At recent shows, the Danish loudspeaker-maker Raidho has gradually been introducing new members of its slender X-series loudspeaker family. First came the compact X1 monitor and then the much taller but no less slim X-3 tower ($29,500/pair), but for RMAF 2015 introduced a new wrinkle in the form of its new XT-3 floorstander ($36,500/pair). Visually, the XT-3 looks nearly identical to the X-3, but with a thin coating of titanium overlaid upon the X-3’s ceramic mid-bass drivers. Sonically, difference between the X-3 and Xt-3 is very much analogous to the difference between Raidho’s C 1.1 monitor (which uses a ceramic mid-bass driver) as compared to the firm’s almost identical-looking D-1 monitor (which uses a ceramic mid-bass driver with a diamond/carbonite coating). In both cases already excellent loudspeakers becomes even better.
Given how slim the XT-3 and X-3 towers are, one perhaps could be forgiven for wondering about maximum output levels, but Raidho put such concerns to rest by playing—purely for the fun of it—a raucous Rammstein heavy-metal track at absolutely ludicrous volume levels. The XT-3s seemed to like this a lot, as did the enthusiastic listeners in the room.
For RMAF 2015 Russ Andrews introduced a good/better/best range of power conditioner/power distribution products collectively know as X8 Power Blocks (so named, I think, because each model offers eight AC mains sockets). The X8 Power Blocks are offered in three forms: the Enthusiast model ($1,878), the Professional model ($4,785), and the aptly named Perfectionist model ($10,153).
As has been his practice at the last several audio shows I have attended, Synergistic President Ted Denney was showing his undeniably exotic and unorthodox suite of room/component tuning accessories, many of which appear to hover right on that grey and oh-so-fuzzy line between advanced technology and the audio equivalent of outright wizardry or magic. Among the products on display were Synergistic’s Atmosphere power cord, the Black Box LF Resonator Array, the Atmosphere multi-channel signal generator/acoustic wave generator, and multiple sets of the firm’s tiny HFT high-frequency transducer devices.
Frankly, Synergistic’s tuning products stray so far from the beaten path that it would be tempting to dismiss them out of hand but for one thing: they work. They really work, and in fairly obvious, repeatable, and readily demonstrable ways. The fact is that visiting the Synergistic Research room at an audio show is a bit like witnessing a truly first-rate magic act; you walk away wowed by what you have just seen and heard, but without having any concrete idea as to how the results were accomplished. For obvious reasons, further serious investigation is indicated.
Vinnie Rossi thinks outside the box and as a result his audio components offer desirable combinations of features and functions not found anywhere else. For RMAF, Vinnie Rossi was demonstrating a system based an Acoustic Signature turntable, on his own LIO ultracapacitor-powered, ‘modular hi-fi’ system ($4,875 and up) and on his new, also ultracapacitor-powered VR120 power amplifier ($4,995), plus a set of Harbeth’s new model 40.2 monitor-type loudspeakers.
This LIO is not so much a singular component, but rather a flexible audio component platform that can be configured as an integrated amplifier, a valve-type preamplifier, a phono preamplifier, a high-res DSD/PCM DAC, a headphone amplifier, or virtually any combination of the above. But the LIO defining, signature feature is its patent-pending ultracapacitor power supply design, where the LIO incorporates two banks of ultracapacitors with one bank powering the unit while the other bank recharges. An extremely fast and low noise switching mechanism allows the LIO to alternate between banks of capacitors in real time, ensuring that the LIO has a continuous, consistent, and very low-noise supply of power that is capable, where necessary, of delivering large quantities of current on demand.
New for RMAF is Vinnie Rossi’s 120 Wpc VR120 power amplifier, which uses an even more beefy version of the LIO’s ultracapacitor power supply (Rossi has named this the PURE DC-4EVR power supply). According to Rossi, the supply means the VR120 enjoys silent, “black” backgrounds without any need for “expensive power filters, power cords, or conditioners.