Razz Press and Testimonials
A customer who traded in a pair of Forte III’s for his new Razz speakers had this to say about his new purchase (published in the comments section of the Stereophile Razz Review linked below):
“I recently purchased a pair of Razz speakers from Greg–here’s my initial take. They replaced a pair of Klipsch Forte IIIs . . .”
“Got them unpacked and quickly set up with quickest hook up in the house, the Naim Uniti Atom. In a word, awesome. I wasn’t listening to audiophile test tracks, just streaming whatever popped into my head. I started with classic 60’s playlist and bounced around from there. The initial setup was in more or less the same spot as the Klipsch, but more towed into the listening position. I’m going to move things around quite a bit, but for the first night, I wanted a similar setup to what I had been using previously.
What I loved about the Forte IIIs was their sheer visceral impact. They are dynamic and fast in ways that just works with what I listen to. I ran them with the Atom and also with a Manley Stingray fed by a Bluesound Node 2i through an Ayre Codex. My only real complaint was as the volume went up, there was a noticeable upper midrange “glare” on music that wasn’t ideally recorded. One way to partially mitigate that was to really limit the tow in on the speakers. It did this in both my setups. It was largely mitigated when I used an Innuos Zenith MKIII as a source for a few days in May (my next purchase, BTW)–although I still wouldn’t recommend towing the Forte IIIs in even with the Innuous as a source.
So out go the Forte III’s and in come the Razz. The first thing I noticed is that the Razz are slightly less efficient than the Forte IIIs. They are in the ballpark but took a few more steps up the volume ladder to hit comparable levels. The spec on the Forte IIIs is 100db, while the Razz is 97db and whatever the actual numbers are, the 3db difference seems about right. At first blush, the Razz are visceral in a different way than are the Forte IIIs–they don’t hit you in the face quite the same way as the Klipsch (which is more often than not a good thing). It’s more of a song to song kind of thing than an overarching thing. If a certain song really hit you with the Klipsch it was often a different song that really hit you with the Volti’s. It’s one of my problems when reviewers go rolling through a set of test tracks, as they were more than likely picked because they sounded good on a particular system and ignores what might sound better on another.
What the Razz did better than the Forte IIIs was pretty much every other thing you could probably think of. The bass response on the Razz is much better. For some reason, you look at the woofer on the Forte III’s and the giant passive radiator on the back and you expect a lot of bass, but it really doesn’t happen. Maybe pushed about 10” off the wall, but leads to other issues. I never minded the bass on the Klipsch but the Razz are clearly more prominent in the bass response. What really stands out is the integration between the upper bass and lower midrange. I’m hearing details in this area that I NEVER heard out of the Klipsch.
The imaging is also much better on the Razz. They throw a nice wide sound stage in which all the images are clearly firmly locked in place. That just isn’t something the Klipsch did all that well.
For me, the biggest improvement is how real the instruments sound coming out of the Razz. The horns sound like they are in the room with you. Acoustic guitars are right on. Combined with better detail coming out of the Razz, this is where the two speakers are the most different. The number of times I heard a detail or a separation of voices on the Razz that I have never noticed on the Forte III’s was astounding. I say that the Klipsch sounds like live music at Iota or Gypsy Sally’s (RIP to both ☹️) while the Volti sounds like live music at the Birchmere or The Hamilton. Sorry for the DC reference, but those here should know what that means. And there is no upper midrange glare of any kind on the Razz. The volume goes up and it’s just as listenable as at lower levels.
So if I were bouncing between spending $4K on the Forte IIIs and $5K for the Razz, it would be an obvious choice for me. The Razz are simply better speakers. They sound more like the actual instruments. In addition to sound quality, the build quality is also much better on the Razz (and I have no issue on the build quality on the Klipsch). I’ve seen the unfinished Razz cabinets and it’s some impressive work. The Razz are about 100 lbs a speaker while the Forte IIIs are about 72 lbs (The Razz are taller but not as wide or deep as the Forte IIIs). Full disclosure is that I actually upgraded to a specialty veneer (Bosse Cedar) so my set was $6K rather than $5K. But they are true artisan products that will be in my house for years to come, so well worth the upgrade.
For background my idea on speakers is that I could care less how they measure, it’s all about how they sound. I think trying to correlate the two in any kind of absolute sense is laughable. If you are a measurements guy, great, go buy another speaker. But I know for a fact that the Volti audio owners that I know are all completely thrilled with their speakers. I also know that I don’t see any Volti speakers listed on USA Audiomart or Audiogon, but I see lots from Revel. People who buy speakers from Greg tend to keep them. I wonder why that could be!”
“When the drums crashed at the beginning of ‘In the Flesh’—I was listening very loudly—I nearly jumped out of my chair. As the first motif segued into the descent of a WWII bomber crashing into ‘Thin Ice,’ the intensity of the crescendo and sense of realism were electrifying.”