It’s almost impossible for me to be impartial or objective when I visit The Three Amigos room at a high-end audio show. I’ve been consistently blown away by the sound that Greg Roberts (Volti Audio), Gary Dews (BorderPatrol), and Pete Grzybowski (Triode Wire Labs) present; they have a special synergy that is clearly well thought out, with complimentary components that absolutely add up to more than the sum of their parts. (That also includes Innuos digital sources, which The Three Amigos use with the BorderPatrol DAC-1.)
Words and Photos by Matthew Partrick
For the last three Tampa shows the room of the Three Amigos has been my favorite, to the point that I purchased the Volti Rivals in 2020 and have used a full Triode Wire Labs cable loom since then as well. (The only thing stopping me from buying the BorderPatrol amps was being flush with another maker’s products and being fresh out of cash.)
Greg Roberts of Volti was showcasing both the new Rivals, which start around $15k, as well as the new RazzLE (rotfl)–an aesthetically upgraded version of the insanely popular Razz, with identical sonics compared to the stock Razz, but with full veneer including the front and no grills. (These were, of course, just reviewed by John Richardson.) Starting at $6,500/pr, these speakers came so close to my Rivals that I began to question my decision.
Gary Dews, the second of The Three Amigos, presented his always fantastic BorderPatrol S20EXD, a dual mono 16w SET, now featuring Western Electric 300b tubes and full cryogenic treatment, priced at just under $23k for the optioned model shown. Additionally, the BP DAC SE-I was on display which starts at $1,500 and goes up to $2k with various input and output options.
Triode Pete, the third member of The Three Amigos, bought “The Obsession” power cables at $1,499 each, the “American” speaker cables starting at $699 per set, the “Passion” USB starting at $329, and the “Freedom” ethernet cables starting at $249.
Now that we’ve settled the issue of impartiality or lack thereof, we can discuss the sound that The Three Amigos are able to reproduce. Volti’s horns reproduce music in a way that speaks to my soul on some molecular level. It’s faithful, airy, has that “there-ness” quality, and is always easy on the ears. Gary’s amplifiers bring out all the best in their respective components. The S20EXD is Gary’s SET model, and in this configuration, breathes life into the music in a way that only an insanely beautiful hand-made point-to-point wired tube amplifier can. And I think it says something about a cable company if I can go into a room and be floored by the transducers and amplification and still walk away with an order for power and signal cables in order to chase that sound.
The Three Amigos clearly know what they are doing, and never disappoint–this was my #1 room at the Tampa show.
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.
By far my favorite room at the show. That BP amp was something else. But just a great vibe to their space overall. The music sounded like music, which can’t be said for a lot of the rooms, and for expo display systems costing multiples of more than this gear.
They always sound great! I too, have a pair of Rivals with a BP DAC and have other amplification on my Rivals. Curious what amps you use at home?