Further, YG’s tweeters use so-called ForgeCore™ motor assemblies, which use complex 3D machining operations on internal motor/magnet assemblies to achieve dramatic reductions in distortion vis-à-vis even the best of off-the-shelf tweeters. YG crossover networks feature signal path parts of the highest quality such as ‘unobtainium’-grade Mundorf capacitors, etc. However, where the firm deems available premium parts to be good but not quite good enough, it can and does make its own parts as necessary. For example, YG uses PCB blanks that have ultra heavy-duty, ultra pure conductive layers so thick that circuit board traces must be machined—not photo-etched—into the board surfaces. Similarly, YG has created its own proprietary ToroAir™ inductors, which are said to eliminate cross-talk, and its own ViseCoil™ bass inductors, which are said to reduce residual losses and improve linearity while reducing audible mechanical vibrations. The point is that YG Acoustics builds all of its loudspeakers to one extremely high quality standard and leaves few stones unturned in looking for ways to enhance audible performance, long-term reliability, or both.
The most significant ‘jewel’ in YG’s loudspeaker design crown is arguably the firm’s proprietary, Geva-developed loudspeaker CAD (computer aided design) software, which yields so-called DualCoherent™ crossover networks. These networks enable YG’s speakers simultaneously to achieve flat frequency response and linear phase response (± 5° relative phase across the entire overlap region between drivers). While many competitors swear it is impossible to co-optimise frequency and phase response, YG Acoustics has quietly rolled up its sleeves and got the job done.
Given similarities in size, shape, design technologies, and overall configuration, we should ask what are the differences between the Hailey 2.2 and Vantage, and exactly how significant are those differences from a sonic perspective?
Perhaps the most obvious difference involves the fact that the Hailey 2.2 uses YG’s state-of-the-art BilletDome™/ForgeCore™ 25mm fabric/metal AirFrame™-reinforced dome tweeter, whereas the Vantage uses the firm’s earlier generation ForgeCore™ 25mm fabric dome tweeter (also used in the firm’s Carmel 2 loudspeaker). This difference alone accounts for a significant chunk of the price offset between the two loudspeakers as the BilletDome™ tweeter is difficult to build, tricky to mass-produce, and thus extremely expensive to make. But how do the two tweeters differ in terms of audible performance? According to a YG spokesperson (and to my ears as well), the extreme high frequency response of the two tweeters is surprisingly similar. The observable differences, however, fall more in the upper midrange/lower treble region when pushed hard, as the BilletDome™ tweeter exhibits greater smoothness and composure under pressure, and thus more free-flowing dynamics and superior resolution on complex musical passages. The operative phrase, here, is “when pushed hard”; if you run the two tweeters side-by-side either in smaller rooms or at moderate volume levels, performance differences between the two become much harder to discern.
Second, the Hailey 2.2 uses a larger 260mm woofer whereas the Vantage employs and 222mm woofer drawn from YG’s earlier-generation Kipod 2 loudspeaker. The larger surface area of the Hailey 2.2 woofer enables the speaker to claim usable low-frequency output all the way down to 20Hz, while the Vantage has a just slightly higher low-frequency limit of 26Hz (which is still extremely low, once room gain is taken into account). Interestingly, both speakers carry the exact same sensitivity rating: 87dB/2.83V/1m 2π anechoic. My listening tests confirmed the similar sensitivities of the two models, although if anything the Vantage struck me as being just a hair easier for my amplifier to drive than the Hailey 2.2.
Finally, the Hailey 2.2 is just slightly larger and heavier than the Vantage, although both speakers share nearly identical floor footprint dimensions. The Hailey 2.2 loudspeakers weigh 76 kg each and measure (H×W×D) 122 × 33 × 54 cm, where the Vantage speakers weigh 72 kg each and measure (H×W×D) 112 × 32 × 54 cm. Further, the Hailey 2.2 ships with comparatively tall, multi-layer isolation feet whereas the Vantage comes with much smaller, simpler isolation feet/spikes that sink so far into carpeted surfaces that they all but disappear. But how do the Hailey 2.2 and Vantage perform when heard in direct comparison playing reference recordings.