Alta Audio Hestia Titanium loudspeaker Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Thorens TD 124 turntable (reconditioned by Schopper AG); Ortofon RMG-212 (rebuilt), Thomas Schick 12" tonearms; Ortofon 90th Anniversary SPU cartridge.
Digital Sources: MacBook Pro computer (early 2015); Intel NUC computer with SSD drive running Roon Optimized Core Kit; Benchmark Media Systems DAC 3, Meridian Explorer2 USB, Mytek HiFi Brooklyn, PS Audio DirectStream DACs.
Preamplification: Auditorium 23 Standard step-up transformer, EAR 834P phono stage, PS Audio BHK Signature preamplifier.
Power Amplifiers: Benchmark Media Systems AHB-2, PS Audio BHK Signature 300 Mono, Pass Laboratories XA60.8 (all monoblocks).
Integrated Amplifier: Leben Hi-Fi Stereo CS-600.
Loudspeakers: DeVore Fidelity The Nine.
Cables: USB: AudioQuest Carbon & Cinnamon & Coffee, Comprehensive Connectivity DXLRP-DXLRJ-6EXF. Interconnect: Auditorium 23, Chord (UK) Chorus & Chameleon Silver Plus, Mogami Gold, Sescom/Canare, Sescom/Mogami (XLR). Speaker: Auditorium 23. AC: Belden 14-gauge shielded, HOSA 14-gauge IEC, stock IEC.
Accessories: PS Audio Power Plant P10 power conditioner, Oswalds Mill Audio slate plinth (under turntable), Chilton's Durham media console in cherrywood, Auralex ProPanel Fabric-Wrapped Acoustical Absorption Panel (2" by 2' by 4', beveled).—Jim Austin

COMPANY INFO
Alta Audio
139 Southdown Road
Huntington, NY 11743
(631) 424-5958
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
dalethorn's picture

"....the bassoon that enters 13 minutes into the first movement of the Shostakovich: it's positioned in space with far greater precision than the wavelength of the fundamental tone would allow."

There are a few things where I find it useful to focus on a fundamental or a harmonic, but the whole tone and how it interacts with the room is the final arbiter for so many things.

spacehound's picture

I'm not at all sceptical about his 'titanium' stuff, but these speakers have far too many drivers to ever sound coherent.

It's the inevitable consequence of putting enough stuff in to make it appear to people with more money that sense that they are worth 32,000 dollars.

(And it always amuses me that so many go on about 'space' around the speakers yet so many buy big and expensive floorstanders where there is no 'space' at all above what is often the most reflective and resonant part of the room.)

Michael Levy's picture

While I agree that melding multiple drivers is not an easy task, the reviewers agree that the Hestia Titanium does just that, or to quote Jim Austin from this review: "When I listened to a live version of "Corcovado," from disc 3 of Stan Getz's The Girl from Ipanema: The Bossa Nova Years (4 CDs, Verve 823 611-2), singer Astrud Gilberto stood on a stage, a few feet up from where I sat in the fourth or fifth row. Getz and his tenor sax were on the same level, farther back and slightly to the right. João Gilberto was on Astrud's right, just inside the left speaker, obviously seated, his guitar in his hands. He was human-sized, and his voice emerged from a spot maybe 18" above the sound of his guitar—as it would in an unamplified live performance. Astounding.
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/alta-audio-hestia-titanium-loudspeaker-page-2#4PYKvtcdgtxsUB7d.99

otaku's picture

I heard the Alta Audio FRM-2 bookshelf speakers at the Brooklyn show in 2014 and was very impressed. Maybe bigger is not always better.

Michael Levy's picture

Our speakers are designed to match the room in which they are played. The Celesta FRM-2s are designed for moderate sized rooms, such as those that would be found in a Manhattan apartment, the Hestia Titaniums favor larger rooms. they both create an accurate representation of the space where the original recording was recorded, with the Hestias more able to portray the full grandeur of that space.

mtrot's picture

What speaker terminal jumpers appear in the picture? Thanks.

Michael Levy's picture

We provide AntiCables jumpers with the Hestia Titanium Speakers

eriks's picture

What a funny review of a funny speaker. Let me touch on one of many things stated which made me giggle:

"Levy told me that the crossover between the midrange and the tweeter is asymmetric, the tweeter coming in much faster than the midrange fades out. That asymmetry adds complexity."

Asymmetrical in this sense means that the poles, or order of the crossover is not the same on the low pass as the high pass section. This is quite typical in flat-baffle designs. This doesn't add any complexity at all and is often necessary for proper phase and amplitude matching between drivers. The designer in this case seems to have only had partial success.

The "dipolito" is a sad riff indeed. This is no such thing. While D'Appolito designs may have asymmetrical (2nd and 3rd order for example) crossovers the good doctor is very much aware that higher order filters minimize lobing and interference. Using a first order low pass filter on the mids is why you have the big dip when vertically off-axis at 1 kHz.

On the positive side, cutting off 6-7" mid-woofers at 1 kHz will prevent the comb filtering / interference effect you were concerned about. They should play as a single surface, or rather, they should _if_ they were the same make and model of driver, but they aren't. This speaker really is an endless garden of delight when it comes to curiosities.

Best,

Erik

Michael Levy's picture

Do you consider this only partially successful? Quote Jim Austin: When I listened to a live version of "Corcovado," from disc 3 of Stan Getz's The Girl from Ipanema: The Bossa Nova Years (4 CDs, Verve 823 611-2), singer Astrud Gilberto stood on a stage, a few feet up from where I sat in the fourth or fifth row. Getz and his tenor sax were on the same level, farther back and slightly to the right. João Gilberto was on Astrud's right, just inside the left speaker, obviously seated, his guitar in his hands. He was human-sized, and his voice emerged from a spot maybe 18" above the sound of his guitar—as it would in an unamplified live performance. Astounding. or It's a Saturday, after midnight, and I'm listening to Steely Dan's Aja, remembering Walter Becker, who died a few weeks ago. These extraordinary musicians—Steve Gadd, Joe Sample, Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, Wayne Shorter, plus the core Steely Dan crew—are arrayed across my living room and beyond its walls, their instruments like orchestra sections. I've never heard this recording with such depth, weight, and relaxed separation.
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/alta-audio-hestia-titanium-loudspeaker-page-2#PVAtScO97mLPcdUJ.99estia-titanium-loudspeaker-page-2#PVAtScO97mLPcdUJ.99 , or Steve Guttenberg on U tube, I heard one of the best systems of my life last night

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8otW-hzmMhc

eriks's picture

I think you misunderstand.

Only in a very narrow context did I consider this speaker design any sort of success. I said: "is often necessary for proper phase and amplitude matching between drivers. The designer in this case seems to have only had partial success."

As for the rest, to paraphrase Tim Gunn, "If that's what you like, you should buy more of it."

Erik

Michael Levy's picture

No, I think you misunderstand. The measure of a speaker is in the listening. Anyone who has ever constructed a technically perfect speaker knows this. They sound like crap. The only way to properly design a speaker is through a beta test group as we did. The members of the group included a Grammy awarded recording engineer, a symphony conductor, several reviewers, and a few fellow audio design engineers. They were tasked to compare the sound to live natural music. The process took over two years. That is what resulted in the comments I quoted from Jim Austin in this review, but as Steve Guttenberg's post shows, his was not the only one. It is a naive designer who thinks that the proof of his design is in the measurements. They are at best a guide.

ksigman's picture

My reference speakers are Alta Audio FRM2 Celesta; a 2-driver model that works beautifully with my space which is a (small) 100+ year-old apartment in NYC. Would I jump up without hesitation to these extraordinary larger (Titanium), meant for a larger space--but with the same essential qualities that I adore in the FRM2--if I had a larger space? Absolutely. I have heard them in various venues (spaces), many times, and with various supporting equipment, including my own amplifiers, and with my own personal supply of music. I have heard them in Levy's house, others' houses, at shows and (the best so far), at the Rhapsody Audio show room in NYC. Give them a listen. The soundstage and imaging is truly extraordinary--to my ears. There are no perfect speakers sound-wise (Holy Grail?) and we all have our own personal preferences as to what that might be, and it can't be based only on measurements or preconceived ideas about what a proper design should be.

Timbo in Oz's picture

Q. If QUAD's successors in China can give us essentially perfect speakers for 1/2 to 1/3rd this one's price?

Why does this one cost so much?

A. Greed! and BBB aka 'bullshit baffles brains'.

Since the late 1970s I've owned a pair of 2-way spheres which are almost as good as 57s or 63s and the cost me less than $900 to buy and a bit more to position correctly.

They go lower and play louder than 57s.

Money and display?!

98, 99, 100, ... change hands 101, 102.

Are ANY of you interested in music at all?!!!

Sigh!

TIA folks.

Timbo in Oz

JimboJumbo's picture

You were very kind to this by saying “there’s a lot to admire”.

For $32K I would expect a lot more precision in the tests.

I have measured/tested so many better speakers/monitors than these; that cost 15% of the asking price for these.

There is hardly any test that it performs really well in.

Horizontal off axis response is pretty good. Step response is appalling. CSD is a mixed bag; take out the ribbon tweeter (they usually perform well in CSD tests) and what have you got. Frequency response is barely acceptable. Impedance and phase plots are concerning. Cabinet design is average.

For $32K I would expect a lot more precision. This price range can buy you some exceptionally good stuff; perhaps some active ATC’s.

This system is basically - hate to say it - an example of an unrefined design approach.

There are $10K kit speakers and $5K active 2 way monitors out there that absolutely annihilate this in terms of design and measured performance. For example, several years ago, I measured these 2 and they performed exceptionally well . .

https://vaf.com.au/collections/signature-speakers/products/signature-i-93mkll

http://mackie.com/products/hrmk2-series

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