Grace from Volti Audio & BorderPatrol

By the time I reached the Tower’s 11th floor—my final floor, thank God—at 5:35pm on Saturday, I had been at it for over 8.5 hours, and my cold and fever were at their peak. It felt as though nothing short of the Balm of Gilead could bring me solace. But when I heard, in succession, impressively full-range sound and excellent low-bass definition on Mahler’s Symphony 2, and gorgeous warmth and color on everything soprano Arleen Auger sang, I felt as though I could simply float through the rest of the day in a state of peace. (That I didn’t was due to the vagaries of GPS navigation, but we’ll save that sad and silly story for another day.)

Welcome to the world of the sold-direct Volti Audio Vittora ($17,500/pair). Art Dudley reviewed this 104dB-sensitive, 3-way fully horn-loaded loudspeaker with a 15" bass driver in a single folded horn enclosure, 2" outlet midrange compression driver, wooden Tractrix midrange horn, 1" high-frequency compression driver, elliptical Tractrix tweeter horn, and hand-wired passive crossover networks in our September 2013 issue. I go into all that detail because this retro-looking baby sounds far, far better than one might think. Mated with Volti Audio’s Vittora subwoofer ($2900) and a Marchand Electronics MB42 subwoofer amplifier ($1500), the speakers sang thanks to three components from BorderPatrol: the S20 ESC dual-mono 18W/channel Parallel SET amplifier w/dual external power supply units ($25,750), Control Unit EXT1 triode line stage preamplifier ($12,250), and DAC2 with 6SN7 tube output stage ($9750). Despite a bit of softness to the sound—a slight gray tinge that I associate with SET amplification—the end result was both convincing and, with celestial music, absolutely heavenly.

Thank you, Volti Audio and BorderPatrol, for the gift of music in Room 1102.