Volti Audio Rival loudspeaker Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Analog Sources: Kuzma Stabi S turntable & Stogi S tonearm; Music Hall MMF-7.3 turntable; Denon DL-103, Goldring Elite MC, Ortofon 2M Bronze cartridges.
Digital Sources: Apple MacBook computer running Audirvana Plus; Halide DAC HD, PS Audio NuWave DACs; LG BD player; Western Digital T2 Mirror Drives (2).
Preamplification: Auditorium 23 A23 moving-coil step-up transformer, Heed Audio Quasar phono stage, Shindo Laboratory Allegro preamplifier.
Power Amplifier: Shindo Laboratory Haut-Brion.
Integrated Amplifier: Heed Audio Elixir.
Loudspeakers: DeVore Fidelity Orangutan O/93, Elac Debut B6, Snell Type J/II.
Headphones: Master & Dynamic MH40.
Cables: Interconnect: AudioQuest Water, JPS Labs Superconductor, Shindo Laboratory. Speaker: AudioQuest Castle Rock, Auditorium 23, Tellurium Q Black.
Accessories: Mapleshade Clearview Double Helix Mk.II power strip; Music Hall Aztec Blue & Mooo record mats; Spec AD-UP1 Analog Disc Sheet; Salamander five-tier rack; IKEA Aptitlig bamboo chopping boards (under turntable, preamplifier, power amplifier); Mapleshade 15" by 12" by 2" maple platform; 2" by 2" by 0.5" mahogany blocks; 3"-thick studio-treatment foam damping (ceiling, walls).
Listening Room: 12' L by 10' W by 12' H, system set up along long wall; suspended wood floor, 6"-thick walls (plaster over 2x4), wood-beamed ceiling.—Ken Micallef

COMPANY INFO
Volti Audio
6100 Nashville Highway
Baxter, TN 38544
(207) 314-1937
ARTICLE CONTENTS

COMMENTS
mvs4000's picture

Upon further reflection, post deleted by author.

es347's picture

..indeed. $3500 for different finishes is bad enough...$500 for grill cloths?

jonathan.fisk's picture

Superb sound, cabinet questions, numbers and pictures that don't add up...just like the sensitive, squat, celebrated DeVore Orangutan series. Or the O/96 at least, as Stereophile did not publish measurements with their latest O/93 coverage --an odd omission for a perennial Stereophile "Speaker of the Year." I hope Stereophile will conduct additional listening tests of the Volti Rival, as they've done with both Orangutan models. A relevant and reasonable expectation, given the similar storyline and respectfully recognizing DeVore and Volti are competing for the same ears and $$$.

blacktruffle's picture

Hi Ken,
great review, thank you!
I didn't understand completely the final setup of loudspeakers.
Could you explain a little more?
Best regards!

ken mac's picture

BlackTruffle, I thought the setup description was rather graphic:" After some trial and error, I lessened their degree of toe-in from 45° to where I could just see each inner side panel. In short, the Rivals ended up 66" from my listening chair, with the centers of their panels 32" from the front wall—a few inches back from the DeVores' positions."
Greg took a crack at setup, then I followed up, the results above. Trial and error....Thanks for your comment.

Anton's picture

Questions!

1) "...once you hear horns, you never go back."

Now that you've gone horn, can you go back?

2) Did the speakers ever descend Mt. Micallef?

3) Did seeing JA's results change your interpretation of things you heard?

(The review, overall, made me want those speakers.)

4) In JA's Figure 4, the frequency response curve looks alot like those old "equalizer settings" I'd run into in people's car stereo set ups in the late 70's and early 80's. The "smiley face pattern!"

5) I would love to see on of JA's frequency response graphs in room like he does with some other speakers.

6) Is near field a problematic way to 'measure' horn speaker performance, in particular? I've always thought of multi-way horns as needing alot of 'intergration distance.'

ken mac's picture

2. The Rivals did descend and depart. 3. I see the results of JA's tests same time as everyone else: when I receive the issue, not before. Thank you.

Tesla one's picture

It's nice to see another of Volti Audio's speakers well reviewed (like the all-horn Vittora model before it, by Mr. Dudley), especially being they're a different type of speaker than the ones usually chosen for review by Stereophile; namely large radiation area, high sensitivity speakers that are (at least partially) horn-driven. Mr. Roberts (among others) is to be commended for his effort to make available this "genre" of speakers to a broader range of costumers for what appears to be very fair prices. Whether a sign of maturation of horn speakers in general or a more deliberate, careful voicing his speakers seem to appeal widely with less focus on any particular horn-sound imprinting and more on their unconstricted, musical nature.

Regarding the review in question of the model Rival there's no questioning the positive, even ecstatic nature of it, but sadly I find it's more about an elated state of mind than any descriptive, cool-headed exposition. Any speaker has something distinctive sounding about it, even though one might find it to possess no immediate "house sound," and trying to come about this is essential in getting a grasp of what we're dealing with. It's not that Mr. Micallef's review is devoid of description, but that I find it to lack a contrasting ground to be viewed against - be it in comparison to other speakers than the DeVore's, or a more firm, dispassioned approach to the core DNA of what makes these speakers sonically tick.

I'm not bashing Mr. Micallef for a very positive review, that's not my intention, but merely want to express that I walk away from it less keen about a product's sonic specifics and more aware of someone's exaltation.

ken mac's picture

Tesla, I am sorry my review didn't meet your needs. I can only compare products under review to what I have in house--my DeVore O/93s, and I did!

markotto's picture

Reticle I would like to have the chance to listen to them,however here on Vancouver Island that won't happen. I can't comment on the "sound", but based on the pictures they look quite ummm...... Ugly. Owners please don't freak,just my opinion. I happen to own probably the ugliest looking speakers ever,Infinity Reference Standard 2.5. I enjoy them still. Maybe we need an an article about the "least attractive "speakers we have ever owned. Should be entertaining. Oh..."recticle" ....stupid spellcheck!!

johnny p.'s picture

This speaker joins the Tellig-reviewed La Scala and Emerald Physics's models which violate (2) of John Atkinson's rules of horns:

(1) They need to be 5-way
(2) Due to this, they will be very expensive

(in his Auditorium 23 review, last year).

Joshnich's picture

I happen to own a pair - In fact I am pretty sure mine are the natural birch ones shown in the article. And I think your review is spot on. The realism and dynamics delivered by these speakers cannot be denied. If you don't like your music to sound live then these are not for you.
Greg has done a remarkable job. These speakers can fill the room with music you can feel and they can also deliver incredible detail and magic at lower listening levels. Thank you Ken Mac for the honest and detailed review!

Volti's picture

Regarding the cost of "upgrades" - There is such a thing as honest ignorance. People simply do not know the costs involved with doing the type of work that I do. As a society, we've become so used to $59 microwave ovens at Wal-Mart that we no longer know how to place value on designing and hand-building a complex product like the Volti Audio Rival.

Perhaps a better way to think of the "upgrades" is to think of them as deductions instead. The Rivals, with veneer and grills at $11,900 represent good value in the marketplace. I'm offering the option of ordering them without veneer and grills to help those who are on a tighter budget get the Volti Audio sound into their systems. Isn't that an option you'd like to see available from other manufacturers?

Greg Roberts

Joshnich's picture

Good Point Greg! That is exactly the way I looked at when purchasing these fantastic speakers. In today's market, seeing what other speaker manufacturers are charging, the Rivals at 12K represent an incredible value.

Josh

Cosaxi's picture

Visit the Volti website. Can't help but think of Klipsch. Would be interesting to compare the Cornerhorn or the LaScala side by side with the Vittora.

Nagrapex's picture

I also have a strong preference for high-efficiency designs because of their great dynamics and freedom from strain. However, these clearly need more crossover design work. That top end emphasis might create the impression of clarity, but it would be fatiguing. Voices would sound a bit thin, and the upper bass likely boomy. I wonder if the designer is measuring them.

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