Given that I’d just completed reviews on two of the main products/lines in this room here at AXPONA (BorderPatrol SE DAC and some selections from the Triode Wire Labs cable loom), I figured I’d better make it an early stop in case I needed to be upbraided or pummeled.
Last year, this team had been in a huge lobby-level room and creating award-winning sound, but this year, they were in a much more modest space, and with a much more modest system.
The guts of this system came from BorderPatrol, this time out featuring their entry-level push-pull amplifier that leverages two pair of 300b tubes. The “usual formula” of an external tube rectified choke input filter power supply, with everything wrapped in a cryo’d copper chassis, was on display. Price for the amp, as configured, was $13,150. The tubes are new, imported by BorderPatrol, and are a collaboration between Living Voice UK and Kron. New 300b variants are unusual, to say the least, but my antenna are telling me that these are an amazing value. Check with BorderPatrol on pricing.
A new BorderPatrol SE DAC (prices start at $1,350) was being fed by a transport from CEC, or directly from a Mac Mini. Check the review on this piece — it’s crazy good.
The entire setup was wired with Triode Wire Labs‘ award-winning and affordable cable lineup. The American Speaker cables start at $599/set, the Spirit interconnects start at $349/pair, and their Power Cords start at $399 each. Again, see the review for my thoughts. One additional note — TWL is now showing a split-USB cable (power and data on separate legs) starting at $329. If you are interested in digital audio, I cannot recommend this cable enough. Yeah. Boom.
New-ish from Volti Audio is the Rival, a “compact horn speaker” with 32Hz-20kHz response. Each speaker is 125lbs. Yikes. And yes, this is compact, compared to the award-winning three-speaker Vittora system we’ve reviewed here. Like the Vittora, the Rival features some tweak-a-bility via some around-the-back access to resistors, which should make in-room customization “to taste” quite simple. My pair (in Bosse Cedar) should be arriving in 6-8 weeks. Hee hee! Pricing for the Rival starts at $7,900.
The sound in this room was tight, with excellent bass lock, spectacular imaging, and blow-your-hair-back dynamics. Admittedly, I’m quite familiar with the magic tricks these gents pull off at audio shows, but I was speechless. This was incredible sound for perhaps their least-expensive showing as a team, to date. Are we having fun yet, fellas? Oh my yes. Most impressive.