Acora, VAC, Aurender

If admiring a pair of Acora Acoustics speakers up-close inspires a sudden desire to cut some broccoli or wash the dishes, it's probably because they're handcrafted from naturally flecked granite, similar to some bespoke countertops. But there's nothing wishy-washy—or cold—about the sound of the Acoras I briefly auditioned at the Florida show. Beguiling and authoritative is more like it. In Tampa, Acora paired its brand new VRC speakers with VAC Statement 452 monoblocks ($150,000/pair), an Aurender digital front end consisting of an N30SA streamer ($25,000) and an MC20 clock ($30,000), and a $50,000 LampizatOr Horizon DAC.

The VRCs are double-ported in the rear and sport five drivers mounted on each baffle—two midrange transducers and a tweeter in an MTM array, plus dual woofers down below. The speakers, which weigh 450lb each and are shaped like flat-topped obelisks, are expected to retail for $220,000/pair when they start shipping in April.

Throw in the VAC Statement line stage and phono stage that sat on the far right of the room ($80,000 each), plus the $120,000 loom of Cardas Clear and Clear Beyond cables, and we have a system price slightly north of three quarters of a million dollars. While that's an absolute fortune, maybe it's a bargain considering that the rig sounded like, well, a million bucks.

One test track that stood out was TakéDaké's "Japanese Roots," a recording of various percussion instruments and a breathy bamboo flute. Through the VRCs, every strike and note were easily-defined points in space, somewhere across a soundstage that seemed a mile wide. I found it remarkable that these not-especially-large speakers filled the very large room with ease and poise.

There's a reason why Acora head Valerio R. Cora used his own initials to name the product; if the 15-minute demo was any guide, they're his most accomplished floorstanders yet.