11/24/2015 - NL32
It's been a hectic four months.
In early July when I last wrote to you, I did go down to our property in Baxter Tennessee and settled into the old brick farmhouse that came with the twenty acres we bought back in the fall of 2014. And it rained and rained and rained the week prior my arriving, so the locals say. The soggy ground was proof alright. Too soggy to put concrete footers in the ground, and so we would have to wait to begin construction of the Volti Audio shop until things dried out a bit.
I wasn't going to hang around and watch mud dry in TN, so I came home and got back to work building speakers. I also figured maybe we should go ahead and squeeze a couple more audio shows into the mix just to keep things interesting. And so at the last minute, I booked a room at the Capital Audiofest and the New York Audio Show, making a show sandwich out of RMAF. The triumvirate was hugely successful in every way. I'll report on Capital Audiofest in this newsletter, and the other two shows in the next newsletter.
I'm really glad we ended up being delayed on the construction of the new shop. It gave us some time to get our financing in order,
and we also ended up changing the design of the shop for the better in many ways. Some people say that everything happens for a
We sold the old brick house.
And yes, we did get going on the construction of the new shop in TN. I told you it's been a hectic four months! I traveled to Denver to do the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in early October, and then after the show, flew directly to TN where I had crews lined up to do excavation and foundation work. Laurie stayed home to keep things in order back in Maine.
A week into construction and I had my 15 year old, 30' long fifth-wheel camper that I bought off Craigslist, all set up and I was living in it right
there at the jobsite. We also had the concrete footers for the new Volti Shop in the ground that first week! Over the next few weeks
we continued with the excavation and foundation work,
and as of right now, the foundation is up out of the ground and ready to build on, driveways are in , septic system, water connection, and general grading of the site
are all complete.
As if that wasn't enough to keep us busy, a few weeks ago we accepted an offer on our home in Maine, and it looks like it's sold. This is a mixed bag of emotions for Laurie and I. We built this home 27 years ago, and it's really hard to let it go. Especially since we're having to give it away for 30% less than it should be selling for. We're supposed to be happy that it's selling at all, and I suppose that should be the case, since every other house on our road is for sale, and there are very few buyers in Maine who can afford a $200K house. Will be glad to get out of this permanently economically depressed State.
I will continue to bounce back and forth between TN and Maine, coming to Maine as necessary to keep production going at the Volti Shop, and
TN when needed to oversee construction of the new shop. Life will be busy over the next eight months, to say the least.
CAF 2015, August 28 - 30
At the last moment, I managed to book the last available room at CAF for this year, and I had precious little time to arrange who I would be teaming up with at the show for the electronics. Earlier in the year I received a promotional email from Audio Classics featuring the new McIntosh reissue C22 preamplifier and MC75 tube amplifiers. I've always been a sucker for the great looks, the beefy American construction quality, and of course that typical Mac sound since the very beginning of my audiophile hobby back when I was a teenager. So I thought to myself, wouldn't it be cool to show the Volti Vittora speakers with this old/new Mac gear?!!
So I contacted several local DC dealers, as well as Audio Classics and McIntosh, and I could not find anyone interested in loaning me the gear to use at the show. But McIntosh was willing to sell me the gear at dealer pricing, so long as I agreed not to re-sell it for two years, which is a bit of a conundrum, since I can't afford to buy gear like this right now. So I made a call to my customer Ross, who lives up in Pittsburgh. He's a Mac nut, and he had mentioned to me how much he liked the looks of those reissue Mac pieces. Long story short, Ross bought the Mac gear, through me, directly from McIntosh at dealer pricing.
I had the gear sent to me just days before the start of the show and set it up immediately to get it burned in. I noticed right away that these pieces did not sound like the old Mac gear I was used to. Thin and bright sounding, and I thought to myself, I hope I haven't made a mistake in buying this stuff. It'll be ok, just burn it in 24/7 and the sound will come around . . . . fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, Pete from Triode Wire Labs , was in as a room partner, with his banner on the wall and literature on the table. I would use his great cables even if he wasn't paying for part of the room.
I rented a cargo van and headed down to Maryland on the Wednesday before the show. The Hotel gave me the key to my show room that evening when I checked in (I don't think they're supposed to do that), and I took advantage and got most of my gear up into the room before I went to bed. It was an easy setup the next day, and by early afternoon I had the system up and working.
The venue was nice, although I thought the rooms were a bit small. The rooms sounded great though - no real issues to deal with, as is the case with some other hotel rooms. There's a great vibe at this show, year after year, and we all have a very good time during our stay. The attendance was good for most of the show, and everyone seemed to really like seeing the new McIntosh gear, and the sound we were getting in our room.
Photos below courtesy of Paul Elliot and Scot Hull
Do you all know who Vinnie Rossi is? Used to be Red Wine Audio - making some great battery-powered electronics. Have
you seen the new Lio?
I saw it featured in a review in Stereophile magazine, and I was quite impressed with it as a product - as a
Knowing that Vinnie was going to be at CAF, I contacted him and asked if he would bring the Lio to my room after hours so
I could hear it. On the Saturday evening of the show, he did, and Pete and Gary were there as well, and we enjoyed some music, beer,
and whiskey late into the night. The Lio sounded great. Better than the Mac gear, and I was really impressed with the
design and build quality. Later, I asked Vinnie if he'd be interested in joining me at the New York Audio Show this year.
Kemper Holt from Enjoy The Music stopped by our room that Saturday night while we were playing music with the Lio and the Vittoras, and this is what he wrote in his show report:
"The after-hours pairing of the LIO with Greg Robert's Volti Vittora horn speakers proved spectacular.
The 104dB/W/m sensitive Vittoras had all the power they needed, no noise floor - zero. The dynamics were stunning, especially noticeable on
drums/percussion and horns, low level details revealed easily, and thus a perfect combination."
We got some good Press too! Lately at these shows the amount of Press we've been getting has been less and less. But
this time, I thought we had quite a few nice things written about the Volti room. Here's some quotes - links.
"I had Greg play "New York City Serenade" from Bruce Springsteen's The Wild, The Innocent and The E Street Shuffle, and the piano intro was stunning in it's realism and not bettered in any room at the show. Details of the beginning of percussion instruments strikes was lightening quick, and the dynamics were very wide. My cut from Michael Hedges' "Rickover's Dream" was explosive and live sounding, great string detail and the sense of the wooden bodied guitar was evident. "
"Aligned along the long-wall, Mac gear drove the three-unit speaker Vittora system (two "mains" + sub)
to generate fulsome, lush music "at" those of us lined up opposite, with a now-common and completely spectacular coherence and panic-inducing jump-factor.
. . . I love em . . . Oh boy howdy, do I want my very own set. I'm getting all Gollum, just thinking about
. . . I love em . . . Oh boy howdy, do I want my very own set. I'm getting all Gollum, just thinking about them. Preciousss!"
Volti Audio Vittora Speakers ($25,000/pair) with McIntosh C22 preamp and MC75 amps made for a fine-sounding room. These excellent speakers owe a lot to the Klipsch La Scala's design but improve upon it. Imaging, dynamics, clarity . . . the Vittoras had it all. "The Hawk Talks" from Duke's Big Four (a reference track) showed off the quality of this system.
"As many of you know, I used to love horns. I loved them because when the stars lined up just
right, the world's best horns could play waaaaaay closer to real life - both dynamically and scale-wise-than any audiophile speaker at any price.
Jump factor pinned the needles. Unfortunately, I gave up on them years ago. Why? Because full-range horns were never truly
coherent and they made solo singers and musicians appear too big. (On the good side, because they played big, horns could do opera better than
any little boxes.)
And then, a few weeks ago I heard a giant horn system designed by Jeffrey Jackson of EMIA and (incredulously) it seemed perfect in every way-but it cost
$350,000! Today at CAF I played a couple of my own CDs through the Volti Audio Vittora horns and they seemed perfect too - and a pair of
Volti Vittoras costs only $25,000! The Voltis (reviewed by Art Dudley in September 2013) played my Bach Goldberg Variations (with Ito Ema at the
keyboard) with a gentle liquid smoothness that exceeded any liquid smoothness I have heard before. Piano sound was among the most realistic I have
ever experienced from a loudspeaker. I wrote in my listening notes that I think I could live with these for the rest of my life!
And then, a few weeks ago I heard a giant horn system designed by Jeffrey Jackson of EMIA and (incredulously) it seemed perfect in every way-but it cost $350,000! Today at CAF I played a couple of my own CDs through the Volti Audio Vittora horns and they seemed perfect too - and a pair of Volti Vittoras costs only $25,000! The Voltis (reviewed by Art Dudley in September 2013) played my Bach Goldberg Variations (with Ito Ema at the keyboard) with a gentle liquid smoothness that exceeded any liquid smoothness I have heard before. Piano sound was among the most realistic I have ever experienced from a loudspeaker. I wrote in my listening notes that I think I could live with these for the rest of my life! Bravo Volti!"
Here's the white board:
Very Nice! - Great Sound
Gary Dews - The Wizard!
Hey, he's been in this business for 25 years, he deserves a nap every now and again!
Overall this was a great show for Volti Audio. We made a great sound, we received a lot of attention from the Press,
we got to show the Vittora speakers with McIntosh gear, and just generally had a lot of FUN!
I finally gave in, and Volti Audio now has a slick new website. If you haven't seen it lately, be sure to go check it out.
Of course your feedback is always welcome. I continue to think about the overall marketing strategy for Volti Audio, and
I welcome any and all ideas regarding that. I want to tell people that the Volti Audio Vittora speakers provide an experience
like no other in our industry, but I don't want the message to come off sounding overly-hyped. I prefer restraint, dignity,
low-pressure sales tactics, let the product speak for itself . . . Know what I mean?
2015 Alura Show Speakers For Sale
Here's your chance to own a set of Alura speakers at a deeply discounted price
These are current model and have a beautiful figured walnut veneer
Regular price for these is $15,900. My price to you is only $12,000
That's a lot of speaker for Twelve G's!
Don't let this deal pass you by!
Next newsletter will out before the end of the year. I'll update you on the progress of the new shop, and I should have some photos of the foundation, and probably exterior walls to show you. I'll finish up the show reports for Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, and the New York Audio Show as well.
Thank you for your support, and until next time, trust your ears and have fun!