RMAF12: Vividly Luxman

Ah, Vivid Audio. This is one of those brands that will inspire significant heat — you either love it or you screamingly detest hate it. Personally, I don’t get all the heat, but there you go. I seem to remember, pulled from some darkly shadowed corner of that sieve I call my memory, that the designer has said that the look of their loudspeakers are a case of form following function. But … while I’m reasonably sure that there’s a good reason the speaker took that general shape, I’m also fairly certain that the 1960’s spaceship retro styling was a deliberate choice. For the record, I’m ambivalent. Not loving it, not hating it — I guess it satisfies enough of my aesthetic sensibilities that I’m simply more interested in how it sounds. And that’s a top-shelf kind of sound.

So, here we have the $25k Vivid K-1, a 3.5-way, six-driver loudspeaker. Frequency response is 39Hz-41KHz. A far cry from the curlycue top-of-the-brand Giya, nonetheless, the Oval line from Vivid are all cut from the same sonic cloth. Great detail, warmth, speed, and very lively sound. Extremely refined.

Contributing players:

  • Luxman C-800f preamp ($19k)
  • Luxman M-800A power amp ($19k)
  • Luxman E-1 phono preamplifier ($4k)
  • Brinkmann Audio Bardo turntable ($10k)
  • Brinkmann 9.6 tonearm ($4,000)
  • Brinkmann Pi cartridge ($2,700)

Mal Kenny offered the following on the room:

I’ve never heard any Vivids sound as good as they do when they’re hooked up to Luxman amps. I’ve also never heard any Vivid with the speed and liveliness of the K-1. This room was far enough beyond my pay grade that I didn’t even try to play any demo tracks, but what I did hear made me think that I could live with this system very happily indeed.

I also get more and more impressed with the Brinkmann Bardo. That low-torque, direct drive table has an almost unheard of rhythmic stability to go along with its gorgeous looks. For some reason, it doesn’t seem all that popular. That’s a mistake.

Ask me about sponsorship!


  1. Stereophile Loudspeaker of the Year 2012 — 8 years after introduction! Talk about being ahead of their time. Fantastic speakers. If you want a rectangular wood or Corian box (however nicely painted), look elsewhere. If you want one of the best speakers available for $25K, here you go.

    • They sound and look stunning!! They are not for bearded men with elbow-patched tweed jackets smoking a pipe with a cat on their lap when listening to music.

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