They look fantastic though.
I have the original Alura, which was before the midrange horn was made vertical . Looks a lot like a Klipsch, but on steroids. Sounds great with Low powered amps, or powerful amps. I have upgraded all components to current model, as Greg has made some big upgrades since the original . Beautiful woodwork .
Love to get home from a stressful day and listen to them! As long as I own a room large enough to accommodate them, they will stay.
I do have to say they are horns, and you can locate the tweeters while listening to some music. Dispersion not as wide as other tweeters. I have mine set up on a short wall, but Greg sets his up on the long wall.
Vittorias are supposed to be on another level.
I had a pair a pair of Crites Cornscalas. Not what you're looking for.
I pretty much gutted the speaker except the woofer, and ordered Volti's K-Horn upgrade kit which includes the Beyma 4592, Beyma CP25 tweeters and K-Horn V-Track Horn, internal wiring with Supra cables, Cardas binding posts and mounted it atop the Cornscala cabinet. Xover from Aletheia Audio.
Not pretty but sounds great to me.
I now have the midrange and tweeter of a Volti and the bass of a Cornwall.
Have Crites build you a speaker cabinet, order the above upgrades and add a subwoofer if you like and voila! Poor man's Vittora. :^)
I have heard the Vittoras at audio shows several times, with and without subwoofers, and always came away favorably impressed. The woodwork to my eyes seems excellent, as noted above. I'm a horn person. I seriously considered the Vittoras myself. Greg strikes me as knowledgeable, helpful and friendly.
As an alternative horn style, with reasonable pricing, take a look at Charney Audio, New Jersey. Note: I am a customer and acquaintance, so I am favorably biased, but with good reason.
I spent some time listening to the Vittorias at RMAF a number of years ago. I think the room got best sound that year paired with Border Patrol amplification. I had an issue with the room however, so one of those long and narrow hotel rooms with the speakers on the long wall and near the corners. I don't think I was even ten feet from the front wall with my back against the rear wall. The presentation was extremely open, airy, and surrounded me as if I was inside of a pair of headphones. That's how I remember it, but it made me wonder what the sound would be like in a more normal listening environment.
Listened to them at the 2015 NY Audio Show paired with a Vinne Rossi Lio, Palmer TT, and Vinnie Rossi Amp. Clean and clear at high volume but lacked the emotional involvement I look for. They didn't draw me into the music, just presented it in a "matter of fact" way.
I second the Charney recommendation for and involving horn that plays music not just sounds! AFAIK Charney will be at the 2017 Capital Audiofest.
Disclaimer: I have known Charney since '05 (bought a used Dac from him) and own a pair of his creations.
I would love to hear the Simon Mears Uccello speaker (10,500 UK Sterling) which similar(ish) to the Vittoria.
I imagine they sound in a ballpark not all too different. Still, they use different drivers, cross-overs and horns, and likely they are voiced differently as well. To my knowledge the folded bass horn of the Uccello's is only very slightly modified from its original Klipsch Belle state, whereas the bass horn of the Vittora's has seen a more extensive "make-over" by Mr. Roberts compared to their La Scala origins, which I'm told also leads to them digging a bit deeper in the bass region (perhaps at the expense of ultimate speed or "sharpness"). Conversely, more or less, Mr. Mears is particularly sensitive towards coherency, which is exemplified through his choice of midrange driver; the B&C unit used in the Uccello's apparently is more at ease in its lower frequency spectrum compared to the BMS 4592 used in the Vittora's (a driver among many others Mr. Mears tried out), which is one of the reasons why he opted for the Italian B&C (Mr. Roberts on the other hand seemed to favor "a bit more detailed" BMS sound). If I had to guess the sound of the Vittora's may be a bit more full-range, relatively speaking, whereas the Uccello's sees a perhaps livelier upper/lower mids and warmer midrange overall. I gather the Vittora's could be a more popular choice among audiophiles in general with a bit of "hifi-inkling" to their character (Mr. Roberts has sought to electrically tame the upper bass/lower mids, I believe), where the Uccello's may in a sense be a more "purist" or even vintage approach to horn sound. Please take my assessments on this with a grain (or teaspoon) of salt, as I haven't laid ears on the Vittora's. From a pure experience standpoint I can only encourage you to give the Uccello's a listen. They are marvelously musical and dynamic speakers, and Mr. Mears is one fine and humble fellow.
That is interesting! The first big upgrade I did was replace the B&C 2" horn driver with the BMS 4592. Greg Roberts used the B&C ×××50 at the beginning but changed later.
Interesting assessment, and one I believe must depend on the specific horn used in conjunction with the driver + cross-over (added to personal taste). Going by my own impressions of the midrange through the Uccello’s "colored" is not what comes to my mind of its sonic imprinting, but rather I find it sounds relatively natural; indeed the combination here of substance and tone with insight and detail is what gives it a very authentic feel, to my ears. I haven’t heard the BMS 4592 in any configuration, so that leaves room for "evaluative breadth" on my part. I believe Mr. Roberts himself described the B&C unit as a bit warmer sounding compared to the BMS which, depending on who you’re asking, could mean things like more colored and/or less detailed, or conversely even more natural and relaxed? I found Roberts to sound less emphatic on his preference between the two, but of course as we know he favors the BMS. It would be interesting to pair the BMS driver with the specific midrange horn used in the Uccello’s (with a different cross-over), and see how that turns out to ones own ears.
Yes, implementation is the key. I did not mean to imply the Uccello was colored, just that the Volti with the BMS was better, to my ears.
I also read where one person, when changing from B&C to BMS, on the Volti, sent the BMS back, because he did not like the sound.
That's why I find it interesting.
I've heard both the Vittora (at Greg's Maine shop, before he moved to his purpose-built headquarters in Tennessee), and the Rival at AXPONA this spring. Both are terrific, much less colored than Klipsch (haven't heard the Crites modifications, though Greg spoke highly of them). The Rivals offer great value for money, and you can get resistors hard wired in specially for your amplifier. They are on the back of the speaker and can be changed if needed without going into the rest of the crossover. Cabinetry is nice but hardly Sonus Faber class. You can choose the wood veneer and grille fabric you like; Greg is happy to advise. He's a nice guy, and really understands what he's doing.
Greg Roberts of Volti is a straight shooter....tells the facts. Likewise Gary Dews of Border Patrol mirrors likewise. I have never heard the speakers outside a Hotel room but they put you at the performance in those crappy rooms so my guess it gets much better with an acoustically treated room.
I owned Gary Dews BP amp. fully loaded 300B driving some past owned Edgarhorns and can tell you they would make a lot of speakers sing. Your amplifiers of choice would have to be very quiet and special to get what you paid from the Voltis but is true with most all speakers. Also would guess the imaging would be my question in a larger room. Would want to hear them in a better environment than the show before I would drop the cash if it were me.
There are plenty of Interesting points here regarding the mid range preferred by Uccello and Vittora going different ways.I would love to and will one day trot off to the UK give the Uccello a listen. Its great that there are small companies keeping the horn flag flying as despite all the anomalies and serious quirks horns, like our ears are the best for music, my opinion, naturally. Wonder if Uccello will ever come to the US to a show or find a distributor, such as High Water Sound? Why not try a bigger mid range cone and larger flare rather than a 2" mid range cone? which seems to be the vogue. Cost maybe?
I normally don't post but have to chime in on this thread. I'm stilling laughing from the previous post about "prying them from his cold dead hands". I have used that exact same wording in talking to Greg at Volti. I have the Alura's and absolutely love them. I first heard the Vittora's at Axpona and fell in love but quickly realized that they would not fit in my 13'x13' room and more importantly I couldn't afford them. But they sounded great! So Greg suggested I go hear the Alura's in another room. So I did. And bought the speakers at the show.
Since my room is small it took some dialing in of the bass (these things do bass!) and lots of moving of the speakers. And these things are heavy so it was a chore. But I regret none of it. I love these speakers.
I travel A LOT and have visited lots of high end audio stores so I get to hear lots of speakers. I have heard nothing that comes close to making me want to change. And I've listened to very high end speakers.
Greg is first class to work with. I can certainly recommend Volti.
There are plenty of Interesting points here regarding the mid range preferred by Uccello and Vittora going different ways.
The devil's in the detail ;)
I would love to and will one day trot off to the UK give the Uccello a listen.
The Uccello’s are build to order, and as is Mr. Mears has a waiting list and will concentrate on current orders until taking new ones. I know that he recently sold his own (first-build) pair of Uccello’s to a fellow in the UK, so maybe he could assist with an audition arranged through Mr. Mears. Should you venture to Denmark I’ll gladly give you a demo of my Uccello’s (with or without the aid of subwoofer, at your choosing) :)
Its great that there are small companies keeping the horn flag flying as despite all the anomalies and serious quirks horns, like our ears are the best for music, my opinion, naturally.
I wholeheartedly agree. Meeting the speaker builder himself with no middlemen is a treasure if one cherishes being confronted with the true passion - insofar this is embraced by the man himself :) I read of the Uccello’s online by some mere chance (actually my initial interest was in Mr. Mears’ rebuild of the Tannoy Autograph cornerhorns), mailed Simon, then called him and arranged for an audition at his place in Brighton, UK. I then ordered the Uccello’s, waited some 3 months until they were finished, and picked them up by myself (with the help of a friend) after a long van-drive to Brighton and back (we wanted to avoid any freight companies for specific reasons). All the while my speakers were made I was sent pictures and had a continuing correspondence with Mr. Mears on design options, the process, etc. (others would simply order the speakers, and not be heard from until their pair of speakers were finished - whatever one chooses here). Having been fortunate to acquire the Uccello’s and experience the whole process of their making (and beyond) is something I’m grateful for.
Properly designed and implemented horns offer something quite unique, to my mind as well. Coming about this could be a many-pages long post in itself..
Wonder if Uccello will ever come to the US to a show or find a distributor, such as High Water Sound?
This will not be the case, I’m told. A distributor would also send the retail price north of its current listing with a significant margin, which Mr. Mears has no interest in.
Why not try a bigger mid range cone and larger flare rather than a 2" mid range cone? which seems to be the vogue. Cost maybe?
Bear in mind that the Uccello’s midrange driver sports a 5" diaphragm (with a 2" exit), which to my knowledge is larger than any known midrange compression in production today (expect of course its design origin and inspiration, the RCA MI1428 field coil unit). A larger horn would be easily attainable, but then of course be a different design than the Uccello’s.
I’m new to horn speakers and your post is truly educational for me. Thank You! A trip to Brighton and a meeting with Mr. Mears would be a really nice add on to a future planned Vincent Brient and ~ Mont Saint-Michel meeting.
And thank you :) I have edited out a section of my post above, as I found it too closely to give insight into Mr. Mears’ doings. That part of the comment is now more oblique, shall we say..
I can only encourage you to seek out a Brighton trip on your tour.
Back to Volti speakers.
I've owned the Alura for over three years. I consider them my end-game speakers. Why? They are both delicate and forceful. Refined with a touch of overtness. They have a "liveness" that I'm, to this day, surprised and appreciate - without a trace of any horn signature.
I run them with a BorderPatrol amp, which I believe is the best match. Easy to drive. Abundant head-room. Presentation skews to however the recoding was made - front row, closely miked, diffuse live recordings, etc.
I can tell you I feel very fortunate to have run into Greg Roberts at AXPONA - a great guy and artisan...and also, Gary Dews of BorderPatrol.
You can see my setup at my Virtual System - "Neo Vintage". If you have any questions, feel free to post on the listing.