Empirical Audio & Vapor Audio

I was unfamiliar with the Vapor Audio Nimbus speakers Empirical Audio’s Steve Nugent was using, which combine a 15” woofer with an MTM array based on a Raal ribbon tweeter, and cost $7895/pair. But with the speakers driven by 40W single-ended, class-A mono amps from Arte-Forma ($7495/pair), each using an 845 output tube, vocals, whether it was Frank Sinatra singing “What’s New?”, Julie London “Cry Me a River,” or Diana Krall “Girl in the Other Room,” sounded effortlessly real, with an ease to the presentation. (Note the corner traps and ATS Diffusors used to tame the room’s acoustics in the photo.)

I have been a fan of Steve’s Empirical Audio digital products since I reviewed the Off-Ramp 4 format converter in December 2011. Steve was using the latest version of the Off-Ramp ($3250)) with his Over Drive DAC ($8500), fed data from a Mac mini running Amarra and powered by a linear supply (the center unit on the bottom shelf in the photo.) Transformer coupling with the Empirical Final Drive ($2999 each; the two units either side of the Mac’s supply, meant that the DAC’s ground was physically isolated from the amplifiers’ grounds.

Manasaurus's picture

John great insight, 

Those Nimbus speakers are really captivating visually, and it looks like you have good things to say about them sonically as well.  I was unable to make it to T.H.E. show this year.  What would you compare the sound to amongst the other speakers you have reviewed, or do they have a sonic characteristic all their own?  

On another note, Empirical's overdrive DAC is really the best around IMO.  Such a natural and realistic sound.  Let you just sit back and experience the real detail in music without the fatigue of over emphasizing it.


eugovector's picture

Thank you for taking note of scientifically sound acoustic treatments.

HawksFan's picture

These guys - Vapor Audio that is - were my favorites at the Chicago Axpona.  I heard their Cirrus Black at that show and loved it but felt myself longing for something bigger.  I'd say this Nimbus is just the ticket!  And what a cool shape for a very large speaker.  

I would appreciate also if Mr Atkinson could further expand upon his thoughts of the sound in this room.  

Virgolate's picture

Is the Nimbus a rear ported speaker or a closed design? Will they survive in small to middle room size, or do they demand large rooms to fully blossom? I understand that the larger a room is, the more space is given for every speaker to breathe, but would the Nimbus survive in a less than middle large room I wonder?