I should add that i'm looking for a replacement for my venerable Totem Acoutic Hawks.
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I listened to the contenders at The Show in Newport Beach a few weeks ago and was very impressed. They were in the Upscale Audio room. You can see the equipment they were paired with on Upscale's web site. They have some photos of the show set up. A digital source being controlled through an IPad was also being used but is not mentioned. The were playing some Jazz and at my request played PF's Comfortably Numb. To my ears the speakers handled everything that was played very well. I currently have Paradigm Studio 100 ver 2 speakers. The Contenders are on my short list of speakers for upgrading and about half the cost of anything else I have listened to that I am considering.
I was traveling las week. I stopped in a store to listen to the Nola Contenders. All I can say is I was blown away. Are you kidding? A $3400.00 speaker that sounds like this? I bought them. I have been looking for a smaller type floorstanding speaker and feel I have heard a lot of them and nothing grabbed me like these did. Good luck finding them. I got lucky. My local dealer,2 hours from my place has 5 pairs on order and they are all sold, and apparently Nola is overwhelmed with orders.Mine are being delivered from the east coast!
I replaced my Focal Scala Utopia. I did not want to sell them but the size of my music room is now smaller thanks to our new economy. They were tough shoes to fill. The Nola Contender IMHO is going to be very tough to beat. I cant wait for them to get here! The cool thing is I will feel no sense of loss. I have heard alot of great speakers in the size and price on my hunt for the perfect speaker for me. Nothing sounded amazing until I heard the Nolas!
I will post a short review after arrival.
Please throw away all your reviews of speakers and go listen to them. My equipment includes:
MBL 6010d Pre
Audio Research PH7 phonostage(changed all the tubes
rogue M-180 monos(Amazing for any price!)changed input tubes
VPI Classic with AirTight PC-1 cartridge
Nordost Valhalla everywhere
Shunyata Power and Cords
Congratulations on the purchase. It would be something special indeed if the Contenders could fill the shoes of the Focal's. I have already listened to the Contenders once but they were not fully broken in and the bass was not as extended as Id like. The manufacturer does not provide any reference points for its frequency response specification so one doesn't really know from paper what potential exists and whether the manufacturer is exaggerating claims. I will be going back for another listen soon. In the meantime I eagerly await your short review - one which I won't be throwing away :-)
Oh, and one other observation before I shut up, the designer believes these speakers don't need toe in due to the wide dispersion characteristics of the tweeter. In the context of my system and room I most respectively disagree. Some toe in further enhances the soundstage depth and instrument localisation, which was already good with the speakers firing straight down the room.
I had a chance to listen to these this week. I was pretty
excited after all the good press I'd read. They were in a
room directly next to a pair of Focal Aria speakers of a
similar price (I hadn't head either speaker at that point).
The salesman threw on the Focals first...Sounded pretty good
(both speakers were being fed by the sames source
components: an iPod dock and McIntosh integrated amp; no
fancy cabling). Then, I asked to hear the Nolas and man, I
was totally disappointed. Compared to the Focals, they Nolas
were flat-no life, and they didn't image particularly well.
They reminded me a lot of the Acoustic Zen Addagios I heard
years back (another disappointment-placed next to Dali
Helicons which put the Zens to shame). Compared to my
current speakers, the Monitor Audio RX6 (and a Monitor Audio
sub woofer on occasion), I didn't feel that either the Focal
or Nola was worth three times the RX6's price.
Nolas flat? No life?!? Not the Nolas I've known and loved, and that includes 6 different models, including the Contenders. BUT.
The earlier Contenders and the newer Contenders sound as though the tweeter is voiced differently. The earlier ones were brighter-sounding, something that, if you read John Atkinson's measurements in Stereophile when they reviewed them, is clear. He found a slight brightness around 9kHz: That would certainly give more life to the sound if not matched with something else bright. I remember playing the Supremes Anthology album when the first pair I bought arrived: for the only time in my (audio) life, I could not listen to that album. Bright??? No, it was BRIGHT!!! As it turns out, listening to the album 14 months later, it was the combination of the Nolas and the new Nordost Frey 2 that caused this effect, but even after the Nordost fully broke in (nearly 30 days later [no exaggeration], the Contenders had a heightened treble, evident if you listened to any Ella Fitzgerald CDs, where every single breath she took was audible - easily audible at that.
The newer Conteders are more balanced in the treble, but are "quieter" with solid state than with tubes (and Nola never, EVER shows at shows with solid state. ONLY tubes).
But flat, as in two dimensional? That's not Nola's "sound." They - all the models ever reviewed (and, again, I own six different models) - are all fully three dimensional with outstanding low-level detail. I don't know what was going on there, but it wasn't the speakers problem. I can get mine to sound "flat," but only due to placement in the room.
Music lovers/audiophiles, looking for input. Considering a speaker upgrade to full range, floorstanders. Current analog system setup - recent full upgrade to Jolida JD 202 intergated amp. (40 watts), VPI Scout w JM 9 arm, Benz Mirco L2 cart, Tyler Acoustic Reference Monitors, ACI Force sub, Jolida JD 100 CD player. Have enjoyed current system for 15+ yrs. COVID and my location presents a challenge to auditioning. Based on articles and reviews narrowed considerartion to Salk Songbird3 BeAT, GoldenEar Triton One R, Nola Contender S3. Refined to GoldenEar and Nola speakers. Seems GoldenEar may be the easiest for place in room. Reviews show them to share simular sound charateristics. Alternative option: switch out ACI Force for two Rythmik F12G subs, upgrade phono pre-amp and call it a day.
Listening room - 12' X 30' (configuration - odd shaped third floor (has window well, with narrow 6 ft. hallway to steps w/ separate room by steps). Favorite genries: Jazz and R&B, however, love music (1500 LP's). Probably last system change, looking at retirement with more time to enjoy my music. Appreciate the input.
You might want to create a new post as this one is 20 years old, but to address your question I’d put the LSA-20 Statements or Signatures high on my list as they go down to 25Hz and will probably fare fine with your amp as long as you don’t frequently crank bass-heavy music. They are available here on sale by the manufacturer and offer a very welcome (especially these days) 30-day trial period. The Raven CeLest would be another to give a good look. Best of luck.
Thanks soix for the recommendation and input. Created a new post as suggested. Funny, I've spoken with Wally and he indicated either will work with my curent system. Also considered Raven CeLest and Blackahwk before upgrading my Jolida 202. Will rethink to include CeLest and LSA. Are you familiar with the sound of the Contender S3, reviews I found were raves? Spoke with a dealer who will sale a new pair for $5500 shippped ($6900 Sugg. Retail). It appears you consider the LSA the better performance/value buy? or is it the 30 & 45 day trial period that makes them a better consideration?
I’m actually a big Nola fan, and though I haven’t heard the Contender I’ve no doubt it’s a great sounding speaker. I will say that I think the LSA is a better overall value since it’s sold direct, and that’s the direction I’d go. But I’m also swayed by the fact that the new LSA speakers benchmarked Joseph Audio, which are my favorite speakers, in their development so I’m admittedly a bit biased. FWIW...
I appreciate your honest straight forward recommendations. Value/performance equipment, hidden gems and start-up companies with talented craftsmen who love music and want to provide superior performing audio equipment at prices "we mere mortals" can afford is how I put together my current system. thank you for leading me in that direction. its never about brands and brading but how well the equipment renders muscial enjoyment. I don't listen as often as I'd like but when I do its usually 4-5 hours at a time and at times back to back days.
That being said, you seem to suggest LSA will provide a sonic character and enjoyment simular to that of the Nola's at a savings of $2000 dollars. That being the case, I be crazy not to try LSA. Especially since I considered them earlier in this journey and have spoken with Walter before I upgraded my Jolida amp. 20 Statement vs 20 Signature, what does the current $1200 dollar differnce in the two transducers price offering provide clarity and detail retrival aprticularly in the low bass range. One last quiry - Taylo Reference Monitors received high praise when introduced, I spoke with Ty Lashbrook on several ocassions before purchasing them, wouldn't adding two highly regarded subs bring them to the same full range sound as the floorstanders under consideration. Or is it about the crossover and coherence of the sound coming from a transducer housed in the same cabinet? Thanks again for your input and time.
wouldn't adding two highly regarded subs bring them to the same full range sound as the floorstanders under consideration. Or is it about the crossover and coherence of the sound coming from a transducer housed in the same cabinet?This is only my opinion FWIW, but I’d say no to the first and yes to the second. Adding two subs to your Tylers would yield substantially better bass that the LSAs can produce and probably do nice things expanding your soundstage as well. And if LSA succeeded in capturing some of the magic of the Joseph Audio crossover, and it seems like maybe they have from what I’ve read in the reviews, then that benefit you’d only get with the LSAs. I know Tyler makes very good speakers so if you’re happy with their sound there’s a very good argument to be made to just add a couple good subs.
I guess if I was you and just to be sure I’d try a pair of the LSAs and chalk the 10% restocking fee (if you return them) up to getting better peace of mind you made the right choice. It’s really the only way to know for sure. I tend to doubt the Statements are all that much better than the Signatures, but it’s also not like the Statements are all that expensive at their sale price. Anyway, that’s all I got and hope it helps somewhat.