It was great to again encounter Andy Payor of Rockport Technologies and hear the stunning 200 lb Ankaa loudspeaker ($26,500/pair). Of all the speakers I heard on the first two days of T.H.E. Show, the Ankaa produced images so large and lifelike that it made other speakers (including several wonderful-sounding models I’ve already discussed) seem like pipsqueaks. I have no doubt that the expensive, neutral-sounding Gryphon Antileon Signature stereo amplifier ($31,000 for 150Wpc) and Mirage preamplifier ($25,000), as well as the debuting Purist Audio Design Proteus Provectus cabling had a lot to do with Andy's triumph. As he rather selflessly noted, "The real reason for a good image lies in the collaboration."
In addition to choosing his partners wisely—more on the Blue Smoke Entertainment Systems Black Box source component in another blog entry—Andy has played extremely close attention to the strikingly good-looking Ankaa's radiation pattern, its crossover—the midrange extends down to 150Hz—and its intentionally rounded cabinet design. What this speaker did with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson’s voice might have reduced my fellow Lorraine lover, Wes Phillips, to tears. On a much larger scale, every note of "Mars" from Holst’s The Planets was handled with equal aplomb. The speaker delivered midrange fullness for days, and true symphonic proportions.