BorderPatrol, Triode Wire Labs, Volti Audio

If you're a regular attendee to audio shows you'll notice one constant, and that's a lack of consistency. At one show, Acme Turntables represents with Manny, Moe, & Jack's speakers. The next show, Acme has taken up with Beverly's speakers, and MM&J is now with Mr. Big's turntables. It's downright incestuous.

Into this audio polygamy come the good men of Volti Audio (Greg Roberts), BorderPatrol DACs and amplification (Gary Dews), and Triode Wire Labs cabling (Pete Grzybowski). These gentlemen have been hosting hi-fi rooms as a single organism since 2005! And it's audible. Roberts, Dewes, and Grzybowski unfailingly assemble one of the finest-sounding rooms at each show, year in, year out.

At AXPONA, Greg, Gary, and Pete debuted Triode Pete's new Passion USB cable ($399) and Roberts's revised, CNC-machined, horn-loaded Volti Rival loudspeaker ($14,000–$18,500/pair; one of my top five "speakers to dream of," reviewed in the June 2017 issue of Stereophile). The guys further assembled: a BorderPatrol DAC S/SE-I with power supply ($1225–$1675, depending on version), BorderPatrol S20EXD 300B SET integrated amplifier with power supply ($23,000), Innuos Zenith music server ($4249) and Innuos Phoenix USB reclocker ($3149). Triode Pete's cables included Digital American power cords ($499/each), Spirit II interconnects ($399/pair), and American Speaker Cables ($699/pair).

I know this sound. It's earthy, warm, natural, textured, human, butt-kicking. Midday, Boz Scaggs' slow-grooving "Thanks To You" melted the assembled listeners, standing room only, via the Volti/BorderPatrol/Innuos collection. The sound was viscous, gutsy. Soundstage was immense, depth impressive. Yello's "Big Dada" changed the mood: pinpoint imaging, pulsing electronic drums, and screaming synths followed by the all-acoustic goodness of Nickel Creek, as natural sounding as honey.

If you're looking for a final system, just hear this.

Fleschler's picture

We probably would still enjoy listening for 20-30 minutes but the Volti Rival was only $7500. Now, too expensive to consider.

tonykaz's picture

Mr.KM, what is incestuous ????

Can I start using descriptives like this now that twitter is embracing the 1st Amendment ????

ken mac's picture

CHeck out the Volti Razz, similar sonics, lower bucks.

George S's picture

I wanted to check out the Razz so much. They were going to hook them up on Sunday afternoon, but I just couldn't get back to the room. The Rivals were one hell of a sonic treat however. Too big for my space, but man oh man they were fun to listen to.