Oh no he didn’t.
“Ratchets” by Hedegaard. With 121dB peaks. At an audio show. During listening hours.
Folks, this just is not done.
People were fleeing the area. Plaster was literally falling from the ceiling. And, to be honest, it was all my fault. I just asked for “something lively”, and this is what Val Cora did to us. And — again, just being honest — it blew my mind.
I was in the hot seat. Center position. This seat is too close, nominally — the speakers were closer to me than they are to each other. But what the hell — a TAS reviewer was in the row behind me, and I’m a gentleman and all that. So, yes, I was “too close”. Or so I would have thought.
But. The. Music.
When it started, I was in a large conference room. Tall 20-some-foot ceilings, with trays (which had been stuffed with pillows for “reasons acoustic”). Side walls were no where to be seen. The speakers were something like 20′ apart. And then … the room fell away and I was accelerating off a cliff.
It was unreal. It was LOUD. It was clear, and effortless, and explosive. I have not heard anything like that in a long, long time.
This is the must-see room at Tampa this year. Absolutely astonishing.
The speakers in question are pre-release monsters from Acora Acoustics. And yes, I mean monsters. They’re 430lbs per side, and while Sarge, Fred, and Val would have had no issues, ye mere mortal here quailed visibly. They will hit the market at AXPONA this year, under the moniker of VRC-1. They will retail for $220,000/pair. I fully expect to see them swamped with orders — and yes, I know, at that price, there’s no way but yes. This is the high-end and folks are gonna want these.
They were shown in a familiar-to-me blue pearl granite — yes, granite, and yes, this pair looked eerily familiar to what I put into the countertops at my last house. They will also be available in the standard “Signature Black” and a new “steel gray” that architectural folks are loving right now.
Stated capabilities are 18Hz-40kHz. I had absolutely no reason at all to doubt that. I understand that they are also oddly efficient — like most Acora speakers, just expect them to do more with less when it comes to power.
Shown here with top-shelf amplifiers (run as monos), the VAC 452 ($75k each), a VAC Statement Line Stage ($80k), and the VAC Statement Phono ($80k), some of the highest-of-the-high-end currently on the market. This is some epically beautiful kit — and beloved of our friend Dave McNair of Dave McNair Mastering.
The analog source, which I did not hear, was the Oracle Delphi Reference ($13,920 with the Turbo Mk2 PSU). A Reed 1H 9.5″ tonearm ($3750) carried a Lyra Atlas Lambda cartridge ($11,995).
For my time, it was the digital side of the house that carried the tunes. That meant an Aurender N30SA streamer ($25k), a brand-new Aurender MC20 rubidium master clock ($30k), and beyond that, a Florida Audio Expo baby, the now-1-year-old Horizon DAC from our old friends at Lampizator ($50k). Don’t repeat this, but a little bird told me that we may see one of these soon at Part-Time Audiophile — fingers crossed!
Cardas Clear cables were used through — Clear Beyond I/C ($5050 for 1.5m), Clear speaker cables ($5275 for 2.5m pair), Clear Beyond Power ($2965 at 2m), and Clear Digital ($800 at 1.5m).
The racks were made by Acora Acoustics — and yes, they use the same granite as their speakers. Holy moly, guacamole, those things are massive!
This was a highlight of the show, and quite a conclusion to Day One. Kudos to all — this was a brilliant experience. Exhilarating in every respect.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from FLAX 2023, 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 iTunes, Android, Google, Deezer, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more.
Glad to hear that this happened. I used to go to CES regularly, and almost every high end vendor would look at you like you had tracked in something foul smelling if you asked for anything other than an ‘audiophile’ recording to be played.
First high show I ever went to, in the 80s, Martin Logan had a huge room, and they were playing Dire Straits’s Money for Nothing at volume on their original Statements. It was mind blowing.