didn't quite pass the smell test and have more than a hint of ass-covering about them. Found it VERY telling that he did not respond at all to Croft's numerous cogent points about where both he and the reviewer screwed up. I totally agree with you the proper thing would to do a follow-up review, which they have done in the past in these circumstances. Doubt that will happen here though as there'd be far too much egg on S'pile's face as a result -- everything they did wrong and won't admit would be exposed and confirmed. Funny, the only people defending the review (other than JA) are those who haven't heard the speakers. Those who have know the review is pure garbage.
The reviewer heard the loudspeakers at an audio show, thought they sounded great and arranged for an review pair. He set them up in accordance with the manufacturer's detailed written instructions and never got them to sound acceptable. They were transparent, soundstaged well and were detailed without being analytical, but they were not tonally balanced. Those are the presented facts.

How different is that reviewer's circumstances from that of a typical buyer? If the review is any way near accurate, then I suspect a large number of buyers have also noted the loudspeaker's tonal imbalance. Whether or not the tonality is critical to them is another question.

Have any owners of the Clue used in a the double loudspeaker setup?
I'm guessing you've not heard the speakers Onhwy61? Those are only some of the facts. The most relevant facts are that these speakers depend more than most on being set up properly for a given room, and that both buyers and reviewers are offered access to the manufacturer to help them get it right. And the reviewer knew this going into the review. When they're not set up right they will sound bad in exactly the way he described, and that's the review we got. Hence, the review is no way near accurate as you assume. That the speakers performed poorly precisely in the areas where they are supposed to overachieve (and they do) is a big red flag for a reviewer. Again, there is no excuse for the reviewer not at least contacting the manufacturer to see if something either A) might be wrong with the speakers or B) needs to be changed in setup or associated equipment. It's just common sense of you want to make sure you're providing an accurate assessment of a piece. Further, all the owners and reviews I've seen have nothing but glowingly positive impressions of the speaker. In fact, other than this turd of a review I've never seen a negative comment about these speakers. If they exist they are in the vast minority. Yet another red flag that would've led a competent reviewer to at least ask some questions. So your suspicion that a large number of buyers have noted the tonal imbalance is also unfounded.

I know plenty of reviewers and they all say almost all equipment that gets to the point of a review these days is at least decent or very good and very rarely does something sound significantly flawed to the level stated in this review. No publisher wants to review crap when there's so much good stuff out there. If something sounds that off they always check with the manufacturer or distributor to check on A and B mentioned above to make sure they're reviewing properly functioning equipment the way it's designed to be used.

To answer your question, I heard the speakers at a show in the stacked configuration in a horribly configured hotel room. I thought there's no way something that looked like that could possibly sound coherent or even decent in that room, but they sounded downright incredible. I agree with you in most instances that if a reviewer does what this guy did it should result in a fair assessment of a product, and since you probably haven't heard the speakers I certainly understand your skepticism. But this is a different kind of product where something a little more than the standard review tactics were required. And what's worse, the reviewer heard the speakers before and was so impressed he asked to review them, so he already KNEW going in how they were capable of sounding. Any more competent or seasoned reviewer would've caught this and the review would've turned out quite different. The saddest thing is that this piece of crap review could end up seriously damaging a small company that's putting out a truly outstanding and innovative product at an incredibly affordable price point. Again, S'pile should be seriously ashamed of themselves.
Soix, the reviewer claims he set them up in accordance with the manufacturer's written instructions. Are you saying he didn't?
He used the quick setup guide they provide. It is not meant to be optimal for every room. Read Croft's response in Rebbi's link. It aptly points out the ways the 'pile failed in this instance. And again, as a reviewer who somehow made it to Stereophile he should've been been more thorough in his process to insure he was providing an accurate assessment of the speakers. Ditto JA.
JA and Stereophile will deny what I'm about to say, but I will say it anyway: if a reviewer were having this kind of trouble with one of their major advertisers' products, you'd better believe they'd have been on the phone - if not on the next flight - to straighten it out. Think of all those times you've read reviews in Stereophile or TAS where the designer personally shows up at the reviewer's house to set up the speakers?
If you go back to that Audio Asylum thread, you'll see that both Lars Erickson and James Croft emphasize that they will spend as much time as they need with each and every customer giving personal advice on room setup. So, if the reviewer chose not to take advantage of that service, he's not accurately representing what the prospective buyer can expect.
And yes, I bristle at a small manufacturer getting dumped on in this way, especially when other reviews have been so positive.
End of my rant. ;-)
Hey Rebbi, I'll take your cynicism and raise it one. The flip side of what they do for major advertisers as you say is what they did to the clue. Financially Sjofn means nothing to them, so they can afford to throw them under the bus with virtually no consequences and come out the other end unscathed with an additional piece of evidence to say "hey look, we put out negative reviews too." Both the reviewer and JA had an easy path to find out why their poor findings were as they were and possibly find their cause and address them, and neither lifted a finger to do anything. NOTHING. Beyond suspicious in my book for a publication that -- as Rebbi eludes to -- frequently bends over backwards to accommodate other manufacturers to apparently get at "the truth."

As I see it there are two choices here. Stereophile can man up and do a follow-up review utilizing the manufacturer to insure the speakers are being reviewed and measured properly, or they can just bury their heads in the sand and hope this ridiculous review somehow goes away. The second strategy may well work given the relatively little notoriety of Sjofn here in the US, albeit at the expense of John Q. Audiophile. But taking the higher ground and giving them an honest second shot would go a LONG way toward repairing their reputation at least in my book. The public -- even audiophiles -- have a great capacity to forgive if someone does the right thing in the end and admits their mistakes. As it stands, IMO Stereophile's credibility and reputation have taken a major hit here. I'm most disappointed with JA as I think he knows his stuff and works hard to produce a quality product. But this all happened under his watch and I find it greatly disappointing on every level in terms of an audio equipment review. Mostly I feel bad for Sjofn. Like most audio companies they put their sweat and blood into something they passionately believe in for relatively little monetary reward. To have that damaged because of incompetence or some other agenda is tragic and fowl. Sleep we'll S'pile.
Rebbi this reminds me of a story that a friend of mine who is a speaker designer shared with me recently. Back when he showed at CES years ago a reviewer for a major audio rag went into his room and was over the moon about the sound. Subsequently the reviewer offered to review the speakers. When the review came out it was good but had been shortened considerably because he would not spend money for advertisement.

He also told me of another story where he had gotten a great review and at the end of it the reviewer stated he was purchasing the speakers. My friend never saw a red cent and the reviewer kept them.
So the reviewer did set up the loudspeakers as per the manufacturer's instructions, but that setup isn't always optimal.

If a product is that demanding in setup and/or system matching, then maybe the manufacturer should be a little proactive in ensuring its optimal use.
So, once again the reviewer set the speakers up according to the basic quick setup instructions. And nothing further. There are frequently situations, especially with even more conventional speakers, where even minor placement adjustments can make a huge difference in what you hear. And the manufacturer proactively offered further setup help to the reviewer that, for some reason, the reviewer chose not to take advantage of. Despite being very impressed with the speakers in a different setting. Really??? Yes, these speakers obviously require particular attention to setup. But a so-called "expert" reviewer should have been well aware of that and acted accordingly to produce a professional and accurate review of the product. The reviewer knew everything he needed to know going into this review and failed in his duty to make sure his review was accurate given that information along with his past experience with this speaker. In my opinion he completely failed as a reviewer. The responsibility for an accurate review does not lie solely with the manufacturer. And when a reviewer encounters strange results, especially when they run counter to what he personally heard previously in a live demonstration, he at the very least should give the manufacturer a chance to explain why that may be and help fix the problem. You can try to blame the manufacturer for this but there's no denying that the reviewer, given all the information available to him including his own personal experience with the product, didn't conduct the due diligence he should've done.
Thanks for the link and the time you spent on that thread Rebbi. I heard a stacked pair of (the clue) at NY HE show a couple of years ago and found them remarkably good sounding even when driven w SS (Hegel) electronics. They were playing some american roots music, and also some Fleetwood Mac. Thin sounding w tilted up treble they were not. I thought they were the best, moderate cost rock speakers I had heard in quite some time.

What disturbs me most about this whole affair is the reviewer's flat out refusal to allow the manufacturer to assist w set-up. And JA's continued rationalization of same, even after being repeatedly called out on it. There is no credible explanation that I can think of for this deviation from what is obviously common practice. I wish I had $100 for each speaker review I've read that started out with a description of how the manufacturer/designer/distributor arrived with favored speaker cables in tow, and spent X hours tweaking the location, toe-in, height, baffle to back and side wall distance, etc., etc. I'd never have to even listen to a "pretender" like (the clue). This is especially unfathomable when the reviewer had previously heard and was impressed by the speaker on several occasions. Unless he felt he'd previously been deaf.

I've always been one to give the mags and their reviewers the benefit of the doubt about the linkage between advertising $ and reviews, but this has set me on my ear a bit. Now, sure you can say it's dissonance reduction since I heard them once and liked them, but again, if S'phile has frequently had manufacturers assist w speaker set-up, why not this time? And not just (as their reviewers like to say) an error of omission, but one of commission. The manufacturer offered and the reviewer flat out refused to allow it. Perhaps a bit embarrassed that he needed help?

Maybe (probably) I was naive to think that there weren't some cozy inside relationships between the media, reviewers and manufacturers, but this has really set me back more than a bit. I'm not saying the there was an explicit quid pro qou and of course we'll never know, but when one of the big boys delivers a product that does not work as intended (no one is going to suggest, I hope, that the designer wanted the speaker to sound thin) they always seem to get a do-over. The products they review aren't purchased off the shelf like Consumer Report does. When a product is sent for review w/o a complete and total going through/tweaking/rebuilding, it says a lot about the QA/QC of the builder. S'phile always lets you know when that happens, but then they base their detailed comments on the repaired/replaced/retweaked unit. So what gives? Color me skeptical and more than a bit disillusioned.
Onhwy61- Your posts here are not always mainstream but you seem like a reasonable, rational guy. Therefore, I was stunned to read
If a product is that demanding in setup and/or system matching, then maybe the manufacturer should be a little proactive in ensuring its optimal use.
Isn't that exactly what the manufacturer did when he offered to come set them up? And didn't the reviewer flat out refuse his offer. I love Richard V's speakers and I even got a minute of his time (and bit of his famed prickliness) when I had a technical question. But can you imagine him publicly offering to spend as much phone and email time as was necessary, with any consumer, to get his speakers sounding their best. I'm w Soix and Rebbi- I think this stinks. We often get all over an anonymous poster here for sending out negative comments on our little corner of the internet w/o spending some time and effort letting the seller/dealer/designer/distributor try to make things right. Here we have the biggest media outlet in the high end game crapping all over a little guy, refusing him the opportunity to set things right, while bending over (notice I didn't say backward) to let the big guys set things right. Using their personal favorite cables and ics. How's that for a niche product that requires unusual set-up? Only sounds right with these $10K wiring loom, which, by the way, I'll have to leave here on "loan, wink wink" while you complete the review. And the next. and the next. As my mother used to say "that stinks on ice".

All the hand-wringing about how hard it is to be successful in this industry, and then someone comes out w what many people thought was a ground-breaking product, and they crap all over it. Shame on you, JA!
That's why the only the only rags reviews I have any faith in at all are the German ones.
If it had been a major advertiser (like Magnepan or Thiel) they (stereophile) would have worked with them. Smaller companies are discarded. The way of the world; especially the audio world. jmho
Some good points here - especially insofar as small companies like Sofjan could potentially be devastated by a review like this in a major publication. How many potential buyers will take the reviewer's word, see the manufacturer's rebuttal as simple desperation, and move on to more fawned-over products?

I enjoy Stereophile, but JA has gotten much more ivory tower-ish and smug over the years in his position as an audiophile guru of sorts. And I can see his defending his staff, but when that staff is new and botches a quality control aspect as simple as this one, it's time to come off the pedestal.
THese remind me so much from what I see and read of my Triangle Titus, even more so their bigger brothers, the Cometes.

I'd be willing to bet that if in the review the speakers were set up More like this on low isolating stands closer to the floor as well as walls for bass reinforcement rather than the more conventional stand mount the manufacturer recommends, the issues cited would be resolved.
"I'd be willing to bet that if in the review the speakers were set up More like this on low isolating stands closer to the floor as well as walls for bass reinforcement rather than the more conventional stand mount the manufacturer recommends, the issues cited would be resolved."

For a long time I used Mapleshade Bedrock stands with my Triangle Titus. When i put them on my Ora Audio conventional stands, I noticed a subtle but distinct closing in of the soundstage.
Simao. you just sold a pr of Mapleshade stands.
I have a pr of Titus 202 that I bought from a guy at a garage sale for 50 bucks. he was aware there were a Sterophile class B , said he just wanted them to have a good home.
I keep telling myself that my Meadowlark Kestrels 2's and Eagles and Totem Model I Sigs and MMG's all sound better and maybe they do, but the Triangles are what I keep listening to.
The Isoacaoustic stands I am using with those are isolating stands. They made the difference for me set up low to the floor with slight upward tilt of tweets to ear level. Acoustics in that room are horrible. This speaker/stand combo is the only thing I have ever managed to get to sound right in there. I attribute it to the stands mostly. Bass is clean full and articulate now for the fist time ever. With other conventional eye level stands in there, bass was fat but muddied and not full and not articulate like I know it can be with the Titus XS.
The bass in there prior to the current setup on teh Isoacoustic stands was actually pretty much like the reviewer described with the Clues, there but not full throughout. Now it is amazingly so, the best ever with the Titus.

Reviews of Titus I have read over the years compared to other similar monitors like Dynaudio usually cited the lighter bass. I have both and have had both set up in there at one time or another on ear level stands. The Dynaudios were too much, the Triangles too little, and acoustics were lacking for both. I had Seikosha's kef ls50s that he brought over to hear once in there similarly for a brief audition once and they were more in the middle and showed promise.
I wish Stereophile and other magazines would decline direct manufacturer setup assistance during the review process. The exception would be when that setup assistance is performed for every purchaser. I realize this is wishful think on my part.

The most common complaint against audio magazines is that they don't publish negative reviews. I don't know if it's a trend, but Stereophile has recently published a number of "non-rave" reviews, with at least one covering a long time ad purchaser's product. Clearly, the reviewer found serious fault with The Clue, but other than that single issue the review was quite favorable. Based upon the response of the manufacturer and previous Stereophile reports on the loudspeaker, the fault appears correctable. The review certainly wouldn't deter me from considering purchasing The Clue if I were in the market for a monitor loudspeaker.

Swampwalker, I'm stunned that you are stunned. If I were the manufacturer of a loudspeaker that was very demanding in its setup requirements and I wasn't absolutely positive that a reviewer was going to adhere to those requirements, then I would ask for the loudspeakers to be returned and the review terminated. That's my idea of being proactive.
"I wish Stereophile and other magazines would decline direct manufacturer setup assistance during the review process. The exception would be when that setup assistance is performed for every purchaser. I realize this is wishful think on my part."

I respectfully disagree. The bottom line is that we as consumers through reviews should be presented with, as much as possible, the most accurate account of what we should ultimately expect if we purchase a product. What else is the purpose of a review? If a reviewer sets up a product review incorrectly then what value is that to anyone? And in this instance, setup assistance is exactly what is offered to every purchaser, and also the reviewer. That the fault is ultimately correctable is immaterial. The damage is done in the view of most readers.

And that the reviewer found "serious fault" in exactly the area where this speaker excels is exactly the point and renders the review virtually meaningless and ultimately extremely hurtful to the manufacturer. You might be willing to overlook such a serious breach, but most readers will dismiss the speaker after such a serious degradation.

And reviews aren't normally terminated, nor should they be IMO. But again, when results seem so far off to what was previously experienced by the reviewer and the manufacturer offers both the reviewer and customers personal support to get it right, the reviewer should have at least made a phone call to make sure he was providing an accurate representation of what the product is capable of. As much as you might want to pin this on the manufacturer, it was the reviewer that was completely at fault here, and everyone has been underserved as a result.
Oh, and just to clarify, Onhwy61 you've never actually heard these speakers right??? Maybe rather than blindly weighing in on procedural issues on a review of speakers you've never heard you could go and actually listen to them and then give us some truely useful feedback. The people who have actually heard them don't seem to have your level of skepticism. Go listen, then speak.
There are two issues at play here, the actual "sound" of the speaker and the review process. I am perfectly willing to give full credence to onhwy61's opinion about the process regardless of whether or not he's heard the speaker, but I disagree that pulling the product while the review was in process is being pro-active. In my mind, that's being reactive. I agree w Soix who said
when results seem so far off to what was previously experienced by the reviewer and the manufacturer offers both the reviewer and customers personal support to get it right, the reviewer should have at least made a phone call to make sure he was providing an accurate representation of what the product is capable of.
But in my opinion, the fault extends higher up the chain of command than just the reviewer. The editor(s) should have caught this one, and sent the draft review back to the reviewer with instructions to, at the very least, go through the phone/email consultation process. Given that most speakers that are reviewed are set up by a representative of the manufacturer, that's the LEAST S'phile should have done.
In the most recent issue of Stereophile there are separate reviews of a Revel subwoofer and a GoldenEar floorstander. For the subwoofer review the manufacturer sends the subwoofer, a pair of main loudspeakers and the loudspeaker designer is present to handle the setup. The setup involved placement, audio measurements and software controlled EQ and crossover selection. With the GoldenEar the company president shows up to do the setup. Apparently the loudspeaker is sensitive to the listening axis and in the reviewer's listening room needed to be tilted forward for proper treble balance and integration.

In each of the above cases the manufacturer's assistance made sure that their products would perform optimally. This type of assistance is standard in the audiophile review community. What I question is whether a typical purchaser of the products can expect to obtain optimal performance? If I buy the loudspeaker does the president or designer show up at my house and make sure the loudspeaker is properly setup? Should audio reviews include a "results may vary" disclaimer?

In the on-line version of the Stereophile The Clue review the comments section has someone's real world experience with the loudspeaker. I found the comments very informative.
Onhwy 61 says
In each of the above cases the manufacturer's assistance made sure that their products would perform optimally. This type of assistance is standard in the audiophile review community
Precisely my point. Why, in the case of (the clue) was the manufacturer not allowed to provide same?
He goes on to make a very good point:
If I buy the loudspeaker does the president or designer show up at my house and make sure the loudspeaker is properly setup? Should audio reviews include a "results may vary" disclaimer?
Well in the case of {the clue} they will talk you through it. I would suggest that in the case of a unit that is particularly sensitive to set-up, the review should point that out. In the case of (the clue) it would have been most informative if the reviewer had made use of that offer and told us all how that worked out. But IMO, the real concern here is that there should be a level playing field. So far, S'phile has offered no credible explanation why they did not allow their common set-up practice for (the clue). Until they do, their credibility has taken a major hit, IMO.
Fair points Onhwy61. I have no idea why some manufacturers get to optimally set up their speakers for review and others don't. My guess is that if the manufacturer offers to do it S'phile would probably let them do so, but that's just a guess. From that perspective, and certainly if I'm Sjofn, I would've asked to do just that knowing how placement/room sensitive the speakers are and how important the review would be to future sales. Maybe they did offer, but no way to know at this point.

But to me by far the biggest blunder here again was that the reviewer was proactively offered help if needed and he for some reason didn't make any effort to take advantage of that despite being significantly disappointed with certain aspects of the speaker's performance. That to me is just flat out indefensible, and IMO this reviewer is completely incompetent and should be fired. I know I'd have zero confidence in anything this guy has to say going forward. He's lazy or incompetent -- probably both actually. He certainly at the very least doesn't have the reader's best interests in mind.

I also found the S'phile online comments odd in that one guy spent hours and hours trying to get the speakers to sound good, and once he found the right spot he was very happy with and impressed by the speakers. Why wouldn't that guy just contact Sjofn for help??? Probably would've saved him a ton of time and frustration, and the company makes it clear they are there to help each and every customer. Sometimes people just baffle me. And I echo what Swampwalker said that had the reviewer worked with the company as he should have it would've made for a much more complete, interesting, and most importantly a more informative review. And it would've actually helped prospective buyers understand what to expect if and when they buy the speakers and the significant difference it makes between having the speakers properly set up or not. And it would've gone a long way in answering Onhwy's question as to whether buyers can expect to achieve optimal performance or not. EXACTLY THE POINT. Isn't the ultimate value of a review to let readers know what they should expect if they actually buy a product? The reviewer did a complete disservice to both the manufacturer and the readers. Epic fail.
Wait. Shouldn't reviews in glossy, high circulation magazines generally be favorable anyhow?

I see them as analogous to writing a recommendation letter. If I have nothing good to say, or if I have a lukewarm recommendation, I'll simply pass on writing the letter. If {the clue} didn't perform well for the reviewer, then just bag the review before starting it and review another component -- after communicating the reason why to the manufacturer, of course.
I recently picked up a use pair of The Clue’s, from someone who used to build them in Seattle. Paid $400, they are in great shape and he threw in a pair of Supra cables that currently sell for about $400... :)

I love them, they are some of the most revealing speakers I have ever heard, at least at anywhere near their price point.

I use acoustic panels (Roxul Rockboard 60 2’x4’x2") at the primary reflection point on the side walls, and behind them.

The bass does extend low, but I don’t think it is quite as full as so many of the reviews seem to indicate. Aside from that, they image fantastically and are extremely musical, detailed, revealing.... (etc). ( I have followed every placement recommendation precisely)

FWIW, their systems room is 11.5’ x 13’ x 8’. I have bass traps, but as the manufacture recommends I don’t use them for the Clue’s. They are on the 11.5' wall, right up against the acoustic panel, and about 20+" from the side walls.

I like to pick up used speakers (in this price range at the moment) and compare/battle them, and sell the "loser". The Clue’s recently beat out a pair of Linn Keilidh speakers w/3 bar tweeter. And I just picked up a pair of Vienna Acoustic Bach’s (again for $400). The Clue’s are more revealing than the Bach’s, imaging is similar, the Bach’s have much fuller bass.

Part of why I am sharing this, is the stacked Clue’s look intriguing, not sure if I could find another used pair or not for under $500... But would you need a spacer? If so, how do you judge the spacer height?
If you find a pair of Guru QM10s buy them. I really regret selling mine. That’s the big brother. 
Ahh before someone says I’m wrong I am. The Guru Jr is the smaller version of the Guru10. Not sure if affiliated with the clue.