Vivid Audio G1Giya loudspeaker

Over the years that I've been reviewing hi-fi, I've had my share of loudspeakers that drew comments from everyone who visited during the audition period. Some of those comments were about the speakers' appearance—most often about their size—and some were about how good they sounded. Vivid's G1Giya loudspeaker ($65,000/pair), its narrow-baffled, swirling cochlear shape molded from fiber-reinforced composite, elicited more comments of both types than has any other speaker I've reviewed.

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This started even before I got them into my living room, as Philip O'Hanlon, of Vivid importer On a Higher Note, and Stealth Audio's Serguei Timachev, and I unpacked the Giyas from their crates on the street (while the Giyas made it safely down my front hall, the crates couldn't). My next-door neighbor and his next-door neighbor sauntered over to see what we were doing. "Wow. Are those art or are they speakers?"

As it turned out, the G1Giya is both.

710vivd.2.jpgLearn from the past, set vivid goals for the future
Vivid Audio is not a familiar name to many audiophiles, but the company has its roots in one of the most iconic audio designs of all times, the B&W Nautilus. Among Vivid's owners are Robert Trunz, erstwhile co-owner of Bowers & Wilkins, and Laurence Dickie, who used to design B&W's drivers at their R&D facility in Steyning, England.

When Trunz left B&W, in 1996, he emigrated to South Africa, where he met Philip Guttentag and Bruce and Dee Gessner, who had been in the retail hi-fi business but were now interested in building high-end loudspeakers in South Africa. Trunz suggested that they bring in Dickie to design drivers rather than rely on OEM designs. Vivid Audio launched their first products, the B1 and K1 floorstanders, in 2004. By 2006, the partners felt the range needed a flagship product, a design process that would take over 18 months before a prototype could be shown at the 2008 CES.

Enter the G1Giya (the line now includes the smaller G2. Dickie had created the "Tapered tube loading" concept for the Nautilus line, and he believed in it (read the white paper about it). The technology consists of coupling a driver to an exponentially tapered tube filled with damping fiber. The act of dragging the fiber into the tube causes it to compress at the narrow end, significantly reducing internal reflections. Dickie envisioned the Giya as a more structurally integrated version of tapered tubes attached to drivers than any previous design. This also led to the G1Giya's Smurf-like profile, as its woofers' tubes curve into a "jug handle" at the speaker's apex.

The organic shape and materials of the G1Giya's vacuum-infused, fiber-composite cabinet are not so much matters of style (although they evince style a-plenty) as of function. The woofer tube is curved to prevent the speaker from occupying too large a footprint. The teardrop shape of the Giya's baffle reduces cabinet reflections, and the enclosure's downward taper when seen from the side allows the tapered tubes of the midbass, midrange, and tweeter drive-units each to be solidly coupled to the rear of the nacelle with a single locking screw. The Giya's constantly changing profile and depth make it hard to state dimensions, but to make a complex shape simple, call it 66.3" H by 17.2" W by 31.2" D.

The G1Giya is a four-way design with five drivers. Its two 11" (279mm) anodized aluminum woofers are mounted on opposite sides of the cabinet and mechanically coupled. Directly behind each woofer is a vent tuned to 23Hz; the drivers themselves are loaded by the aforementioned curving, tapered tubes, tuned to 100Hz.

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Set into a shallow depression on the baffle are the 1" (26mm) aluminum catenary dome tweeter, 2" (50mm) aluminum catenary dome midrange, and 4.9" (125mm) aluminum-cone lower-midrange unit. All drivers have cylindrical magnets to leave a large-diameter vent behind the diaphragm in order to couple to the tapered tube, are decoupled from the baffle by ring mounts, are Vivid's own proprietary designs, and are explained in great detail at Vivid's website.

Company Info
Vivid Audio Ltd.
US distributor: On a Higher Note LLC
PO Box 698
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693
(949) 488-3004
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Dickie?   Vivid?   Is this a

Dickie?   Vivid?   Is this a porn double entendre? 

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