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I'm sure the kudos are rolling in for your new Nola Contender speakers. I received a pair at the end of March and can report that they took some months to break in (I listen for an hour at a time a couple times a week, so for me the break-in period took a long while). Now they please everyone in my house!
I should report that I am using them with VTL MB450s in triode mode (about 200 watts a side) hooked up with a ten-foot pair of Kimber 12TC cables. I have also hooked up one JL Audio Fathom 110 subwoofer which fires from a corner of my large listening room (21 x 24 feet with a high sloping ceiling, lower over the spkrs, higher at the listener's position). The speakers run full range and the sub sees the same signal that the MB450s do. To my ears, the super-fast 10-inch Fathom blends seamlessly with the Nolas and extends bass to the mid 20 Hz region (I roll the sub off 12 dB per octave starting at 50 Hz). The sub has a huge mega-watt Class-D switching amp built in, and you'd think it'd mess everything up. But it doesn't. Not at all. It's a marriage made in heaven.
It has taken me a long while to put together a system that pleases as much as this one does. Its heart is really the Nola Contenders (the other stuff? VPI Scoutmaster, Benz Ace low-output moving-coil cartridge, Oppo BDP-83 Special Edition disc player, and VTL's 5.5 preamp; AudioQuest inteconnects). The Contender speakers easily "fill" the room. Big tubed basic amps in triode----with the Contender spkrs---produce sweet, fluid, effortless presentations, sometimes heartbreakingly so! Plus deep and wide sound stages should the recording have such. Piano comes up beautifully. The best recordings surprise with nuance after nuance. Treble is just "there"; it does not call any special attention to itself. Imagine! A full-range (from 25 to 20K Hz) speaker system for only $5,500. I wish you could hear it.
I was traveling last week. I stopped in a store to listen to the Nola Contenders. All I can say is I was blown away. Are you kidding? A $3400.00 speaker that sounds like this? I bought them. I have been looking for a smaller type floorstanding speaker and feel I have heard a lot of them and nothing grabbed me like these did. Good luck finding them. I got lucky. My local dealer,2 hours from my place has 5 pairs on order and they are all sold, and apparently Nola is overwhelmed with orders.Mine are being delivered from the east coast!
(posted on Audiogon)
I replaced my Focal Scala Utopia. I did not want to sell them but the size of my music room is now smaller thanks to our new economy. They were tough shoes to fill. The Nola Contender IMHO is going to be very tough to beat. I cant wait for them to get here! The cool thing is I will feel no sense of loss. I have heard alot of great speakers in the size and price on my hunt for the perfect speaker for me. Nothing sounded amazing until I heard the Nolas!
I will post a short review after arrival.
Please throw away all your reviews of speakers and go listen to
them. My equipment includes:
(posted on Audiogon)
Scarsdale, New York
First of all, never in my life would I have thought that I could fulfill a dream such as this -- listening to speakers and to some music that has me almost gasping for air -- such beautiful music in my home I've never heard. . .until now!
These speakers, though they will receive the required "break in" of 100-200 hours, already have thrilled me. I "baptized" them by first listening to Warren Bernhardt's Hand's On (DMP recording with all Class A electronics).
Though this CD album has some years on it, if you have not heard it, I would say "RUN.....DO NOT WALK....to the nearest CD store (or Amazon) and get this album. It will tax most any speaker (in my humble opinion).... and playing it through the Vipers I heard things I've never heard. This album will test the best of speakers -- and great speakers will reveal so much detail, so much high, medium, and low frequencies. The Vipers are already doing this!
I've loved my Alon Lotus Esprits since 2003. . .AND, they don't compare to these Vipers. So much inner detail, transparency, breadth and depth of stage, presence and presentation of music as a whole. . .all the while making sure the listener hears instruments (almost exactly as they are "live") clearly without smearing --> this is what the Vipers do. Percussion (on great recordings such as anything Warren Bernhardt presents) is particularly detailed. The depth of the stage is dramatic -- again, breath-taking in beauty.
Oh, yes, I'm aware of so many other speakers from many manufacturers -- all impressive -- and I've heard some of them -- Thiel 3.7s, Vandersteen 5As, Maggies 1.7s and another breath-taking 3.7s, Martin Logans (great), all the Wilson line (nice, however "no cigar"), all the Harbeths -- and, then there is the rest of your line of speakers all the way up to the Grand Refs (which I haven't heard). However, I KNOW there is no more satisfying speaker that is easy to listen to (for me). . .all the while having me on the edge of my chair and almost taking my breath away with glorious music.
How is it that you and only a few persons like you (who build other great speakers) can come up with such things?? It's something that has boggled my mind for a few decades. You have created and produced an indescribably fantastic line of speakers -- and I am so loving what I'm hearing!!! The good Lord has given you such a great talent -- and you have used it well, at least it seems to me.
One more thing: the Vipers are truly astonishingly beautiful. One critic/writer said that one will either love 'em or hate 'em for their "different" and "modern" look vs. other box and triangled speakers (such as Wilsons). Well, I LOVE 'EM!! Like human relationships, we are FIRST ATTRACTED to that which is "outer" -- such as a beautiful woman, etc. However, "attraction" isn't the final determinate in a relationship --> it's SELECTION. All of us are attracted to many people, many things --> however, attraction eventually wears itself, and though it is still important, the most important thing is selection. I first saw a picture of these rosewood Vipers and "fell in love" with their looks. They are stunning (my wife even thinks so -- the WAF still reigns (wife acceptance factor) -- and even now, they are even more stunning in their presentation of music. Kudos and cheers 2 U !!