WASHINGTON DC (PTA) — Once again, I’m in the role of converting the convinced. I feel like it’s my calling in life sometimes, and once more it’s with Dave McNair, who previously had to eat his “open-baffle bass isn’t for me” words the day before. This time it’s not passive, it’s active and servo controlled. Oh boy!
We’re greeted at the door by Greg Takesh of GT Audio Works. It’s Greg’s unique planar/ribbon loudspeakers and open-baffle servo controlled sub-woofers that we are here to experience. They are built completely by hand, in-house, and at his production facilities in Stockholm, New Jersey.
The planars are as large as you would imagine them to be in photos, and feature a full-range crossover-less planar that is mechanically harnessed into its operating frequencies. The outer (and slimmer) ribbon tweeter is electronically crossed in to complement and extend the planar.
Overall sensitivity for the ribbon/planar portion is rated at 93db at 4-ohms with a frequency response covering 40hz-35khz, and doing so without blinking an eye.
The open-baffle sub-woofers operate from 15hz-65hz and include a user adjustable electronic crossover built into the provided amplifier. The open baffle subs are designed to blend seamlessly with the dipole planars. They are configurable for 2 -6 12″ sub-modules per channel. Allowing consistent results in rooms from small to large.
There’s a room on the other side of the atrium, which I won’t name, but if you attended Capital Audiofest, or can view the online show guide you’ll know which room I speak of. Either way, for me these two rooms are on par with each other. The cost, and lux designs may be different, the presentation more real-world with GT Audio Works, but the sound is anything but.
Open-baffle servo controlled subs move quickly, stop on a dime, and exhibit no audible overhang or decay. Colorations and box noises are non-existent for the most part, and most of that is due to the enclosure and amplifier’s servo monitoring and correction working in tandem. One of the two is okay, but nothing really to write home about without the other.
Imaging and stability of the center image is some of the best at the show. Extension of frequencies, and balance of tone with impact are on par with anything I’ve heard in this country. If you like slam, subtlety, and distortion free SPLs, this is the right package for you.
It’s actually puzzling to me that we haven’t heard more about GT Audio Works fantastic planar loudspeakers before. It’s my third year writing about them, and they consistently have best-in-show scale and dynamics. I implore you, the reader, to make the pilgrimage to CAF or wherever a GT Audio Works system is in action, as it will be an experience that won’t be forgotten.
– Transcendence Turntable – $115,000 USD
– Superarm Tonearm – $15,750 USD
My Sonic Lab
– Ultra Eminent Ex Cartridge – $7,000 USD
GT Audio Works
– GTA3.1R Planar/Ribbon speakers – $23,500 pr USD
– Open-Baffle Active Modular Sub-woofer System – starting at $7,000 USD
(with sub-woofer amplifiers included)
– XS Phono Stage – $45,000 USD
– XS Line Stage – $45,000 USD
– XS 150 Monoblocks – $65,000 pr USD
– K01xs SACD player – $22,000 USD
– Zen Mk3 server – $3000 USD
All cabling by Triode Wire labs