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Vapor Audio - Mesa Verde Room


Dennis' Impressions

The Vapor Audio room was a pretty exciting place to be, with two high end systems placed at each end of the large banquet room. The speaker's cabinetry is sharp, both from a form follows function aspect, and aesthetically. For me, this was one of the top three rooms I heard at RMAF 2013. At the show's end on Sunday evening, I finally had a little free time and decided to spend it in this room, just soaking up the sounds and talking shop with owner Ryan Scott and designer Pete Schumacher.


System 1

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The Nimbus White are pretty much everything I look for in a speaker, starting with a very wide soundstage and well placed images of the performers on that stage. Very dynamic, even with only 40 watts being supplied to each Nimbus by the Arte Forma SET monoblocks. Percussion hits had real impact, vocal swells were handled with aplomb. Low bass was well represented, mids rendered realistically, with some of the smoothest highs you can possibly get. The overall balance was very neutral, just a bit dry, but leaning ever so slightly towards warm, taking off that "studio monitor" sound, so as not to be analytical or cold. For me, that is a perfect balance.





At show's end, the Arte Forma Aida, a 3 1/2 watt integrated amp, was powering the Nimbus White pair. I was told that the average draw at the level we were listening was around half a watt, and this was plenty to keep the volume level high enough for a good listening session. Honestly, I doubt anyone would know that this was a flea watt SET amp unless they were told so.







System 2

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I had a short audition with the Joule White pair at the beginning of the show. Enough to get the impression that, while the dynamics were not quite as great as the Nimbus White, this was made up for with increased transparency and resolution. Absolutely a top notch performer.






Wayne's Impressions

Both models that Vapor Audio had set up for listening include the much-talked-about RAAL tweeter, so I had to spend some time with them. Along with my fascination for the plasma tweeter at RMAF, talked about elsewhere, and one beryllium dome tweeter, the RAAL tweeter was an attention-grabber for its smoothness and transparency.

The Vapor models were extremely pleasing to listen to, with smooth, tight response that was well-controlled, and with open and very natural soundstage and stable imaging. Their room was right through the wall from the main Wilson Audio room, and I could not help but note the huge contrast in prices between the rooms vs. the small performance contrasts. The Vapor Audio products were not meant to fill big rooms with the volume that the Wilson Alexandria XLF's were capable of, but comparing most other listening qualities, the Vapor Audio offerings sound as good or better at a fraction of the cost.

I heard both the Joule and Nimbus models. Each had character while remaining very close to absolutely neutral. It is a delicate balance that is difficult to achieve in a loudspeaker design, having a noticeable and pleasing tonality, an ever-so-subtle hint of coloration, yet remaining neutral enough to be true to the music. That balance is achieved as well with the Nimbus and Joule speakers as with any other speakers I have heard. Music arrives at the ear with a liquid smoothness, almost flowing into the senses.

The designs were visually unique and finishes were second to none.

Joe's Impressions

As far as appearance, both the Nimbus and the Joules have a unique cabinet design that really stands out and they are exquisitely finished - Vapor really has a passion for creating a speaker that looks as good as it sounds (spoiler alert! )

Unfortunately, while I was in the room, one of the amps for the Joule setup was acting up so I was not able to hear that system. That said, the Nimbus setup made up for that in spades - they have the smooth, open, airy sound I have come to love about the ribbon tweeters. Vocals imaged dead center with a huge soundstage giving an excellent "live" performamce feeling - the speakers just completely disappeared.

However, what really makes these great is the detail - guitar / string instruments had that audible pluck and resulting vibration I look for and horns sounded fantastic. As a matter of fact, there was one horn sequence where I could actually hear the "buzz" of the musician blowing into the mouthpiece!!

An excellent all-around system - this one was in my top five for the weekend as it was a beautiful sight to behold as well as a melodious sound to hear. If only my budget was a bit higher for my two channel system!
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Also... I brought 2 pairs of Vapor Audio speakers home, listening to a pair right now. Look for an upcoming review here at Home Theater Shack!
 

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Hi Norman - Thank you for the link to Home Theater Shack on your Facebook page. You won more fans at Rocky Mountain.

While I have enjoyed reading about and seeing your beautiful gear, what won me over was having worked on your Feliciano 2A3 amplifier, after someone plugged in some wrong tubes. The thought put into the design and layout is incredible and the execution takes it to the level of art. The inside of the amplifier was as beautiful as the outside. Not to mention, it is the sweetest 2A3 I have ever heard and dead quiet. I do appreciate your equipment on many levels.

FYI: Norman Yang is the owner of Arte Forma.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I loved listening to the Vapor gear powered by Arte Forma. A very good match that kept me in my seat for a long time.
 
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