Volti's New Rival Type II loudspeakers, plus Innuos, Border Patrol, Triode Wire Labs, and a Happy Hour Cocktail

When I walked into the Volti Audio/Border Patrol Audio/Triode Wire Labs’ room, Volti’s head honcho Greg Roberts said, “Ken, remove that mask.” I did as the man asked, as all present were vaccinated, and accepted a happy hour drink from Triode Wire Labs’ Pete Grzybowski. I saw Border Patrol’s Gary Dewes smile, and knew I was with friends.

I use and have favorably reviewed these mens’ products. But that doesn’t stop me from marveling when I hear the exceptional sound this trio perpetually brings to shows.

Here at the Capital Audiofest, the complete system consisted of an iPhone streaming Qobuz to an Innous Zenith Zen MK3 Music Server through an Innous Phoenix USB reclocker to a Border Patrol DAC SE-I ($1075 for the base unit with either USB or S/PDIF (coax); $1575 for both USB and S/PDIF) and on to a Border Patrol P21EXD power amplifier ($14,900, 20Wpc push-pull with 300B tubes) which drove Greg Roberts’s new Volti Audio New Rival Type II loudspeakers ($11,500-$15,000/pair depending on finish), which have a rated sensitivity of 100dB/W/m into 6ohms. Cabling included Triode Wire Labs Spirit II interconnects ($399 for a 1m pair), Split Power and Data (that's its name) and Discrete USB cables ($399 each), American Speaker Cables (starting at $699/pair), and The Obsession ($1399) and Digital American ($499) power cords. Roberts’ Razz loudspeaker ($5900-6900/pr, 97dB) was on tap to be played for Friday.

Streaming a Nils Lofgren track unknown to me, the electric bass intro punched high and dug low, the system producing ample weight and power. Head shakingly good. The sound was fast, deep boweled, earth shaking. More than that, it sounded like music, like live sounds.

Realizing that I’m a drummer, Pete played Shelly Manne’s version of “Poinciana” from Shelly Manne and Jack Marshall’s Sounds Unheard Of! (Analogue Productions APR 3009). The Rivals are as fast as the dickens, and they need to be to stay up with Manne’s fevered artistry.

I checked back 20 minutes later to see if Pete would refill my drink, but I couldn’t get in the room. Every seat was taken.

Anton's picture

iPhones can stream hi rez?

I did not know this!

dleroy's picture

Ken, Wearing masks even for the vaccinated remains a safe precaution particularly in public venues and especially small hotel rooms. Telling anyone to remove their mask as they enter a crowed room shows a lack of a clear understanding of the risks.

Jim Austin's picture

Speaking for myself here: I've been very cautious throughout the pandemic. I'm vaccinated and "boosted." Ever since I was fully vaccinated--after the requisite wait after my second Pfizer shot--I have stopped wearing masks when I'm around friends in private spaces. Considering that proof of vaccination is required at CAF, that transmission from one vaccinated person to another vaccinated person has been shown to be rare (although not vanishingly so), and that the illness that results from such transmission is almost always much less severe, I think Ken and the others made a reasonable choice here.

Meaning no disrespect, I don't think this is the place to continue debating this.

Best Wishes,

Jim Austin, Editor

klosterman's picture


Vinnie Rossi's picture

Knowing the fine whiskey that Greg Roberts and company serve at shows, would any virus even stand a chance???! (this is just meant in jest / not to be taken seriously)

DougM's picture

I used to like their speakers, but no longer. Screw them and you too Jim Austin. Stereophile has really gone downhill after the other JA left and you took over

Volti's picture


navr's picture

I thought Dual Headed USB lost battle to AQ Diamond USB and alike Single Headed USB, no?