Report: Rockport Mira Monitors and VT100 mkIII

Well, finally had a listening session on the speakers I bought last winter (

Three guys (the wives just laughed at us) did the listening. One is an audio buff, the other is a musician.

River of Dreams by Billy Joel
- - this was used mainly for soundstage
Bach: Invention #1 by Glen Gould
- - this was used both for the simple sound of a piano and because the pianist hums and speaks very softly to himself during the performance.
When You Say Nothing At All from the Notting Hill Soundtrack
- - simple sound of guitar and the singer does interesting things with how he articulates that some speakers brought out better than others.
Maria Maria from Santana's Supernatural
- - this has some good bass in which both a bass drum and a bass guitar are played together. I asked the guys how well they could discern sounds of the plucking of the string and the beating of the drum.
Uptownship from Hugh Masekela's Hope
- - listened for the character of the drums, trumpet, as well as soundstage.


MacBook Pro using Apple Lossless.
Optical into Monarchy DIP balanced digital into Monarchy 33
Balanced interconnects between Preamp and Amp.

- Sunfire Cinema Grand
- vs -
- Audio Research VT-100 MKIII

- Martin Logan Aeon
- vs -
- Klipsch KG1
- vs -
- Rockport Mira Monitor

- My listening room needed a little work; we took pillows from the couch and lined the walls behind the speakers. We tried to match for volume, but I didn't have a meter.

I did the switching, so the other two guys did not know which speaker or amp they were listening to.
With both amps there was silence with the preamp cranked 3/4 of the way up.

I asked the guys to make notes about three things: Soundstage, various things that they heard or didn't hear, and how they liked the sound of the voices and music.
I also asked them to guess which speaker and amp they were listening to.

The discerning of the bass drum from the bass guitar was poorest on the MLs. We pretty much agreed that these bass beats were blurred into a deep but vague thuddd. The Klipsch and the Rockports were pretty close on this, but the Rockports were clearer.

On the quality / details of voices and on soundstage the MLs ranked equal with the Klipsch and the Rockports. But on all other measures, they came short.

I preferred the VT100III. (I did the hooking up - was I biased?) I noted that both the piano and the trumpet seemed to have an annoying shrill on the Sunfire that was smoother and pleasant with the VT100III.

I preferred the Rockports but I have to admit that the sound of the Klipsch was surprisingly close.

I didn't ask them to, but the musician ranked the setups. He had this preference:
1. Rockports with Sunfire.
2. Klipsch with Sunfire.
3. Klipsch with VT-100III
4. Rockports with VT-100III.
5. ML with VT-100III
6. ML with Sunfire.

The MLs were the worst on bass. These have the largest bass driver and are the only one marketed as a full range speaker. (MLs: 43-22k, Rock 45-20k, Klips: 50-20k). I went into the test expecting the bass in the MLs to be the best.

The Kipsch KG1s performed remarkably well considering that they cost 1/30th to 1/50th of what the Rockports do.
So are you going to get rid of the Rodkport's and stay with the Klipsch speakers?
I do think I liked the Rockports better than the KG1s. I'm going to keep them at least long enough to do a testing with me as the blind tester...