NOLA Speakers, VAC, J. Sikora, DS Audio | CAF 2022

Last year we were blown away by the NOLA Champ S3 speakers that Marc Phillips later reviewed, and also in our report from Capital Audiofest 2021.

Reporting by Eric Franklin Shook

This year, it’s the all new NOLA Baby Grand Reference Gold 3 loudspeakers that had us both wow’d and yet, wanting more from the exhibit space. I’ll explain ahead.

NOLA Baby Grand Reference Gold 3

The number of electronics and cable manufacturers that own, test with, or just swear by NOLA speakers would astonish you if I were to start naming names. Almost nothing presents like a LIVE band with studio recordings like NOLA. That’s just how I feel, and probably how it is. Enter the new NOLA Baby Grand Reference Gold 3, which employs breakthrough crossover technology from the upstream Grand Reference VII Gold and Concert Grand Reference Gold 3.

Further advancements include the development of magnesium cone bass drivers, driven by Alnico ring magnets, as seen in the lower cabinet portion, sporting 24K gold plated phase plugs, applied as a damping feature to the copper substrate.

Around back, the bass drivers receive twin chambers and twin porting to improve dynamics, frequency extension, and overall smoother bass performance. The lower chamber cabinet volume increases to 50L over the previous 40L, and system sensitivity now increases to 91db.

Up top, the midrange drivers receive Alnico ring magnets and 24K gold plated phase plugs just like the woofers. The proprietary true ribbon tweeter now plays out to 100kHz.



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The Sound

Impressive, but the room comes with limitations. It was difficult for the group of PTA staffers to come to a consensus other than that we’d all love to hear this system in a different room, because there’s undoubtedly something quite special here, but it’s just too much room to put a point on it.

What could be sussed, zero coloration in the midrange (as is a NOLA trademark trait), and absolutely the smoothest treble experience I’ve ever heard from a ribbon tweeter.

This level of system refinement demands a more cooperative exhibit space to inform us of what the product does at the highest levels. NOLA speakers have a lineage and history of creating mind blowing loudspeakers, and we suspect nothing has changed. Business as usual.

If you would like to hear even more coverage from CAF 2022, check out our recap report and highlights from our audiophile-oriented show The Occasional Podcast. You can stream the episode direct from the embed below, or from your favorite podcast platform including iTunesAndroidGoogle, Deezer, SpotifyiHeartRadio and more.

1 Comment

  1. Those speakers along with Spatial Audio are my first foray into open baffle and l have no words to describe it.

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