Capital Audiofest 2021: NOLA by Accent Speaker Technology, VAC, Nordost
Posted on November 16, 2021 by Eric Franklin Shook

NOLA by Accent Speaker Technology introduced us to their newest and most affordable open-baffle floorstander to date. Along with Valve Amplification Company (VAC) and Nordost cable keeping things lusciously simple and high-end.

The Story

NOLA makes some of the best open-baffle speakers we've ever heard. In fact, they make some of the best sounding speakers we've heard period. But, they come at a substantial, but still worthwhile, cost. In the land of NOLA Reference Gold Collection owners there are the HAVES and the HAVE YACHTS.

For years we've looked to the more affordable Boxer and Brio collection to satiate our NOLA sound needs with more conventional enclosure loudspeakers. But don't be fooled. The more affordable NOLA speakers still carry plenty of the magic that makes all NOLA speakers special. In fact, you'd be shocked if I started outing the audiophiles I know with deep pockets and long arms to match who will swear to you that the NOLA Boxer 3 is the best American made stand-mount speaker in their collection.

So when the news broke that NOLA was adding an affordable open-baffle design to the more affordable Boxer collection, our ears tingled with anticipation.

The new speaker is called the CHAMP 3. It is in answer to increasing requests for a more affordable floor-standing open-baffle model -- sort of the Alon 1 for today. It utilizes five drivers in an open-baffle array. Two low mass bass drivers, each one in a separate tuned chamber. Twin low mass side-by-side midrange drivers operating in a dipole configuration, a thing NOLA is known for and in my opinion has perfected.

High frequencies of the new CHAMP 3 are reproduced by a 1-inch silk dome tweeter mounted on the same open baffle. Two board, hand-wired, point-to-point crossovers utilizing Mundorf Oil Caps in addition to Nordost mono-filament silver wire in critical locations.

Also on display, the new Metro Grand Gold Series 3, which goes for six times the price of the CHAMP 3.

The Sound

I can barely contain myself in telling you how great this system was. Everything we love about the open and airy sound found in the Reference series of NOLA speakers was now a part of the new Boxer line, and in floor-standing form for a tick under $10K.

Mouth agape, we listened, we left, we came back to listen again, we left, we returned with friends. It was that impressive.

Even with the Metro Grand Gold Series 3 installed on the same amplifier and source, a ballsy move to say the least, we found the MGGS3 to be fantastic as expected, but damn if that new CHAMP 3 didn't hold its own when up against the most ginormous of exhibit rooms.

The System