Vol'ti - v. - to turn over a new leaf; to move forward


3/22/2018 - NL39

Pheeew!  It's been a busy few months around here!  It's great that sales are good and I appreciate having all the work to do, but it does mean that I haven't had time to work much on the new shop/home.  I also haven't had time to finish up a set of Vittora speakers for AXPONA.

It also means this newsletter is going to be short and sweet.  Please forgive me.


AXPONA 2018 will be held at the Renaissance Shaumburg Hotel and Covention Center in Shaumburg, IL, April 13 - 15, 2018.   Over the last few years, this show has been growing, and it has now become the largest audio show held in the USA, in terms of attendees and number of rooms.  For those of you who haven't been to an audio show, you really should check one out.  It is so much fun to go from room to room and hear the best stereo gear in the world, not to mention the social aspect of being around so many other people who have the same interest as you do.

Volti Audio will be there again this year, teaming up with our favorite partners in crime, BorderPatrol Audio and Triode Wire Labs .  I've been advertising that I would have Vittora speakers at this show, but alas, time constraints are keeping me from being able to complete a set in time.  I really need to get the Vittora system out there for people to hear again.  It's been a while, promoting the new Rival speaker instead, and I think people have forgotten just how great the Vittora system is.  But it will have to wait for another show, at another time.

But don't worry, we'll have another great system set up for you to listen to.  I'm bringing a set of Rival speakers with a couple of different options - a new finish that we're offering, and a new external crossover option.   More on those options down below.

BorderPatrol will be there with their amazing DAC, and of course at least one of the best amplifiers I've ever heard to power the Rivals.

New Rival Options


Rivals can now be ordered with textured paint finish - at the same low base price of $7,900 for the pair.  

They can also be ordered with a hybrid textured paint/birch finish for the same low base price.  Paint the cabinet bodies, leave the fronts in natural birch with a clear finish.

Or how about this?  Paint the cabinet bodies, veneer just the fronts of the speakers with a beautiful real-wood veneer, and leave the plywood edges and driver openings with exposed natural birch plies.  Veneering just the fronts adds only $500.

I'm excited about being able to offer these new finishes, especially for my customers on a tight budget, who don't have the budget for the full veneer option, which I know is quite expensive.  What makes these new options work?   I found a great paint to use on wood cabinet bodies.  I know a lot of you are thinking, "what the heck's he talking about, can't you put any kind of paint on wood"?  Well yes you can, but it's been my experience that paint is the least durable finish you can put on a wood speaker cabinet.   Everytime the wood moves, the paint moves differently, so it doesn't take long for cracks to show at joints, and any and every imperfection that shows up in the substrate shows through the paint.  The smoother and shinier the paint is, the worse it all looks in short order.   Another thing I've noticed with paint is that I have to fill/sand/coat, fill/sand/coat, fill/sand/coat - I don't know how many times to get a nice smooth finish.  The labor involved is incredibly expensive.  In the end, when you do get a nice, shiny, smooth surface, the first time you wipe it with a mild cleaner and a clean cloth, a smudge or scratch shows up in the finish.  It is very frustrating, and for all of these reasons and more, it's why I have not offered painted finishes on my speakers.  Until now.

Now I've discovered a paint that is made to be applied by spray or by roller or brush that is a textured finish.  The texture is determined by how thick it is applied, and with what tool you apply it with.  When dry, the paint is as hard as I've ever felt, so it seems to be very durable.   The texture and the thickness of the paint hides imperfections and makes application super easy.  It's available in any color.   You know what?  It might be the perfect paint!

The show Rivals will have a satin black textured paint on the cabinet bodies, with fronts that are veneered in beautiful ebony.   The plywood edges and driver openings are left natural with a clear satin lacquer, so all the plies of the plywood can be seen.   It will be a striking finish - bold dark ebony, trimmed with contrasting light plywood layers, and a durable textured black paint finish on the cabinets.  Yes I know, where are the pictures!?  You know what I'm going to say.   I've just been so busy.  I'll have pictures in a couple of weeks, but I wanted to get this newsletter out now, so you'll just have to imagine what they'll look like until I do get some pictures up on the website.

External Crossovers

Another new option being featured on the AXPONA 2018 Rivals are External Crossovers.  I've built separate crossover boxes to house the crossover components, and these boxes sit on the floor behind the speakers.   They are finished in the same Ebony/black paint finish.  They are bi or tri-wireable at the input, and there are jumpers that connect the crossovers to the main speaker cabinets.  The same adjustment panel that is normally found on the upper back of the Rival is located in the top of the crossover box, so making adjustments to the crossover is just as easy.

Audiophiles claim that vibrations can effect the performance of individual crossover components located inside cabinets, and removing those components from the vibration source allows the components to work better.  I've heard others talk about the benefits of having the crossovers in a separate enclosure, like not having the crossover parts effected by the magnets of the speaker drivers, or that there is a reduction in microphonics, or that removing the crossover parts from the cabinet slightly increases the internal volume of the cabinet, which has a positive effect on the bass output.

To be honest with you, I can't say if any of this is true!  I have not yet experienced it for myself.   But I will, and when I do, I will report back what I have found.

Offering the external crossovers opens up a number of different options for my customers.  The Rivals can now be ordered without crossovers if anyone wants to play around with active crossovers and tri-amping.  Or I can build in just the crossover for the mids and tweeters, setting them up for Bi-amping.  I will offer the option of having wires directly connected to the drivers inside the cabinet, and then connected directly inside the external crossover boxes, which will eliminate a lot of connection points and should improve sound quality even further.

So what do you think?  A couple of nice new options huh?  I think so - especially the new finishes.  That should really help people who are interested in the base priced Rivals, but not too sure about a plain birch finish.

That's it for this edition of the Volti Audio Email Newsletter.  Short and sweet, I know, and not even one picture!  Hey, be happy for me, it means I don't have time for a fancy newsletter because I'm working my butt off and business is good!

Thank you for your support, and until next time, trust your ears and Have Fun!

Greg Roberts

Volti Audio - Klipsch Upgrades - New Horn Speakers