Le Vivid K1 elette Loudspeaker dell’anno

Come da tradizione l’autorevole rivista Stereophile nel suo numero di dicembre premia i prodotti più interessanti e meritevoli dell’anno in corso.
Per il 2012 il prestigioso riconoscimento di “Loudspeaker of the year” è andato alle Vivid Audio K1.
Vi lasciamo con alcune delle impressioni tratte da un articolo apparso su Stereophile lo scorso 10 ottobre:

“I’ve had Vivid Audio’s Oval K1 loudspeaker here for several months. Over many years, the only other speaker brands I’ve written about as much as I have Vivid have been Wilson Benesch and Shahinian Acoustics, whose speakers I still revere and can recommend without reservation—to the right listener. But Vivid’s high-tech sorcery has raised the bar. The Vivids I’ve had here are among the best loudspeakers I’ve ever heard, and that’s a consensus that seems headed in the direction of critical mass.

vivid_audio_k1Vivid’s designer, Laurence Dickie, is an alumnus of another British speaker manufacturer, Bowers & Wilkins, and was the chief designer of B&W’s flagship model, the Nautilus. Dickie’s designs for Vivid aim to achieve extraordinary performance by minimizing cabinet resonances and diffraction through the use of unique cabinet shapes and high-tech materials and fabrication techniques. He also aims to achieve uncolored, distortion-free sound by making all drivers from the same proprietary alloy, and by keeping driver behavior as pistonic as possible through careful driver and crossover design. (For more details of Vivid’s backstory, see Wes Phillips’s review of Vivid’s range-topping Giya G1 in the July 2010 Stereophile, and my coverage of their entry-level Oval V1.5 in my October 2010 column)
I was curious as to what Vivid would offer in the model above the wonderful Oval B1, which John Atkinson extensively reviewed and measured in the October 2011 issue. The B1 costs $15,000/pair, the K1 $25,000/pair. The only apparent differences are that the K1 has two woofers each on its front and rear panels (the B1 has single woofers fore and aft), and its cabinet extends lower to accommodate them. Correspondingly, the K1′s integral pedestal is shorter than the B1′s, its cabinet taller. The two models have identical tweeter and midrange drivers.
I expected to report that the K1 is just like the B1, but with more bass. While that’s true as far as it goes, it’s less than the whole story. I was taken aback by how much more I liked the K1′s midrange than the B1′s—and I liked the B1′s midrange a lot.
One track I’ve listened to often over the past 25 years when evaluating equipment but don’t believe I’ve mentioned in print—perhaps because it begins well, then suffers from overproduction—is the poignant ballad “Arrow,” from Cheryl Wheeler’s eponymous debut album (LP/CD, North Star W0001), in which she expresses the wish “to give myself as truly as an arrow flies / In windless skies.” Very nice.

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