The Lotus Group Granada

I've now heard The Lotus Group Granada UB II Loudspeaker with an Active Crossover ($125,000/pair) twice. The first time was in Northern CA, where I joined Joseph Cohen of The Lotus Group and designer/engineer Manny La Carrubba for an extended listening session devoid of all the usual CES attractions. The second time was in the less-hospitable environment of the Venetian. (You have not lived until you try to focus on Fritz Wunderlich singing a transporting Mozart aria while the sounds of Maria Callas suffering through Verdi blast from the other room, and the person sitting behind you decides to discuss the stock market with his companion).

But I digress. The Granada is built around the ultra-expensive, hand-constructed Feastrex driver, whose stand-alone cost is approximately $27,000/pair. Add to that the cost of four handmade 12" dual –voice-coil woofers designed specifically for dipole use, and the cost of the cabinet and active crossover housing, and you begin to understand the six-figure price.

Joe Cohen came up with the basic concept, including drivers, dimensions, and shape of the enclosure. Then Manny La Carrubba, who designed the equally unique Beolab 5 loudspeaker, added a rear-firing tweeter to balance the speaker's power response, and an active DSP digital crossover that adjusts the Granada UB II to its surroundings. The speaker price includes the cost of Manny traveling to the speaker's final destination to adjust its room response.

When I first heard the speaker, I was most impressed by its tremendous control and detail in the midrange in the bass, notable low extension, and seamless integration between the woofers and Feastrex driver. The air around images and the size of the soundstage were also quite wonderful. Frankly, I love it. That was when it was paired with a Lamm Industries LL2.1 preamp. At CES, in a much smaller space, the bass was intentionally turned down, and the preamp was the BAT VK-3ix, a good preamp but not up there with the Lamm.

Nonetheless, the beauty of this speaker is something special. I continue to have some questions about the treble response, which on some recordings lent a hardness to strings that I have not heard previously from Feastrex drivers. (In all fairness, I encountered hard, edgy treble at thiis CES on far more loudspeakers than I wish to recall). Once the treble is smoothed out, this speaker will definitely be a head-turning, ear-opening contender.

Associated components included wiring from PranaWire and Acoustic Revive, Hanns Acoustics T-60 turntable ($6200) equipped with an Ortofon Windfeld cartridge ($3700) and Graham Phantom II arm (almost $5000); Hanns Acoustics CD-20 CD player ($2200), and Acoustic Revive power distribution boxes ($1750 up).

DavePage's picture

Honestly, could this magazine and this industry be more detached from today's reality. Vast swathes of the country are losing their jobs, homes and livelihoods (put me in there), and you're waxing about $100k cabs. You're paid to provide opinion, but by encouraging such lunancy you're helping to hammer the nails into the high-end industry's coffin -- one that deserves to die on the basis of such ridiculous pricing...

DavePage's picture

Feastrex don't put their prices on their website (with good reason), suggesting instead that the price reflects "...real world cost". As the past couple of years have shown us all, the cost of some commodities has far outstripped anything approaching reality in this world. Unless the little Japanese dude who sits their rubbing his speaker cones with urushi, saki, or wishywashi is concerned, unless he is only turning out 2-4 cones a year, his costs are not 'real world' at all. I suspect he is turning out many hundreds of these a year, netting him an income of many $ millions a year. If he can find audiofools to pay him what he asks, then more fool them, but lets's not try and justify such ridiculous pricing...

Joseph Cohen's picture

Jason,Thank you for your kind comments on the Granada Loudspeaker. I wish you had had the opportunity to return later in the show as we swapped the BAT pre out for the incomparable SMc VRE-1 Unity Gain preamplifier which is a watershed product and which compliments the Granada perfectly.All best regards,Joe Cohen

Egregious's picture

...and there ya go DavePage, the illustrious distributor has decided to stick his head somewhere and pretend none of it exists - including you! But you're right, the actual cost of these drivers is probably quite miniscule - the rest is pure mark-up.

Rory B.'s picture

I agree that the Feastrex driver (which costs more than my brand-new 2010 Fusion SE!) costs way more than I'd personally ever consider spending, but whenever anybody complains about a product costing more than the total cost of the materials to make a product, it always rubs me the wrong way. A product is more than the sum of its materials; it also entails the amount of engineering and fretting of miniscule details that went into the product's design, and it also includes the price of exclusivity and brand image. It's no secret that high-end audio is subject to some of the most exorbitant markups anywhere, but a 'value' product will never have the exclusivity of a 'high end' product.To the person who commented on the price of the Feastrex driver and the Granada loudspeaker in a present reality of lost jobs and livelihoods, and this is not to sound insensitive, but obviously, the Granada is not for those people who were affected by the economic collapse (and I count myself among that number, by the way).