Can the reigning Chocolate Chip Trip champion, the Acora VRC-1 loudspeakers, defend the title it won at the 2023 Florida Audio Expo in February?
Yeah, I know the Acora Acoustics room at FLAX also was my pick for Best Sound of Show. But to play Tool’s “Chocolate Chip Trip” like Danny Carey and his magnificent drum kit is sitting six feet in front of you? That’s the real achievement. So I was curious to see if the Acora VRC-1 loudspeakers, now with an official MSRP of $218,000/pr USD, could blast past the sometimes problematic half-finished ballrooms and strangely shaped conference hall ceilings at the Renaissance Schaumburg.
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
When I walked into the Acora VRC-1 room at AXPONA, I noticed that this was largely the same system as in Florida–VAC amplification, Oracle analog rig, Cardas cables, that brand-new Aurender N30A and MC20 Master Clock, and that sexy beast known as the LampizatOr Horizon DAC. That was a promising start. But I did notice a big difference in speaker placement this time–the Acora VRC-1 loudspeakers were pushed further back toward the wall. When I sat down in the sweet spot, the speakers seemed so far away from me. Still, I hoped for the best.
Val Cora informed me that the Acora VRC-1 loudspeakers needed to be pushed back further due to those ornate soffits and mouldings in the ceiling. But when “Chocolate Chip Trip” played, it was clear that these massive, heavy granite speakers came to Chicago to kick butt. The change in speaker position did not rob the sound of soundstage depth–instead, Danny Carey was pushed far in front of the speakers, close to my seating position. Usually I think of soundstage depth in terms of the real estate behind the speakers, not in front of them. The Acora VRC-1 easily defends its crown.
Later in the show, Val summoned me back to the room for another listen to CCT. AXPONA 2023 was so large, and we were so busy, that I had to ignore most requests to return to rooms for another go because something was “worked out.” In this case, I suspected Val was not content to rest on his laurels. His was the last room I visited at the show.
Val hadn’t changed anything with the Acora VRC-1 loudspeakers and their position in the room. All he did was take that sweet spot chair and move it closer to the speakers. And it worked. If the Acora VRC-1 loudspeakers won the championship in Tampa, then they placed more distance between themselves and second place–whatever that may be. There’s more to high-end audio than Chocolate Chip Trip, I know, and I spent a lot of time in Val’s room listening to these powerful, precise and thrilling music-making machines, which happen to sound great on all types of music–especially non-audiophile tracks that contain the music we actually love. The Acora VRC-1 loudspeakers are one of the most impressive and well-rounded set of transducers I’ve heard at a show, period.
If you would like to hear even more coverage from AXPONA 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.
Also don’t forget to check out our collaboration to commemorate the event with our solid bronze record weight available only for a limited run. This 800 grams of solid bronze features the PTA roundel on the top with also acts as a 45 adapter. You can purchase direct from the PTA Approved Store here on the site.
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