Volti Audio, Triode Wire Labs, BorderPatrol Audio Electronics, Innuos, PI Audio | CAF 2019

Triode BorderPatrol Volti CAF 2019

WASHINGTON DC (PTA) — The three amigos are back together again. Volti Audio showing horn loudspeakers, Triode Wire Labs showing the wire, BorderPatrol Audio Electronics supplying the electronics.

Triode BorderPatrol Volti CAF 2019


Verdant Audio
Capital Audiofest 2019 brought to you in part by Verdant Audio!

The Story

The Vittora loudspeaker is a fully horn-loaded, three-way, high-efficiency, low-distortion speaker system that is equal parts art and instrument. The cabinet structure is all Baltic Birch Plywood in construction. Veneers are real wood, finishes are satin lacquer, and everything is hand-made in Tennessee USA. The Volti Audio Vittora are built to last 100-years or more, and look good doing it.

Triode BorderPatrol Volti CAF 2019

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 a single Extended Low-Frequency (ELF) cabinet. The ELF’s bass comes from the 18-inch woofer loaded into a folded horn. The ELF covers low frequencies from 50Hz down to 25Hz confidently.

The main Vittora speakers are three-way loudspeakers, they operate in full-range, and at 104dB sensitivity present little challenge to amplifiers. Along with the added ELF bass cabinet, the Vittora is technically a four-way system. 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.

Triode BorderPatrol Volti CAF 2019

BorderPatrol makes a range of tube power amplifiers that use the ever-popular 300B triode in single-ended, parallel single-ended and push-pull configurations with power outputs ranging from 9 to 20W/channel. All models use inter-stage transformers to couple the driver tube to the 300B’s and have no negative feedback to maximise resolution and preserve signal integrity. The audio chassis are composed of non-magnetic materials and the higher priced EXD versions use copper chassis parts and inter-stage and output transformers that have undergone deep cryogenic treatment.

Each BorderPatrol design features a heavy external power supply units (PSU). The parallel dual-mono designs, like the P20EXD we had on-hand at Capital Audiofest 2019, features two PSU’s, one for each channel. Mounting the PSU’s externally not only keeps the weight and size of the amplifiers manageable, it keeps the hard working iron and its electric fields away from the sensitive audio circuitry. It also allows a degree of power supply elaboration and sophistication into the design.

Each PSU contains three independent tube rectified, choke input filter high voltage supplies to independently feed the 300B’s, the input/driver tubes and the negative bias supply, together with filament supplies for the 300B’s and small signal tubes.

The Border Patrol P20EXD is a dual-mono tube amplifier. Featuring two 300B output triodes per channel, in a push-pull configuration giving 20-Watts per channel. The P20EXD features the previously mentioned dual-external power supply units.

Triode BorderPatrol Volti CAF 2019

The Sound

This time, unlike the last — I’m aware of the ELF bass cabinet being in the room from the outright. However it blends so seamlessly, that I hate it. I should be able to audibly highlight the hand-off edges of its contributions but I can’t. I know what the Vittoras sound like without the ELF and at the end of the day, I must say the ELF really does a lot that isn’t noticeable until it’s missing from the system.

The Vittoras are snappy and exciting loudspeakers. They command your attention and bring the music into sharp focus. The greatest feat of these horn loudspeakers is that they don’t sound like horns. They have scale for days, distant planes depth in the soundstage, and occasionally the ability to reach forward into the listening space as well. That is a unique attribute.

The P20EXD stereo amplifier should be the star of the show on the electronics side. It’s 20-Watts of tube power is wildly detailed and rich with color and tone. However, I can’t help but be wowed with the DAC SE as it is everything I want from a DAC. Obviously my list is short, because I want a DAC to sound like analog music and that’s what the BorderPatrol DAC SE does for me.

Triode BorderPatrol Volti CAF 2019

The System


– DAC SE Tube Digital-to-Analog Converter – $1,895 USD

– P20EXD Stereo Power Amplifier – $20,650 USD (as shown)

Volti Audio

– Vittora Horn Loudspeaker System (includes single ELF) – $29,900 pr USD


– PhoenixUSB Reclocker

– Zenith Music Server

PI Audio

– UberBUSS Power Distribution Box

All cabling by Triode Wire Labs

Tenacious Sound
Capital Audiofest 2019 brought to you in part by Tenacious Sound.