RMAF12: Hi-Fi meets Computer-Fi with Mojo Audio, Volti Audio and BorderPatrol

The mojo here came from a combination of things — the best kind of mix — including the new Feastrex-enabled Veretta from Volti Audio. This single-driver loudspeaker was, obviously, fully coherent and seductive sounding. From Volti:

The Feastrex NF5 driver is a full range driver with a factory-specified frequency response of 35Hz – 25,000Hz (+/- 3db), a sensitivity of 94db (1W/1M), and a continuous power input rating of 15W.

I spent some time chatting with Greg, who’s just thrilled with the reception this new design is getting from both show-goers and the critics. It’s a compact package, with beautiful workmanship, and it sounds good, so I’m not surprised. What I am surprised by, pleasantly so, is how enthusiastic the Feastrex folks are — so much so that more drivers will be winging their way to Greg in the coming months, including a big 9″ Field Coil, with the hopes that he will be able to settle them into a new, Volti-designed, home. Greg is thinking that this monster driver will find itself in a cabinet strikingly similar to the Veretta, just one that is proportionally and appropriately “upsampled” to suit the size and outputs of this ultra-driver. Very exciting stuff!

Components here at RMAF came courtesy of BorderPatrol, an East Coast manufacturer putting out some of the most exotic sounding 300b amplifiers on the market today. I say “exotic”, because, quite frankly, everything negative that I’ve heard about a 300b (loose bass, no treble, over-emphasis on the mid range) simply isn’t true of the BorderPatrol amps. The P20 featured here (not the S20, as noted elsewhere), a $13,750 dual-mono choke-filtered tube-regulated push-pull design, is perhaps the most transparent tube amp I’ve ever heard — with real tub-thumping bass. A BorderPatrol Control Unit preamplifier provided the volume control and signal switching.

I’ve gotten to spend some time with a BorderPatrol P21, the one-step-down $9,750 version of the P20, and had the distinct discomfort of having many of my preconceptions surgically extracted. Fully readjusted, I now eagerly look forward to listening to a room that showcases these incredible amps, and the Verettas served up the big tubes with finesse, power and authority. Luscious, baby, mmm mmm, delish.

You’d think that this sort of system would just be for a vinyl front end, right? I mean, with tubes and single driver loudspeakers, that’s what I would have expected to see. Which is why it was so interesting that the room went in an entirely different direction. No, here it was Ben Zwickel of Mojo Audio who was showing off the toys at RMAF, starting with his Mac Mini Media Server, which I got to spend some time with recently. I won’t rehash all that, other than to say that this is a viable and valid investment — the performance increase that Ben gets so animated about is, in the main, quite real. Which is annoying. No offense to Ben, but I really, really didn’t want the server to make any difference at all. Bah. I’m never going to be able to save any money at all. And that’s not all ….

Mojo was also showing off a brand-new digital converter, the Mystique:

  • Built around the famous Analog Devices AD1865N-K monolithic R-2R digital to analog converter with 110db SNR, 116db channel separation, and 0.003% THD+N.
  • We use only premium parts, like Vishay SBYV-27 ultrafast 15ns diodes, Sanyo Oscon SEPC low-ESR capacitors, V-Caps output coupling caps, and Furutech IEC inlets.
  • The power supply is incredibly fast and clean. Two shielded dual secondary 50VA power transformers are regulated into eight dedictated power supplies with over 50,000uf of capacitance.
  • To ensure proper phase and time coherency, no pre- or post-digital filtering is used. Only a single pair of V-Cap capacitors couples the DAC chip to the output.
  • A signature version is available with 88,000uf of Mundorf M-Lytic MLGO AG capacitors, silver-plated copper RCA jacks, and V-Cap TFTF output coupling caps.

In case it wasn’t clear, this DAC is a NOS design. Pricing starts at $1,495 and goes up to $4,995. It also accepts incoming streams of up to 24/192, but the DAC is 20-bit. Inputs are either S/PDIF or USB.

I’ve already talked to Ben about getting a review sample. Hopefully, that’ll happen at some point — along with a fully hot-rodded Mojo Mini to drive it!

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