It’s been the battle of the BIG loudspeakers in high-end audio this year–I know, but even more so than usual–and all the big players seemed to converge at PAF 2023. The Acora Acoustics VRC-1 loudspeakers ($218,000/pr USD) have been dominating the show circuit all year long. They are the current Chocolate Chip Trip champions, although the competition has been getting fierce. In the Innuos and Acora and Audio Research and Cardas room, however, Val Cora showed another side to these granite behemoths, one that’s totally unexpected.
Words and Photos by Marc Phillips
The Innuos and Acora room was enjoyable for many reasons. First, Innuos have truly mastered the science of the exhibit room by pairing up with some of the finest manufacturers to show off their digital audio products. Second, it’s been big news that Acora Acoustics recently bought the legendary hi-fi brand Audio Research–kudos to Val, who’s done a very good thing for all audiophiles by keeping ARC alive. And finally, this was a small room. The VRC-1s have been, up to now, placed in very large rooms. And they did an amazing thing in this reg’lar ol’ hotel room.
The first time I heard the Acora Acoustics VRC-1, back at the Florida Audio Expo in February, they were in a gigantic room. I estimated they may have been 20-25 feet apart. But they still remained coherent and precise, especially when it came to creating a large but entirely believable soundstage with ultra-precise imaging. In the Innuos and Acora room, the VRC-1s sounded…well, exactly the same as they did in the larger rooms. Exactly.
What’s so special about that? Well, the Innuos and Acora room showed that the VRC-1s are, for the most part, impervious to the room in which they are placed. Maybe it’s the granite. Maybe it’s the design. Maybe it’s magic. I don’t know, but this goes against the grain of super-duper high-end loudspeakers–these types of transducers are usually quite difficult to dial in at first. Even Val was amazed at how easily they blended into the room and the system.
Every time I hear these speakers, they reveal new talents. It’s been a great year for the Big Loudspeaker, and the VRC-1 in the Innuos and Acora room is a fine, fine example.