DALLAS (PTA) — Volti Audio is paired this year with Raven Audio electronics, and for the first time I’ve really had the chance to sit down with Volti Audio founder and designer Greg Roberts. After listening to Greg, and listening to Greg’s horn-loaded masterpieces, I’ve come to many exciting revelations about Volti Audio loudspeakers. They are indeed a thrilling window to the past, along with Greg being one of the few people capable of taking horn loaded loudspeakers to new and exciting places, both sonically and in design.
Greg Roberts of Volti Audio has a long history of designing, building, and accelerating the technology of horn loaded speakers. Breaking the rules and following only his own are the keys to his success. Relying on the confidence to stay your own course is not a seldom practice in the business of high-end audio. Many companies find themselves pulled by the market to appease the trendy sound or buzzword characteristic of the day, only to find their secret sauce ultimately watered down. To fly onward in the face of such market demands, while remaining not only in business, but held in high regard for your principals shows immense talent and fortitude.
Greg makes a substantial personal investment into developing and refining the sound of his loudspeakers. Many days and nights of painstaking trial and error go into finding that “ah-ha!” moment, when each of Volti’s models find themselves ready for production. The standards are high for Greg. It’s reflected in the build quality and time put into woodworking and finish veneers chosen for each Volti model.
On display at Lone Star Audio Fest, the Volti Audio Vittora stands out from the pack. Not just the pack here at the show, but in the hi-fi market we cover around the globe. The Vittora loudspeaker is a fully horn-loaded, three-way, high-efficiency, low-distortion speaker system that is equal art and instrument. The Vittora system is a five-piece set that includes two top horn sections (each with a midrange horn and a tweeter horn), two folded bass horns and one Extended Low-Frequency (ELF) cabinet. The main speakers are three-way and are operated full-range, but with the ELF cabinet, it is technically a four-way system.
The specific set Greg brought to Lone Star Audio Fest were unfinished in veneers, just birch plywood and a protective coating. The sound however was completely intact and on delivery. The current manufacturer-direct price for the Vittora horn-speaker system is $29,900 USD. This includes two bass horns, two top-hat mid/tweeter horn cabinets, and one ELF cabinet.
Jolting. There is no chilling when listening to a pair of Volti Audio Vittora loudspeakers. To sit before them is to have your pulse elevated, and your attention at its peak focus. The Vittora sings directly to you more than the in-room audience. I like that. It’s intimate, authentic and personal. The Volti horn sound demands you submit.
The Vittora are a three-way speaker, and you’d imagine that horns at each level would have trouble blending together in a cohesive matter. Instead taking up post within three defined frequency ranges, with seldom a chance of overlap. This was not the case with the Vittora as they have absolutely the best driver integration I’ve heard from any horn speaker. I mentioned to Greg that the Vittora “don’t sound like horns”, to which replied “in fact, this is what they are supposed to sound like”. I don’t know what to do with that reply other than agree to it. Greg knows his stuff, and as I listen to what he has created, I yield to the foremost authority on the subject. The linearity of the total-package bandwidth is ultra-tight and controlled. Recordings sound lively and sometimes shooting out at you. Soundstage depth is a common thing in hi-fi, and the Vittora do that trick too, but the reaching forward to slap you in the face bit, that is distinctly a horn characteristic. I love it. On a tired evening, this would be the wake-up I delight in.
Surprising to me is the bass coming from the 15-inch woofer in a folded horn. It is agile and tuneful. In some ways, reminiscent of best bass I’ve heard from the best electrostatic panels. Odd that a large woofer can recreate those quick reflexes of percussion and bass strings so convincingly. I chalk it up to high-efficiency and horn loading. Maybe bass horns are the right way?
Underneath it all and to the shock of many, there was indeed a Extended Low-Frequency (ELF) cabinet in the system. Playing nicely with the room boundaries and the horn speakers, not calling attention to itself at all. Once deactivated for a quick demonstration, the bombshell dropped. The lowest of the low (50hz to 25hz) had the same speed and musical chops necessary to keep up with the ultra-fast horn loaded speaker Vittora. How? That is the secret sauce that only Greg knows.
– Vittora System (Raw)
– Goldfinch DAC
– Goldfinch Preamp
– Spirit 300B Monoblock Amplifiers (Push/Pull)
All cabling by Raven Audio