A small sea of them, all looking happy, swaying to the music that was filling the room.
I had never in my life seen a dozen audiophiles smiling, and enjoying the same thing. Never. For an instant I was paralyzed with fear because I thought I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone, and Rod Serling’s voice would suddenly start narrating over the current scene… then I remembered where I was, and relaxed. A bit. But that was the reality of what happened last weekend at Element Acoustics when owner Edward Ku, and co-conspirators Melvin Woo, and Jeffrey Tseng put on their Vivid Audio demo sessions featuring the new Giya G1 Series 2 loudspeakers paired with a bevy of CH Precision, Soulution, Clearaudio, and Vertere gear.
Eventually I smiled too, because to be honest, I was starting to understand what was making these normally hardened audiophiles so damn cheerful: it was the sound of the setup that Ku, Tseng, and Woo and put together for the event. These three gentlemen know their stuff, and having an inkling of what their personal systems are comprised of, none of them has the same preference for their reference gear, but like the scientific teams who come together to problem solve at NASA, so too these three put their minds to the task at hand (curated system to highlight the best of the Giya G1), and get the job done with style.
The 91 dB-efficient Giya G1 is a large speaker measuring 67 inches in height, and weighing in at almost 180 pounds, making it Vivid’s largest transducer array. It’s more sculpture to look at then speaker to my eyes, with the flawless composite cabinets in Pearl White designed to fit into a high-end designer living room space more than a man cave. The pair were slightly toed-in, and about eight feet apart, with a good three feet of space to the side wall on the closest side. With a nominal six-ohm impedance, the speakers unique shape is actually form following function, not an aesthetic play: The cabinet shape is designed as an exponentially-tapered, tube-enhanced bass reflex load for the two side-firing nine-inch (22.5 centimetre) low-frequency drivers. Similar to the Bowers & Wilkins designs that also incorporate tube-loading, the Giya 1’s high-frequency, mid, and mid-bass are also tapered-tube loaded with the terminations of each internal tube visible at the back of the cabinets as small, black metal points.
The vinyl front end (which is what the bulk of listening session time was devoted to) consisted of a Vertere SG-1 with SME V/Oracle spec tonearm, and Koetsu Onyx Platinum LOMC cartridge, and the Clearaudio Master Innovation ‘table with TT2 tonearm, and Goldfinger Statement LOMC cartridge. Delicate analog signals were being translated to pre-amplification via the CH Precision P1 Phono Stage. A Soulution 520 pre-amplifier, and 511 stereo power amplifier took the waveform from there, and passed it on to the Giya 1s.
The sound through both sources was distinct, with the SG-1/SME/Koetsu presenting with a slightly warmer, more harmonically rich signature than the Clearaudio. Both presented with incredible emotional impact, resonant, true-to-life timbre, and the type of tactile, physical weight to recorded playback I’ve come to expect from ‘tables/tonearms/cartridges in this price range. I’m talking deep, chest-rattling bass with definition, and realistic size/scale/gravity to individual instruments, and vocals presented in lock-step with dynamic immediacy to even the most delicate passages of the frequency spectrum. Percussion, horns, wood-bodied instruments, vocals, and piano all presented without artifice, without smearing of notes, and most importantly with that touch of humanity that sets the best high fidelity products apart from others.
The Giya 1 seems unfazed by different types of music, handling percussion, jazz, and electronica adroitly, and without ever putting a step amiss. With a demo set that went from 10-inch Miles Davis rarities, and the Sheffield Drum Record, to Boris Blank, those in attendance were treated to a more non-audiophile style of listening session than I’m sure most were used to. I for one applaud any demo of reference-level gear that doesn’t include Diana Krall, Hugh Masekela or Pink Floyd, and am in the process of tracking down the Miles 10-inch pressing as I write this. Once again, Element Acoustics delivered the goods, with a demo that was a lot more about connecting with people than pushing a product… hence all the smiles in the room.
Giya G1 Series 2 MSRP: $91,000 CAN
Configuration: Four-way Five-driver system
Cabinet: Glass reinforced balsa-cored sandwich composite
HF: D26 26mm metal dome unit with Tapered Tube loading, catenary dome profile,
radially polarized super flux magnet structure & isolating compliant mount.
MID: D50 50mm metal dome unit with Tapered Tube loading, catenary dome profile,
radially polarized magnet structure & isolating compliant mount.
MID-BASS: C125S with Tapered Tube loading, short-coil long-gap motor design,
50mm copper ribbon coil on highly vented former, highly aligned chassis,
radial magnet structure & isolating compliant mount.
LF: C225 2 x 225mm metal coned units with short-coil long-gap motor design,
75mm copper ribbon coils on highly vented formers, highly aligned chassis,
radial magnet structures & reaction cancelling compliant mount
Bass loading: Exponentially tapered tube enhanced bass reflex
Sensitivity: 91dB @ 2.83Vrms and 1.0 meter on axis
Impedance (Ohm): 6 nominal, 4 minimum, low reactance
Frequency range – 6 dB points: 25 – 36,000 Hz
First D26 Break Up mode: 44,000 Hz
Frequency response (Hz): 29 – 33,000 +/- 2 dB on reference
Harmonic distortion: (2nd and 3rd) < 0.5% over frequency range
Crossover frequencies (Hz): 220, 880, 3500
Power handling (music program) watts rms: 800
Dimensions (H, W, D) mm: 1700, 440, 800
Net weight (kg): 80
Shipping dimensions (H, W, D) mm: (kg): 1807, 895, 600
Shipping mass (kg): 105