WASHINGTON (PTA) — Volti Audio’s two room exhibition at Capital Audiofest 2019, came together at the last minute. Due to an unfortunate emergency for another exhibitor, Volti Audio thus became the beneficiary of a second exhibit room. This exhibit was therefore unlisted in the CAF show-guide. Along for the ride: BorderPatrol Audio, Triode Wire Labs, and Pi Audio Group. Photography by Paul Elliott.
Greg Roberts of Volti Audio had reached out to me a few weeks before Capital Audiofest 2019. On the phone we talked about loudspeakers, and some new designs where Mr. Roberts gave me an insiders primer on a new prototype loudspeaker cabinet he had been working on. Knowing that a fully finished prototype (veneer and finish) wouldn’t be ready for CAF 2019, his initial plan was not to bring them in unfinished form to the show. During our phone call I urged him to do so, even if it meant only bringing the new cabinet sans drivers, as it would still raise interest with show goers and the press.
The Capital Audiofest 2019 plan for Volti Audio was to only show in one exhibit room, with their large and magnificent Vittora horn loudspeakers (which I had heard in the raw at the Lone Star Audio Fest earlier this year). I was happy about this as the Vitorra horns hadn’t shown in all their glory in what has seemed like a lifetime, but in reality it had only just been a few years.
Luckily for Mr. Roberts, when he packed for Capital Audiofest 2019 it was not only with the large Vittora horn loudspeakers (to be covered in another article), but also a gorgeous pair of Rival’s (finished to the nines), and a pair of Rival based prototype loudspeakers in the raw. But wait… there’s more. The luck doesn’t stop there, as Volti Audio’s show partners BorderPatrol Audio just happen to have a few extra electronics components on hand for the second exhibition. Fortune does favor the prepared.
The Volti Audio Rival is a compact floor-standing horn loudspeaker, that sonically plays much bigger than it’s footprint or stature should allow. The Rival is a 3-way, horn-loaded loudspeaker that offers high sensitivity, wide bandwidth and superb cabinetry in a compact and affordable format. Borrowing heavily from its larger and more expensive brother, the Rival uses many of the same internal components found in the Vittora. The characteristic “Volti Sound” remains intact, but in a loudspeaker that is one third the size and one third the cost of the Vittora system.
First let’s talk about the new Rival prototype on display. The new prototype loudspeaker is based on the popular Volti Audio Rival and will debut at the Florida Audio Expo in February of 2020, under the Rival model name. The prototype pair were built only a week prior to Capital Audiofest 2019, and brought to the show without veneer or finish. From the front, the driver layout of the prototype it looks to be all Rival, but from all other angles, these are the first pair to feature the new cabinet design that includes some very sexy curved sides panels of laminated Baltic Birch plywood.
If you were lucky enough to enter the “Pop-Up Volti Exhibit” in room #309, then you may have gotten a sneak preview to the new Rival prototype look and sound. The prototypes were played in the system off and on throughout the weekend, swapping out for another pair of Volti Audio Rivals that were in the traditional square Type II cabinets, yet from there they were anything but in standard form.
The other Volti Audio Rival loudspeakers (non-prototype) used in the system were built into a pair of Type II cabinets (differences can be viewed HERE), fully optioned with Triode Wire Labs internal wiring and external crossovers. The pair was finished in a stunning Bosse Cedar veneer.
This fully-loaded pair of Volti Audio Rivals with all the trimmings and Bosse Cedar veneer were so sonically delightful and sexy, that the demonstration pair were sold to a customer right there at the show and delivered that same weekend. How’s that for making a good impression.
Also showing were tube electronics from BorderPatrol Audio. Powering the Rivals, BorderPatrol’s SE300B tube amplifier, and handing the digital source BorderPatrol’s DAC SEi tube digital-to-analog convertor which features a twin transformer power supply system as an upgrade in the SEi version DAC.
– Rival Loudspeakers – starting at $8,900 pr USD (as shown $16,400 pr USD)
– Rival Loudspeakers (prototype) – Price Uncertain
– DAC SEi Digital-to-Analog Converter – $1,350 USD
– P20 SE300B Tube Amplifier – $13,925 USD
– ZENith music server
Pi Audio Group
– UberBUSS Power Conditioning
All cabling by Triode Wire Labs
Photography by Paul Elliott
Paul Elliott’s other contributions with Part-Time Audiophile can be found HERE.