Nola's Concert Grand Reference
The evening before the show officially opened, I snuck into the Nola room at the Venetian. There I found the Long Island company's new Concert Grand Reference speakers ($197,000/pair), driven by an Audio Research CD8 CD player, Reference 10 preamplifier, and Reference 75 amplifier, hooked up with Nordost Odin cabling. A Quantum QX4 provided the system conditioning.
The top, open-baffle section of the 71"-tall, 275 lb Nola speaker combines a vertical array of four 4.5", Alnico-magnet midrange drivers with a 12" true-ribbon tweeter operating above 1kHz and a ribbon supertweeter operating above 10kHz to aid top-octave dispersion. Four magnesium-cone 4.5" drivers, loaded with a reflex port cover the bass and lower midrange, up to 400Hz. These use Alnico magnets and combined have a moving mass 4x lighter than a typical large woofer. Two 12" subwoofers, each loaded with its own reflex sub-enclosure, handle the low bass down to 18Hz.
One thing that impressed me was the dressing of the cables behind the open-baffle, show in the detail photo above, which reminded me of the immaculate cable dressing featured in classic Quad amplifiers. The sound was equally impressive; I listened to most of the CD of the Who's Tommy at high sound levels, without any sense of strain or congestion, but with extraordinary retrieval of detail.