Nola Concert Grand Reference Gold 2 Speakers, VAC Statement 450S IQ Amplifier, Audio Research REF CD8 CD Player, Nordost Odin 2 Cabling

Do VAC tube components possess chameleon-like powers? That's the question I've begun to ask: Each time I encounter their components in different settings, I hear radically different sound. Here, from a system including Nola's towering new Concert Grand Reference Gold 2 loudspeakers ($250,000/pair), an Audio Research REF CD8 CD player, Nordost Odin 2 cabling, and VAC's Statement 450S IQ amplifier ($63,000), Master line stage ($28,000), and VAC DAC MK II ($12,000), the sound was midrange preponderant—not at all what I expected to hear from either VAC electronics or a 275lb open-baffle line-source array design with a claimed frequency range of 18Hz–100kHz, 91dB sensitivity, and 8 ohm impedance. I think the room was simply too shallow in depth, with seats too close, for these speakers to strut their stuff.

Lorton's picture

Always nit picking, unless it is Wilson, of course...

JRT's picture

Self-moderated removal

Ortofan's picture

If you considered for a moment the interaction between an amplifier with a relativity high output impedance (typical of most tube amps) and the non-linear input impedance of most speakers and the resultant variations it causes upon the system's frequency response, you wouldn't even need to ask the question.

A different speaker with a different impedance characteristic will result in a different overall frequency response - hence the "chameleon-like" effect, which is being attributed erroneously to the amplifier itself. Likewise, if you try the same speaker with a different amplifier with a significantly different output impedance.

As an example of the effect, see Figure 1:

Bogolu Haranath's picture

'They made too many wrong mistakes matching all those different components' :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

We don't know what the measurements are for this particular VAC amp, but Stereophile reviewed VAC Avatar integrated-amp before, which shows high output impedance ........ So, very little, if any, damping factor ....... These Nola speakers have multiple different drivers and most likely will present a complex load for the partnering amp ........ They could have chosen Audio Research reference amps, which usually have lower output impedance (for a tube amp), and hence better damping factor :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Wagner would be disappointed to hear his 'Ride of the Valkyries', on this system :-) ........

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Also, Mussorgsky would be disappointed to hear the 'Night on the Bare Mountain' on this system :-) .......