Nola Metro Grand Reference Gold loudspeaker Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Analog Sources: Linn Sondek LP12 turntable with Lingo power supply, Linn Ekos tonearm, Linn Arkiv B cartridge.
Digital Sources: Ayre Acoustics C-5xeMP universal player; Apple 2.7GHz i7 Mac mini running OS10.9.3, iTunes 11, Pure Music 1.89 & 2.0, Audirvana Plus 1.5.10; Auralic Vega, PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream D/A processors; dCS Vivaldi upsampling D/A system; Ayre Acoustics QA-9 USB A/D converter.
Preamplification: Channel D Seta L phono preamplifier; Pass Labs XP-30, Ayre Acoustics KX-R Twenty line preamplifiers.
Power Amplifiers: Pass Labs XA60.5 monoblocks, Audio Research Reference 75.
Loudspeakers: Triangle Signature Delta.
Cables: Digital: AudioQuest Coffee, Belkin Gold USB, Kubala-Sosna Elation! AES/EBU, Transparent USB (with dCS Vivaldi). FireWire: AudioQuest FireWire 400 (prototype). Interconnect (balanced): AudioQuest Wild Blue, Kubala-Sosna Elation!. Speaker: Kubala-Sosna Elation!, Nordost Odin. AC: Kubala-Sosna Elation! (with Pass Labs), Nordost Odin (with Audio Research), manufacturers' own.
Accessories: Target TT-5 equipment racks; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Acoustic Ballasts, VPI Bricks, Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators; APC S-15, Audio Power Industries 116 Mk.II & PE-1 AC line conditioners (hard drive, computers). AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.— John Atkinson

Accent Speaker Technology, Ltd.
1511 Lincoln Avenue
Holbrook, NY 11741
(631) 738-2540

georgehifi's picture

Looks like the feet can get bent out of shape fairly easily!

Cheers George

bwright's picture

I really appreciate the honesty and clarity of JA's reviews. Having met him a few times at CES, he is a remarkably nice person - and clearly a sound technologist (no pun intended). But this review, although accurate in terms of observed limitations, doesn't fully convey how tremendous these speakers are in day-to-day listening. These, and the Nola Micro Grand Reference, are among the best loudspeakers I've heard to date. It seems that manufacturers have to make choices in terms of how their products ultimately sound, while knowing they may not meet what are normally valid performance standards (vibration, ultimate treble extension, etc.). I have listened at length to the usual suspects, and although I don't have JA's years of experience in this arena, I can say it all comes down to subjective preference and system synergy. Given my own experience, these speakers are simply astonishing in terms of what they convey musically.

John Atkinson's picture
Looks like the feet can get bent out of shape fairly easily!

Pretty sure that's a photographic distortion. The review samples had feet that were super-straight.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

John C Freeman's picture

$33,000 per pair sounds expensive for speakers that do not play loud or have good clarity in the midrange. for 1/3 the price one could have a pair of Klipshorns and a small tube amp and you will have both volume and Clarity.

otaku's picture

I'm curious. Where is the cutoff for Audacious Audio? Has it changed over time?

John Atkinson's picture
otaku wrote:
Where is the cutoff for Audacious Audio?

Basically, any product with a price significantly higher than that of the typical price for that category qualifies for the "Audacious" label.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

markotto's picture

I thought I have a pair of the ugliest speakers on earth the Infinity Reference Standard 2.5, but these Nolas? I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder. YUCK. and the price....HMM

Patric's picture

That's a bit of hyperbole, isn't it? They're quite lovely in person, and I would know, thanks. And to call the IRS "ugly"?? Can't fathom your idea of beauty…
Moving along, Mr. A's review is fascinating, given The Absolute Sound's review of the speakers several years ago, in which they hardly sounded "polite." I don't doubt Mr. A's hearing at all. I suspect a change in drivers from back then. I heard the speakers years ago, and the sonics were different, which I attributed to different equipment. Now? I don't think so. A friend had older Boxers and compared them - in his room - to another friend's newer Boxers. Sound was different, mainly in the treble, which did not expand dynamically on the newer ones. The newer ones sounded less real than the older ones. His dealer thought the same thing, but hey, you sell what you got, right? Something's changed over time. Not that unusual: the Pipedreams are also said to have sounded different from one pair to the next, as noted in TAS. Maybe it's a capacitor, who knows? But those Boxers? No question they were more cousins that identical twins. Heard that about the next speaker up in the line, too. I wonder why a company does that?