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I've heard the Aquila a few times at Goodwin's in Boston. It was a while ago but I remember the huge deep soundstage and ability for this speaker to bring the venue to the room.
Many speakers bring some of the venue to you but I felt like I was at an AC/DC concert, or in a concert hall. Great ability to pressurize the room if that makes sense.
If you are serious about laying out the shillings you should fly somewhere to listen to them. The thing with Goodwin's is that they have such a selection you just might change directions too.
Never heard the Altair so sorry if this was not what you were looking for.
Ciro...Andy Payor of Rockport is very approachable and happy to talk about his designs, so giving him a call will yield the best answer to your question. I have heard the Miras, the Ankaa's and the Aquila's but not the Altairs. I think Branislav's answer is a very good one. There is a house sound to Rockport speakers that is shared across the speaker line. What you get with each step up in the line, is greater extension at the frequency extremes, more constrained damping in the enclosures for reduced impact of cabinet resonances, resulting in a more resolving sound, and greater ability to move air for larger listening rooms.
What is the house sound? My impression of it is as follows: Rockport speakers' midrange is beguiling. The bass is textured and full, yet still punchy and articulate. The treble is smooth and grain free but not spotlit or in your face. Also, I would say the Rockports image well and throw a wide and deep soundstage but they can be bettered in these arenas by more "hifi" speakers. Finally where the Rockports clinch it for me is the dynamic range of the speakers and their propulsive quality. They present a more exciting and rythmically engaging sound for me.
Ciro...I was going to mention Goodwins as well. This is where I have heard the Rockports. They carry the entire line and their listening rooms are first rate. If you are ever in the Boston area, that is a must audition for you. Call Paul or Al at Goodwins. I have no affiliation with them. Just a satisfied customer. Enjoy
I am also in Europe and I would like to take this Rockport threads to say that I interest in buying a pair of Speakers.
Altair weighs more than 250kg per unit How to move the adjustment difficult?
What is your choice resonable value for money between two pair of loudspeakers to be little different to me you say "NO Same League?. Rockport Aquila or Aerial 20T V2.
Thank you everybody.
If I were in your shoes, and you were really serious about these speakers, I would go visit the factory in Maine and listen to these speakers under ideal conditions.
Maine is beautiful in the early Fall, and they have excellent lobsters. If it has been a hot summer in Italy, then Maine makes for a cool getaway.
The Altair demands a huge room that is very well suited to 2 channel audio. I would think the Aquila would sound better in a moderate-sized room than the Altair.
You could also go to Goodwin's, but I think the frequent moving of equipment leads to a less than ideal situation. I also don't care for the Boulder amplifiers.
Rockport is expensive in the US. I can only imagine how much it is in Europe.
Ciro...i remember reading that Jeff Fritz (editor/reviewer at Ultra Audio) used the Vitus SS-101 when he reviewed the Altairs to good effect. I just checked the review (http://www.ultraaudio.com/twbas/twbas_20071001.htm) so maybe there is no issue with the Vitus driving the Altairs (or the Aquilas I guess) so maybe my point before is not an issue for you to worry about.
I own (and reviewed) the Aquilas and the suggestions and opinions on this thread are all correct. If your room is larger, then you will likely be much more able to justify the price difference and take advantage of what the Altair can do than if you have a much smaller room. That said, Andy has informed me that even in my smaller room (14' x 18' x 8') that the Altair will still work well.
Cmalak pretty much sume up my opinion of the Aquilas.
One thing I would note though - in my opinion you need enough power to drive the Aquilas if you listen at any reasonably loud volumes. I have Lamm 1.2 Reference monos (which are, like the Vitus, solid state amps that are conservatively rated at 115 watts per channel Class A) and they are fine driving the Aquilas. I am not so sure though if the Vitus at 50 watts would do as well. The Altair is more efficient and a bit easier to drive.
Good luck in your search and, if you do end up with Rockports, I'll bet good money you'll be happy no matter which one you choose. You rarely see these speakers up for sale for good reason.
I consider a 21 x 21 foot room to be moderate size for a full-ranged speaker. The Altair is almost 3 feet deep. I would think both the speaker and the listener should be well into the room, with enough space for integration. I am thinking you would need 15-20 feet distance between you and the speaker. With the side-firing woofer, the room becomes an absolutely integral part of the speaker. IMO, more than a front-mounted woofer.
My altairs are 4ft 4inches off the rear wall. The listening area is aprox 18ft wide by 25ft deep. BUT the entire area is aprox 2000sq ft with only one interior(Side wall) wall. It is a very open design. Placing in a smaller area might work but they have a deep ft print. Also while I truely love them and would only consider a move to the arrakis, you maybe better off with say a magico which is sold in europe. the logistics of buying and shipping, wow. you could call andy and ask. he is easy to talk to and happy to help, maybe he has a better sollution like a customer in your part of the world.
I own the Aquila's as well. Cmalak's comments on 8/21 also sums up my impression very well. The treble is smooth, the audiotechnology midrange is textured and just so real, and the bass is punchy and articulate. And the beauty of its sleek curves!! Oh my... pictures really don't do it justice.
And the Arrakis... I truely have no way to comment on them except they are just out of this world.
Good luck. Let us know how it goes.
I have a pair of Lamm 1.2 Reference to drive my speakers which are currently Andras 2. My listening room is L 22 Feet x l 15 Feet x H 10 Feet. I would like to upgrade my speakers. I love the Rockports and listened to both the Aquilas and the Altairs. I know the Aquilas can easily be driven by the Lamms, but I am not sure about the Altairs. Does anybody have some experience or idea if this match could work ? And if it is $$ worth the difference with the Aquilas ?
Cmalak -- I'd be very interested in your impressions of the Miras versus the Ankaas and then the Aquilas. My guess is it's a matter of scale and dynamic impact, but if you could provide more details as to the differences it would be most appreciated. Basically I've got a shot at owning the Miras but wondering if the differences are such that it's worth saving more pennies to go up the line. Sorry to go off subject a bit here.
I own the Altairs and extensively listened to the Aquila (and Magico M5) before deciding on the Altair. Both are fabulous and produce excellent base: tight, quick and detailed. The Altair provides more base than the Aquila and will actually go right down to 20 hz. What won me over though was that the treble region was also better on the Altair. It sounded smoother and more accurate (I auditioned with Jazz, Classical and some rock. Allot of female vocals (Allison Krauss, Nora Jones and Holly Cole) and Frank Sinatra. The sound coming from the Altair seems to assimilate almost immediately. By this I mean that you can sit only a few feet away from them and yet hte sound is perfectly balanced. Right now Rockport might be making the best speakers and the Altair might actually be his best speaker. It will shine in even small rooms. Your only concern should be affording it and making sure you have the room for it as it is a large speaker (500lbs each). However, it does look smaller in the room. You have to see it to believe it. The design is elegant. I like the Aquila as well, but the Altair is just better...possibly the best speaker in the world in my opinion though I obviously have not heard all the speakers in the world. It is definitely better than the Magico M5 though as I auditioned this for quite some time. I also felt the Aquila was right there with the Magico M5 as well. Good luck with your decision.
The cabinet construction is much different, in addition to the drivers. The Altair has perhaps the best cabinet construction in the industry which will equate to better settling times, a blacker background and more low level resolution. In effect, an Altair is half of an Arrakis. They are both point source speakers, so I would not be concerned putting either one in a moderately sized room. If you can handle the size in your room of the aquila, then you could also handle the Altair. The difference is not regarding the size of the room for either speaker, but simply better quality, more dynamic range, lower frequency extension and more resolution between the two speakers- exactly what it should be when spending more money.