I’ve been a fan of the Parsifal loudspeakers from Verity Audio for a while now, having heard several nice systems with them. But I was unprepared for what High Fidelity Services showed in the huge Primrose room near CanJam. They brought out a $1.1 million (!) flagship system called the Montsalvat with huge towers and a fully dedicated electronics line under the same brand. Yet again, Andre Jennings was in attendance and offered up a wonderful jazz LP which we spun on the TW Acustic Raven Black Knight with Raven Phono stage. The sound was warm and very big. These white and black triangular towers were really creating a spacious and dynamic sound. We also heard Jennifer Warnes from Famous Blue Raincoat presented in great detail by the new Montsalvat six-channel DAC/Preamp/Processor. Vocals were super clear and natural. Bass was very good and the soundstage was side and deep.
This was very big and correspondingly expensive sound at $675,000 a pair for The Montsalvat Speakers. The Montsalvat is a dual cabinet, 4-way. six driver tower that includes dual 4-driver sub-bass tower units. The speaker has 99db sensitivity, operates from 15hz to 60 khz, and requires six amplifiers with a 5-watt minimum rating. On the plus side, the Montsalvat Pro-6 DAC/Preamp Processor is included which acts like a 32 bit/384 khz digital crossover. From an appearance standpoint, it was a bit striking in a gloss white finish with black drivers and a black Montsalvat nameplate. However, high gloss woods, hand oiled woods, and custom exotic finishes are also available. In high-gloss Piano Black or White, the price remains at $675,000.
I was very impressed with the dynamics, and the sound filled the rather huge Primrose room. I was a little surprised by the amount of detail pulled from the Famous Blue Raincoat CD. I always wonder if a speaker company can make good electronics and vice versa but it seems that Verity has at least built a competent digital playback. The electronics themselves seemed well thought out with a beautiful curvy isolation platform and independent power chassis that fits between the DAC/Pre/Processor and the isolation platform. A particularly nice touch were volume controls where the control was just a raised ring in a contrasting clack against the natural silver casework. OLED displays were very clear in white letters on dark blue background. Another nice touch was 3 XLR and 3 RCA inputs which allows a lot of flexibility on sources. Of course, an active embedded six channel crossover manages the large towers’ crossover needs.
The rest of the system was as follows:
- Amplifiers (3): Verity Amp-6 at $58K per for $174,000
- Phono Preamplifier: TW Acustic Raven Phono for $18,000
- Turntable: TW Acustic Raven Black Knight for $42,000
- Tonearms (2): TW Acustic Raven 12 at $5,500 and the 10.5 at $6,000 for a total of $11,500
- Cartridge: Ortofon MC Century for $12,000
- Music Server: Melco N1ZH Mk1 for $4,995
- Cables: Signal Projects Golden Reference & Andromeda for $147,260
- Power Distribution (2): Vibex Granada/Alhambra at $5,000 each for a total of $10,000
- Ground Control Unit: CAD GC-1 for $1,995
- Amp Platforms (3): Symposium Pro Amp Stand at $1,875 each for a total of $5,625
- Isolation Feet (7): Vibex PDR at $375 each for a total of $2,620
- Equipment Rack: SRA Scuttle (double wide two tier) for $10,000
Total System Price: $1,115,405
On static display were some beautiful electronics with gorgeous product design. The static display pieces included:
- Verity Pre-2 Preamplifier at $35,000
- Verity Amp-60 Stereo Amplifier at $58,000
- Verity Amp-45 Stereo Amplifier at $25,000
- Verity DAC-Pre at $25,000
- Hannl Mera Record Cleaner at $3,995
This was a big, bold statement effort for High Fidelity Services and the sound was fortunately big and bold as well. There was quite a bit of “hall talk” on the system including a “Wow!” from our very own Scot Hull. Like other Verity products, the design is beautiful and would be an excellent fit in a modern home, provided that you have the space. The triangular shape is a nice design departure from common column shapes so prevalent today in many music rooms.
After hearing Verity speakers in Montreal, i have yet to hear anything better.