The finest finishing in American made horn loudspeakers receives some sexy curves in the new Volti Audio Rival Special Edition horn loudspeakers. These 100db sensitive beasts now feature curved sides, premium bubinga veneers matching external crossovers, Triode Wire Labs internal wiring throughout, and many more refinements too long to list them all here.
Volti Audio has been in business for ten years, and to mark that achievement they celebrate with the new Rival SE. Of course the design of the new Rival benefits from a decade of design and engineering experience, resulting in something truly special as it is beautiful. The pictures just don’t do them justice.
Surrounding the new Rivals, a bevy of BorderPatrol Audio tube electronics, featuring the P20EXD ($20,650 USD as shown) tube power amplifier which doles out a healthy 20-wpc using push-pull 300B tubes. Design features include inter-stage phase-splitter/driver transformers, point-to-point hard wiring and twin external tube rectified choke input filter PSU’s configured in dual-mono arrangement. The amplifier has no negative feedback and is housed in a copper and hardwood chassis. Both the amp and PSU’s have been cryogenically treated.
On the digital side, a BorderPatrol DAC SE-i (SPDIF+USB) non-oversampling, no digital filtering resistor ladder (R-2R) DAC with a sophisticated tube/solid state hybrid choke input filter power supply housed in a copper casework. The DAC plays files up to 24/96kHz. The USB or SPDIF S (standard) version starts at $995 USD, with the SE version (featuring a more sophisticated PSU and internal components) ringing in at $1,395 USD. Versions that include both USB and SPDIF start at $1,495 USD for the S version, and $1,850 USD for the SE model.
A Triode Wire Labs loom of cables ran throughout the system, which are known for their hand-made build quality, USA design and production, along without costing an arm and a leg. In fact, many of them are quite affordable. For example the Spirit II Interconnects (starting at $399 pr USD) utilize Ohno Continuous Cast 7N Copper wire and an air dielectric in a cotton sheath. A whole lot of build quality for little in terms of end user cost. The whole line is worth taking a walk though.
As for the sound, the whole system sounds like music should when played through big horny loudspeakers. Dynamics are the name of the game and 20-wpc never sounded so full as they do with the high efficiency Rival SE’s. Amplifiers showed no signs of wincing as the dynamic passages pushed through, and distortion some of the lowest I’ve ever not-heard on systems employing speakers of this type and resolution. Usually there’s noise, and here with BorderPatrol the noise is vacant, the background black.
by Eric Franklin Shook