Vienna Acoustics Liszt - Fad or Future?

I just read a review on the Vienna Acoustics Imperial Liszt. The reviewer like them (don't they always), but I don't know about the movable head unit. It could be the future of speakers, or just a fad. Speaker purists are likely to say it's just a marketing gimmick.

At $15k list, they are not cheap. I have a pair of VA Beethoven Grands and like them - a lot. But I don't know about the Liszts, it could be the next Edsel.

It's not a new idea. KEF used it way back when with the 107. I'm sure there have been others. Didn't Aerial do it early on? Anyway, results are what matter, so I wouldn't worry about how they are achieved.
I think the swiveling head is really just a matter of convenience. You can place those heavy bass boxes firing directly forward, spike them in good, and then concentrate on dialing in the midrange and tweeter.

I've heard the Baby Grand and Concert Grand in one set-up, and the Baby Grand and Liszt in another. The Liszts, driven by Ayre AX5, blew me away. To me, there was a strong family resemblance with the Baby Grands. In the other set-up, the Concert Grands had more bass than the Babys, but not as much as I was expecting for the increase in number, size and enclosure of the bass drivers, and the speaker overall was voiced a little bit more to the revealing. My personal preference was for the Babys, which put the music together, whereas the Concerts were teasing it apart. The Liszts to me were like a really grown-up version of the Babys, which is to say really exceptionally good all round.
I heard the Liszts and they are superb !
But VA is sadly amiss in not naming their best effort after
the best composer ever born in Vienna.
KEF did this way back in the late-70s with the 105. And KEF did it better because the mid/hi unit swiveled AND tilted. It also included an LED that was only visible to the listener when the unit was properly aligned.

Leave it to KEF to be 40 years ahead of most everyone else...
Thanks for the input. I should have put "Baby" in my OP.

Interesting comment Twoleftears, I really like the BG, so I may have to keep an eye out for these.
Yes, I owned the KEF 105.2 speakers with the rotating and swiveling head unit. My first high end speaker!
Ben77059, I have VA Liszt. A while ago I had Beethoven Grand, and even so they are a good speakers for a price, the new Liszt are in a different league.
3d soundstage/imaging, very open, detailed, but natural sound, awesome dynamics. Amazing speakers. I think VA did a great job with Liszt. After having many speakers in my home including Wilson WP8, Sonus Faber Amati Martin Bird 2, I intend to keep VA Liszt. There is something about them that get you closer to live music.
According to the review, the upper bass driver is actually a midbass. There might be phase issues by pointing the upper unit in a different direction.

This is from the manufacturer's website:

"The two lower units produce the lowest bass, working in parallel, while the single driver provides ideal transition to the midrange driver."

So I'm not sure having the two sections face in different directions is a good thing.

There are three drivers in the bass unit. I think VA is referring to the topmost one of them. The larger driver in the head unit is a true midrange.
Yes, I know the larger driver in the head unit is the midrange. But the uppermost driver in the lower cabinet is NOT a woofer. It WILL be directional.

Not sure if it is a fad or not. All I know is that I have been listening to a lot of speakers lately and this particular model is very musical and hits all the right emotional buttons. The upper head doesn't need to be adjusted very much, perhaps 1/4 of an inch or so turned inward, to really make this speaker sing. I have been comparing it to the speakers from the following companies up to $30k...Focal, Wilson, Vandersteen, Magico, Rockport, Linn, Harbeth, B&W, Sonus Faber. So far it is my favorite of the bunch for the emotional connection and all around performance. There is a new line coming out for Focal in May to bridge the gap to the Utopia line and I want to hear the new Devore Gibbons X and the Dali Epicon 6&8.
I totally agree with Goose, and I am not pushing this speaker for any marketing purposes or anything else, I don’t have any affiliations with any dealers, just really like what these speakers bring out - emotion in music, natural timber and openness. You get the feeling that you surrounded by very natural, not irritating sound. Strongly recommended.
Lots of great praise for these. I will definitely put them on top of the list when I am ready to upgrade. I have some I need to sell before I can buy anything new.

Thanks for all the input.
Vienna speakers sure sound different - a rather unconventional  or odd measured response. That new HF/mid drive unit is scary - it has a magnet no bigger than a tweeter and produces the most Q resonances I have seen in a long time. Most designers would be concerned with the response of the KISS through the mid range and lower treble, as Atkinson alludes

As it has been a couple years since this thread originated, would these same people say the same things, or has some other loudspeaker derailed the Listz from their former lofty perch?

In the Listz, I thought only the midrange was latterly moveable. And the ‘Music’ was the one fully adjustable with it’s mid and tweeter with repeatable incremental shifts including elevation.

More importantly, would either the KEF Blade (either one, I or II), or the VA ‘Music’ be a substantial elevation of performance to the Listz?

Anyone push the Listz with 30 – 60 wpc tube amps? Nice? Great? Ho hum?

as for measuring concerns, at the end of the day, the measurement we all use to pay for something and put in our rooms is our ears and our eyes. well, yeah, our wallets oo. O scopes ain't he end all be all and I don't think they like anything but 'electronica'.

had to tag in on this for sure.


The Liszt has a coincident driver (midrange / tweeter) in the upper cube that moves in lateral fashion.  Forward and aft changes in the whole speaker are made via the spikes.  As a side note, a "friend of a friend" had the KEF blade II's for a while but sold them and went down the Harbeth route.  Apparently he wasn't fond of the treble signature.  Just one persons data point.

I've had a few of the lower end models.  I had the haydn, that was the first thing I ever bought from a real audio shop.  When Best Buy dropped the line in about 2011 I bought a full surround set of demo models for a fraction of new.  I've currently got the Mozart Grands hooked up as computer speakers.  (Cambridge DAC Magic and Creek 5350SE.)  I think they're fantastic in this application.  In my experience they're more room and placement dependent than most speakers.  I compared them to my Thiel 2 2s in an old living room and I thought the Thiels embarrassed them.  The Thiels were much clearer and had a good amount of punch where the small drivers in the Viennas just couldn't do it.  They also sounded pretty strange in there, I have to think they've got a strange off axis response that becomes really obvious in a more reflective room. 

I was told that they're optimized for Europe where most houses have smaller rooms that are more solidly built.  That was a number of years ago so may not be true of newer models.  The ones I have definitely sound better when you're sitting fairly close and are in a room that's on the smaller side.


The Liszt's are a whole different ball game than the other models.  I didn't like the other speakers in their line.