WASHINGTON DC (PTA) — Verdant Audio and Art Audio teamed up to prove once again that an illuminating experience in sound can also sparkle and dazzle visually as well as sonically. Featuring components from Roon Labs, Musical Fidelity, PS Audio, Kimber Kable, the Verdant / Art Audio exhibit set a high standard for what we should expect from all exhibitors if we were ever to be so lucky.
Earlier this year we were excited to report the news of Verdant Audio launching as both manufacturer and importer/distributor of Art Audio. Fast forward to Capital Audiofest 2019 and we’re seeing that Verdant is on a roll as they make the first year rounds in the audio show circuit.
Verdant Audio was showing their new Blackthorn 1 and Bambusa MG 1 monitors, along with tube electronics and turntable from Art Audio. Starting with the Blackthorn 1 loudspeaker, it holds position in the Verdant Audio product as the true reference flagship speaker design from Scott Bierfeldt, president and CEO of Verdant Audio. The Blackthorn 1 features a Carbon Fiber and Dupont Nomex honeycomb cabinet structure. The Nomex honeycomb is configured as a substrate behind a layer of Carbon Fiber for extreme rigidity, damping, as well as resonance control. Driver complement for the Blackthorn 1 includes an Eton Arcosia mid-bass, and Eton HD Tweeter. All internal wiring is Kimber Kable, and binding posts are of the WBT sort.
The other new loudspeaker on display, the Bambusa MG 1 monitor is a two-way loudspeaker with ten coats of urethane applied over a completely laminated bamboo enclosure. The drivers in the Bambusa are sourced from SEAS and feature a 7-inch Excel Magnesium mid-bass driver, and Excel Millennium Tweeter. Like the Blackthorn 1, all internal wiring is Kimber Kable, and binding posts are of the WBT sort.
Art Audio supplied the electronics for the system, and they included the Composer Solo turntable with Phase 1 power supply, a Vinyl One Copper Reference phono-stage, the Conductor line level preamplifier and Quartet 845 tube monoblock amplifiers.
Art Audio is in its thirty-first year of business and delivers a wide selection of tube based gear. Verdant is the US Importer and they are actively marketing the brand in the US. The Quartet monoblocks in the system are higher power and delivers 45-wpc of raw tube power into 4-or-8-ohms.
The Art Audio gear is available in different colors and can be customized in a variety of ways. For instance, all of their stereo amps can be converted into integrated amps and several, like the Diavolo are available as stereo, integrated, and monoblock versions. The Verdant Speakers are also available in standard and custom paint colors.
The best way to characterize the end result of the Verdant / Art Audio pairing is that it is surprising neutral and detailed. Bass extension on the Bambusa monitors was powerful and quick moving. Most enjoyable was the upper bass notes which seemed crisp and sharp to the ear. Good for upright bass, which was part of the samplings we listened to.
The Bambusa is new territory for me, as I had heard the flagship Blackthorn 1 before. This time around, I feel that the Blackthorn 1 has benefited from the show-going experience of Scott Beirfeldt in that the system setup has improved, and/or the hotel in Rockville, MD is just better for sound. The Blackthorn 1s kind of knocked me over with their disappearing act. The tone neutral, and extension both fast and sharp. But the imaging was godlike. Duly so, I was impressed.
– Blackthorn 1 Monitor Loudspeaker – $6,999 pr USD in Jet Black ($8,999 in Silver Reference)
– Nightshade 1 Monitor Loudspeaker – $4,999 pr USD in Jet Black ($6,999 in Silver Reference)
– Bambusa MG 1 Monitor Loudspeaker – $3,749 pr USD in Natural Bamboo ($5,749 in Silver Reference)
– Bambusa AL 1 Monitor Loudspeaker – $2,499 pr USD in Natural Bamboo ($4,499 in Silver Reference)
– Composer Solo Turntable – $7,799 USD
– Vinyl One Copper Reference Phonostage – $4,999 USD
– Phase-1 Power Supply – $3,699 USD
– TA-110 Tonearm – (included with Composer Solo)
– Cadenza Blue MC Cartridge – (included with Composer Solo)
– Conductor Line Level Preamplifier – $8,499 USD
– Quartet 845 Monoblock Amplifiers – $13,999 pr USD
– Nucleus+ Music Server – $2,498 USD
– M3 CD Player – $1,499 USD
– DirectStream DAC – $5,999 USD
All cabling by KIMBER KABLE