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CAS 2014: Electra Fidelity and Fritz Speakers

DSC_1619 Dyn_CAS-logo-2The (self-described) dashing duo of Fritz Heller of Fritz Frequencies and Tony Chipelo of Electra Fidelity joined forces again for this show, and they seemed to be far too happy about it. Just look at these guys [in the shots below]. Nobody who hates his job ever looks like that. That might be because putting a Fritz room together is one of the easier jobs in the business. Fritz makes some floorstanders, but he prefers speakers that are small enough to lift without machinery. His Carrera 7 monitors ($3500 per pair) fronted the room for most of the weekend, and they were making a pretty good argument that small speakers can be a very good idea.

The Carrera 7 may be a 16″ tall shoebox, but it’s only 3db down at 38hz. To put that in perspective, that’s lower and flatter than the pair of Tannoy Glenairs I use at home. In a space like this one, that translates to a very full sonic presentation without ever overloading the room. I’d always assumed that Fritz was just lazy (I kid! I kid!), but he may be on to something.

Oddly, Fritz’s little 4 ohm, 88db sensitive shoebox was paired here with the same Electra Fidelity A3-500 monoblocks ($9995) that Tony Chipelo had deployed so successfully at the Newport show in June. Matching all of ten single-ended watts to a speaker like the Carrera 7 is, to say the least, counterintuitive. In this case, though, it was again proven to be a dynamic and wholly satisfying match.

But “wholly satisfying” isn’t really good enough for these guys.

We made a return visit on Saturday afternoon because Fritz was offering a sneak peek at his new speaker. Unlike the big Carrera, this new box sports a hemp coned driver. Fritz set them up — in true improvisational style — by putting them upside down on top of the Carreras. A quick listen to Shooglenifty proved that Fritz still had a little tweaking to do (the tweeters were a little too eager to rip my face off), but the oh-my-GOD tone coming out of this thing was organic, natural, and instantly likable. Even better? If my notes are correct, this is set to cost less than $1700. It’s even smaller than the Carrera 7, too. I told you that Fritz hates lifting things.

For completeness sake, I should mention that the source here was a Resolution Audio Cantata ($7000) and all the cabling came from Triode Wire Labs. None of those things are heavy either.

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