|Review: Vivid Audio K1 speaker|
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 13:40
I'm a big fan of our South African audio manufacturing industry and have, on a number of occasions, put my money where my mouth is and bought locally manufactured products.
But my decision to buy local is not just due to patriotism. Before I make any purchase – be it from a local manufacturer or not – I always consider a product’s performance and the value it offers. When buying locally, I appreciate the fact that I can pick up the phone and speak directly to the manufacturer.
Those who know this about me have been surprised that I have not been a huge fan of Vivid Audio until now.
Vivid Audio is arguably the most successful African loudspeaker manufacturer. In just a short period of time, the company’s products have managed to reach legendary status.
One of the reasons for this is that Vivid Audio has one Laurence Dickie in their corner. Dickie is the inventor of the B&W Matrix and designer of the iconic and flagship Nautilus loudspeaker.
But my opinion of the brand has radically changed because of the Vivid Audio K1 loudspeakers.
With a design inspired by the traditional Zulu shield, these speakers are oval shaped, which is acoustically better than a traditional box shape. The cabinets are manufactured from a cast carbon fibre polyester compound, making them extremely strong. The finishing touch is a selection of automotive paints to make it shine.
Another unusual aspect about these speakers is that they don’t require any screws to be mounted to the cabinets, and an O-ring isolates the drivers from the cabinet. I don’t have enough room in this column to explain how and why Vivid Audio does this, but suffice it to say there is a sonic reason behind everything the company does. For technophiles who want to know more about that and other technology employed by Vivid Audio, I strongly recommend visiting the company’s website.
As is typically the case with most high-end speakers, you’ll have to experiment a little before you will find the perfect position for them in the room in which you plan to listen to your music. Considering the hefty weight of these speakers, I was lucky that they sounded great in the first place I tried. It certainly helps that I know the room well and that I have used it to review many other speakers.
Once they were correctly positioned and hooked up to some equally high-end components, it was time to have a listen.
As I have already mentioned above, the K1 swayed my opinion of Vivid Audio. However, it was a subtle seduction. There wasn’t one: “Wow, these are great speakers!” moment. What happened was that my intention to have a quick listen by playing just one or two tracks, went out the window and before I knew it, I had listened to an entire CD, and then another. The more I listened, the more I realised just how revealing the K1's were, how much detail they were able to convey, and how naturally they made the music flow.
I invited a fellow audiophile friend over to have a listen. He commented that he thought his own speakers were better. Until he got home later and listened to the same tracks that we had played through the K1. He then admitted that the K1 speakers simply delivers more music.
In closing, my opinion of the Vivid Audio K1 speakers is that they are engineering masterpieces. They won’t slap you in the face and roar: “I am speaker hear me play!” They simply invite you to listen and become engrossed in the music.
The caveat though is that you have to set them up properly in an acoustically good room and use them with source components that are equally good. If you don’t, they could sound bloated and bland.
Good: Extremely well built, good looking, full of innovative technology and they sound absolutely fantastic.
Bad: I'm still not a fan of Vivid Audio’s low slung speaker binding posts. Also, the manufacturer seems to be pretty fussy about the size of the room in which you can optimally use its products.
Price: Approximately R 136 000.00
Contact: Vivid Audio www.vividaudio.com
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