One of the really interesting things you find at audio shows like RMAF is that many mega-buck systems just don’t sound right, in spite of individually fine components. There is much value in synergy. There are magical combinations. The new VR55 Aktive speaker from Von Schweikert Audio and the Constellation Centaur amplifier were a magical combination. Throw in an EMM Labs DAC as a source, and add a big dose of “whoa”. There were a number of great sounding systems using the very neutral and open sounding Constellation gear, but for my tastes, the VR55s was one of the best matches.
The Von Schweikert VR55 Aktive speakers at $60K per pair are reference-level sound. The bass section is active, with a 525 watt built-in amplifier. The amplifier uses Hypex technology from CIAudio. The spec sheet claims “superb bass depth” of 21hz at -2db. Drivers include beryllium tweeters and honeycomb ceramic mids and woofers. A cabinet using a triple-laminated design helps keep noise at bay. Interesting enough, there is a rear-firing ribbon tweeter (!), which creates a nice sense of space. Overall frequency response goes up to 42kHz with a sensitivity is 90db. This speaker can be driven by even a SET amplifier! Build quality looks exceptional and features a beautiful automotive finish with an elegant “V” emblazoned on the front.
The best one-word description I could give to this system’s sound: effortless. A full, rich midrange and an openness to the sound that I found seductive. The bass response was off the charts, fast, tight, and natural. It felt real. Highs were open but not crispy. No doubt the superbly neutral Constellation gear was a factor, but what else would one have with a reference caliber transducer?
I really enjoyed this system. I’d say it was one of my top five rooms at RMAF 2015.