The Brio Trio three piece system (two semi-open-baffle monitors and one sub-woofer) was something I wrote about as a static display during my visit to Denver in Fall of 2018 at Rocky Mountain Audiofest that year for our sister site PartTimeAudiophile.
Originally I was rather charmed by Nola’s tower speakers and their signature live sound. Seeing the small Brio Trio did intrigue me, so when I saw an active Brio display was scheduled to happen at the Florida Audio Expo, I couldn’t wait to give it a spin. The Nola’s Brio Quatro, is a four-piece high-end speaker system that employs the same “1-1/2 way” loaded monitor as the Trio. Each satellite monitor is compact and features identical 3-1/2 inch drivers; the upper loaded in Nola’s signature open-baffle configuration, while the second (and lower) driver is loaded into a rear-ported enclosure. Recommended stands for these full-range satellites is stated at 31-inches. A little known fact about the Brio satellites is that because the upper and lower drivers are identical, without crossover, and only differ in loading — they operate at mid-range and high frequencies as a line source. Which when it’s all said and done, they do sound amazing.
In the Quatro configuration it is two sealed 8-inch powered sub-woofers round out the lower frequencies in true stereo. Each sub-woofer is powered by a stout 250 watts of class-A/B amplification. The amplifier used is similar to the one used in the Nola T-Bolt system, however in this iteration, just smaller. Each sub-woofer features continuously variable level and crossover frequency controls (from 40Hz-180Hz, 24dB/octave), 6dB at 35Hz switchable EQ, a phase switch, line-level and speaker-level inputs, enabling it to be seamlessly matched to the Brio main satellite speakers. Available in gloss black (as pictured) for $5,000 USD. If a single sub version is still better to your liking, the Brio Trio (same as above, with one less sub-woofer) still is in the product line-up and is available for $3,500 USD.
Personally, I found the use of stereo sub-woofers to be almost too addictive to pass up. However if budget and space is an issue, start with the Trio, and possibly build to the Quatro over time. Stereo bass with two sub-woofers isn’t about adding more bass, it’s about fully realizing true stereo reproduction of instruments across the entire frequency range.
Speaking of range, the stated frequency range of the system, is 28hz to 20khz, and from my own experience and still young ears, I say it covers them all with flying colors. Also of note, is that the satellites are to be driven by the electronics of your choosing, while the sub-woofers being still self-powered, it is ideal to “sample” their input frequency directly from the amplifier’s output terminals, or from the rear input terminals located on the Brio satellites. This allows the signal at both satellite and subwoofer to be of the same character. It’s truly the only way to go, but you have options still.
by Eric Shook