Ah yes, YG Acoustics. I much like. This is the Sonja XV Junior. Transparency and refinement similar to Magico yet even more direct and expressive, this system also avoided sounding overly clean on all the demo tracks.
The speaker system consists of 4 cabinets: two for bass and two for mid and high frequencies. (photo by Niels van Marle)
Behind the right two columns was an even larger column housing an immensely-sized subwoofer: the InVincible. In spite of the many components of which the speaker system is comprised, this setup sounded fast and precise and utterly coherent. I am not sure of the model but in any event, I liked the sound so much that these speakers deserve a very high ranking on the list of HFA Show Favorites.
You wouldn’t guess it but these drivers’ cones are actually machined out of solid blocks of aluminum, so not stamped out of metal sheets!
Surely the neutral yet highly sophisticated Nagra equipment had a hand in this system’s superb sound.
After finishing the Atrium section and all its listening rooms, we descended to the ground floor for a quick look. One has to be careful because there is so much to see that you can easily spend an entire day just on the ground floor.
Ground floor – quick impression
Audio buddy Niels listening to a set of headphones.
Vivid Audio Kaya 25 displayed on the side of the stand.
Vivid Audio Kaya 90 – this was more of a display than a listening room, which, Ewald Verkerk of Terrason Audio told me was just around the corner.
While walking around, however, I could not find the listening room, until Lawrence was kind enough to walk me there.
As it turned out, the Vivid listening room was several “blocks” further down the hall, marked only by a MolaMola sign, which explains why I overlooked it.
Vivid Audio Kaya 90 with MolaMola Kaluga mono amps and Makua preamp.
For all the listening in this room, this Blackstone turntable from AudioSilente of Rome, Italy, was the source. The salesperson spoke highly of the ‘table’s immense torque and demonstrated this by having random people from the audience come over and try to stop the platter from rotating by squeezing the spindle. Guess what? No one was able to audibly slow it down.
MolaMola Tambaqui DAC that offers all the usual digital inputs as well as USB and Ethernet with DSD and Roon compatibility, alas, not in use when we walked in.
The speakers used for this demo are the 4-woofer Vivid Kaya 90, the largest model of the relatively new Kaya range, quoted to provide almost Giya sound at a more attainable price while having a more approachable appearance. Indeed, I very much like their looks and would prefer it to the more curly Giya models. Soundwise, they follow the established Vivid sound: super-transparent, agile, airy, and wide open. Particularly, I did not notice any areas in which they could be considered “less” than the dearer models. For me, the sound in this booth was too forward and bright (but not harsh!) but that might just as well have been the consequence of tonearm/cartridge matching or something else upstream.
New on display at the Ayon stand/listening room was the Spirit V. Seemingly similar to the Spirit III which I reviewed and own, the new model has slightly larger volume- and input controls, and a single glass driver tube per channel rather than the metal duo that was used for the Spirit III.
The Ayon website offers the following information: After nine years of manufacturing of the legendary Spirit III model we are proud to announce the introduction of the new Spirit V. The new Spirit V is not a simple update; it is a totally new re-design featuring new operating and protection circuit boards. All the gain and driver stages have been also re-designed and optimized as well to provide for the shortest signal path and the most direct signal flow. A newly installed volume control as well as a new driver stage choke and a new output transformer, as well as many minor modifications, complete the comprehensive redesign of the new Spirit V.
The Ayon room sounded fabulous! Tight and articulate yet also free-flowing and emotionally engaging.