Acapella Triolon Excalibur speakers at RMAF 2007

Does anyone else care to comment on the sound of the Acapella Triolon Excalibur $170,500.00 per pair speakers? This is Brian Ackerman's, of Aaudio Imports full $600K, personal reference system. I have heard the Acapella Triolon Excalibur's driven by Audionet AMP's in Shanghai and felt that they were underachievers and a complete disappointment for their asking price. It sounds like Gawdbless was equally disappointed with them, especially considering their asking price but I would like to hear from others who have had a chance to hear them at the Rocky Mountain AudioFest show to get their impression and to see if they would drop $600K for the Aaudio Imports/Brian Ackerman "reference" system yet alone $170.5K for the Acapella Triolon Excalibur speakers. I await the opinion of those of you at the show who have heard this "Mega" DOLLAR system to see if it does indeed deliver the $600K goods or if it's more about "Pride of Ownership" than substance. Let us know your thoughts show goers. At least one show reporter has substantiated my original listening impressions. What did the rest of you guys hear from the Acapella Triolon Excalibur speakers and the sound of the complete Brian Ackerman/Aaudio Imports reference system at RMAF 2007????
Because of illness I was not able to attend the show,however I just got off the phone with my audiophile buddy, who I believe has great ears and great taste, he thought the Triolon's sounded great in Brian's system.

Now, if you are asking are the Triolons worth the extra $160,000 compared to my friend's Apogee's, that is another totally different question, then if they offer reference level performance.
Thanks for the feedback Teajay. Could you ask your friend if he found the presentation of the Acapella Triolons, and Brian's system as a whole, "Dynamic" as in the case of "real" music in a live venue? What kind of music was being played? Was it Chamber music or more complex, multi-instruments and/or modern popular music?
The Apogees at the show had one of the (If not the) sweetest mid-range to my ears, but seemed a little bass shy. I would've liked to have spend lots more time In the Triolons room and to have played some of my own cd's. I think I may cleared the room If I asked him If he would play the 'Stolen babies' cd.
lol. I mentioned Violins sounded really nice, but I forgot to mention that the female voice being played sounded nice to my ears also, although I do not know the cd or singer. I regret not asking him to play the Cecilia Bartoli cd I took, but he seemed like he was really busy and the room was rather full (understandably) with fellow hi-fi lovers.
According to Cathode:
"Underwhelmed by the MBL / Kharma room and the Acapella / Einstein room. Both had quite good sound, but when you consider the price, I was unimpressed. And both setups were in suitably large rooms and well-treated, leaving little room for the 'show conditions are difficult' defense."

This opinion/show report again substantiated my original listening impressions.

I want to hear from others. At the asking price for these speakers there just isn't ANY room for error.

Would anybody who attended the show and listen to the Acapella Triolon Excalibur demo drop $170,500.00 for these speakers for any reason other than "Pride of Ownership" exclusivity?

would anyone drop $170,500 for [the Acapella] speakers?

Given the underwhelming reviews from unbiased sources, to ask the question is to answer it.
Let me begin by saying that I own a pair of the Acapella Triolons which replaced a pair of Campanile Highs which I owned for about 5 years and I have had the opportunity to hear the Triolons in two other set-ups, my home and Audio Federation. I have already posted lengthy comments about what the speakers sounded like in both set-ups. More importantly, I have been able to hear the speakers with a number of partnering amplifiers, from very low powered SET's like the Lamm and Audio Note to high powered transister amps like the Edge Reference and the Parasound JC-1's and the Campanile Highs with an FM Acoustics 411. Each sounded different and each emphasized certain aspects of the speakers' performance. The comments that follow are in two parts: (i) context around the sound of the speakers at the RMAF, which some will dismiss as making excuses, and (ii)what the speakers actually sounded like at the RMAF, at least in my opinion, focusing on the sound Thursday night and Friday vs the sound Saturday afternoon and Sunday.

The Triolons are handbuilt after an order is actually submitted to the factory and it takes 4-6 months for the factory to build and ship a pair. The pair of Triolons at RMAF belonged to the importer and have seen about a month of actual play. Although this has little effect on the horns and plasma drivers, it does have a significant effect on the 4-10" SEAS drivers in each cabinet which require an extended break-in period. In the case of my Campaniles, this took about six months of playing them two or three hours per day almost every day. Prior to break-in the bass was somewhat loose and lacked the last bit of extension and dynamics, particularly at the loud end of the spectrum.

Many of you will remember the room used at RMAF for the Triolons as one that in the past was used for the VR-9's and the Evolutions last year. The room itself has problems particularly in the bass. The room this year did have significant sonic treatment by Golden Acoustics; however, there are limits to what can be accomplished in a day and with limited treatment modules. This year was clearly the best that the room has sounded by a large degree acoustically. In comparison to the room at the importer's home which has seen about $30k of custom treatment designed specifically for that room, the room at RMAF did not compare (3% wall treated vs 13%). The drop in ceiling at the hotel is also a significant problem which the rooms on floors above the first floor did not have to contend with. Note that the review of the Triolons by Constantine Soo of Dagogo was at the importer's home. AC power at the show was also variable, but generally bad to horrible. Finally, the Triolons are a strange load for an amp. I have heard magical things from them with the right SET (ML2.1's and Kegons) and also with the right high power solid state amps, but they reveal the limitations of many amps of both types.

Now, on to what I heard. There were two Acapella set-ups at RMAF, High Campaniles driven with the FM Acoustics 411 and the Triolons driven with two pairs of Einstein 60 watt OTL's. Both speakers share the same woofers in very similar boxes. The Triolons are marginally more efficient but have the same impedance curve as the Campaniles, essentially 4 ohms from about 36 hz to 40k hz but with a very narrow impedance spike around 28 hz of 30 ohms. On Friday, the Triolons sounded good from the upper bass through the lower highs, but something was definitely amiss in the bass and the upper top end was missing some of the extension and clarity that is so characteristic of the plasma tweeters. Female voices and stringed instruments sounded particularly good. Image size was believable but focus was a bit soft as was attack. At this same point, the Campaniles next door were also a mixed bag. Note that the Campaniles were a 5 year old pair that had been thoroughly broken-in. The Campaniles were creating excellent bass with incredible attack. They were also extremely clean and extended at the top. What they lacked on Friday was a believeable, fully fleshed out midrange. Things began to change dramatically on Saturday for both set-ups. In particular, the Campaniles began to exhibit a much more balanced midrange and a sweeter top end while retaining the speed, precision and control in the bass and incredible dynamics. Likewise, the Triolons began to exhibit better control of the bass and the bass began to sound more coherent with the other drivers, more of a whole cloth. By Saturday late afternoon, both the Campaniles and the Triolons were sounding very good and given ones personal preferences, one might have chosen either over the other. Sunday morning was a different story, one that favored the Triolons by a significant margin. The bass had reached a point where it was nicely controlled but very natural and organic and now sounded coherent with the other drivers and the top end was extended and sweet in the way that live unamplified music is. The Campaniles driven by the FM Acoustics amp remained tighter and better controlled, also more dynamic but they never sounded quite real in the way that the bass of the Triolons sounded. The midrange of the Campaniles had also continued to improve but never raeched the levels of the Triolons driven by the Einstein OTL's, just as its top end never seemed to have the sweetness of the Triolons driven by tubes. Were the Triolons perfect by Sunday? Not really, but they were damn good and by a considerable margin the best system that I heard at the show. The Triolons are a speaker that is capable of magic in the right system, but this requires a great deal of care and the right room and associated equipment. I have never heard the Triolons in the importer's acoustically optimized room but have no reason to doubt that they are anything but magical. Have I achieved magic with my Triolons in my home? Not yet, but there have been ocassional glimpses and I hope to get there in the near future with a little help from my friends.

You were not the only one who thought that they heard the Acapella Triolon's sound good at RMAF 2007. MGH at Audio Asylum reported:

" Acapella Triolon Excaliber: The best sound at the show. Dynamics, nuance, imaging, staging, transparency, timbre, coherence, bass extension etc. were all there in spades. Coherence was first rate which is surprising given all the different types of drivers involved - ion tweeters, horns, and conventional cone subwoofer towers. They played a recording of a duet on Steinways that was just amazing - the weight of the pianos were very convincing. Big band music was alive and there with ripping brass section. Only $170k ;-). Oh, BTW they were fed by all Einstein tube electronics costing $100k plus. In most shows, these megabuck systems just sound like crap, but this was the exception."

I will not dispute what you, Ryan (A.K.A. Rhyno), Constantine Soo and MGH heard from the Acapella Triolon's. I know that what I heard in Shanghai was disappointing, not even considering the $170.5K asking price.

The only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that we all have different references as to what "Accurate Sound Reproduction" is.
I am Teajay's friend who heard the Acapella speakers. I would like to first say that I have never heard these speakers prior to this weekend. My preferences in music are classical and jazz in that order.

I thought both of the systems were very good. I knew the larger Acapella's price but had no idea that the entire system was 600K and find this shocking. While the one Pavarotti track I heard was sublime on the Triolons, the rest of the music was also very good. I also heard the high Campaniles and found them equally as impressive as their larger siblings. I was happy to finally hear the FM acoustics amp and preamp and they seemed to have a better grip on the speaker. I think I could have been just as happy with the smaller speaker at only 89K and the FM acoustics electronics at about 85K and add your own front end and cables. My thoughts were after spending about 20 minutes in each room and they are not conclusive at all.

I must say that I also enjoyed the MBL room when they finally would turn down the music. On some tracks, the music was driven to insane levels and I had to leave the room. I must say that the MBL's do some things so differently in the imaging department that I felt I was part of the live event. I kept wondering if their imaging would wear thin in the long run. They played the same Pavoratti track that I heard on the Triolons and it definitely sounded more real on the Triolons. On other music, the MBL was simply amazing. My initial conclusion was that I would would love to own these speakers but that again was only after about 20 minutes. It would be a lot of fun to have about 250K burning a hole in my pocket to have to decide between the smaller Acapella system and the MBL System. Other choices with that 250K could be a Ferrari or a nice boat or even a house! Decisions Decisions!

A previous poster to this thread found the Apogees at the show lacking in bass. As a refurbished Apogee Scintilla owner(using the same Australian ribbons), I agree with that statement. I don't think the room was nearly large enough to allow the speaker to sing. I have my Scintillas 6 feet from the back wall! The Scintillas to many audiophiles have sufficient bass for the classical and jazz that I listen to. I must say that I found Fcrowder's post quite interesting from someone who is quite intimate with both of the Acapellas. My report was really a first glance from an admiring audiophile. Bob
I've heard an earlier Acapella model - I believe the Campanile(with plasma tweeter and horn) at a fellow goner's home when he was doing a Galibier turntable setup for me

very impressed with the presentation
natural, full bodied, very engaging
the horn had interesting imaging without any shrillness normally associated with a horn

he was in the process of getting his Triolon model but they had not arrived yet

it was a very nice evening listening to a cost no object system Einstein electronics, galibier table

these speakers fully filled the room
very impressive
I listened to both the Triolons and Campaniles on Friday and twice on Sunday. On Friday the Triolons sounded good, but not quite as impressive as when I heard them in a personal setup in Norway a few years ago. The tonality was very lifelike with amazing transparency, but the bass seemed overblown, slightly loose and lacking in dynamics. As Fcrowder said it is possible that the woofers were still breaking in, but I would be more inclined to think that the Einstein OTLs were just not capable of providing strong enough grip on the four 10" woofers. The Campaniles in the other room were driven by an FM Acoustics solid state amp and the sound was much more dynamic and alive. When I came back for another listen on Sunday afternoon, for whatever reason the Triolons sounded much better, in fact what I heard was simply breathtaking! The bass was still loose but I got so involved in music that it didn't bother me anymore. I really can't think of a better loudspeaker system for huge spaces.

Based on what I was told by Acapella's Hermann Winters, the smaller Violons are identical to the Triolons from 800Hz up as they use the same crossover components, midrange driver and the amazing plasma tweeter. I heard them on several occasions and other then the MBL 101Es they remain my favorite speakers for a more typical listening room.
Mark xiii- it doesn't sound as if our listening impressions are that different. In comparing the construction of the Campanile Highs to the Triolons, there are many similarities but also some distinct differences. Probably the single defining difference is that the 4-10" SEAS drivers in the Campaniles cover the frequency range from 20-700hz while in the Triolons, a part of that range (170-700 hz) is covered by the new horn which employs a 12" woofer which is horn loaded. This very much changes the character of the mid bass making it faster, more dynamic and better controlled. In addition by allowing the SEAS drivers to focus on a smaller frequency range, it reduces IM distortion and improves the efficiency. The Triolon bass cabinets are somewhat larger, mainly deeper, and better damped/braced and moving the plasma tweeter from between the two sealed woofer enclosures and each side of the Campaniles seems to reduce acoustic breakthrough from the woofers from causing any smearing of the high frequencies. In general the Triolons are about 300# a side heavier than the Campaniles, most of which is in the woofer cabinets. The tweeter and smaller horn appear to be the same as you mentioned. Internally, I have no idea if there are parts changes except that the crossover must be more complex to account for the addional horn and is now divided between two enclosures. I can also say that bi-wiring or tri-wiring the speakers makes a rather significant improvement over using the jumpers provided.

Like you, I find certain things that I like about using a really good transistor amp on the speakers, particularly with respect to bass contol, bass slam, dynamics and top end extension, but am willing to sacrifice some of this and accept the somewhat looser (some would argue more acccurate bass)that is produced by the Einstein OTL's if that means that I get the top end and midrange of the OTL's. As you have heard both the Einstein OTL's and the FM Acoustics at the show and recognized their different strengths, what would your choice be for driving a set of Triolons?
Fcrowder: Having listened to different OTL amps (Joule Electra, AtmaSphere and Einstein) I would generalize that although they do so many things right, bass is simply not their forte. The Triolons need something capable of controlling their woofers, and it certainly must be a tube design as I can't think of a solid state amp that would not take away something form the midrange (although the $80K FM Acoustics amp was pretty nice...).
If I were to select a single best amp for the Triolons, my choice would be the 200 wpc 300TL transmitter tube based Amber Wave monoblocks. They were demoed in one of the rooms upstairs and I could not find a single thing that I didn't love about their sound. Bass control and dynamics better than any monster ss amp, the midrange, treble and soundstaging like the best single ended triode and at the same time an amazing transparency. All of that with a pair of $6K worth of medium sized monitors! I think that these are THE AMPS for the Triolons. All things considered, at $44K they also seem to be a "bargain" compared to two pairs of Einsteins required for the Triolons.
The Amber Wave were incredible to look at and listen to! It was like a science project that got out of control. I could only imagine my wife's reaction to these amps if I attempted to bring them into the house. They are about 3-4 feet wide! If you haven't seen them, there are pictures posted of them at the various websites that covered the fest. The only problem is that the pictures really don't convey the size of these creations. I would love to hear them on the Triolons. Maybe Fcrowder can arrange an auditon!
I would like to thank everyone who attended this years RMAF and visited our room in the Larkspur Suite. This was the first year that we displayed in this room, and as most of you know we only had 1/2 day to set up this monster system and make all the necessary adjustments.

Once the show started on Friday there were to many people coming in to fuss around, and directly after the show on Friday and Saturday night I took several people back to my home/showroom in Parker (20 miles away), for some additional listening to the new Eben speakers.

I would like to set the record straight on the complete system cost, which included a full Isoclean power system, Acapella cables, platforms and tuning weights. The total system cost was $373,000 (not $600,000). We also has an additional $20,000 worth of Golden Acoustic room treatment panels.

As some visitors have stated the system improved greatly during the show, and by the last day was singing beautifully. It's also true that these Triolons are near brand new and the woofers need several months to reach there full potential. Although the sound we had towards the end of the show was quite wonderful, I know from experience with the High Violons, that these Triolons will continue to improve for a full year.

My Triolons are back in my showroom now, and I welcome everyone to contact me for a private demo. We also have several other Acapella speakers on display, as well as several models of the new Eben speakers. Our room is professionally treated with Golden Acoustic equalizing panels.

Regards, Brian
Aaudio imports
It was nice meeting you in your room on behalf of Teajay. 400K, 600K, what's 200K among friends! Bob
I'm sorry the $600K figure came from Constantine Soo's article on your home set-up; Please reference the article enclosed below:

I guess that you only took $400K worth of gear to the show. Where did the rest, $200K worth of equipment go???? What did you leave behind at your home that added up to $200K????
Dear Bob, it was a pleasure meeting you as well. I hope to see you & Teajay at the CES show in January where I will be displaying in 4 rooms at the Venetian Hotel.

Dear Carlos, Please check the Pre-Show Coverage on Constantine Soo's website... , and you will see the total system cost was $373,000.

I have several systems set-up in my home showroom which total over 1 million. My main high-end listening room has more than One system, and Constantine was showing several other products that were not part of the main system in his list.

The Triolon system that I took to the RMAF was complete at $373,000.

Regards Brian
Okay, Thanks for the clarification.
I am glad that we have sorted out the price from a hefty $600,000 down to a mere $373,000. Now I can sleep easy at

Hey Brian I would dearly love to hear the Trilons In a more natural setting. I thought female vocals and solo violin sounded really good.
To Gawdbless, if you are ever in the Denver area I would be happy to give you a private listening session with the Triolons.

We also have dealers showing the Triolons in Texas & Florida.

Kind Regards, Brian
Hi Brian,
I am located In Colorado Springs, so Its just an hour hop for me.
To Gawdbless,

Please feel free to contact me. I would love to have you over for a listen.


Aaudio imports
4871 Raintree Drive
Parker CO. 80134

(tel) 720-851-2525
(fax) 720-851-7575