TOP OF THE by dfgh4bnmu


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TOP                                                            OF                                         THE
        very once in a while – less frequently than   sensitivity of 89 dB and a nominal impedance      run in properly. A trip away was the perfect
        the advent of the legendary blue moon –       of 8 ohms, which suggests that the V1s won't      opportunity to break them in, and by the time
        along comes a product so far ahead of         pose too stern a challenge for even modest        I got back, the 300 hours were just about
the game, so thoroughly innovative, and yet           amplifiers. Given its size (635 x 225 x 195 mm)   complete. Even so, another 200 or so hours
so sonically intoxicating that I can't think of       the frequency response of 45 Hz to 39 kHz is      later as I write this, they're still getting better!
anything else for a while.                            bullish – or so I thought.                           That's hard to believe, given their spectacular
   Vivid Audio's V1s compact monitor loud-               The Vivids came to me brand new, with a        capabilities even as I write this.And it starts with a
speaker is such a product.                            warning that they needed 300 hours-plus to        delivery so vibrant, so intriguingly realistic, so
   It's the latest creation of Vivid Audio, a                                                           immediate, that it takes some convincing to make
Durban-based company with the sheer guts and                                                            visitors believe that all of that is the work of two
perseverance to chase a dream.That dream was                                                            compact, radically styled loudspeakers.
to locally produce world-class loudspeakers.                                                               The V1s have an almost intoxicating effect.
   The company currently produces three                                                                 Even at low playback levels, they seem to get
loudspeakers, all of which share the same core                                                          under the skin of the music and those artists
technologies, and the same unusual, ovoid shape.                                                        who originally recorded it, and to reproduce
   The reason for the unusual shape and profile                                                         the performance with an almost uncanny
is quite simple: it expresses Vivid's belief that                                                       presence and realism.
standing waves need to be avoided at all costs,                                                            Their delivery is smooth and utterly effort-
and that the impact of square baffles with                                                              less: there is no sense of the drive units actually
straight edges on the natural dispersion of                                                             being worked. Instead, it's as if the music simply
sound waves is severe.                                                                                  flows with such effortless intensity that you
   With their minimal frontal area, the carbon-                                                         can't ignore just how good, how real, how
loaded composite loudspeaker enclosures                                                                 thoroughly entertaining they sound.
in the Vivid Audio range pose a sonically                                                                  Of course, they are quick – but again, you
convincing alternative.                                                                                 don't pick up on their penchant for pace at
   Vivid chief designer Laurence (Dic) Dickie                                                           first, because they make the music so approach-
was one of the key originators of the original                                                          able. If needed, they can keep up with any sonic
B&W Nautilus project, and it comes as no                                                                sprint one moment, and carefully analyse a
surprise that his unique Vivid Audio drive units                                                        delicate piano sonata the next.
are a further evolution of the Nautilus drivers.                                                           Tonally, the V1s sound so real – so open,
   Importantly, Dic's core focus was on                                                                 transparent, ballsy and energetic – that they're
preventing colouration, resonances and                                                                  often ignored while people look for the truly
break-up, which generally compromise driver                                                             big speakers that must surely be responsible
accuracy.The Vivid Audio drive units have a                                                             for such sonic magic! Part of the reason is
margin of 2,5 octaves between their upper                                                               that frequency response: they reach down
frequency limit and the first inkling of break-up.                                                      even lower than the 45 Hz specification
   And so, on to the V1s, the smallest member                                                           promises, while the treble extends well beyond
of the burgeoning Vivid Audio speaker family.                                                           the audible threshold.
The V1 is actually available in two versions:                                                              Staging is expansive, but never at the expense
the 's' which is for stand mounting, and the                                                            of focus, imaging and cohesion.Yes, when those
'w' for wall mounting. A V1.5, with integrated                                                          sweeping strings of the orchestra crescendo to
composite stand a la B1, is in the pipeline,                                                            a climax, you can almost feel the walls opening
and may well end up being the best option                                                               up to make space for all that musical energy.
of the lot.                                                                                             And on cosier, nightclub fare, it's the depth
   The V1s employs two drivers: a 26 mm                                                                 and the definition that comes to the fore.
aluminium dome tweeter with a crosshair-type                                                               One of the surprises served up by the V1s
dispersion guide, and a 158 mm aluminium cone                                                           is their versatility: a transition from Mozart to
mid/bass unit featuring a huge dust cap.The                                                             Marilyn Manson is almost nonchalantly
crossover frequency is at 3 kHz, and Vivid Audio                                                        achieved.These speakers always rise to the
claims a power handling rating of 150 watts RMS.                                                        occasion: when the majestic organ on that
   Other key statistics include a quoted                                                                audiophile stalwart, 'Cantata Domino' heralds

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the toughest of sonic challenges, the V1s happily          The Vivid Audio V1 is a world-class, refer-                    Superlative in every aspect!
accept the test – and pass it with flying colours.       ence-standard monitor. Full stop.Which is why                       Given that I bought a pair of these speakers
    And then there is their commitment to                the review pair isn't going anywhere. And, as a                  off the recent hi-fi show in Randburg, one might
accuracy: as modestly proportioned as the V1s            South African, I'll be proud every time I listen to              accuse me of having taken leave of my senses.
are, they can be considered as reference com-            them – which will be very often!                                 But what I heard in the first five minutes of the
ponents. Okay, so they won't rattle windows,                                                      Deon Schoeman           new V1s playing for the first time left me with a
but they'll come close. In staging terms, they'll                                                                         sense of desire rarely experienced in the case of
precisely position every section of the orchestra,                                                                        a jaded veteran of box packing and unpacking in
and even pin-point individual soloists, all while                                                                         the world of high fidelity music reproduction.
ensuring that the overall sound picture is                                                                                   The V1s, for the money, are the most spectacu-
cohesive, dimensionally defined and involving.
                                                                     •    p e a k s                       •               lar speakers I have ever heard.That is more than
    But my lasting impression of the V1 is its                                                                            a little rich for someone who has an inherent
ability to bring the music to the listener. Unlike                                                                        sense of self preservation when it comes to not
many other monitors, even very good ones,                 VERDICT                                                         looking like a fool having made a rash purchasing
listening to the V1s isn't hard work. In fact,            It may well end up as the ultimate                              decision. So I invite anyone to audition them and
every track, every disc is an encouragement               two-way loudspeaker: a unit that's visually                     come to a different conclusion. I hope that many
to play another, and another.                             eye-catching, technically innovative, and                       of you do, because I certainly would not want
    While these monitors will reveal shortcomings         practically impossible to beat.Vivid Audio's                    the world of hi-fi to be so neatly wrapped up
in performances and recordings, they won't do             V1s is, quite simply, astounding.                               in a convenient box of safety - buy this and
so destructively: you can still listen to, even enjoy,                                                                    everything will be all right.
the music.                                                                                                                   Vivid have made the mountain a molehill.
    These are speakers that are able to peel              PRICE ................................................R26 900   There is nothing that these speakers cannot
away layers of detail and information that are                                                                            do, and there is nothing that stands a prayer
simply ignored, glossed over or obscured                  SUPPLIED BY                              Vivid Audio            against them at this price.
by others. But rather than dissecting a perfor-                                                  031-705-4168                Exquisite. Utterly exquisite in every respect.
mance, the Vivids simply expose what has been                                                                             And I would buy these again at twice the price
hidden, so that the music can be enjoyed in its           WEBSITE                             without even blinking an eyelid.
glorious entirety.                                                                                                                                           William Kelly

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