Border Patrol, Volti Audio, Triode Wire Labs – CAF 2018

Border Patrol Amplifiers

You can also catch my writing at AH’s sister site — Part-Time Audiophile — where you may also be aware of our staff’s collective fondness for BorderPatrol, Volti Audio, and Triode Wire Labs gear. In the past it was Scot Hull (our publisher), John Stancavage (writer) or Rafe Arnott (former editor) who jumped at the chance to “claim their exhibit rooms for write-up“ in the name of “divide and conquer.” Capital Audiofest 2018 arrives with Scot Hull now focusing more on publisher duties, and Rafe Arnott having moved on to waiting tables somewhere (managing editor InnerFidelity/AudioStream). The opportunity is mine, and the time has come where I would be… Marc Phillips?!

Wait a second…
ME: Marc Phillips is writing for us now?
SCOT: Yes, and he’s covering the BorderPatrol, Volti Audio, Triode Wire Labs room.
ME: Who decided this?
SCOT: You did. About a month before the show.
ME: Oh, well. I guess you’re right.

Being of sneaky roots, born premature by a month while trying to break-out without being noticed, I was caught and incubated. At least I tried. This time around, I committed myself to sneaking IN to the BP/VA/TWL room; ready to give listen, take photos and notes about what I found. However, I didn’t accomplish this feat without going unnoticed.

Upon entering the room I was verbally lassoed and hogtied by a fan of my writing and photography (poor fella, he needs to get out more). We discussed the room sound, and what he liked about it. The conversation was actually quite delightful. As the music started the conversation stopped, and all ears dilated.

Big rolling sounds, full range muscle, and landscapes that fell wide. Just a few of my notes taken during listening. The source was digital and provided by an Innuous Music Server feeding the BorderPatrol tube DAC. Power was an astonishingly low 20 watts per channel (in push/pull), but more than ample for the Volti Audio Rival speakers which function at a high 100 db/W sensitivity.

These are the supposed to be “the small” speakers made by Volti, and I guess they are — but only by comparison to Volti’s own larger models — but in no way are the Rivals deemed “small” by their sound. They play deep and cover all the frequencies. A true three-way design, with horn tweeters, horn mid-ranges, and ported 15-inch woofer enclosures. The Rival loudspeakers could be anyone audiophile’s final stopping point in the ongoing pursuit of hi-fi nirvana, and at just a smidge under $9K. The only urge to upgrade from the Rival as far as I can tell, would be having some extra money burning a hole in your bank vault.

by Eric Shook


– DAC SE (SPDIF + USB) – $1,850 USD

– P20EXD Power Amplifier – $20,650 USD

– Volti Audio

– Rival Loudspeaker – $8,900 USD

– Triode Wire Labs

– Spirit Interconnects – starting at $399 pr USD

– American Speaker Cables – starting at $699 pr USD

– The Obsession Power Cords – $1,399 USD

Volti Audio
Triode Wire Labs