Thoughts on Fidelio

Hi All,

I am currently listening to a new pair of Verity Audio Fidelio's. I am wondering if someone can help me understand what I am hearing.

My room is 12'x18'x8'. I have the speakers setup 38" from the side wall and 60" from the front wall. The speakers fire straight into the room. My listening chair is about 2 feet from the rear wall.

I have about 175 hours on the speakers. My front end consists of a VPI Aries/JMW/Lyra Helikon/Aesthetix Io. Pass Labs preamp and amp. The Helikon has about 30 hours on it. Discovery cables.

Based on my listening so far, my feeling is that the Fidelio is bright. Brass instruments take on a prominence in recordings and call attention to themselves.

Is this due to break in? Verity recommends more than 250 hours with 500 hours being optimum. Is this the speaker setup? I would appreciate your experience with the Fidelio. I have read nothing but good things about this speaker so this is the reason for my confusion and this question.

Thank you
Rich Maurin
have you tried different vta settings for the helikon/jmw? is the "brightness" the same at all settings? do you use any acoustic treatments on the rear wall(back of speakers) or first reflection points? if you answer "yes" to all these questions, then i'd bet your speakers or cartridge, or both, need more break-in time. -kelly
The Helikon needs about 50hrs of breaking. Does the brightness improves after 2 sides of a record? If it does it is the cartridge. The VTA is also important. The fidelios also need some more breaking.
I have tried different VTA settings. I have lowered the back of the cart. The brightness does get less, but it is still an issue. I have also varied tracking force from 1.65g to 1.75g, with the lower force sounding better. I am not using any acoustic treatment. The brightness does improve after a few sides.

My guess at this point is that it is the Helikon, with the break in on the speaker contributing also. I have 30 hours on the cartridge. I guess I just need to play more sides for now and see what happens close to the 50 hour point.

Any other thoughts would be appreciated.

I had a similar experience with a different speaker. The recommended break in time was, I believe, 400-500 hours. The top end was so exagerated that it was painful. Finally, they settled in. After about six months of actual use, it was like a switch was thrown. Great sound after that. If the recommended break in time is 400-500 hours, then give it time and see what happens. Also, I don't think low level playing at night can be counted towards the full time recommended.
Hi Rich. I demoed Fidelios last year, and got the same results, but at an extreme, longer front-wall placement (8'). A quick call to Verity Audio was illuminating!...
The Fidelios' rear-firing woofers need more near-wall loading (1.5-3') to provide Verity Audio's spectral response. You will most probably get immediate results by pushing them farther back toward the front wall (at the expense of soundstage depth, however).
As I couldn't do so (grand piano in the way), I then demoed the Parsifal Encores, which have reversible woofers. Starting in the Fidelio-like rear-firing mode the balance was VERY anemic. The great guys at Verity suggested that my setup was one of those 20% or so ( I'd say more!) that require flipping the woofers around to front-firing. I did so, and eventually carefully measured response both ways, as the difference in frequency response was huge below 200Hz. (It was interesting to note that the Parsifal "top" satellite running ALONE as a monitor without its woofer bass had MORE upper bass than when the woofer-bases were wired in rear-firing!)
Unfortunately you cannot flip the woofers on the Fidelio.
It seems that in your semi-nearfield setup you may have to get speakers with direct-firing woofers if you can't push 'em back. (My room is 18 x 14 x 8; I sit 2 feet from open-door rear wall, with Encores 8' out, resulting in a 7.5' triangle. The stage "feels" 10' wide and 10-12' deep! Nearfield listening with extremely coherent speakers like the Verities is wonderful.)

A second point my be helpful to you: The Fidelio uses a 19mm tweeter, which doesn't quite have the extension nor as perfect integration with that great Skaaning midrange Verity specs as the larger tweeter in the Monitor/Parsifal. I found the Fidelio to sound a bit too crisp (peakier mid-treble? not sure--maybe just spectral-tilt perceptual shift). I found the BEST sound above 100Hz was to simply use the Parsifal Encore satellites (called simply Verity Audio Monitors--$5500/pr) by themselves! Clearly more coherent than the Fidelio, and of course less placement-sensitive.
They had a better balance than both the Fidelio or the entire Parsifal (rear-firing) in my room. Even when I flipped the woofers to forward-firing and did final measurements it was interesting to see that the Monitor alone rolled off slightly more smoothly WITHOUT its woofers. Nonetheless the 8" 4 ohm new woofers spec'ed for the Encore are amazingly agile and realistic, and add huge dynamics and extension. So I had to have the whole system!
I would have loved to have been able to use the Fidelios, but just couldn't make 'em work. If you can't move 'em around much, sell 'em and get the Parsifal Encore Monitors, adding the woofer bases later if you want that bottom octave
(mine are flat in-room to 25Hz). I'll NEVER sell mine!

There are those who may comment that the woofer crossover is a lowish 150Hz, and therefore shouldn't affect such a strong change in spectral balance as a function of directionality, but I found huge 5-10dB differences at the listening position below 100Hz.
I realize that Lars F. et al have highly recommended the Fidelios as "80% of the Parsifal at 60% of the price". Yeah, the midrange is that good, but their lack of placement flexibility makes their integration much trickier than the Parsifals.
If you can, try to borrow Encores, and try 'em front-firing in your current geometry. The difference from the Fidelio will completely shock you!
Lastly, the highish 5500Hz crossover results in a small dip in power response 4-5kHz, and an on-axis peak around 6-7kHz.
You'll have to work with toe-in and sidewall reflection-absorption to optimize this. But this is icing on the cake. I suspect that a bit of sidewall diffractive support actually helps widen the stage a bit as the midrange drivers get beamy up at 4-5kHz. Nonetheless these transducers are incredibly transparent. Not until I properly isolated my CDP (Neuance shelf in my case) did the top octaves cohere sufficiently to mitigate rough treble from Redbook CD. Horns and massed strings now seem less spitty or rough-lean.... Nonethelss I probably won't truly experience the full magic of Verity's work until I replace my digital front end.
In your case the anemic bass response will exaggerate any such perceived upper-mid/treble roughness upstream, too.
I don't mean to rain on your parade, and apologize for being so long-winded in describing my experience, but I hope this helps you in addressing your system optimization more efficiently. I think your issue is predominantly a fundamental room/transducer loading mismatch and less apt to be contributed to more subtle contributants. Good Luck, and feel free to write me if you want more help as you work through this. Have fun! Ernie
Rich, coincidentally I'm using Pass Aleph P and 2 monos! (So it ain't that!) Ern