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Audio Thesis, Auralic, Norma, Rosso Fiorentino, Star Sound Technologies, Wireworld | Lone Star Audio Fest 2019











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DALLAS (PTA) — Derek “Skip” Skipworth of Audio Thesis was showing Norma Audio electronics, Rosso Fiorentino loudspeakers, and Star Sound Technologies support systems. This exact system would have easily made my top-five list of AXPONA 2019 — had I made it to their room before the show’s end. Thankfully I have a second chance to hear this jaw-dropping system at length over the Lone Star Audio Fest weekend. Everything about this room screams refinement and detail. If you want to set yourself up with a benchmark sound at the next hi-fi show, try starting with an Audio Thesis room.

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The Story

Norma Audio electronics are worth chasing down at an audio show. Norma Audio is based in the artist community of Cremona, Italy, most notable for being the home the Stradivarius collection of violins and their creator. The city has one of the strongest connections to music in the world. It makes sense that audio electronics born in Cremona would carry with them an instrument like presence in the way they recreate music. Norma I’ve known about for a while, but what caught my ear in Dallas, was another Italian manufacturer who shares their name with one of Florence’s most well known 16th century artists — Rosso Fiorentino.

As it relates to music, Rosso Fiorentino was a painter. As it relates to creativity, Rosso Fiorentino challenged the status quo. That’s where the connection between Rosso the painter, and Rosso Fiorentino the audio company exists.

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On active display at Lone Star Audio Fest was the newest generation of Rosso Fiorentino Fiesole loudspeakers. If you were wondering, Fiesole is to Florence, what Brooklyn is to New York City. Both Harvard and Georgetown University have their centers for Italian Renaissance Studies located there.

The Fiesole, is considered a Rosso Fiorentino cornerstone product. Sitting in the upper middle of the existing product line-up, it represents some of the companies most advanced technology, in a small and seemingly full-range package.

The Fiesole starts with 6.5-in Nomex woofer is held in place by means of a vibration-damping system. It comes standard with a ribbon ultrasonic generator and detailed 28mm hand-treated silk dome tweeter. The ribbon ultrasonic generator starts to function at around 22 kHz and going all the way up to 100 kHz. Crossover design is state-of-the-art from Rosso Fiorentino. Furthermore, special attention went into the structure of the enclosure. Fiesole was the first Rosso Fiorentino speaker to implement the concept of using mechanically different materials to render the cabinet incredibly still and inert. Aluminum, high density fibreboard (HDF), viscoelastic elastomers, steel, all combined together to create a solid cabinet structure.

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The Sound

Insight was the name of the game. Clean and clear, like fresh water. Nothing was left out of the presentation. Most notably for a speaker this size, was the bass. It wasn’t the end-all-be-all of bookshelf monitor low-end reach. However, the Fiesole had superb control over the bones and structure of the bass that was present. Did they reach low? Yes, but not like true floor-standers. Are they more than enough to compete with floor-standers? Yes, but it depends on taste.

Would I buy them with Star Sound Technologies stands? Definitely. Most speaker stands try to fight vibration by giving it nowhere to go. The Star Sound way, is to channel it away from the loudspeaker (or electronics) where it can do the most harm to the sound. I’ve experienced the Star Sound way a few times and I’m a fan. Do I understand it completely and have I done double blind tests? Maybe not. But the systems I’ve heard using them sound damn good, and clear of interference. So I’ll place my wagers accordingly.

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The System

Auralic

– Aries Mini streaming Tidal

Norma

– DS-1 CD Player (using USB input from Lumin) – $5,250

– SC-2B Preamplifier (discontinued, new model is SC-2 LN) – $7,000)

– 8.7 MR Monoblocks (discontinued, new model is PA 160 MR – $18,500)

Rosso Fiorentino

– Fiesole (newest generation) – $7,500 pr USD

All cabling is Wireworld Platinum

Platforms and Stands are Star Sound Technologies

Room Treatments by Riot Acoustics