Look at the previous blog entry for Axpona 2015, if you can read between the lines you can tell that while we were amazed with what the Perfect Storm White was able to produce, we still knew there was more performance left on the table. So with that we re-doubled our efforts to perfect the Perfect Storm.
Since an ideal foundation was laid with the finest drivers and cabinetry possible, we threw out the original crossover and began anew. Armed with a fresh batch of measurement data, we developed an all new crossover design, and voiced the Perfect Storm as if it was the first time being heard. At the end of this process, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say the Perfect Storm was reborn! Previously, the soundstage could become confused, disjointed. This is a sure sign that phase between drivers isn’t tracking ideally. After the new crossover, the Perfect Storm became a big speaker that sounds coherent across a boundless canvas.
Besides the incomparable Perfect Storm White loudspeakers, with their newly perfected crossover, we again showed with consistent stable-mate LampizatOr, again with their Golden Gate DAC. In the months since it’s launch, the Golden Gate has quickly earned the reputation of World’s Best Digital. IMO, rightfully so. Amplification was a new deal for us, we switched mid-show just for shits and giggles. Friday and Saturday we ran the LampizatOr 211 tube monoblocks, Sunday we ran a Jeff Rowland 625 S1. Both sounded spectacular in their own way, it was also interesting to listen to show goers opinions of “it sounded better before”, or “I like it more now”. Verastarr again provided cabling including his Silver Grand Illusion power cables. Antipodes once again provided us with the best digital source money can buy. And we never forget about the importance of the room, Resolution Acoustics provided a full suite of their products that tamed the nasties found inside a hotel room, and gave us a solid foundation to build upon.
This room was downright spooky in it’s ability to image, truly larger than life. But unlike some other systems that image big, this setup was HUGE and precise. Images were sharp and focused inside an enveloping 3D orb of sound. I can say without a doubt that this was the most engaging and exciting musical reproduction system I’ve ever heard, at any price.
Pez and Tyson always enjoy our work, probably because they don’t play the you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours game. They’re financially free to speak truth, and they always do. But this year I think they pee’d themselves a little, I kid. If you doubt that we’re Level 1000 Speaker Building Ninjas, Read This! Truth, we’re next level stuff. It’ll take the rest of the industry 3 years just to catch up to the Perfect Storm.
You’ll have to scroll down a bit because they give out so many awards, but Positive Feedback gave us another well earned Oasis award
New guy No Audiophile provided some great pics, and colorful descriptions. And gave us the WTF that’s a big bad ass speaker award!
Wayne and Dennis from HT Shack aren’t just good guys, they know special when they hear it. And they loved us yet again.
Stereophile typically enjoys our efforts, and this year was no different. The system graced recordings by Frank Sinatra, Gillian Welch, and Beck with a beautifully even gorgeous midrange and lovely warmth.
There are more glowing reports from the show, many more actually. But I think that’s enough. And as usual, not a single word from The Absolute Sound.
Let’s be honest, for a speaker manufacturer shows are a drag! At least the work leading up to them always is. No matter how far in advance you prep, things go down to the last minute. I suppose if we made boring and simple MDF boxes with all right angles, we could crank those out in 2 weeks and it’d be no big deal. But we complicate everything to the n’th degree.
And for Axpona 2015, our goal was as ambitious as any we’ve ever set! We were determined to launch the Perfect Storm. It’s cabinet would be bigger and more complex than any we’ve ever built. And on top of that, we had Accuton design us a custom 97db sensitive 8″ midrange. Oh, and on top of that the new upper midrange Accuton driver wasn’t even in production yet, so they bumped up their schedule just for us! Things came together, but just barely. We were still tweaking crossover values at the show, and have continued tweaking since.
So while we pulled it off, Axpona wasn’t the ideal showing for our new Flagship. Still we managed to blow the roof off the place, and redefine what’s possible for the price-point, or honestly any price-point.
Also debuting at the show was our new rack system, designed by Nimbus and Aurora creator Ed Rosenquist. Ed is definitely an outside the box thinker, and his rack showcases that talent perfectly. Continuing in the Vapor tradition of “if it’s been done before, we’re not interested”, our rack utilizes solid CNC milled 6061 aluminum bar-stock with an ingenious cantilever locking mechanism that gives the shelves near unlimited vertical location flexibility. It also results in a totally unique look that showcases your gear on floating shelves, and gives the best possible air circulation. The rack is strong too, stupid strong, as 250lb Ed demonstrated at the show by walking up the shelves without any flex. Internal damping AND isolation are built into the shelf as well. With this rack, you get it all.
For the first time Vapor showed with Lamm Industries. It was an absolute pleasure to experience Lamm electronics, and made clear that they have earned their lofty reputation. The M2.2 monblock amplifiers were everything promised and more, powerful and refined, the music just flowed from them. LampizatOr also made a huge splash by debuting their new Golden Gate DAC. In the months since it’s launch, the Golden Gate has quickly earned the reputation of World’s Best Digital. IMO, rightfully so. Verastarr again provided cabling including his Silver Grand Illusion power cables. Antipodes again proved what we already knew, that their music servers are without peer. The DX we used is an abolute no-brainer for anyone putting together a best-of-the-best digital chain.
While not inexpensive by any means, the total cost of the room at under $100K is certainly reasonable compared to the competition. But the results embarrassed many much higher priced rooms, and competed with the very best.
Customer comes to us, poses the question “What is the best possible speaker you can build for my built-in bookshelf placement?” Well, given the small footprint required and bass issues that come from bookshelf placement, this was our solution.
The cabinet is our typical bomb proof stacked ply affair with separate internal chambers for the woofer and midrange. The tweeter is the RAAL 70-20XR, airy and sweet. Midrange is an Accuton C158 as found in the Nimbus White, and the woofer is a Wavecor SW228 8″ subwoofer. The mid and tweet have their own separate passive crossover network with high-pass on the midrange. The woofer is powered from a built-in Hypex amplifer with full DSP to tame difficult bass problems.
What’s more, this may well be the best possible speaker for those looking to have the ultimate desktop monitor. They’re very fast and transparent, but also have weight and scale of a MUCH larger speaker. They probably won’t be added to our full-time lineup, but can be built to order.
Rick LaFaver of Enjoy the Music had the opportunity to live with the Derecho for a few months, and his impressions are found in the following link. Rick is also a Vapor owner, currently with a pair of Cirrus Black anchoring his main system, and very much enamored with them after 2 years of ownership I might add. Thank you to Rick and to Steve of Enjoy the Music for your efforts and the opportunity.
RMAF is THE show, the must attend for all high-end audio players and wannabe’s. We’re players of course, and finally landed a BIG room that we can live in for years to come. Big rooms at RMAF are rarely available, and when they are they go quickly to big names. Thank you to Marjorie and the entire RMAF team for giving us the opportunity to show in a large room, we appreciate you returning the support we’ve shown to RMAF since 2008.
RMAF 2014 was the first public viewing of the Joule Black, and it didn’t disappoint. The pair was just gorgeous, finished in Walnut Burl under a high-build and buffed gloss finish and painted bits in AMG Sepang Brown. After 7 years of busting our humps, trying to get a real handle on making speakers not just pretty but perfect, we’re finally there and with this pair it shows. And of course the performance is there, honestly that’s the easy part. When you go to the extremes of build and component quality that we do, you’d have a hard time not making glorious music. The Joule Black just puts everything together wonderfully, rich and full combined with breathtaking transparency and soundstaging. Exciting and at the same time relaxing, for us that’s perfection.
We also had a new show partner, and some old faces. Care Audio provided their wonderful Allnic T2000 tube integrated amplifier and D5000 Direct Heated Triode DAC. In home for the weeks leading up to the event, I fell in love with both pieces. The T2000 has balls and finese, and combines that with solid reliability and easy operation. The D5000 was smooth while still taking you deep into the recording. Both pieces would make lovely permanent additions in anyones system, including those here at Vapor HQ. Old Kiwi bud’s Antipodes again showed with us, this time showing their new Antipodes DX Reference music server, pre-loaded with much of Mark’s favorites Southern Hemisphere tunes. And kindrid spirit Mike Powell of Verastarr provided cabling including his new Silver Grand Illusion power cables. Running Springs provided their Dmitri power condition which did a fantastic job of quieting the noisy and saturated hotel grid. Racks were provided by Hi-Fi Rack Limited.
We always put together a great room (patting self on back), this one was particularly bang up if I say so myself!