Alta Audio, Krell, VPI Industries, Audio-Technica, ZenSati | RMAF 2019

DENVER (PTA) — Alta Audio debuts their new mid-size two-way loudspeaker, Krell showcases some of their most refined electronics, VPI Industries celebrates forty years in business with a continued tour of their direct-drive turntable, Audio-Technica joins the party with phono cartridges and headphones, and ZenSati tames the whole room with their Zorro series cables.

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 coverage sponsored by Core Power Technologies A/V

The Story

Meeting with Mike Levy of Alta Audio always evolves into conversations about anything but audio. During our most recent meeting at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019, we spent more time talking about physics and metaphysics in the hallway than we did talking about the new Alec two-way loudspeaker he was debuting, and the updated Celesta FRM-2M monitor.

Starting with the world premiere Alta Audio Alec (estimated $10,000 pr USD) loudspeaker, Alec is an all-new two-way design featuring ribbon tweeters and a transmission line cabinet. The transmission line of the Alec in particular is of interesting note, as Alta Audio’s Mike Levy tells me it’s ten-and-a-half feet long. For a small tower speaker, this is an amazing feat. Furthermore, its resonance point is exactly one-quarter of the resonance of the speaker driver and cabinet. Making the new Alec a perfectly tuned transmission line device. This in combination with a secondary port, allows the speaker to play cleanly a half-octave lower than other speakers with the same cabinet size and driver complement.

Also from Alta an updated version of their popular Celesta FRM-2M monitor. Finished in an ultra-hard, ultra-high gloss polyester finished cabinet with both modern and retro design elements, the Celesta plays authoritatively deep, and beautiful as it looks. Upgrades include new cabling, new conductors, new capacitors, magnetic grilles, and improved damping.

Krell Audio was demonstrating their Illusion II ($7,700 USD) preamplifier with a monstrously strong Duo 300 XD ($10,500 USD) dual-mono stereo amplifier. The Duo 300 XD features Krell’s own Class-A Bias Technology, which is a patent-pending circuit that delivers Class-A operation with less heat and wasted energy. On static display, Krell’s K300i integrated amplifier.

VPI Industries was still riding high on the success of their new HW-40 ($15,000 USD) direct-drive turntable. This model turntable is also a 40th anniversary commemoration for VPI Industries. During our listening sessions, the installed Audio-Technica AT-ART1000 ($5,000 USD) moving-coil phono cartridge and AT-SUT1000 Moving Coil Step-Up Transformer sung beautifully in concert with the HW-40.

The Sound

My first four experiences with the new VPI Industries HW-40 have been amazing. With every listen a new and different cartridge. I consider myself lucky to have these experiences, as I’ve yet to hear the HW-40 with a cartridge pairing I didn’t like. The AT cartridge on hand today really brought a lively and dynamic swing to the music.

Mike Levy’s new Alec speakers in combination with some of Krell’s most sophisticated offerings and VPI’s turntable at the helm, really highlighted how refined Alta Audio loudspeakers can be. Bass reaching into ungodly depths, smooth and rolling treble held firm in a landscape of well imaging instruments. The only thing missing from this listening session was more time.

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2019 coverage sponsored by Core Power Technologies A/V