7/2022 – Greg Roberts
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In 2011 I attended my first Audio Trade show – Capital Audiofest – and brought with me a pair of speakers that I spent almost two years developing.
I remember that show like it was yesterday. At that time, I had no idea that my speaker designs could compete on the world stage, let alone be as highly regarded as they are. It was and still is humbling.
The Vittora grabbed attention easily because of its unique design, its great sound, and its relatively low price.
It’s a great speaker. Certainly one of the finest sounding horn speakers in the world. It has sold well for Volti Audio, and my customers love them and hold on to them. The used market is nil.
The Vittora is a success story in every sense, but it’s time for me to take it up a notch, and I’m ready to re-introduce this system as the New Vittora, an updated and better sounding version of the original. I have become a better speaker designer in the last eleven years, and I have many improvements ready to go in the New Vittora. Crossover work, a new midrange horn, improved wiring, improved cabinet construction, a new ELF system, and a wider variety of finishes just to name a few.
If you like the look and sound of the original Vittora, you will LOVE the New Vittora!
The New Vittora system will consist of two main speakers, two Extended Low Frequency (ELF) cabinets, an amplifier/processor for the ELF cabinets, and all speaker/ELF cabling. Final pricing for the system has not been finalized at this point, but I’m aiming for between $40K and $45K.
We have a private forum where I discuss the development progress of the New Vittora system with interested parties and the group of customers who have already purchased a set of New Vittoras. If you’d like to be invited to the forum discussion, please send me an email.
I am making good progress on the development of the New Vittora, in both the aesthetic and the acoustic design. I am now onto my third set of prototype cabinets and with this set I am taking a look at several different design details with the bass horn cabinet.
I’ve spent a good deal of time with the design of the new tophat. Two big changes to the original design include a removable grill for the midhorn, and a tweeter that will be centered above the midhorn.
I know audiophiles prefer listening without grills, and the New Vittora tophat will be nicely finished even with the grill removed from the tophat.
I have always preferred to have the tweeter located above the midhorn, but that design element has always presented challenges with the look of the overall design as well as the cost to manufacture. It has taken some time to work out, but the advantages of milling the wood frame for the tweeter on the CNC machine are making it a viable option, and I’m very happy about this.
I have designed a new midrange horn for the Vittora that is larger than the previous model, and has a better throat transition for the driver to horn. The improvements I’m seeing in my testing are significant and exciting.
Crossover development is moving along nicely and I’m currently listening to the third set of prototypes in my listening room. Without a doubt, this is the finest sounding stereo system I’ve ever heard. I’ve never heard another speaker with midrange clarity, depth, richness, and dynamics that I’m hearing in my system right now. It is at another level from anything I’ve experienced. I’m so excited to bring this new system to market. Stay tuned.
Not much specifically to report. We are working primarily on getting the programming into the CNC computer, which is very time-consuming. I have finalized the crossover design. I’m working on design details like the feet under the bass horn and the crossover access opening on the tophat. The guys in the shop are working on how best to build them (yes we’ve practiced on a couple of sets). We are actually, technically in production, as we build raw curved panels every day in the shop. Slooooowly getting there. I wish I could FF.
I still have one pair of pre-production sets that I’m offering at a substantial discount off the price of $45,000. Yes, I have figured out the final initial price of the New Vittora speaker. Not bad for world-class performance and construction quality. I’m confident the New Vittora will be one of the finest horn speaker systems ever produced. I realize the price seems steep to some of you. I get it, because I don’t play in that price range either! If I remove myself from the business and look in from the outside, I’m definitely in the Rival budget range. But look around out there, you could spend a LOT more and get a LOT less. As with all Volti speakers, sold direct to my customers, and built by hand in small quantities, the New Vittora is an excellent value. A system of such high quality that it will last more than one lifetime and still perform at the highest level. YOU will not be the final owner of your set of New Vittoras, unless you have them buried with you!
I’ll add more updates here as time goes on. Meanwhile, below you will find the webpage for the original Vittora system, which I will leave in place until the New Vittora is ready to go.
The Vittora is a fully horn-loaded, three-way, high-efficiency speaker system that delivers wide dynamic range, high output, and extremely low distortion. It IS a horn speaker, and it gives us everything we like about horns while minimizing the problems that plague some other horn designs. The Vittora strikes a balance between the sound of a high-end, smooth, audiophile speaker, and the in-your-face, lively, dynamic sound of a big horn system. It is unmistakably true to the all-horn format, but polite enough to be taken seriously by any audiophile.
The Vittora bass cabinet utilizes a 15″ woofer in a folded horn to produce solid, accurate bass. Even at high output levels, the distortion from this horn is undetectable, and the result is a quickness and definition that you can only get with a horn design. There’s no ported bass sound with this horn speaker! You get tight, accurate bass, a correct sounding upper-bass/lower-midrange, and perfect integration between the bass and mid.
Made in the U.S.A.
The Vittora uses a large wooden midrange horn with a tractrix flare, designed and built in-house. The horn has a 2″ throat and uses a large-format midrange compression driver with a 3-1/2″ voice coil. This combination of large, solidly built wooden horn with a large throat and huge midrange compression driver results in a midrange sound that is effortless and easy to listen to. There is no constriction of the sound through a tiny throat, there is no edginess, graininess, or honky sound that so many other horn designs suffer from. The Vittora midrange is smooth and articulate, dynamic and uncolored. The midrange is truly the heart of this loudspeaker, and the listener is rewarded with a musicality from this midrange horn that is very rare in this industry, at any price.
The tweeter combines a 1″ compression driver feeding through an elliptical tractrix horn, and with a carefully tuned crossover filter, it delivers extended, smooth high frequencies that compliment the rest of this system.
The hand-wired crossover networks are located inside the top horn section, and are the result of hundreds of hours of listening and testing to achieve near-perfect integration between the system components. The networks provide many adjustments for balancing the system, if desired.
The Vittora system uses a carefully tuned Extended Low Frequency cabinet that is very different from a powered subwoofer.
Why not just use a powered subwoofer? Click here to learn more
Virtually all powered subwoofers are designed for use in home theaters. They are built to be able to extend the bass down to 20Hz and below (frequencies that are felt more than they are heard), and to also play these frequencies at the same output level as higher bass frequencies (frequencies that are heard more than they are felt). These frequency response ‘curves’ and low bass characteristics are better suited for movie sound effects than they are for integrating into a two-channel music system.
It is rare to find a two-channel music system with a powered subwoofer that is properly integrated. Typically, subwoofers in two-channel systems are very much calling attention to themselves as separate pieces of the system. As your attention is drawn towards the separate low bass, so too is your attention drawn away from the music.
. . . . and that’s not good enough.
The Extended Low-frequency (ELF) cabinet of the Vittora system is not like a powered subwoofer at all. The ELF cabinet handles frequencies below 50Hz with a massive 18″ driver in a very carefully tuned bass-reflex cabinet.
The tuning is purposeful and unique.
Low bass from the ELF cabinet is fast, and can keep up with the speed of the bass from the Vittora bass horn.
The ELF cabinet is musical, and never draws attention to itself separately from the rest of the system.
The low bass from the ELF cabinets sounds as though it is coming from the main Vittora speakers.
The frequency ‘curve’ and output characteristics of the low bass from the ELF cabinet perfectly integrates with the bass from the Vittora bass horn.
The end result is low bass with all the speed and effortless dynamics that you can only get in a horn loudspeaker, and no other horn loudspeaker on the market extends as low and does so in such a musically integrated way.
The MB42 has 300 watts of power and a very nice analogue, 24db slope crossover network built in. Over the years it has proven a reliable and capable component match to the ELF cabinet. The cost is $2,900 purchased directly through Volti Audio.
Vittora System Capabilities
Frequency response of the Vittora System is 25Hz – 20Khz (main speakers 50Hz – 20Khz and the ELF cabinet 25Hz – 50Hz. What is interesting here is the design of the system, utilizing a bass horn that extends to 50Hz, and a separately powered cabinet that handles the last octave below that. The end result is a system that sounds like it is fully horn-loaded down to 25Hz, but in a much smaller package than it would be if there was a 25Hz folded horn.
Sensitivity is 104db 1W/1M and power handling is 200 watts continuous. We don’t know of another speaker on the market with such a combination of sensitivity and power handling. The Vittora system is capable of whisper detail at one-one hundredth of a watt, and thundering power at 200 watts, capabilities that are very unique indeed.