Acora Acoustics/Audio Research/Hegel/Cardas/Transrotor

There is something ancestrally earthy about the sound of Acora speakers that is hard to pinpoint. Sure, the fact their enclosures are made of stone might have something to do with the Stonehenge vibe I'm getting from them, but once you hear Acora speakers, I think you'll get a glimpse of what I'm talking about. They sound timeless and wise, like musical sages from another time. They convey the earth-bound existence of artists before they died like few other speakers do. They conjure the essence of music, back to when cavemen tapped sticks on stones.

This was the first time I heard the company's QRC-2 speakers ($47,000/pair), whose sound possessed that same earthy, timeless quality I heard from the company's SRC-1 at several shows. Different also this time from previous Acora exhibits was some of the equipment the Acoras were partnered with. Instead of a bank of massive tube gear, this show saw the introduction of Hegel's flagship electronics, the P30A preamp ($10,995) and matching dual mono, 1100Wpc H30A power amp ($22,995). The source consisted of a Transrotor Massimo turntable/arm/cartridge package ($22,600) feeding an Audio Research Ref 3 SE phono ($24,600). Cardas cabling was used throughout.

On material by Louis Armstrong, Getz and Gilberto, and other artists who have passed on, the sound emanating from the Acoras was warm, reverberant, saturated, and bulging with nuanced atmosphere. Vocals of dead people sounded stunningly alive and full of breath, while instruments like saxophone and piano sounded vividly present and lifelike. Time stood still.

(All prices in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.)