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!”
“I set up my Razz speakers today, and after a bit of tinkering, I can honestly say . . .”
” . . . they are the best and most natural sounding speakers I’ve ever owned. They replaced an excellent pair of more expensive Harbeth HL5 Super Plus, and after listening for a few hours, my wife and I both think the less expensive Razz are much better and do a much better job of capturing what real instruments sound like.
I’ve owned dozens of pairs of speakers over the years, including many from the Klipsch lineup and the Razz are in a different league. I couldn’t be happier with my purchase.”
Ralph – San Antonio, TX
“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.”
Posted on November 19, 2020 by in The Vinyl Anachronist
I’ve reviewed plenty of experimental albums, both jazz and electronica, that sound like little more than a collection of recorded noises. The real trick in evaluating such recordings is to find the weave of music that’s hidden among the random sounds. It’s always a matter of degree, the balance between Noise v. Music, especially when this is all so subjective. Prickly Pear Cactus from avant-garde instrumentalist-composer Ikue Mori turned out to be a tricky proposition, but one that ultimately led me to a strange, mysterious kind of music that haunted me days after listening to it.
Just a couple of weeks ago I mentioned how pieces of music, albums really, can become forever entwined with a piece of high-end audio gear if the listening session is truly memorable. That time, it was the Volti Audio Razz loudspeakers, which are extraordinarily dynamic and fun. This time it’s, well, the Volti Audio Razzes again. The Voltis excelled at laying out this complicated album and capturing all the potent ideas that Ikue Mori demonstrates. The result was pure fun–at regular intervals, Mori surprises you with dynamic sounds that give you goosebumps, startle you or give you feeling of exhilaration. And that’s where the music is.
“Razz are smooth, effortless, punchy, and exciting. But they can also speak quietly, sweetly, voluptuously. The very antithesis of cold and clinical. The big 12″ woofer is very fast, and teamed with the mid horn, is quite impressive on bass, drums, and percussive music.”
. . . on the “1812 Festival Overture, Op. 49″, . . . there was space, and a quiet nuanced delivery to the opening choral passages. Transparency, and tonality of all the instruments was very good; trumpets especially so. Massed strings were delicate, graceful, well-balanced, and clear. The latter choral parts were mesmerizing; bass drums, tympani, and cannon shots explosively impressive. There was an ebullient rhythmic air of heart pounding expectation to the ending; as imaginary ponies galloped, brass blared, and chimes sounded victory…I almost saluted.”
Gary Beard, Positive Feedback
“But my favorite match-up with the Rotel A14 integrated amplifier was with the big, bold Volti Audio Razz. The Razz were made for big streaming fun, rampaging through Qobuz in a cold-brewed fever of pure DJ mind expansion, man.
Invite the neighbors over; that way they can’t call the cops.”
Marc Phillips | Part-Time Audiophile
November 27, 2020
Finalists (in alphabetical order)
Vimberg Mino ($31,000/pair; reviewed by John Atkinson, April 2020, Vol.43 No.4 )
Vivid Kaya 45 ($18,000/pair; reviewed by Kal Rubinson, February 2020, Vol.43 No.2 )
Volti Audio Razz ($5999/pair, reviewed by Tom Gibbs, August 2020, Vol.43 No.8 )
Von Schweikert Ultra 55 ($100,000/pair, reviewed by Michael Fremer, July 2020, Vol.43 No.7 )
Wilson Audio Sasha DAW ($37,900/pair; reviewed by Sasha Matson, January 2020, Vol.43 No.1 )
Ok, so we didn’t get the win here.
But we were one of the six finalists, and that’s pretty good for the little $5K Razz.
The average price for a pair of any of the other five contenders is almost ten times the cost of a pair of Razz.
Here’s a thought. I wonder if the Razz would have won if we put a set of $7,500 MPod bases under them?
You know I’m smiling as I write this stuff don’t you?
I’ve heard the $56,000 winning speaker a couple of times at the shows. It’s a very good hifi speaker. I think I could be very happy with a pair in my demo room for quite a while . . . . until I longed again for the effortless dynamics and life-like presence of a pair of Volti Audio speakers.
Fortunately for me, I could simply go into the store-room and move a set of $30,000 Vittoras into the demo room to replace the Magicos.
No MPod bases needed.
“I began serious listening with Chris Jones’s Roadhouses and Automobiles CD [Stockfisch SFR 357.6027.2], a brilliant recording of folk/country/bluegrass tunes given Stockfisch’s usual audiophile treatment. “No Sanctuary Here” has a thunderous opening bass guitar riff featuring Grischka Zepf on five-string bass playing low D and low C. Those notes are 36.7Hz and 32.7Hz, respectively, and the Razz reproduced them at full volume, rattling a few window panes.”
“I was pleased with the Razz’s reproduction of Chris Jones’s vocals, delivering his big, rich baritone with great presence”
“the Razz is a welcome new entry in the high-efficiency speaker market. Audiophiles looking to try SET amps using 300B tubes or lower-watt push-pull amplifiers will find a great match with this speaker. The Razz does have a warm personality, but the bass was extended with plenty of slam. I was impressed with its smooth, clear midrange and the ability to tailor the treble to my satisfaction. During the Razz’s stay, two audiophile buddies stopped in for a short, fully-masked listening session. When the music stopped, their conclusion was simple: the Razz is just so much fun!”