Rockport's Alya Speaker

I have come to expect innovative engineering from Rockport's Andy Payor, and was not disappointed by his new Alya loudspeaker. The two-way Alya costs $29,500/pair and marries Scanspeak's new beryllium-dome tweeter with a custom Audio-Technology woofer with a 6.5" carbon-fiber cone and a 2" voice-coil. The front baffle is aluminum and internal horizontal rods connect it to the rear of the cabinet, holding the HDF enclosure in a rigid grip. A rear port is tuned to a respectable 35Hz.

Despite the acoustically sub-optimal room at the Mirage, the Alya, which was being demmed with the Blue Smoke server, a MSB DAC, and Gryphon power amplifier, sounded very promising.

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Comments
Cleo's picture

$29,500 ! They forgot to put drivers in the cabinet. There is no way these are worth it, just can't justify. Drivers are needed to make sound, where are they here, for this price, can the magazine stop playing up these over priced things as some kind of product worthy of consideration.

Dimitris Caradimos's picture

Part 1Let me add my twopence of thoughts. I have been a Rockport aficionado ever since I heard the Rockport Ankaa in a Hi-End Show in Athens, Greece, a year and a half ago. From the first notes I knew it was love at first sight – sorry, audition - but the hard reality (I was turned down by the bank for a loan) deprived a lowly IT employee such as yours truly from audio bliss. Nevertheless, I sought further auditions, which confirmed my initial impression: the sounds that came out of that beautiful black sculpture driven by Lamm electronics were eerily realistic. Nothing, not even the mighty Focal Grande Utopia EM with all its might could touch the soul that incarnated in front of me. Yes, I’ve heard speakers play louder; yes, I heard deeper bass; yes, I heard more detail from ribbons. But no other speaker has managed to convince me there were live, breathing musicians right there in the room with me. It’s a goose-bump-inducing sensation. [continued]

Dimitris Caradimos's picture

Part 2: At some point after the audition, I was discussing with Michael Fouasis, the courteous Greek distributor while a CD with a male folk singer was playing. This was no hi-end recording by any standards, just an average run-of-the-mill production. The speakers were around the corner in an L-shaped room, out of view. I remember catching myself more than once turning my head to see who was behind me, while – of course – there was none; it was only the magic of the Ankaa. [continued]

Dimitris Caradimos's picture

Part 3: So now, Andy Payor came up with the Alya. How does it fit in the Rockport firmament along with the other stars? It is certainly in line with the latest line of his speakers: one can tell by their names – names of stars or star systems all beginning with the letter A. Unavoidably, people will make a connection to the movie “Dune” because of the “Arrakis” and now the “Alya”, but the former is also known as “Mu Drakonis”, while the latter is a dual star system also known as “Theta Serpentis” in the constellation Serpens. But where does it fit? Its price ($29,500) places it just above the Ankaa ($27,500), which by the way is also known as “Alpha Phoenicis” in the constellation Phoenix. Yet, it is a smaller speaker both in size and in sound volume and bass extension. [continued]

Dimitris Caradimos's picture

Part 4: The Alya sports an aluminum baffle as opposed to the constrained-layer ones of its larger siblings. This is …baffling because “Payor contends that no single enclosure material has the same unique properties as his composite design” (quoted from Soundstage, http://www.soundstage2.com/tours/rockport_200702/).Then, of course, comes the beryllium tweeter, a Scanspeak Illuminator no less. This is interesting because all the other models all the way up to the Arrakis use an Illuminator, albeit one with a textile dome. To give you a measure for comparison, while a regular 1” Illuminator will cost you about $220, this one will cost you $520, almost two-and-a-half times more! Other than the higher frequency extension of the beryllium one, the rest of the characteristics appear more or less the same. So why pay more unless this is really a better tweeter? If so, does that mean that Rockport will offer upgrades for the rest of its models ala Wilson? Are there v.2’s in the horizon? [continued]

Dimitris Caradimos's picture

Part 5: I do not know the answers; all I know is that whenever there is a newcomer from Rockport, true audiophiles should stand up and pay attention. …and I wish upon a star that Mr. Payor would see fit to give me a really good discount on the Ankaa – just joking. [end]

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