For this year’s CES event I focused my reporting efforts on two product categories, one of the most popular of which is Loudspeakers under $15,000 per pair. What drives this popularity, of course, is the fact that the overwhelming majority of audiophiles (and audio journalists) own and enjoy loudspeakers that fall within this price window.
No matter how much we may appreciate or covet more expensive fare, we all tend to focus our attention—for obvious reasons—on those transducers we can afford to make part of our day-to-day lives. What follows is a broad but not completely comprehensive summary of new models seen and heard at CES 2014 in the sub-$15,000 per pair price bracket, where we discovered some breathtakingly good products indeed.
Of necessity, this will be more of a brief photo essay than an in-depth report. As always, let me extend apologies in advance to manufacturers whose worthy offerings I was not able to cover here.
This is Part 4 of a four-part report. Enjoy.
From Florence, Italy, comes the impressive Rosso Fiorentino line of loudspeakers in which we found the Volterra floorstander ($12,995/pair) to be a most impressive performer. In terms of physical dimension the Volterra is a mid-sized speaker, but that is about the only sense in which there is anything about this speaker that could be considered “mid-sized.” The Volterra is a four-driver design sporting a closed box woofer system, a “hybrid vented mid-woofer,” a 28mm silk dome tweeter, plus a ribbon diaphragm “ultrasonic generator”. The upshot is a speaker that sounds open, airy, and well extended, and that throws large and expansive soundstages.
The Olympica range of speakers occupies the upper middle position in the broader Sonus faber line up, slotting in well above the entry level Venere ranges, but below the top-tier Aida/Amati/Guarneri range.
Even so, a Sonus faber spokesperson emphatically stressed that the Olympica models were built up to an intended performance standard—not down to an arbitrary price point. The flagship of this middle range is the Olympica III floorstander ($13,500/pair).
The Olympica III is a three-way, four-driver tower offering exquisite woodwork, leather-clad top surfaces, a distinctive asymmetrical enclosure design (as viewed from above), and very high quality drivers.