FLORIDA 2019: Soundfield Audio, VAC, NAD, Big sound or little, you decide


Soundfield Audio is their founder and lead creative mind, Ammar Jadusingh, also known as “AJ”. He has been designing and building loudspeakers since the early days of his electrical engineering career. Ammar’s ardent study in the subject of psycho-acoustic perceptual research continued him down the road, where his own breakthroughs and practical hands on experience would lead him to develop the loudspeakers we sit in front of today.


The Story

The Soundfield CTA1 active loudspeakers are Ammar’s newest baby. Being these are active speakers, let’s start up the chain with how they are powered. Each is three-channel (250w x2 and 100w x 1) Hypex NCore powered tower, with a rear mounted plate amp amplifier, along with DSP drives. As for the three front mounted ten-inch woofers, the bottom one in each tower, is loaded in a sealed enclosure, while the upper two are loaded in a “cardioid enclosure”, with flow resistance vents on each side. The entire woofer complement drives a frequency bandwidth that covers 20Hz to 700Hz. Above the bass section, an 11″ high x 9″ wide planar magnetic horn mid/tweeter which operates above 700Hz to at around 13kHz. From there, a 1/2″ horn-loaded dome-super-tweeter crosses in at 13kHz and continues up to 26kHz.

Now, things get really fun, because inside the top cloth covered enclosure is a rear firing 1″ neodymium compression horn (6”x6”), operating above 2kHz. This driver is uniquely delayed by the DSP processor and fires into a geodesic diffuser mounted on the rear inside wall of the speaker cabinet, radiating a delayed and diffused audio signal that creates an ambiance totally separate from the front firing main drivers.

An included remote control allows toggling between three different presets of the Hypex NCore DSP, for example “DSP Preset One” has the ambiance driver at a high level, “DSP Preset Two” at a medium level, and “DSP Preset Three”, completely off (no rear driver output). There are slight adjustments made to the EQ of the front drivers with each setting. Those adjustments are made to compensate for the difference in timbre with the rear drivers added (or removed) from emitting sound power into the room. Program material typically determines which preset the listener will desire.

DSP Preset One (max rear) is ideal for big orchestral works with an extremely large native sound-stage, ‘Two being ideal for realism with smaller ensembles, and ‘Three for something like a solo guitar/singer. There is no known law for which you should use, but use whichever one pleases you most. It’s music, and it should be fun.

The Sound

I loved everything about the rear mounted (6”x6”) horn tweeter, and it’s DSP controlled attenuation and elimination. It worked completely as advertised. Big songs sound big, and intimate performances do in fact sound intimate. The fun level meter here is pegged. Mid-range is fast and detailed, and even though DSP curves do change the front facing drivers with the omission of rear horn inclusion, the main drivers stayed linear and balanced. To me that means this DSP works and is tuned well. The bass section was thunderous and capable of really deep notes. Let’s be fair, it’s six total ten-inch drivers — they should shake the earth.

Known by his friends and clients as AJ.

The System

NAD Electronics

– Master Series M51 DAC – $2,000 USD

VAC (Valve Amplification Company)

– Signature Mk IIa SE Preamplifier – $26,000 USD

Soundfield Audio

– CTA1 Active Loudspeakers – $16,000 pr USD

All cables were Mogami Gold (studio variety)