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Vivid Audio B1 Loudspeaker

November 13, 2011

Yesterday I visited Analog Audio’s ultimate man-cave to test drive the Vivid Audio B1 loudspeakers.  If you want to read a more knowledgeable review check out the cover-story in the  October 2011 Stereophile.  I have never heard speakers of this quality in my life – these are a $15K pair of speakers! It was such a privilege to hear cover-story speakers first hand in a private session in a state of the art listening room.

These speakers sounded fantastic. I don’t know how much was due to a well constructed listening room (I have never been in a room this amazing – this room deserves a whole post to itself) and/or high quality components driving these speakers.  As best I can tell the cables alone are worth more than my whole home set up.  But I am pretty sure the speakers were the primary cause of the amazing sound I heard.  These are speakers I will never afford unless I win the lottery, but what the heck – someday some crazed audiophile may sell them used to a poor soul like me.

I brought along some familiar vinyl to check them out.  First up was Weather Report’s titular track from “Black Market.”   Zawinul’s keyboards filled the room like a warm blanket.   I felt saturated with the sound – this was not because the music was loud – it is that the music completely engulfed the room.  The keyboards were thick – on inferior systems these keyboards sound thin and artificial – here they sounded rich and organic.  I was sold (although I can’t buy).

Next up was The Brother’s Johnson’s cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together.”  This is a funk piece and it was great to hear bass and drums in a very natural way – not though some artificial sub-woofer thump.

Bob King and Terry Evans’ “Live and Let Live” stepped into the room to give us their soul review.  Ry Cooder’s guitar was fully realized.  You felt like you could bite a piece of it out of the air.

Finally I played Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” – wow – it fell like Bob was singing in my ear.  I have never heard the vocals pop like this – and I bet I have listened to this song 1000 times.  It was such  distinctive presence.

So my final verdict was that I was wound up like I had 10 cups of coffee spending an hour with the B1s.   This was clearly the best sounding speakers I have ever heard, but I can’t fully appreciate these speakers as I have nothing to compare them to in my personal experience.  It was like the first time I test drove a BMW after a lifetime of driving mere regular cars – I was, to use the well used cliché, “blown away.”  I am not ruined – I can still enjoy my home system, but I now know what a sonic masterpiece is like.  And everyone should get to appreciate masterpieces, even if they can’t own one.

 

 

 

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